The island of Rhodes (Ezek 27:15-27:15)

“The men of Rhodes

Traded with you.

Many coastlands

Were your own

Special markets.

They brought you

In payment

Ivory tusks

With ebony.”

Ezekiel continued with his tour of the trading partners of Tyre.  Rhodes was another Mediterranean island northeast of Crete. They traded with Tyre. Many of the coastland towns were specialty markets for Tyre. Some even traded ivory and ebony with Tyre.

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The wood used for the ships at Tyre (Ezek 27:5-27:6)

“They made

All your planks

Of fir trees

From Senir.

To make a mast

For you,

They took a cedar

From Lebanon.

They made your oars

From oaks

Of Bashan.

They made your deck

Of pines

From the coasts of Cyprus,

Inlaid with ivory.”

The people of Tyre got their wood for their ships from a variety of places. The planks for their ships came from the fir trees of Senir or Mount Hermon, between Syria and Lebanon. Of course, the cedar used for the mast of the ships came from Lebanon, as did all good cedar. The oars for the ships came from the oaks of Bashan, on the eastern side of the Sea of Galilee. Their decks were made of pine from the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea. Somehow their decks of pine were inlaid with ivory.

Description of the male lover (Song 5:10-5:16)

Female lover

“My beloved is all radiant.

He is ruddy.

He is distinguished among ten thousand.

His head is the finest gold.

His locks are wavy.

His locks are black as a raven.

His eyes are like doves,

Beside springs of water,

Bathed in milk,

Fitly set.

His cheeks are like beds of spices,

Yielding fragrance.

His lips are lilies,

Distilling liquid myrrh.

His arms are rounded gold,

Set with jewels.

His body is an ivory work,

Encrusted with sapphires.

His legs are alabaster columns,

Set upon bases of gold.

His appearance is like Lebanon,

Choice as the cedars.

His speech is most sweet.

He is altogether desirable.

This is my beloved.

This is my friend.

O daughters of Jerusalem!”

This female lover responded to the daughters of Jerusalem. She explains why her male lover is so special with a long description of him. First of all, he is radiant and ruddy. What does that mean? He is a glowing happy guy with a healthy reddish complexion. He is one in 10,000. He has a golden head with black wavy hair. His eyes are like clean white doves perfectly set in his head. His cheeks are like fragrant spices. His lips are like lilies spreading liquid myrrh. His arms are like rounded gold with jewels set in them. His body is like ivory with sapphires. His legs are like alabaster columns with golden bases as feet. He appears to be like a Lebanon cedar tree. His speech is sweet. He is quite a guy, altogether desirable. He is her beloved and her friend. That is some great description of the perfect man.

The defeat of the kings (Ps 48:4-48:8)

“Then the kings assembled.

They came on together.

As soon as they saw it,

They were astounded.

They were in panic.

They took to flight.

Trembling took hold of them there.

They had pains like a woman in labor.

They were like

When the east wind shatters

The ships of Tarshish.

As we have heard,

So have we seen.

In the city of Yahweh of hosts,

In the city of our God,

God is established forever.”

Selah

Many kings assembled to attack Jerusalem. However, they were astonished and fled in panic when they saw the Temple and the palace on Mount Zion. They began to tremble with pain as if they were women in labor. This might be a reference to the defeat of foreign kings attacking Jerusalem. The reference to the ships of Tarshish can be found in 1 Kings, chapter 10, where this fleet, with the silver, gold, ivory, apes, and peacocks, came every 4 years.   Not only did they hear about these things, but they actually saw them in the city of David, the city of Yahweh, the city of God, that was established forever. Then there is the usually musical interlude pause, the Selah.

The anointed one (Ps 45:6-45:9)

“Your throne!

O God!

Endures forever and ever.

Your royal scepter is a scepter of equity.

You love righteousness.

You hate wickedness.

Therefore God,

Your God!

Has anointed you

With the oil of gladness.

Thus you are beyond your companions.

Your robes are all fragrant

With myrrh, aloes, and cassia.

From ivory palaces

Stringed instruments make you glad.

Daughters of kings are

Among your ladies of honor.

At your right hand

Stands the queen in gold of Ophir.”

Is this throne the throne of God or the king that endures forever? Once again, the scribe psalmist treats the king like a mini-god. The royal crown helps insure equality. Then we have the famous saying about being anointed with the oil of gladness that had such a resonance with Christian prayers about anointing. This is a royal anointing of the new king. This new king was beyond his companions. His robes were fragrant or smelly. They were filled with myrrh, aloes, and cassia. Myrrh was an aromatic perfume from the Asian bushes. Aloes was a bitter tasting leaf that was used in perfumes. Cassia is an Asian evergreen tree with an aromatic bark that also was used in perfumes. Ivory and stringed instruments were also there. All this adds to the concept of wealth. Of course stringed instruments and beautiful ladies of honor were also added to the scene. Then there was queen in her gold from the mysterious unknown but often mentioned Ophir.

The fleet of King Solomon’s ships (2 Chr 9:21-9:21)

“The king’s ships went to Tarshish with the servants of Huram. Once every three years the ships of Tarshish used to come bringing gold, silver, ivory, apes, and peacocks.”

Once again, this is almost word for word from 1 Kings, chapter 10. Solomon had a fleet of ships that he shared with the Phoenicians, particularly Huram of Tyre. Tarshish was either in southern Spain, India or Africa. The Phoenicians were great sailors and would have helped King Solomon. Once every 3 years they would come in with a great haul of gold, silver, and ivory. For some reason they also brought back either live or dead animals, apes and peacocks.