Pass through thy land as a river, O daughter of Tarshish: there is no more strength. He stretched out his hand over the sea, he shook the kingdoms: the LORD hath given a commandment against the merchant city, to destroy the strong holds thereof. And he said, Thou shalt no more rejoice, O thou oppressed virgin, daughter of Zidon: arise, pass over to Chittim; there also shalt thou have no rest.Isaiah 23:10-12
In verses 8 and 9 we find out that God is the one who has pronounced judgement on Tyre. The prophet continues in verses 10 through 12. Let us take it phrase by phrase.
“Pass through the land as a river…O daughter of Tarshish”- There were trade partners and even colonies around Tarshish related to the city of Tyre. There are a couple of ways to translate the Hebrew here, but it seems that He is calling those that have been away from Tyre to come and see what has happened.
“there is no more strength”- What they will see when they pass through the land like a river? When they look through the land, they will find that the economic and military strength of Tyre and Sidon are gone. Why?
“He stretched out…he shook….the Lord….to destroy the strongholds thereof”- God has judged the land. They have depended on themselves and become prideful. They had denied God, and become arrogant. They had oppressed and God was bringing justice.
“And he said…”- The “He” here continues to be God.
“Though shalt no more rejoice…virgin…daughter of Zidon”- Tyre is pictured here not as a of a fresh, young, vibrant woman, but an oppressed, older, tattered woman.
“arise, pass over to Chittim”- Chittim is another name for the island of Cyprus. He is telling them to go beyond their own coasts to go to the closest island to them.
“there…no rest”- Even in this place there will be no rest. The Assyrians, who were used by God to bring judgment, would not let the sea keep them from continuing to attack beyond the coasts of Tyre.
Now those who had been oppressed by Tyre would no longer be oppressed by them. God, in his justice, will crush the arrogant and prideful nation and bring justice to those it oppresses.
Some people may read a passage about God bringing judgment on a culture and be tempted to think of God as unjust. God is just. He is not arbitrary in His judgment. Tyre and Sidon had sinned against God, and oppressed others. God was promising judgment, and it would come. God hates oppression, and ultimately all that is wrong will be made right.
• Are you concerned with justice as the Bible describes it?