Saturday, October 3, 2009

Why Jesus Visited Tyre

Alice C. Linsley

Tyre is mentioned often in the Old and New Testaments, often in connection with Sidon. One of the more intriguing passages that mentions Tyre is Ezekiel 28:11-19:

"Son of Man, raise a lament over the king of Tyre and say to him: Thus says the Lord God: You were the seal of perfection, full of wisdom and flawless beauty. You were in Eden, in the Garden of God; every precious stone was your adornment... and gold beautifully wrought for you, mined for you, prepared the day you were created."
The ruins of Tyre

This is one of the rare references to Eden outside Genesis and it deserves closer inspection. Here the 'Son of Man' is the prophet Ezekiel through whom God declares judgement on the King of Tyre who is pictured as adorned with jewels and exalted. Ezekiel uses the exile from paradise to describe the king's fall from glory. But is there more here?  Yes, there is a Messianic message.

Ezekiel is told to prophecy against the King of Tyre because he was no longer “perfect.”  The ruler who was once full of wisdom in the Garden has fallen into sin and is being judged. Here we have a glimpse of God's economy by which guidance is always delivered in the proper order. The Father first sends the Son to those whose ancestors were in Eden and the people of Tyre recognized Him. Likewise, the angels first appear to the shepherd kings of Bethlehem, David’s people, to declare the coming of the Son, and the shepherds went straight away to worship Him.

Another example involves Jesus at Capernaum on the northwestern edge of the Sea of Galilee. The Sea of Galilee was between the territory of the Aramaeans (descendants of Nimrod) and that of the Afro-Arabian descendants of Joktan, Peleg’s brother. In Peleg’s time, the Aramaean and the Afro-Arabian descendants of Kush became separate kingdoms. Joktan’s holding extended from Jok-neam in the hill country southwest of the Sea of Galilee to Jok-deam, in the hill country just south of Hebron. Peleg’s holding extended north from the Sea of Galilee to Damascus. By the time we meet Abraham in Genesis 12, the Aramaeans controlled the water systems of Mesopotamia. Terah’s holding extended the length of the Euphrates, from Haran in the north to Ur in the south.

The Sea of Galilee sat between the two kingdoms and was controlled by the rulers on both sides. The two ruling houses intermarried. At Capernaum Jesus comes as Immanuel to both the Aramaeans and the Afro-Arabians. Both are his people since His ancestry is traced by both lines. So Jesus is first known at Capernaum. Mark and Matthew agree on this point, though they present their material differently.

In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus' true identity is recognized in the ancient island city of Tyre, not on a mountain as in Matthew's Gospel. For Mark, the Messiah’s appearing means the beginning of the restoration of Paradise. Perhaps the evangelist was thinking of this passage from Ezekiel 28. That would explain why Mark makes so much of Jesus’ visit to Tyre.

Tyre was the home of Hiram I, the father of the Tyrian king who helped to build Solomon’s temple. Hiram I was kin to David and sent skilled artisans to help David build a palace in Jerusalem, “the city of the Great King” (Matt. 5:35). Hiram is also known as "Huram" and "Horam", which are versions of the names Hur, Hor and Harun (Aaron), as in Jabal Harun, the Mountain of Aaron.

According to Midrash, Hur was Miriam’s husband, and a brother-in-law to Moses. Hur’s grandson was one of the builders of the Tabernacle. I Chronicles 4:4 lists Hur as the "father of Bethlehem," a settlement in the heartland of Horite Hebrew territory.

In other words, King Hiram I and David were descendants of Horite Hebrew ancestors, a caste of ruler-priests who anticipated the fulfillment of Genesis 3:15. Their Horite Hebrew lineage went back to Eden. The Horites believed that the promised Seed of the Woman would be born of their blood and they expected Him to visit them. In Mark 7:24, this expectation was fulfilled when the Son of God visited Tyre, where we are told Jesus “could not pass unrecognized.”

Related reading:  Horite Territory; Who Were the Horites?; The Holy One Hidden and Revealed; The Nazareth-Egypt Connection; Sidon Archaeological Site Alters Global Views


Agnikan said...

The father of Pythagoras was from Tyre.

Alice C. Linsley said...

That's true, and he lived only about 500 years before Jesus was born. During Pythagoras's time in Egypt he visited many temples and held conversations with many of the priests, although according to Porphyry, Pythagoras was not permitted to enter any of the temples except the one at Diospolis, the principal temple dedicated to Jupiter Ammon in Thebes. There he was made a priest. Pythagoras followed many of the priestly practices such as shaving his body, not wearing animal skins, and striving for purity.

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Salim George Khalaf

Alice C. Linsley said...


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Alice C. Linsley

Jonathan said...

1. In view of your argument about the prophecy of the "king" (or "prince") of "Tyre" being identifiable to the Horites who, it is contented, could have been said to have been present in Eden, the "garden of God", would you resolutely reject another interpretation (which, until now, is the usual direction of interpretation that I have sometimes heard regarding this prince of Ezekiel 28), according to which the prince of Tyre is identified with Lucifier, the son of the morning (see also Isa. 14.12);i.e. Satan? (According to this version, present "in Eden", yes, -- but as the serpent in that story!)
2. I am wondering if the significance of the house of Tyre that you are promoting here, might have significance in Scripture other than in just the two places you mention, the Gospel of Mark and prophecy of Ezekiel. So, for example, if you would accept that Psalm 44/45, as one of those other Scriptures, might well touch on this "Tyre" theme (so, also, a more elaborate "Jesus-coming-to-Tyre" theme, prophetically speaking), I wonder whether you might have a view that helps resolve some of the thorny translation difficulties that have manifested evidently in the various conflicting interpretations that have come out on Psalm 44/45, verse 12. So, is one or other of the following more accordant with your view?
(a) "the daughter of Tyre shall be there with a gift" (KJV);
(b) "Daughter of Tyre, with tribute the people's wealthy will court your favor" (Robert Alter, 2007);
(c) "Him shall the daughters of Tyre worship with gifts" (Psalter According to LXX, Holy Transfig. Monastery, 1974)
(d) "The city of Tyre will come with a gift, people of wealth will seek your favor" (NIV)

Alice C. Linsley said...


The idea that the prince of Tyre is Satan does not align with the information given us in the Bible. See Amos 1, for example, where Tyre is among many dominions that are under divine judgement.

When we are unaware that Genesis 1-12 relates to rulers, not to ordinary men, we will misinterpret other Bible passages that build upon Genesis.

As for variant renderings, consider this: Tyre is as old as Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The "daughters of Jerusalem" and the "daughters of Bethlehem" parallel the "daughters of Tyre" and in all three cases, we are speaking of sacred centers that had Horite priests.

Anonymous said...

Tyre is where the silver coin used to pay the Temple
tax was minted They also made Royal purple from
snails there Thank the Lord Jesus your site helps
fill in some of the blanks I don't know if this helps