Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
isa 23:1Of Tyre - The prophecy of the heavy calamity and destruction of Tyre. Tyre was, according to this prophecy, destroyed; first by Nebuchadnezzar, and afterwards by Alexander the great. And tho' this prophecy seemed directly to respect the former destruction, yet it seems to have some reference to the latter also; only it is intimated, that after seventy years, Tyre should recover some former power and glory, before her second and final destruction. Howl - To which howling and lamenting is ascribed by a known figure. No house - So effectually wasted, that there is not an house left in it, nor any merchants or others that go into it, for traffick. Chittim - He mentions the land of Chittim, because this was an eminent place for shipping and trading, and therefore doubtless had great dealings with Tyre. It may here be put for all other countries which traded with her. It is not necessary to determine what Chittim is; it is sufficient to know, that it was a seafaring place in the Midland Sea.
isa 23:2Be still - Heb. be silent, boast no more of thy wealth and power. The isle - Of Tyre, which was an island, 'till Alexander joined it to the continent. The title of islands is often given by the Hebrews to places bordering upon the sea. That pass - That are a sea - faring people. Replenished - With manners, and commodities.
isa 23:4Zidon - Zidon was a great city near Tyre, strongly united to her by commerce and league, and called by some the mother of Tyre, which they say, was built and first inhabited by a colony of the Sidonians. The sea - That part of the sea in which Tyre was, and from which ships and men were sent into all countries. The strength - Tyre might be called the strength of the sea, because it defendeth that part of the sea from piracies and injuries. I travel not - I, who was so fruitful, that I sent forth colonies into other countries (of which Carthage was one), am now barren and desolate.
isa 23:5Waters - By the sea, which is very fitly called the great waters, understand, cometh, or is brought to her. The seed - The corn of Egypt, wherewith Egypt abounded. Sihor is the same as the Nile. The harvest - The plentiful harvest of corn which comes from the inundation of the Nile; emphatically called the river. The revenue - Is as plentifully enjoyed by her, as if it grew in her own territories. A mart - A place to which all nations resort for traffick.
isa 23:7Antiquity - Being built before Joshua's time, Jos 19:29. Her feet - Whereas before, like a delicate lady, she would not set her foot to the ground, but used to be carried in stately chariots. To sojourn - To seek for new habitations.
isa 23:8Who - This is the word of God, and not of man. The crowning city - Which was a royal city, and carried away the crown from all other cities. Princes - Equal to princes for wealth, and power, and reputation.
isa 23:9The Lord - This is the Lord's own doing. To stain - God's design is by this example to abase the pride of all the potentates of the earth.
isa 23:10Pass through - Tarry no longer in thy own territories, but flee through them, into other countries, for safety and relief. As a river - Swiftly, lest you be prevented. Tarshish - O Tyre, which might well be called daughter of Tarshish, that is, of the sea, as that word is used, Isa 23:1, and elsewhere, because it was an island, and therefore as it were, born of the sea, and nourished and brought up by it.
isa 23:11He - The Lord. Shook - Heb. he made the kingdoms to tremble; the neighbouring and confederate kingdoms, who might justly quake at her fall, for the dreadfulness and unexpectedness of the thing; and because Tyre was a bulwark, and a refuge to them. A commandment - Hath put this design into the hearts of her enemies, and given them courage to attempt, and strength to execute it.
isa 23:12Virgin - So he calls her, because she had hitherto never borne the yoke of a conquering enemy. Zidon - Tyre may be called the daughter of Zidon, because she was first built and possessed by a colony of the Zidonians. No rest - Thither thine enemies shall pursue thee, and there shall they overtake the.
isa 23:13Behold - Thou Tyrians, cast your eyes upon the Chaldeans or Babylonians; who tho' now flourishing, grow far more glorious and potent, even the glory of kingdoms, yet shall certainly be brought to utter ruin. This people - The Chaldeans at first were not a people, not formed into any commonwealth or kingdom, 'till Nimrod, the head and founder of the Assyrian monarchy, built Babel, Gen 10:9-10, now the head of the Chaldean monarchy; which he built for those people, who then lived in tents, and were dispersed here and there in waste places. He - The Lord. To ruin - Will infallibly bring that great empire to ruin. He speaks of a future thing as if it were already past.
isa 23:14Your strength - The city of Tyre, where you found safety and wealth.
isa 23:15Forgotten - Neglected and forsaken. Seventy years - During the time of the Jewish captivity in Babylon. Tyre was taken by Nebuchadnezzar, Jer 27:3, Jer 27:8; Eze 26:7, a little after the taking of Jerusalem and was restored by the favour of the Persian monarchs after the return of the Jews. One king - One royal race of Nebuchadnezzar, including his son, and his son's son, in whom his family and kingdom were to expire. Sing - She shall by degrees return to her former traffick, whereby she shall easily entice the merchants of the world to trade with her, as harlots use to entice men by lascivious songs.
isa 23:16Go about - As harlots use to do. Thou harlot - So he calls Tyre, because she enticed the merchants to deal with her by various artifices, and even by dishonest practices, and because of the great and general uncleanness which was committed in it.
isa 23:17Visit - In mercy. Her hire - The Hebrew word properly signifies, the hire of an harlot. Fornication - Shall trade promiscuously with people of all nations, as harlots entertain all comers.
isa 23:18Holiness - This is a prophecy concerning the conversion of the Tyrians to the true religion. Laid up - Either out of covetousness, or for their pride and luxury, as they formerly did; but now they shall freely lay it out upon pious and charitable uses. Shall be - For the support and encouragement of the ministers of holy things, who shall teach the good knowledge of the Lord. Although this does not exclude, but rather imply their liberality in contributing to the necessities of all Christians.