Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 23:10

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

O daughter of Tarshish - Tyre is called the daughter of Tarshish; perhaps because, Tyre being ruined, Tarshish was become the superior city, and might be considered as the metropolis of the Tyrian people; or rather because of the close connection and perpetual intercourse between them, according to that latitude of signification in which the Hebrews use the words son and daughter to express any sort of conjunction and dependence whatever. מזח mezach, a girdle, which collects, binds, and keeps together the loose raiment, when applied to a river, may mean a mound, mole, or artificial dam, which contains the waters and prevents them from spreading abroad. A city taken by siege and destroyed, whose walls are demolished, whose policy is dissolved, whose wealth is dissipated, whose people is scattered over the wide country, is compared to a river whose banks are broken down, and whose waters, let loose and overflowing all the neighboring plains, are wasted and lost. This may possibly be the meaning of this very obscure verse, of which I can find no other interpretation that is at all satisfactory. - L.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Pass through thy land as a river - This verse has been very variously understood. Vitringa supposes that it means that all that held the city together - its fortifications, walls, etc., would be laid waste, and that as a river flows on without obstruction, so the inhabitants would be scattered far and near. Everything, says he, would be leveled, and the field would not be distinguishable from the city. Grotius thus renders it: ‹Pass to some one of thy colonies; as a river flows from the fountain to the sea, so do you go to the ocean.‘ Lowth understands it also as relating to the time of the destruction of Tyre, and to the escape which the inhabitants would then make.

‹Overflow thy land like a river,

O daughter of Tarshish; the mound (that kept in thy waters)

Is no more.‘

The Septuagint renders it, ‹Cultivate ( Ἐργάζον Ergazon ) thy land, for the ships shall no more come from Carthage‘ ( Καρχηδόνος Karchēdonos ) Probably the true meaning is that which refers it to the time of the siege, and to the fact that the inhabitants would seek other places when their defense was destroyed. That is, ‹Pass through thy territories, thy dependent cities, states, colonies, and seek a refuge there; or wander there like a flowing stream.‘

As a river - Perhaps the allusion is to the Nile, as the word יאר ye'or is usually given to the Nile; or it may be to any river that flows on with a mighty current when all obstructions are removed. The idea is, that as waters flow on when the barriers are removed, so the inhabitants of Tyre would pour forth from their city. The idea is not so much that of rapidity, as it is they should go like a stream that has no dikes, barriers, or obstacles now to confine its flowing waters.

O daughter of Tarshish - Tyre; so called either because it was in some degree sustained and supplied by the commerce of Tarshish; or because its inhabitants would become the inhabitants of Tarshish, and it is so called by anticipation. The Vulgate renders this, “Filia marias” - ‹Daughter of the sea. Juntos supposes that the prophet addresses those who were then in the city who were natives of Tarshish, and exhorts them to flee for safety to their own city.

There is no more strength - Margin, ‹Girdle.‘ The word מזח mēzach means properly a girdle Job 12:31. It is applied to that which binds or secures the body; and may be applied here perhaps to that which secured or bound the city of Tyre; that is, its fortifications, its walls, its defenses. They would all be leveled; and nothing would secure the inhabitants, as they would flow forth as waters that are pent up do, when every barrier is removed.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Tyre was the mart of the nations. She was noted for mirth and diversions; and this made her loth to consider the warnings God gave by his servants. Her merchants were princes, and lived like princes. Tyre being destroyed and laid waste, the merchants should abandon her. Flee to shift for thine own safety; but those that are uneasy in one place, will be so in another; for when God's judgments pursue sinners, they will overtake them. Whence shall all this trouble come? It is a destruction from the Almighty. God designed to convince men of the vanity and uncertainty of all earthly glory. Let the ruin of Tyre warn all places and persons to take heed of pride; for he who exalts himself shall be abased. God will do it, who has all power in his hand; but the Chaldeans shall be the instruments.