Isaiah 23: Right on Time
Although it is not the most well-known prophecy regarding Tyre, Isaiah 23 makes a claim about the fate of the city.
Isa 23:15 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king: after the end of seventy years shall Tyre sing as an harlot.
Isa 23:16 Take an harp, go about the city, thou harlot that hast been forgotten; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that thou mayest be remembered.
Isa 23:17 And it shall come to pass after the end of seventy years, that the LORD will visit Tyre, and she shall turn to her hire, and shall commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world upon the face of the earth.
Isa 23:18 And her merchandise and her hire shall be holiness to the LORD: it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the LORD, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.
It is interesting. Tyre was prophesied to be commercially wiped off the map for all intents and purposes for 70 years. It doesn’t say the city would be destroyed, but it would pretty much be forgotten. That is a pretty measurable prophecy. We can tell if it happened or not because there is a number attached to it.
That being said, it is not necessarily a deal breaker if it hasn’t happened yet. There are prophecies in the Bible that have not been fulfilled yet. In theory, this could be one of those, but I don’t think it is.
Most secular historians will tell you that Jerusalem was taken over in 587 BC. Tyre would have been silenced shortly after that. There are now a few other things that we know.
From verse 18, we can gather that when commercial activity begins again in 70 years, they will do something that is called a God. Specifically, they will provide wood for the rebuilding of the Temple.
Ezr 3:7 They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre, to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
They hired people from Tyre to deliver wood at some point during the construction process. They probably did not deliver it right away. After all, you would not use the wood in the foundation, and you wouldn’t want it just sitting around for years while you wait for the foundation to be in place.
We know that King Cyrus allowed the Jewish people to return to their homeland, and we know that he died around 530 BC. We also know that after he died, there was a little bit of a gap before King Darius ordered that the Temple to continue being constructed from Ezra 6. King Darius reigned from 522 BC to 486 BC. That fits perfectly into the 70 year prediction. He would have been in the right position at the right time to order the people to continue finishing the Temple.
Tyre would then be resuming the commercial activity of providing wood just as was predicted.
It is remarkable how well the prophecies work out with what we know from history.