Ezekiel 26: Entire or Partial Destruction?
Ezekiel 26 is an interesting prophecy. The city of Tyre was going to be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. This is a controversial one though because Nebuchadnezzar did not entirely destroy the city of Tyre. Half of the city was on the mainland while the other half was on an island out in the harbor. The part on the mainland was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, but the part on the island was not destroyed until later.
Now, is this a Biblical problem? It is important to look at the chapter as a whole in order to understand how this works out. First, we need to begin with the prophecy of Ezekiel.
Eze 26:3 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee, as the sea causeth his waves to come up.
Eze 26:4 And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock.
Eze 26:5 It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD: and it shall become a spoil to the nations.
Eze 26:6 And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.
Notice that the subject of this part of the chapter is many nations. There were going to be multiple attacks like waves in the ocean, and as an end result, the city was going to be sacked. Given what we know about history, that is true. Between the Babylonians, the Greeks and eventually Arabic conquerors, the city was entirely demolished. Many nations did indeed destroy the entire city.
However, what do we then do with verses seven through 14? It seems to imply that Nebuchadnezzar is going to destroy the city. We know that he did not destroy the entire city, so is the Bible wrong?
Again, I don’t think so. All of the verses say that Nebuchadnezzar is going to invade and do an awful lot of damage. He did that. Anything about the entire city being destroyed refers back to the demolition at the hands of the many nations. We know that that happened, and we know that Nebuchadnezzar did damage. It seems that everything does indeed fit together in this chapter that has generated quite a bit of controversy over the years.