The Alexander Difference

Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre for 13 years finally gaining a victory through negotiation. Alexander shows up on the scene following his victory over Darius wanting tribute and he wants to offer sacrifice to Heracles, violating some ritual of the Tyranians; thus leading to the siege. There are two parts of Tyre, one on the mainland the other about a mile off the coast. Nebuchadnezzar needed 13 years for the island fortress to give up. Alexander is in a hurry, he doesn’t have 13 years, he builds a causeway almost a football field wide and a mile long. Seven months later the city falls.

Most of the known world was centered around city states tied to larger empires. When these empires began to weaken, the city-state would try for independence, but eventually would fall to the next empire to arise. The city-state was on its own when an army approached. They could surrender and endure the humiliation of letting an army ransack the city along with paying a tribute, or they could resist and pay the ultimate price of death and slavery to all of its inhabitants.

They held Nebuchadnezzar off for 13 years, so they took a gamble with Alexander and lost. The normal consequence of life followed the killing of every man in the city and the selling of their families into slavery. This is as normal as taking prisoners in WWII and marching them to a camp where they will be held until the end of the war. What has changed our sensibilities that we shudder to envision the execution of thousands of men, just for defending their homes and families? That change came from a man like Alexander, a man who believed He was the Son of God.

The prophecies concerning Tyre are linked to pride and its eventual fall, pride comes before the fall, there is also the issue of a fallen Jerusalem not enjoying the haughty spirit of Tyre. Isaiah says Tyre will be forgotten for 70 years singing the song of the harlot, making melody so as to be remembered again. Ezekiel describes Nebuchadnezzar’s victory over Tyre and looking back now can see the description of Alexander’s victory over Tyre, but he does a better job of describing a city that made itself a success story and how that success led to a pride that led the prophet to describe the city of Tyre in the same terms as one would describe Satan with an ending that leaves it vanquished and desolate. The end of Tyre is described as a place for fisherman and an uninhabited place. The writers of the 1800’s could all take comfort in that Tyre never regained its status as a prosperous city, yet alone a nation and the various travelers described it as a desolate location home only to some fishermen. Starting before the turn of the century the city began to be inhabited again with a population of 5000 to what it is today.

About hansston

Pastor a church in Sparta.
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