Summary: At this chapter begins another sermon, which is continued to the end of ch. 11. It is called, "The burden of the word of the Lord,"
At this chapter begins another sermon, which is continued to the end of ch. 11. It is called, "The
burden of the word of the Lord," for every word of God has weight in it to those who regard it, and will be a heavy weight upon those who do not, a dead weight.
Verses one to six contain a prophecy against Israel’s unrighteous neighbors, the Syrians, Tyrians,
Philistines, and others. The Syrians had been bad neighbors to Israel, and God had a controversy with them. The word of the Lord shall be “a burden in the land of Hadrach,” that is, of Syria, but we are not told why it is called “Hadrach.” Syria is meant because Damascus is said to be the “resting place” of this burden, that is, the judgments here threatened. The burden of the word of the Lord is a weight that the unrighteous neighbors of Israel can neither shake off nor bear up under. Those whom the wrath of God makes its mark it will be sure to hit; those whom it makes its rest it will be sure to sink. And the reason of this burden’s resting on Damascus is because “the
eyes of men, especially of all the tribes of Israel, are toward the Lord” (v. 1). Because the people of God by faith and prayer look up to Him for help, relief and depend upon him to take their part against their enemies.
The Lord has His eyes upon all mankind and upon all the tribes of Israel. He is King of nations as well as King of His people. He governs the world as well as the church, and therefore He will punish the sins of other people as well as those of His own people. The Lord is Judge of all and all mankind must give account of themselves to Him. When Paul was converted at Damascus, and preached there, and disputed with the Jews, then it might be said, the word of the Lord rested there.
Tyre and Sidon are called next to give an accounting. Tyre thought she was very wise, and able to outwit the wisdom of God. It is granted that her king and her statesmen were great politicians (Ezekiel 28:3). But with all their wit and policy they shall not be able to evade the judgments of God. She is very strong, and well fortified. She built herself a fortress which she thought could never be brought down nor got over. She is very rich. But her wisdom, wealth, and strength shall not be able to secure her. The Lord will cast her out of the strong-hold wherein she has fortified herself. He will make her poor. She will fall from the height of plenty to the depth of poverty, and her great riches will come to nothing. God will smite her power in the sea. Surrounded by the water shall not secure her. She will be burnt down to the ground. Seated in the midst of the water, one would have thought she would be in danger of being overflowed or washed away. But the Lord has determined to destroy
her by a contrary element. Sometimes He brings ruin upon His enemies by those means which they least suspect. There was enough water available to quench the flames of Tyre, and yet by them she shall be devoured. Who can put out the fire which the breath of the Almighty ignites.
God next contends with the Philistines, with their great cities and great lords, that bordered southward upon Israel. They shall be alarmed and frightened by the word of the Lord lighting and resting upon Damascus (v. 5). The disgraces of Israel had many a time been discussed in the streets of Ashkelon and the citizens found great pleasure in the hardships endured by the Israelites. But now Ashkelon shall see the ruin of her friends and allies and be filled with fear.
Gaza will also see the judgments of God and will be sorrowful as well as Ekron.
What will become of their house when their neighbor’s is on fire? They had looked upon Tyre and Sidon as a
barrier to their country; but, when these strong cities are destroyed their government will be dissolved. The king of Gaza will be killed. There will be no successor. Foreigners shall take possession of their land and become masters of all its wealth (v. 6). All the strength and wealth which they prided themselves in, and which were the ground of their confidence in themselves and their contempt of the Israel of God will be taken from them.
This prophecy of the destruction of the Philistines, Damascus, and Tyre, was accomplished by Alexander the Great, who ravaged all these countries with his victorious army, took the cities, and planted colonies in them.