The Not So Amazing Prophesy on Tyre

King James Version is rather clunky nowadays, but it has Strong's and Young's Concordances geared to it.  Therefore...

Ezekiel 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.

Ezekiel 26:14  And I will make thee [Tyre] like the top of a rock:  thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon;

Note that this is supposedly God talking.  Bible believers find this prophesy an amazing testimony to the veracity and divine inspiration of the Bible, because Ezekiel wrote it circa 586 BC...(E for non-Christians).  How could he possibly know that in 333 or 332 it would be literally fulfilled by Alexander the Great?

In both time periods (586 & 333/2), Tyre consisted of a city on the mainland, and another city on an offshore island, both called Tyre.  The Tyrians, knowing that Alexander was coming, fled to the island, which could be resupplied by Tyrian allies from the sea.  Alexander destroyed mainland Tyre, and used the debris to build a causeway to the island just like Ezekiel said... sortof.

The problem with this amazing prophesy is that its amazingness depends on taking it out of context a supposedly deceptive practice which Christian apologists decry in other contexts.

Between Ezekiel 26:4 and 14 are 9 other verses which make it clear that the person who will accomplish the scraping of Tyre will be Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon.  It is true that Nebuchadrezzar besieged mainland Tyre c.586 and took it c.573.  But he never destroyed it, though everything of value had been moved to the island, which remained independent until Alexander.  Mainland Tyre became a Babylonian province until 539.

Here are some references in the World Chronology pages, if you want to check it out.

But maybe we're being unfair on this prophesy, by demanding interpretation within context.  If you just take 26:4 and 14 alone apart from context, it doesn't say anything about who would perform the predicted destruction.  So technically the statements are literally true or at least they would be, if God had stopped talking there.  But unfortunately, God had more to say.  The rest of 26:14 says,

"thou shalt be built no more:  for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD."

If you do an image search on Tyre, you find mostly pictures of tires, but among them are pictures of the modern city, now a peninsula resulting from the widening of Alexander's causeway.  Among those pictures are some aerial maps showing the city on the former island plus the built up areas on the causeway and the area of the former mainland city built up.

modern Tyre

If you Google the words "Tyre" and "travel", you find 182,000,000 pages inviting you to visit Tyre.  One might speculate that much of the money to build up this area came from Christian tourists, eager to see for themselves the truth of the Word of God in this amazing prophesy.

Tyre ruinsBut since it would be immoral to kick the last props out from under those children whose fragile minds require the Bible to be inerrant, I will admit wiggle room.  The ruins of the old city have been preserved, and a somewhat square area around them has been left untouched by construction.  So if mainland Tyre was restricted to the area within that polygon, then the prophesy could be seen as correct.

Oh, but wait.  When the ruins were built, that broke the prophesy.  Darn!

OK, how about we interpret "thou shalt be built no more" as meaning the same city would not be rebuilt.  So when they built the ruins, it wasn't the same Tyre.  So God got it right.  Of course, by those rules, no city that's completely destroyed is ever rebuilt, so it would make God's words rather moot.  But so what?  The prophesy can still be interpreted as technically fulfilled which is all a Biblical inerrantist needs.  Amazing!