Ezekiel 26:1-6 for Tyre and 28:20-23 for Sidon basically follow the same format we saw for the oracles in Ezekiel 25. The one major difference is that the reason is not explicitly stated for Sidon. In any case, these two oracles are grouped together into one larger section that consists of three panels concerning Tyre (Iain Duguid’s commentary also sees the structure concerning Tyre this way), the oracle against Sidon, and two concluding cameos concerning the future restoration of Israel. Davidson’s article concerning the structure of Ezekiel would rather see Ezekiel 28:20-26 as opening the next section without an introduction (just as the first four were missing an introduction). I refer below to an outline that is available in pdf format by clicking here.
If Davidson’s understanding is right, then the pattern would be (1) four nations of the Levant, (2) Tyre, (3) one nation of the Levant (i.e. Sidon, with implications for Israel), (4) Egypt. This need not be understood as contradicting the pattern of 2+2+2+1 for these nations as we have seen that Ezekiel is excellent at making multiple patterns coexist. All one has to do is compare the oracles concerning Tyre and Sidon and you will see they are more alike each other than alike the previous four. This bolsters our 2+2+2+1 outline.
Concerning the three panels against Tyre, it is worth remembering that Book One of Genesis (most of chapters 2-4) was written as three panels. And in Book One we see the Garden of Eden set on the mountain of God, we see the fall of Adam, and we see cherubs now guard the way to the tree of life. The Garden of Eden was even described as a place where precious stones were plentiful. These themes are helpful to recall because of their use in panel 3, part 2 where the king of Tyre was even said to be a cherub in the Garden of Eden and the text pictures his fall.
Each panel ends, as you can see in bold on the outline, with the phrase: “I will bring you to a dreadful end, and you shall be no more…” or something to that effect.
In panels one and three there are the normal ending phrases marking the ends of most parts. Panel 1, Part 1 ends: “for I have spoken, declares the Lord YHWH. Then they will know that I am YHWH.” Panel 1, Part 2 ends: “for I am YHWH; I have spoken, declares the Lord YHWH.” And Panel 1, Part 4 ends: “Declares the Lord YHWH.”
Panel 1, Part 3 because it is relating the words of a lamentation on the lips of the peoples does not have such a concluding phrase. In Panel 2, neither part has these concluding phrases because they are the words of a lamentation. The second part is a brief summary of the first part – an afterwave. Panel 3, Part 2 is likewise a lamentation and so it does not end with these phrases either. Despite the missing end markers, the text is still fairly easy to subdivide because of the introductory phrases.
In panel 1, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, “king of kings,” with horses and chariots, and with horsemen and a host of soldiers is metaphorically described as the sea bringing up its waves and in the picture God brings the deep over Tyre and the great waves cover Tyre and they go down to the pit to dwell in the world below. In panel 2, the lamentation describes Tyre as shipwrecked and her crew has been sunk in the deep. Panel 3 shifts the focus from the nation to the king of Tyre who is pictured living in the Garden of Eden, on that holy mountain of God, as an anointed guardian cherub and being cast off the mountain as a profane thing down into the pit.
All three panels use the word “beauty,” the last two even use the same phrase: “perfect in beauty.” And there are many other similarities, like the idea of going down to the pit (panels 1 and 3) or as fitting the ocean theme – the deep (panel 2). All three also mention that the surrounding nations will be appalled at Tyre. Nevertheless, the main comparison to make is one of the overall content. Three times, in three ways, we are told about the wealth and power of Tyre and how it will be taken away and the nation laid waste and empty and that this will last forever. All three include a lamentation.
Parts 1 and 2 of Panel 1 are parallel. The first part gives the oracle and the second part gives the interpretation, which identifies the metaphorical sea as the soldiers of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. Both parts mention breaking down towers and that Tyre will be “a bare rock” and “be a place for the spreading of nets.” If you read these parts carefully you will see additional similarities because the second part explains the first in more detail.
One of the most interesting sections is the one where the king of Tyre is pictured as a fallen cherub cast down from the Garden of Eden. Take a look at the outline to see the chiastic structure of that passage according to Davidson, which is very well done.
See then my outline for the last two cameos of these chapters – the two about the nation of Israel. These are clearly two parallel cameos and the second is linked to the oracle against Sidon by the phrases “execute judgments” and “manifest my holiness” (see the oracle against Sidon) then repeated in chiastic order “manifest my holiness” and “execute judgments” (see the cameo labeled “Israel shall dwell securely”).
Tyre and Sidon had treated Israel with contempt while she was under the wrath of God and so His wrath would not spare Tyre or Sidon. Tyre was a hub for big business in the region with a strategic location – it was a port city. And so wealth became her idol and her king exalted himself as one of the gods. Sidon was also a port city. And they are often mentioned as a pair in Scripture.