Ezekiel 26 – Prophecy Against Tyrus & Babylon Captivity: Family Life, Part 1 of 2 (8 of 11)

Finger Waving UpThey had shot-gun weddings back then and they did brain surgery back then, so we have not evolved.  The main difference between us and ancient man is that we have more technology.  And with that technology we are eviler then they were.

Now I want to look at…

Ezekiel 26
Prophecy Against Tyrus

1 And it came to pass in the eleventh year, in the first day of the month, that the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

1 Tyre Lebanon
Tyre, Lebanon – main colonnaded street in Al Mina excavation area.

“Eleventh year…first day of the month” – the number of the month is missing.  The entire year dates from April 23, 587 B.C. to April 13, 586 B.C.  The oracle must date form the end of that year, in the 11th (Feb. 13, 586) or the 12th month (Mar. 15, 586 B.C.).  This is the fifth date in the book.

2 Son of man, because that Tyrus hath said against Jerusalem, Aha, she is broken that was the gates of the people: she is turned unto me: I shall be replenished, now she is laid waste:

“Tyrus” – or Tyre, the island capital of Phoenicia (present day Lebanon).  It was involved in anti-Assyrian coalition in 594 B.C.  Ezekiel, more than any other prophet, prophesied against Tyre.

“Gates of the people” – because of its geographical location, its political importance and the central role it played in international trade.  The anti-Assyrian summit meeting was held there.

3 Therefore us 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.

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.

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.

2 Tyre Lebanon Roman Agora
Tyre, Lebanon – Roman Agora (believed to be) at Al Mina excavation area.

6 And her daughters which are in the field shall be slain by the sword; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

7 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people.

“Nebuchadnezzar” – the first of four references to him in Ezekiel.  He ruled from 605 to 562 B.C., and his name means “O (god) Nabu, protect my boundary.”  Jerusalem and Ezekiel both proclaimed that this pagan king would be used by God to do His work.

“North” – the direction from which Nebuchadnezzar would descend on Trye after first marching his army up the Euphrates River valley rather than across the Arabian Desert.

8 He shall slay with the sword thy daughters in the field: and he shall make a fort against thee, and cast a mount against thee, and lift up the buckler against thee.

“Fort” – Nebuchadnezzar’s 15-year-siege of Tyre began shortly after the fall of Jerusalem.  There is no record that Tyre fell at this time.

9 And he shall set engines of war against thy walls, and with his axes he shall break down thy towers.

10 By reason of the abundance of his horses their dust shall cover thee: thy walls shall shake at the noise of the horsemen, and of the wheels, and of the chariots, when he shall enter into thy gates, as men enter into a city wherein is made a breach.

3 The vanity and arrogance of the human king of Tyre
The vanity and arrogance of the human king of Tyre was used as an analogy to portray the inventor of vanity and arrogance – Satan.

11 With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets: he shall slay thy people by the sword, and thy strong garrisons shall go down to the ground.

12 And they shall make a spoil of thy riches, and make a prey of thy merchandise: and they shall break down thy walls, and destroy thy pleasant houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water.

13 And I will cause the noise of thy songs to cease; and the sound of thy harps shall be no more heard.

14 And I will make thee like the top of a rock: thou shalt be a place to spread nets upon; thou shalt be built no more: for I the LORD have spoken it, saith the Lord GOD.

“Be built no more” – eventually fulfilled by Alexander’s devastating siege in 332 B.C.

15 Thus saith the Lord GOD to Tyrus; Shall not the isles shake at the sound of thy fall, when the wounded cry, when the slaughter is made in the midst of thee?

16 Then all the princes of the sea shall come down from their thrones, and lay away their robes, and put off their broidered garments: they shall clothe themselves with trembling; they shall sit upon the ground, and shall tremble at every moment, and be astonished at thee.

4 Being the son of EL Zeus
Being the son of EL (Zeus), the Greeks considered him to be Hercules. Herodotus actual made a trip to Tyre to explore this relationship as the temple of Melkart was reported to date back to 2750 BC, but the Greek Hercules was assumed to have lived during the age of Heroes before the Trojan war.

Herodotus concludes that thru time there may have been more than one Hercules; i.e., a son of Zeus who strived to prove himself worthy of being a God.

“Princes of the sea” – called kings in 27:35, they were probably trading partners with Tyre.

“Lay away their robes” – usually mourners tore their clothes and put on sackcloth, but cf. the king of Nineveh (Job 3:6).

“Clothe themselves with trembling” – because of political shock waves from the fall of such a powerful city.

17 And they shall take up a lamentation for thee, and say to thee, How art thou destroyed, that wast inhabited of seafaring men, the renowned city, which wast strong in the sea, she and her inhabitants, which cause their terror to be on all that haunt it!

18 Now shall the isles tremble in the day of thy fall; yea, the isles that are in the sea shall be troubled at thy departure.

19 For thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall make thee a desolate city, like the cities that are not inhabited; when I shall bring up the deep upon thee, and great waters shall cover thee;

20 When I shall bring thee down with them that descend into the pit, with the people of old time, and shall set thee in the low parts of the earth, in places desolate of old, with them that go down to the pit, that thou be not inhabited; and I shall set glory in the land of the living;

21 I will make thee a terror, and thou shalt be no more: though thou be sought for, yet shalt thou never be found again, saith the Lord GOD.

Babylon Captivity: Family Life, Part 1 of 2

Two great social divisions dominated Babylonian society and in the country at large during the Neo-Babylonian Empire.  One division was between free persons and slaves, and the other between temple personnel and lay persons.

5 There were several levels in the social hierarchy
There were several levels in the social hierarchy with the king at the top and the slaves at the bottom.
In between, in descending order, were the nobles, the free citizens and those in military and civil service. The class structure was generally rigid although some mobility from one level to another was possible. The debt slave had the possibility of paying his debts and regaining his freedom but the only hope for the foreign captive was escape or death.

Thus in Babylonian society there were mainly three classes in society, the awilu, a free person of the upper class; the wardu, or slave; and the mushkenu, a free person of low estate, who ranked legally between the awilu and the wardu. Most slaves were prisoners of war, but some were recruited from the Babylonian citizenry as well. For example, free persons might be reduced to slavery as punishment for certain offenses; parents could sell their children as slaves in time of need; or a man might even turn over his entire family to creditors in payment of a debt, but for no longer than three years.

To a degree they cut across each other. As large-scale businesses, the temples of Babylonia probably owned about half of the total land of the country in Nebuchadnezzar’s day and so were very important to the national economy.

Farmers rented some temple farms, while temple slaves worked others. The temple social structure ranged from the lowest grade of slaves to the highest ranking priests, who could influence governmental policy at the highest level.

In secular society, slaves occupied the lowest category. Often slaves in private households had better lives than temple slaves, or even poor freemen, if they enjoyed good relationships with their masters. 

Male private slaves usually performed manual labor in keeping with the craft of the owner. A young female slave served as a maid in the household and possibly also as a concubine for the master of the house or his teenage son.

Soldiers might bring home a captive girl as a concubine. Children born to slaves continued in slavery unless adopted by the family, which commonly did not occur unless the head of the house had no children.

The more affluent in Nebuchadnezzar’s day might have two or three or more household slaves, the poor none. Some of the wealthy might own a 100 or more slaves if they had large farms or industrial or business establishments.

Though free men might engage in wide variety of crafts and professions, the individual did not usually have much choice.  A son generally followed in his father’s footsteps, and he learned the trade from his father, or possibly by an apprenticeship arrangement with another.

Formal education seems to have been available largely or almost exclusively at the temples for those who entered some of the religious professions.  But we know almost nothing about that.

Ancient Egyptians Sold Themselves into Temple Slavery – Article created on Monday, January 28, 2013
In the ancient Egyptian city Tebtunis, 2,200 years ago, people voluntarily entered into slave contracts with the local temple for all eternity and they even paid a monthly fee for the privilege. Egyptologist Kim Ryholt from the University of Copenhagen is the first researcher who has studied this puzzling phenomenon.

“I am your servant from this day onwards, and I shall pay 2½ copper-pieces every month as my slave-fee before Soknebtunis, the great god.” This is a translation of a formulaic pledge found in a hundred papyrus slave contracts from the temple city of Tebtunis.

There must have been some educational opportunity for those who went into business, especially in international trade, where knowledge of other languages and cultures was important.

The king and the royal officials stood at the apex of society. The royal officials included provincial governors, army commanders (including the commander-in-chief), the Lord Chamberlain or supervisor of the palace, the Chief Baker or the head cook of the palace, Secretary of the Crown Prince, and Supervisor of the Harem, among others.

Marriage arrangements were made between parents of the groom and parents of the bride.  The girl would probably live in the groom’s father’s household until he set up a household of his own or his father died and he inherited the property.

There is no evidence that married women had to be veiled in public.

Houses, furniture, and diet have already been discussed, but a word is in order about the eating of meals.  Babylonians who could afford it ate four meals a day: a good breakfast, a light lunch, a heavy meal, and a light supper late in the day.

7 Aramaic Marriage Papyri from Elephantine
Aramaic Marriage Papyri from Elephantine
Mibtahiah’s first marriage – Deed of 459 B.C., relating to reversion of property.
Manumission of a female slave and her daughter – June 12, 427 B.C.

The average worker got up by 5:00 a.m., had breakfast and was at work before 8:00 a.m., took a light lunch around noon and then had a siesta during the impossibly hot part of the day.  Following additional hours of work, he returned home at dark for the main evening meal.

After that they might enjoy short entertainment somewhere nearby (perhaps at a temple).  Or members of the family might play one of the board games known in the region.  Before retiring, the family had a light supper.

Meals began with a slave pouring water over the hands of the diners into a basin beneath.  The family then sat around the table and the head of the family said a prayer, calling on one of the gods.  The food was brought in, usually in one large vessel, from which all helped themselves, generally with their fingers.

 Most of the time the meal consisted largely of vegetable products, but the more well-to-do might have beef, mutton, goat meat, poultry, or fish.  Barley bread, which looked like a pancake, served as the main source of carbohydrates for all classes.

8 Statue of Yang Guifei 719 756 the favoured concubine of Emperor Tang Xuanzong of China.
Statue of Yang Guifei (719-756), the favored concubine of Emperor Tang Xuanzong of China.

They also frequently ate barley meal cook with water to make a kind of porridge.  Beer made from barley served as the main drink,  but cold water was also widely consumed. After a meal the diners wiped their mouths on table napkins and slaves again poured water over their hands.

Babylonian Medicine

What kind of medical service was available in Babylon during the Hebrew exile? Much of our knowledge of Babylonian medicine comes from texts discovered in the library of King Ashurbanipal in Nineveh (7th century B.C.), but other materials exist.

These texts contain a tangle of crude superstition  and practical observation. There were two main classes of medical texts: accounts of symptoms and prescriptions for various complaints. Illness was usually thought to be due either to possession by a devil or the action of a deity.

For example, a text on symptoms says, “If he grinds his teeth, and his hands and feet shake, it is the hand of the god Sin [the moon god]; he will die.” So sometimes an exorcist made an attempt to effect a cure through magic.

9 The Greeks made extensive use of Egyptian
The Greeks made extensive use of Egyptian science and medicine and created their own school of medicine that dominated the ancient civilisations for centuries to come.
By the time Hippocrates began his scientific medicine in his native city Cos, the city was already the headquarters of the Asclepiadae, a professional association of physicians under the patronage of Asclepius, the god of healing.

They were all familiar with Mesopotamian and Egyptian medical knowledge and used such texts extensively. However the Greeks based medicine on empirical knowledge and separated the supernatural from the scientific information.

At other times a physician administered a variety of curative potions, enemas, purgatives, lotions, and poultices.   For diseases considered incurable, no medical or magical treatment was suggested.

Our knowledge of Babylonian healing potential is limited by the fact that we cannot identify hundreds of names of plants they used in medical prescriptions. 

Some say that they were unable to treat diseases due to their lack of knowledge of the functions of most internal organs. And they didn’t advance their knowledge of anatomy and physiology because of a religious taboo on dissection of the human body.

They also say that surgical methods appear to have been virtually unknown.  Yet, others say otherwise.

Bronze Age Brain Surgeons

5,000 years ago, people living in Turkey were surprisingly good at what seems like a purely modern practice.  Recent studies of the practice at Bronze Age sites in Turkey suggest that early neurosurgeons were surprisingly precise and that a majority of their patients may have survived.

At Ikiztepe, a small settlement near the Black Sea occupied from 3200 to 1700 B.C., archaeologist Önder Bilgi uncovered five skulls with clean, rectangular incisions that are evidence for trepanation, or basic cranial surgery.

The procedure may have been performed to treat hemorrhages, brain cancer, head trauma, or mental illness.

Last August Bilgi also unearthed a pair of razor-sharp volcanic glass blades that he believes were used to make the careful cuts.  There is ample evidence that Bronze Age sawbones knew what they were doing. 

Biological anthropologist Handan üstündag excavated the 4,000-year-old trepanned skull of a man in central Turkey.  üstündag says the surgeon cut a neat 1” by 2” incision, and “there are clear signs of recovery in the regrowth of bone tissue at the edges.”

10 A common type of treatment of insanity was “trepanation”
A common type of treatment of insanity was “trepanation”.
This was “release the evil spirits” taken literally. The town’s physician would drill a hole in the sick person’s skull to release the demons. Consequently, the person often died shortly afterward, or they suffered such brain damage that they remained in a vegetative state for the rest of their lives.

Trepanation is still performed to this very day, but mostly to relieve pressure around the brain.

Judging from the frequency of healed bone in such skulls, anthropologist Yilmaz Erdal proposed that about half of all Bronze Age trepanation patients – and 60% of those in Turkey – survived the procedure.

…anything else the pertained to the family life, or anything for that matter.

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