Ezekiel 27:16 MEANING

Ezekiel 27:16
(16) Emeralds.--The precious stone intended here, and in Exodus 28:18, is now generally understood to be the carbuncle. The word for "fine linen" is not that of Ezekiel 27:7, but a Ph?nician word, occurring only in the books written in the time of the captivity. It is thought to mean cotton, for the woven fabrics of which Babylon was famous. Agate (marg., chrysoprase) is probably the ruby, or certainly some stone of brilliancy (Isaiah 54:12)

Verse 16. - Syria; Hebrew, Aram. The LXX. which gives ἀνθρώπους, seems to have read Adam (equivalent to "man"), another instance of the fact just referred to. And this has led many commentators (Michaelis, Ewald, Hitzig, Furst) to conjecture, following the Peshito Version, that Edom must have been the true reading. As regards the products named, we know too little of the commerce of Edom to say whether it included them in its exports, and the fact that the broidered work of Babylon had been famous from of old (Joshua 7:21), and that it was also the oldest emporium for precious stones, may be urged in favor of the present reading, and of taking Aram in its widest sense as including Mesopotamia. On the other hand, the mention of onyx, sapphire, coral, pearls, topaz, in Job 28:16-19, the local coloring of which is essentially Idumaean, supports the conjectural emendation. Emeralds (comp. Exodus 28:18). Some writers identify it with the carbuncle. It meets us again in Ezekiel 28:13. The fine linen (butz) is different from that of Ver. 7 (shesh) and appears only in the later books of the Old Testament (1 Chronicles 4:21; 2 Chronicles 3:14; Esther 1:6, et al.). It was probably the byssus of the Greeks, made of cotton, while the Egyptian fabric was of flax. Coral. The Hebrew (ramoth) occurs only here and in Job 28:18. "Coral" is the traditional Jewish interpretation, but the LXX. transliterates, and the Vulgate gives secure. Agate is found here and in Isaiah 54:12, and has been identified with the ruby or carbuncle. In Exodus 28:19 and Exodus 39:12 the English represents a different Hebrew word.

27:1-25 Those who live at ease are to be lamented, if they are not prepared for trouble. Let none reckon themselves beautified, any further than they are sanctified. The account of the trade of Tyre intimates, that God's eye is upon men when employed in worldly business. Not only when at church, praying and hearing, but when in markets and fairs, buying and selling. In all our dealings we should keep a conscience void of offence. God, as the common Father of mankind, makes one country abound in one commodity, and another in another, serviceable to the necessity or to the comfort and ornament of human life. See what a blessing trade and merchandise are to mankind, when followed in the fear of God. Besides necessaries, an abundance of things are made valuable only by custom; yet God allows us to use them. But when riches increase, men are apt to set their hearts upon them, and forget the Lord, who gives power to get wealth.Syria was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of the wares of thy making,.... Which they took off of their hands, and for them brought the following things:

they occupied in thy fairs with emeralds; precious stones of a green colour: Jarchi renders it "carbuncles", other precious stones of a different colour; and so the word is translated by Pagninus, Montanus, Grotius, the French, and Diodate; sometimes called "carchedonies", and which the Apostle John calls the "chalcedony", Revelation 21:19, the same with rubies; and so the word here used is rendered by Luther; and, by Abarbinel, precious stones of great value; see Proverbs 3:15, from whence the Syrians had these to trade with at Tyre cannot be easily said; the modern rubies, which are thought to be the true and genuine carbuncles of the ancients, seldom exceed the weight of twenty carats; yet some say the Emperor Rudolphus the second had a ruby as big as a little hen's egg, bought at sixty thousand ducats, and supposed to be worth more; and that Regulus Decan had one of thirty four carats, bought at six minas of gold, that is, a hundred and ninety two pounds of gold; and that the great Mogul had one, which cost a million four hundred and twenty five thousand florins; and that there are some which exceed the weight of fifty carats (f); but there were few, if any of these, that came to the market of Tyre; however, no doubt, some valuable ones were here sold.

Purple, and broidered work, and fine linen; cloth of purple colour, raiment of needlework curiously embroidered, and linen of the best sort. So the Targum,

"purple clothes, and wrought with a needle, and linen of different colours;''

and of such they made their sails, tilts, and tents; see Ezekiel 27:7.

And coral, and agate; the first is a sea plant.

"This opinion is now so well established, that all other sentiments seem almost precluded. P. Kircher supposes entire forests of it at the bottom of the sea; and M. Tournefort, that able botanist, maintains, that it evidently multiplies by seed, though neither its flower nor seed be known. However, the count de Marsigli has discovered some parts therein, which seem to serve the purpose of seeds and flower, it vegetates the contrary way to all other plants; its foot adhering to the top of the grotto, and its branches shooting downwards, there are properly but three kinds of coral, red, white, and black; the white is the rarest and most esteemed; but it is the red that is ordinarily used in medicine; the places for fishing it are the Persian gulf, Red sea, coasts of Africa towards the bastion of France, the isles of Majorca and Corsica, and the coasts of Provence and Catalonia (g).''

Perhaps the Syrians might have theirs from the Red sea, or the Mediterranean. The other, the "agate", is a precious stone, the same with the "achates", first found in Sicily, as Isidore says (h), by a river of the same name; is of a black colour, according to him, having in the middle black and white circles joined and variegated; but they are of different colours, and of different degrees of transparency. The word is variously rendered; by some the ruby; by others the carbuncle; by others the chalcedony; and by others crystal; it is hard to say what is meant. Now the Phoenicians or Tyrians were so deeply engaged in trade with the Syrians, that it became a common proverb, the Phonicians against the Syrians (i); when like are set against like, as the Egyptians against the Egyptians, Isaiah 19:2.

(f) Vid. Braunium de Vestitu Sacerdot. Hebr. 1. 2. c. 11. p. 669. (g) Chambers's Cyclopaedia in the word "Coral". (h) Origin, l. 16. c. 11. (i) Vid. Reinesium de Lingua Punic. c. 2. sect. 12.

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