Prophecy is PROOF the Bible is True
“Declare the things that are to come hereafter, that we may know that ye are gods” (Isa. 41:23). "I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, Declaring the END (of history) from the BEGINNING (of time), and from ANCIENT TIMES the things that are NOT YET DONE, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure ... yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it" (Isa. 46:9-11). "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables ... For the PROPHECY came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. 1:16-21). “Let them bring them forth, and declare unto us WHAT SHALL HAPPEN: declare ye the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or show us the THINGS TO COME” (Isaiah 41:22). "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). "I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee: lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them" (Isa. 48:5).
Secular History Confirms Assyrian King Sardanapalus Defeated in 747 BC (Nahum 1-3; Zeph. 2:13-14)
The Assyrian Empire was founded c.2059 BC and lasted till the reign of Sardanapalus, the 31st sovereign in 747 BC. a period of about 1300 years.
Diodorus gives a particular account of the taking of Nineveh by Arbaces, assisted by the Bactrians, and of its subsequent destruction. Arbaces was incited to this by a famous Babylonian priest named Belesis (perhapsd the Beladan of 2 Kings 2:12), who pretended by interpreting the stars to promise a successful issue to the adventure. Arbaces was thrice defeated by the king; but afterwards, intercepting an army of Bactrians who were on their way to reinforce the city, he persuaded the leaders to join him in his revolt, and by their help his next attempt was successful.
"It happened that the king of Assyria, not knowing anything of the revolt of the Bactrians, and elated by his former successes, was indulging in idleness and revelling; and had prepared wine and other things necessary for feasting his soldiers. While his whole army was now feasting and revelling, Arbaces, receiving intelligence from some deserters of the carelessness and intemperance of the enemy, fell upon them, easily broke into their camp, slew great numbers of them, and drove the remainder back into the city." (Diodorus Siculus 2:26) As Nahum 1:10 says, "For while they be folden together as thorns, and while they are drunken as drunkards, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry."
"The rebels twice defeated the king's forces, once in the open field, and the second time before the walls of the city; in which last engagement Salaimenes was killed, and almost all his army destroyed, some being cut off in the retreat, and the rest, with few exceptions, being driven headlong into the river Euphrates; the number of the slain was so great that the river was dyed over with blood, and retained that colour for a great distance afterwards." (Diodorus Siculus 2:26) As Nahum 2:3 says, "The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall bed with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and thye fir trees shall be terribly shaken."
"The king being afterwards besieged, many of the nations revolted to the confederates, so that Sardanapalus perceiving that the kingdom was in great peril, sent away his three sons and two daughters, with a great deal of treasure, into Paphlagonia, to Cotta the governor there, who was his friend: he also sent posts into all the provinces of the kingdom in order to raise soldiers, and made every other preparation to enable him to endure a siege. He was encouraged in this by an ancient prophecy that 'Nineveh could never be taken until the river should become the enemy of the city.' The king was also very careful to furnish the inhabitants with everything necessary, and neglected nothing that could be done for the defense of the city. The siege continued two years, during which time the enemy gained no advantage against it." (Diodorus Siculus 2:26) As Nahum 2:5 says, "He shall recount his worthies: they shall stumble in their walk; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the defense shall be prepared."
"In the third year of the siege the Euphrates, overflowing with continual rains, rose above its banks, and entering the city carried away a portion of the wall, making a breach twenty furlongs in length. The revolters entered through the breach and took the city." (Diodorus Siculus 2:27) As Nahum 2:6 says, "The gates of the river shall be opened".
"The king, that he might not fall into the hands of his enemies, caused a huge fire of wood to be made in the court of his palace, and having heaped upon it all his gold, silver, and royal apparel, and enclosed his eunuchs and concubines in an apartment within the pile, caused it to be set on fire, and burnt himself and them together." (Diodorus Siculus 2:27) As Nahum 2:6 says, "the palace shall be dissolved."
"Belesis pretended that he had made a vow to Belus that when Sardanapalus should be conquered and his palace consumed, he would carry the ashes to Babylon and there raise a mound near to his temple; but his true reason for desiring to do this was that he had heard of the gold and silver which lay hidden among the ruins. Arbaces being ignorant of the plot, granted him permission to carry away the ashes: upon which Belesis prepared shipping and took away great treasures of gold and silver to Babylon." (Diodorus Siculcu 2:28) As Nahum 2:9 says, "Take ye the spoil of silver, take the spoil of gold: for there is none end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture.
"Notwithstanding the immense strength of Nineveh, whose walls, according to Diodorus, were 100 feet high and broad enough for three chariots to go abreast upon them, with fifteen hundred towers at proper distances in the walls, each 200 feet in height, Nineveh was so totally destroyed that the very site of it is hardly to be recognized. Lucian, who was a native of Samosata, on the Euphrates, must have known whether there were any remains of Nineveh or not, and he wrote as folllows: 'Nineveh is so completely destroyed, that it is not even possible to say where it stood." (Lucian, Contempl. 23) As Nahum 3:17 says, "their place is not known where they (are)."
Zephaniah 2:13-14 says, "He will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria, and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations."
Ezekiel 31 says, "Behold, the Assyrian was a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of a high stature; and his top was among the thick boughs. The waters made him great, the deep set him on high with her rivers running round about his plants ... Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Because thou hast lifted up thyself in height ... I have therefore delivered him into the hand of the mighty one of the heathen ... I have driven him out for his wickedness. And strangers, the terrible of the nations, have cut him off, and have left him ... Upon his ruin shall all the fowls of the heaven remain, and all the beasts of the field shall be upon his branches ... I made the nations to shake at the sound of his fall."
Closing the Golden Gate
"Then said the LORD unto me; This gate shall be SHUT, it shall NOT BE OPENED, and no man shall enter in by it; because the LORD, the God of Israel, hath entered in by it, therefore it shall be SHUT. It is for the Prince; the Prince, he shall sit in it to eat bread before the LORD; he shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate, and shall go out by the way of the same" (Ezekiel 44:2-3). The Golden Gate is the eastern gate of Jerusalem, through which Christ made his triumphal entry on "Palm Sunday" before the crucifixion (Matthew 21). Ezekiel predicted its closing and in 1541 Sultan Suleiman closed the gate and WALLED IT UP, not knowing he was fulfilling prophecy.. It remains sealed to this day exactly as the Bible predicted.
Prophecy of Cyrus
The father of Cyrus was Cambyses, king of Persia; his mother's name was Mandane, daughter of Astyages, king of Media (Xenophon. Cyropaedia, 1:1.). Astyages the king had a dream that his daughter's son would rule in his place over all of Asia. Therefore the king asked his steward to kill the son. The steward gave the job to a shepherd, called Mitradates, who substituted his own wife's stillborn son for Cyrus and saved Cyrus alive (Herodotus book 1:109-112). Isaiah predicted the Babylonian Empire would fall to the Medes and the Persians (Isaiah 13; 21:1-10). He also called Cyrus by name (Isaiah 44:28; 45:1-5), and said the protective waters of the Euphrates would "dry up" (Isa. 44:27) (Herodotus 1. 185–191) and Babylon's "two-leaved gates" would "not be shut" (Isa. 45:1). "That I may open before him the valves; and the gates shall not be shut" - The gates of Babylon within the city descending from the streets to the river, were providentially left open, when Cyrus's forces entered the city in the night through the channel of the river, in the general disorder occasioned by the great feast which was then celebrated. Otherwise, says Herodotus, 1:191, the Persians would have been shut up in the bed of the river, and taken as in a net, and all destroyed. And the gates of the palace were opened imprudently by the king's orders, to inquire what was the cause of the tumult without; when the two parties under Gobrias and Gadatas rushed in, got possession of the palace, and slew the king (- Xenoph., Cyrop. 7:22-23 p. 528). Herodotus, i, 179 says, "In the wall all round there are a hundred gates, all of brass; and so in like manner are the sides and the lintels." "The gates likewise within the city, opening to the river from the several streets, were of brass; as were those also of the temple of Belus" (Herod. i., 180, 181).
The Lord will "subdue nations before him" and "loose the loins of kings" (Isa. 45:1). Xenophon gives the following list of the nations conquered by Cyrus: "the Syrians, Assyrians, Arabians, Cappadocians, both countries of the Phrygians, Lydians, Carians, Phoenicians, Babylonians. He moreover reigned over the Bactrians, Indians, Cilicians, the Sacae, Paphlagones, ldariandyni or Megadinians; likewise the Greeks that inhabit Asia, Cyprians and Egyptians." (- Cyrop.1:4), All these kingdoms he acknowledges, in his decree for the restoration of the Jews, to have been given to him by Jehovah, the God of heaven (Ezra 1:2). He was obliged to acknowledge this because Josephus says that Cyrus read this prophecy himself, which Isaiah had delivered (Antiq. 11:1:2). Herodotus says, that he ruled over all Asia (Clio, sive 1:130.). To "loose the loins of kings" such as Croesus king of Lydia, and Belshazzar king of Babylon, by divesting them of their dignity, power, and government" was not the full meaning. Belshazzar was thrown into such a panic that "the joints of his loins were loosed" literally (Daniel 5:6).
Amazingly, Isaiah’s prophecy was made roughly 150 years before Cyrus was born (Isaiah prophesied in about 700 B.C.; Cyrus took the city of Babylon in 539 B.C.). To add to Cyrus’ significance, Isaiah predicted that Cyrus would act as the Lord’s “shepherd” (44:28) to return Israel to their land a second time (Isa. 11:11-12; Isa. 51:9-11). The Exodus from Egypt was the first. Justin (Hist. ex Trogo 1:5) says, he had this name given him, while he was among the shepherds, by whom he was brought up, having been exposed in his infancy. Shepherd was an epithet which Cyrus took to himself. Cyrus himself compares a king to a shepherd, and observes a likeness between them (Xenophon, Cyropaedia, 8:18). "Cyrus governed the Persians as a shepherd governs his sheep." (Max. Tyr. Diss. 40) In fact, Isaiah recorded these words of the Lord concerning Cyrus: “And he shall perform all My pleasure, even saying to Jerusalem, you shall be built; and to the temple, thy foundation shall be laid" (44:28). This is said with great exactness since only the foundation was laid in Cyrus's time; the Jews being discouraged and hindered by their enemies from going on with the building in his reign, until the times of Darius, king of Persia. (See Ezra 1:1).
Darius broke "in pieces the gates of brass" and "cut in sunder the bars of iron" (Isa. 45:2) with which the brazen gates were barred (Her. 1:179; 3:159). They are mentioned by Abydenus (Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 41. p. 457) as being made by Nebuchadnezzar, and as continuing till the empire of the Macedonians.
"And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places" (45:3). Sardes and Babylon, when taken by Cyrus, were the wealthiest cities in the world. Croesus, celebrated beyond all the kings of that age for his riches, gave up his treasures to Cyrus, with an exact account in writing of the whole, containing the particulars with which each wagon was loaded when they were carried away; and they were delivered to Cyrus at the palace of Babylon. (- Xenoph. Cyrop. lib. 7 p. 503, 515, 540). Pliny gives the following account of the wealth taken by Cyrus in Asia. "When Cyrus conquered Asia, he found thirty-four thousand pounds weight of gold, besides golden vessels and articles in gold; and leaves, (folia, perhaps solia, bathing vessels, Hol.), a plane, and vine tree, (of gold.) By which victory he carried away fifteen thousand talents of silver; and the cup of Semiramis, the weight of which was fifteen tatents. The Egyptian talent, according to Varro, was eighty pounds" (Nat. Hist. 33:15). This cup was the crater, or large vessel, out of which they filled the drinking cups at great entertainments. Evidently it could not be a drinking vessel, which, according to what Varro and Pliny say, must have weighed 1, 200 pounds!
Then Isaiah 45:5-7 says, "I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me ...
I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things." Why did our Lord explain this truth to Cyrus? Because Cyrus was educated in the Magian Religion, and it was the great principle of the Magian religion, which prevailed in Persia in the time of Cyrus, that there are two supreme, co-eternal, and independent causes always acting in opposition one to the other; one the author of all good, the other of all evil. The good being they called Light; the evil being, Darkness. That when Light had the ascendant, then good and happiness prevailed among men; when Darkness had the superiority, then eviI and misery abounded. It does not appear that Cyrus left the Pagan idolatry; for Xenophon relates, that when he found his end was near, he took sacrifices, and offered them to Jupiter, and the sun, and the rest of the gods; and gave them thanks for the care they had taken of him; and prayed them to grant happiness to his wife, children, friends, and country (Cyropaedia, 8:45).
The Euphrates in the middle of the summer, from the melting of the snows on the mountains of Armenia, like the Nile, overflows the country. In order to diminish the inundation, and to carry off the waters, two canals were made by Nebuchadnezzar a hundred miles above the city; the first on the eastern side called Naharmalca, or the Royal River, by which the Euphrates was let into the Tigris; the other on the western side, called Pallacopas, or Naharaga (nahar agam, The river of the pool), by which the redundant waters were carried into a vast lake, forty miles square, contrived, not only to lessen the inundation, but for a reservoir, with sluices, to water the barren country on the Arabian side. Cyrus, by turning the whole river into the lake by the Pallacopas, laid the channel, where it ran through the city, almost dry; so that his army entered it, both above and below, by the bed of the river, the water not reaching above the middle of the thigh. By the great quantity-of water let into the lake, the sluices and dams were destroyed; and being never repaired afterwards, the waters spread over the whole country below, and reduced it to a morass, in which the river is lost. "And thus a navigable river has been totally lost, it having no exit from this morass. No wonder then that the geographical face of this country is completely changed" (Mela Jeremiah 3:8; Herod. 1:186, 190; Xenophon, Cyrop. vii.; Arrian vii).
In 1879, Hormoz Rasam found a small clay cylinder (about nine inches long, and now residing in the British Museum) in the ancient city of Babylon. Upon the clay cylinder, King Cyrus had inscribed, among other things, his victory over the city of Babylon and his policy toward the nations he had captured, as well as his policy toward their various gods and religions. Price recorded a translation of a segment of the cuneiform text found on the cylinder:
...I returned to [these] sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been in ruins for a long time, the images which [used] to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I [also] gathered all their [former] inhabitants and returned [to them] their habitations. Furthermore, I resettled upon the command of Marduk the great lord, all the gods of Sumer and Akkad whom Nabonidus has brought into Babylon to the anger of the lord of the gods, unharmed, in their [former] chapels, the places which made them happy. May all the gods who I have resettled in their sacred cities ask daily Bel and Nebo for long life for me and may they recommend me...to Marduk, my lord, may they say thus: Cyrus, the king who worships you and Cambyses, his son, [...] all of them I settled in a peaceful place (pp. 251-252).
The policy, often hailed as Cyrus’ declaration of human rights, coincides with the biblical account of the ruler’s actions, in which Cyrus decreed that the temple in Jerusalem should be rebuilt, and that all the exiled Israelites who wished to join in the venture had his permission and blessing to do so (Ezra 1:1-11). The little nine-inch-long clay cylinder stands as impressive testimony—along with several other archaeological finds—to the historical accuracy of the biblical text. Cyrus was a type of our Lord who is our "shepherd" and "anointed" (Isaiah 44:28).
"Lo, I will raise up against them the Medes, who shall not regard silver, nor shall they delight in gold" (Isa. 13:17). It is remarkable that Xenophen represents Cyrus, when setting out, as praising the Medes and his army, for their disregard of riches. "Ye Medes, and all here present, I well know that ye accompany me on this expedition, not coveting wealth." (Cyropedia 5)
"their bows shall dash to pieces the young men" because the Persian bows were three cubits long, according to Xenophen Anab. 4 and therefore when used as clubs, in the sack of a city, were powerful weapons of destruction.
Secular History Confirms Pharaoh Apries (Hophra -- Jer. 44:30) (589-570 BC) Was a Proud "Broken Reed"
Who Sealed the Doom of Egypt
In 588 BC, Apries sent an army to protect Jerusalem from Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 37:5; 34:21). His forces quickly withdrew to avoid a major battle and in 586 BC Jerusalem was taken by Babylon. God said "because they (Egyptians) have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel. When they (Israelites) took hold of thee ...thou didst break ... I will bring a sword upon thee" (Ez. 29:6-7).
"Apries is said to have believed that his power was so firmly established, that not even a god could have brought him down." (Herodotus 2:169) But God foretold that "I will cause the sword to fall out of his hand" (Ez. 30:22) and "there shall be no more a (native -- cf. Ez. 26:17) PRINCE of the land of Egypt" (Ez. 30:13), "neither shall it (Egypt) exalt itself anymore" (Ez. 29:15).
Then Pharaoh Apries sent his army against Cyrene (Libya) against Dorian Greek invaders. It ended disastrously for the Egyptians. The survivors returned and rebelled, thinking they had been deliberately sacrificed. Apries sent Amasis his general to quell the rebellion. But the people put a crown on the head of Amasis and offered him the throne instead of Pharaoh Apries. Therefore, he led them against Apries whose palace was at Sais. Apries lost the battle (570 BC) and was taken prisoner for a time and then strangled (Herodotus 2:160-169).
God foretold that Egypt "shall be the BASEST of the KINGDOMS" (Ez. 29:14-15) and "there shall BE NO MORE A (native -- cf. Ez. 26:17) PRINCE of the land of Egypt" (Ez. 30:13). This undoubtedly refers to the future government of Egypt by FOREIGNERS, or to the general destruction of the Egyptian princes by Nebuchadnezzar and Amasis. All men know, says Josephus against Apion, 50. 2. sec. 11, “That the Egyptians were subject to the Persians, differing nothing from SLAVES, and after them to the Macedonians, who ruled over Asia.” Egypt never recovered its former glory; and indeed, after Nectanebus was driven out of it by Ochus, king of Persia, it never after had a native king.
1. Egypt became tributary to the Babylonians under Amasis.
2. After the ruin of the Babylonish empire, it became subject to the Persians.
3. After the Persians, it came into the hands of the Macedonians. With the Ptolemies it rose again to something like eminence, but that, it must be remembered, was an alien dynasty. The nationality of Egypt was suppressed, and Alexandria, practically a Greek city, took the place of Memphis, Sais, and Thebes.
4. After the Macedonians it fell into the hands of the Romans.
5. After the division of the Roman empire it was subdued by the Saracens. Moslem Arabs conquered Egypt in 639-640 AD.
6. About 1250 A.D., it came into the hands of the Mameluke slaves.
7. Selim, the ninth emperor of the Turks, conquered the Mamelukes, 1517 A.D., and annexed Egypt to the Ottoman empire.
8. Napoleon's French conquest of Egypt from 1798-1801
9. British Protectorate (1882-1956)
10. Made a republic 18 June, 1953. Ex-king Farouk was the king until Egypt became a republic. But King Farouk was not descended from Egyptian Blood. He was an Albanian. He was descended from Mohammed Ali. The Egyptian rulers since 1953 have not been PRINCES and most were not Egyptian. They were Arab. For instance President Anwar Sadat descends from Moslem Arabs who dominate Egypt and Sudan -- not from Copts (ancient Egyptians) who are a small persecuted minority.
The captivity of the Egyptians (Ez. 29:14), though not taken notice of by Herodotus, is mentioned by Berosus, in one of the fragments of his history, quoted by Josephus, Antiq., 50. 10. chap. 11, and published with notes by Scaliger, at the end of his books, De Emendatione Temporum, whose remark upon the place is very observable, namely, “The calamities that befell the Egyptians are passed over by Herodotus, because the Egyptian priests would not inform him of any thing that tended to the disgrace of their nation.”
Today, is not Egypt the most heavily populated nation in the Middle East? Yet Ezekiel 29:15 says God would diminish the Egyptians and make Egypt a base kingdom. Has this prophecy been broken? The Bible means what it says. Today, Egypt is populated mainly by Arabs, not Egyptians. The Egyptians, upon whom God pronounced this curse, are called COPTS today. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, the Copts in Egypt -- not the Arabs -- are the racial representatives of the ancient Egyptians. In the article "COPTS" the Encyclopedia acknowledges: "the COPTS have undoubtedly preserved the race of the Egyptians as it existed at the time of the Arab conquest in remarkable purity." Further proof of this is found in the book The Nile by E. A. Wallis Budge. On page 331, he States: "The COPTS are direct descendants from the ancient Egyptians." He further admits, on page 333: "The COPTIC language is, at base, ancient Egyptian. Many of the nouns and verbs found in the Hieroglyphic texts remain unchanged in COPTIC ..." Notice how this ties in with the prophecy of Ezekiel 29:15. First of all, God said be would diminish the Egyptians -- not the Arabs who later invaded the country. When this prophecy was written by Ezekiel there were approximately 7,000,000 Egyptians or COPTS. Today, there remain only one million. There are seven times fewer Egyptians today than there were when this curse was pronounced. And not only that! Only one out of every twenty-four inhabitants of Egypt is a true Egyptian! The rest are Arabs, the descendants of Ishmael, Abram's son. In their own country the descendants of the ancient Egyptians are outnumbered twenty-three to one by Arab foreigners who have corne in and taken over the country. This prophecy further states that the Egyptians shall no more rule over the nations. This has been strikingly fulfilled! Almost every political office in Egypt is filled by an Arab. Gamal Abdel Nasser, ruler of Egypt, was an Arab. The COPTS not only do not rule over the nations -- they don't even rule in their own country. They were prophesied to be a base kingdom, a low, subservient people. Most of the COPTS are scribes or handicraftsmen and in those capacities they serve the Arabs. They are low in every sense of tile word -- even in their work.
Most of the COPTS have adopted a form of the "Christian" religion. In a country thar is almost entirely Moslem, this has caused them constant persecution. They are sneered at because of their religion. They are looked down upon because of their occupations. They have become a people cursed by God.
As a final clincher, Ezekiel prophesied that the Egyptians would return, after being led into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar, into the land of Pathros (verse 4). Pathros is in Upper Middle Egypt. The majority of the COPTS live in UPPER MIDDLE EGYPT! There is even a village named COPTOS located 25 miles northeast of Thebes.
This prophecy has been fulfilled, point by point-exactly as Ezekiel prophesied! THE BIBLE IS RELIABLE OVER THOUSANDS OF YEARS.
The Destruction of Babylon
Isaiah 13:17-22 says, “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not NOT REGARD SILVER; and as for gold, they will NOT DELIGHT IN IT. Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God OVERTHREW Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall NEVER BE INHABITED, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged."
According to Herodotus, the city was approximately 14 miles square with the Euphrates River bisecting it north and south. Two sets of walls inner and outer protected the city and, according to standards of the day, rendered it safe from attack from without. If Herodotus can be believed, the walls were indeed formidable being 350 feet high and 87 feet thick. Walls also lined the river on either side and 150 gates of solid brass protected the entrances. On the wall were some 250 watchtowers, 100 feet higher than the wall itself. The outside wall had a deep water moat some 30 feet wide.
At the time of this prophecy (c.713 BC) Babylon was beginning its rise to imperial domination, but Isaiah predicted that Babylon would be overthrown by the Medes. The prophecy was fulfilled in 539 BC (Daniel 5). Xenophon makes Cyrus open a speech to his army, and in particular to the Medes, who made the principal part of it, with praising them for their DISREGARD OF RICHES. "Ye Medes, and others who now hear me, I well know that you have not accompanied me in this expedition with a view of acquiring WEALTH" ( - Cyrop. lib. v.). But when Cyrus conquered Babylon, he did not devastate the city. The walls were left standing until 518 B.C., and general desolation did not set in until the third century B.C. Babylon gradually fell into decay, and the prophecy of Isaiah was fulfilled. Babylon became completely depopulated by the time of the Muslim conquest in the seventh century A.D., and to this day it lies deserted. Pliny says it was reduced to a mere desert (Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 26.) in his time (23-79 A.D.) Archaeologists excavated Babylon during the 1800s. Some parts of the city could not be dug up because they were under a water table that had risen over the years.
1. In 539 B.C., Cyrus’ army laid siege against Babylon. The Euphrates River ran through the midst of Babylon. Part of Cyrus' army went north of Babylon and dug a trench from the Euphrates River to a nearby marsh. When the army connected the trench to the Euphrates River, much of the water in the river flowed toward the marsh, while only a little water continued to flow toward Babylon. While the Babylonians were celebrating their feast, the strong river and moat protecting the city became very shallow, and the Medes and Persians were able to enter the city by night (Herodotus 1.191). They waded through the channel, captured the city without a battle, and Darius the Mede was put in charge (Daniel 5:31). The river being never restored afterward to its proper course, overflowed the whole country, and made it little better than a great morass; this and the great slaughter of the inhabitants, with other bad consequences of the taking of the city, was the first step to the ruin of the place.
The Persian monarchs always regarded it with a jealous eye; they kept it under, and took care to prevent its recovering its former greatness. Darius Hystaspes not long afterward most severely punished it for a revolt, greatly depopulated the place, lowered the walls, and demolished the gates. Isaiah said that the Medes would kill many people: “Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children” (Isaiah 13:18). This prediction was fulfilled in 521 B.C. when the Babylonians appointed their own king and the city rebelled. Darius’ army defeated the rebel army and captured Babylon. Then the rebel king and his main followers were impaled inside the city. Both Herodotus, 1:61, and Xenophon, Anab. iii., mention, that the Persians used large bows and the latter says particularly that their bows were three cubits long, Anab. 4. They were celebrated for their archers, see Isaiah 22:6; Jeremiah 49:35. Probably their neighbours and allies, the Medes, dealt much in the same sort of arms. In Psalm 18:34, and Job 20:24, mention is made of a bow of steel; if the Persian bows were of metal, we may easily conceive that with a metalline bow of three cubits' length, and proportionally strong, the soldiers might dash and slay the young men, the weaker and unresisting of the inhabitants (for they are joined with the fruit of the womb and the children) in the general carnage on taking the city.
In about 482 B.C. Babylon rebelled against their Persian and Median rulers again. Xerxes the king sent his army to capture the city. The army destroyed the temples and took away the idol of the Babylonian god Marduk (Arrian, The Campaigns of Alexander, 7.17.2; Herodotus 1.183; 3:159). Xerxes may have also destroyed the outer walls of Babylon.
4. When Alexander the Great defeated the Persians 150 years later, much of Babylon was still destroyed (Arrian 3.16.4). However, many people still lived in Babylon. Alexander decided to rebuild Babylon’s temples and make Babylon a marvelous city again, BUT HE DIED before he could accomplish his plan.
The building of Seleucia on the Tigris exhausted Babylon by its proximity, as well as by the loss of inhabitants taken away by Antiochus, the son of Seleucus, who moved the whole population of Babylon to his new capital in 275 BC. (see Strabo, lib. 16).
A king of the Parthians soon after carried away into slavery a great number of the inhabitants, and burned and destroyed the most beautiful parts of the city (Valesii Excerpt. Diodori, p. 377).
Strabo in 25 B.C. said "The Great City is a desert" (Geography, 16.1.5, Loeb); that the Persians had partly destroyed it; and that time and the neglect of the Macedonians, while they were masters of it, had nearly completed its destruction.
Jerome (in loc.) says that in his time it was quite in ruins, and that the walls served only for the inclosure for a park or forest for the king's hunting.
Modern travelers, who have endeavored to find the remains of it, have given but a very unsatisfactory account of their success. What Benjamin of Tudela and Pietro della Valle supposed to have been some of its ruins, Tavernier thinks are the remains of some late Arabian building. Upon the whole, Babylon is so utterly annihilated, that even the place where this wonder of the world stood cannot now be determined with any certainty! In 1978, the president of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, began to rebuild some of the ancient buildings of Babylon. Some of the temples have been built again and also a palace, some walls and an amphitheater (Amatzia Baram, Culture, History, and Ideology in the Formation of Ba‘thist Iraq, 1968-89, 1991, p. 47). But today, Babylon is still an EMPTY CITY. In times of peace tourists can go see the partially rebuilt ruins of Babylon that have remained empty for almost 2,000 years. The city is exactly like Isaiah predicted: “It will NEVER BE INHABITED, nor will it be settled from generation to generation” (Isaiah 13:20).
Prophecy of Tyre Confirmed
The date of the Tyre prophecy is the eleventh year after 597 which was 586 B.C. About half a mile off the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea stood a small rocky island on which the original city of Tyre was most likely founded. Some time after the founding of this island city, the mainland city of Tyre was founded, which was called Old Tyre by the Greeks (Fleming, Wallace B. (1966), The History of Tyre (New York, NY: AMS Press, p.4). “Because Tyre has said against Jerusalem, ‘Aha! She is broken who was the gateway of the peoples; now she is turned over to me; I shall be filled; she is laid waste.’ Therefore thus says the Lord God: ‘Behold, I am against you, O Tyre’” (26:2-3). Apparently, in an attitude of commercial jealousy and greed, the city of Tyre exulted in Jerusalem’s misfortunes and expected to turn them into its own profit. The prophet Joel noted that Tyre had taken the people from Judah and Jerusalem and sold them to the Greeks so that the Tyrians could “remove them far from their borders” (Joel 3:6). Therefore thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Tyre, and will cause many nations to come up against you, as the sea causes its waves to come up. And they shall destroy the walls of Tyre and break down her towers; I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for spreading nets in the midst of the sea, for I have spoken,” says the Lord God; “it shall become plunder for the nations. Also her daughter villages which are in the fields shall be slain by the sword. Then they shall know that I am the Lord.”
For thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I will bring against Tyre from the north Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, king of kings, with horses, with chariots, and with horsemen, and an army with many people. He will slay with the sword your daughter villages in the fields; he will heap up a siege mound against you, build a wall against you, and raise a defense against you. He will direct his battering rams against your walls, and with his axes he will break down your towers. Because of the abundance of his horses, their dust will cover you; your walls will shake at the noise of the horsemen, the wagons, and the chariots, when he enters your gates, as men enter a city that has been breached. With the hooves of his horses he will trample all your streets; he will slay your people by the sword, and your strong pillars will fall to the ground.
They will plunder your riches and pillage your merchandise; they will break down your walls and destroy your pleasant houses; they will lay your stones, your timber, and your soil in the midst of the water. I will put an end to the sound of your songs, and the sound of your harps shall be heard no more. I will make you like the top of a rock; you shall be a place for spreading nets, and you shall never be rebuilt, for I the Lord have spoken,” says the Lord God.
For thus says the Lord God: “When I make you a desolate city, like cities that are not inhabited, when I bring the deep upon you, and great waters cover you, then I will bring you down with those who descend into the Pit, to the people of old, and I will make you dwell in the lowest part of the earth, in places desolate from antiquity, with those who go down to the Pit, so that you may never be inhabited; and I shall establish glory in the land of the living. I will make you a terror, and you shall be no more; though you are sought for, you will never be found again,” says the Lord God (Ez. 26:1-14,19-21).
The prophet predicted: (1) many nations would come against Tyre; (2) the inhabitants of the villages and fields of Tyre would be slain; (3) Nebuchadnezzar would build a siege mound against the city; (4) the city would be broken down and the stones, timber, and soil would be thrown in “the midst of the water;” (5) the city would become a “place for spreading nets;” and (6) the city would never be rebuilt.
In chronological order, the siege of Nebuchadnezzar took place within a few months of Ezekiel’s prophecy. "Nebuchadnezzar took all Palestine and Syria and the cities on the seacoast, including Tyre, which fell after a siege of 13 years (573 B.C.)" (E. A. Wallis Budge, Babylonian Life And History, p. 50). Josephus asserts, upon the authority of the Phenician Annals, translated by Menander, the Ephesian, into Greek, “that Nebuchadnezzar besieged Tyre thirteen years, when Ithobal was king there, and began the siege in the seventh year of Ithobal’s reign, and that he subdued Syria and all Phenicia" (Against Apion, 1.21). That is 586 to 573 B.C. The length of the siege was due, in part, to the unusual arrangement of the mainland city and the island city. While the mainland city would have been susceptible to ordinary siege tactics, the island city would have been easily defended against orthodox siege methods (Fleming, p. 45). The historical record suggests that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the mainland city, but the siege of the island “probably ended with the nominal submission of the city” in which Tyre surrendered “without receiving the hostile army within her walls” (p. 45). The city of Tyre was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, who did major damage to the mainland as Ezekiel predicted, but the island city remained primarily unaffected.
Ezekiel began his prophecy by stating that “many nations” would come against Tyre (26:3). Then he proceeded to name Nebuchadnezzar, and stated that “he” would build a siege mound, “he” would slay with the sword, and “he” would do numerous other things (26:7-11). However, in 26:12, the pronoun shifts from the singular “he” to the plural “they.” It is in verse 12 and following that Ezekiel predicts that “they” will lay the stones and building material of Tyre in the “midst of the waters.” The shift in pronouns is of vast significance, since it shifts the subject of the action from Nebuchadnezzar (he) back to the many nations (they).
Regarding the prediction that “many nations” would come against Tyre, history records the following: After Nebuchadnezzar’s attack of the city “a period of great depression” plagued the city which was assimilated into the Persian Empire around 538 B.C. (Fleming, p. 47). In 392 B.C., “Tyre was involved in the war which arose between the Persians and Evagorus of Cyprus” in which the king of Egypt “took Tyre by assault” (p. 52). Sixty years later, in 332, Alexander the Great besieged Tyre and crushed it (see below for further elaboration). Soon after this defeat, Ptolemy of Egypt conquered and subjugated Tyre until about 315 B.C. when Atigonus of Syria besieged Tyre for 15 months and captured it (Fleming, p. 65). In fact, Tyre was contested by so many foreign forces that Fleming wrote: “It seemed ever the fate of the Phoenician cities to be between an upper and a nether millstone” (p. 66). Babylon, Syria, Egypt, Rome, Greece, Armenia, and Persia are but a sampling of the “many nations” that had a part in the ultimate destruction of Tyre. Thus, Ezekiel’s prophecy about “many nations” remains as a historical reality that cannot be successfully gainsaid.
Ancient historian Diodorus Siculus, who lived from approximately 80-20 B.C., wrote extensively of the young Greek conqueror’s dealing with Tyre. It is from his original work that much of the following information on Tyre’s destruction derives (see Siculus, 1963, 17.40-46).
In his dealings with Tyre, Alexander asserted that he wished to make a personal sacrifice in the temple of Heracles on the island city of Tyre. Apparently, because the Tyrians considered their island refuge virtually impregnable, with war machines covering the walls, and rapidly moving water acting as an effective barrier from land attack, they refused his request. Upon receiving their refusal, Alexander immediately set to work on a plan to besiege and conquer the city. He set upon the task of building a land bridge or cause way (Siculus calls it a “mole”) from the mainland city of Tyre to the island city. Siculus stated: “Immediately he demolished what was called Old Tyre and set many tens of thousands of men to work carrying stones to construct a mole” (17.40). Curtius Rufus noted: “Large quantities of rock were available, furnished by old Tyre” (4.2.18) Rufus, Quintus Curtius (2001), The History of Alexander, trans. John Yardley (New York, NY: Penguin). This unprecedented action took the Tyrians by complete surprise. Fleming noted: “In former times the city had shown herself well nigh impregnable. That Alexander’s method of attack was not anticipated is not strange, for there was no precedent for it in the annals of warfare” (p. 56). The mainland city was demolished and all her stones, timber, and soil were thrown into the midst of the sea.
In spite of the fact that the Tyrians were taken by surprise, they were not disheartened, because they did not believe that Alexander’s efforts would prevail. They continued to maintain supremacy on the sea, and harassed his workers from all sides from boats that were equipped with catapults, slingers, and archers. These tactics were effective in killing many of Alexander’s men. But Alexander was not to be outdone. He gathered his own fleet of ships from nearby cities and was successful in neutralizing the Tyrian vessels’ effectiveness.
With the arrival of Alexander’s sea fleet, the work on the land bridge moved much more rapidly. Yet, when the construction of the bridge was nearing completion, a storm damaged a large section of the mole. Refusing to quit, Alexander rebuilt the damaged structure and continued to move forward. In desperation, the Tyrians sent underwater divers to impede construction by attaching hooks to the rocks and trees of the causeway, causing much damage (Rufus, 4.3.10). Yet, these efforts by the Tyrians could not stop Alexander’s army and eventually the bridge spanned the distance from the mainland city to the island. Huge siege machines bombarded the walls of Tyre. Siculus’ description of the fight is one of the most vivid accounts of a battle in ancient history (17.43-46).
Eventually the Tyrians were defeated, their walls penetrated, and Alexander’s forces entered the city and devastated it. Most of the men of Tyre were killed in continued fighting. Siculus recorded that approximately 2,000 of the men in Tyre who were of military age were crucified, and about 13,000 “non-combatants” were sold into slavery (17.46) [Others estimate the number even higher.] In describing the devastation of the city by Alexander, Fleming wrote: “There was general slaughter in the streets and square. The Macedonians were enraged by the stubborn resistance of the city and especially by the recent murder of some of their countrymen; they therefore showed no mercy. A large part of the city was burned” (p. 63).
One of the most disputed aspects concerning Ezekiel’s prophecy is the statement that the city of Tyre would “never be rebuilt” (26:14), and “be no more forever” (28:19). The skeptic points to modern day Tyre on a map and claims the Bible is wrong.
But it is clear from the ancient and modern coastlines of the island (see above), that the southern section of the island of Tyre is UNDER WATER today. Later earthquakes caused this area to SLIP INTO THE SEA. But the line of rocks still poking above the water marks where the ancient walls of the city once stood. In approximately A.D. 1170, a Jewish traveler named Benjamin of Tudela published a diary of his travels. “Benjamin began his journey from Saragossa, around the year 1160 and over the course of thirteen years visited over 300 cities in a wide range of places including Greece, Syria, Palestine, Mesopotamia and Persia” (Benjamin of Tudela, n.d.). In his memoirs, a section is included concerning the city of Tyre.
From Sidon it is half a day’s journey to Sarepta (Sarfend), which belongs to Sidon. Thence it is a half-day to New Tyre (Sur), which is a very fine city, with a harbour in its midst.... There is no harbour like this in the whole world. Tyre is a beautiful city.... In the vicinity is found sugar of a high class, for men plant it here, and people come from all lands to buy it. A man can ascend the walls of New Tyre and see ancient Tyre, WHICH THE SEA HAS NOW COVERED, lying at a stone’s throw from the new city. And should one care to go forth BY BOAT, one can see the CASTLES, MARKET-PLACES, STREETS, and PALACES IN THE BED OF THE SEA (1907, emp. added.).
"But as for the island city, it apparently SANK BELOW the surface of the Mediterranean…All that remains of it is a series of BLACK REEFS offshore from Tyre, which surely could not have been there in the first and second millennia b.c., since they pose such a threat to navigation. The promontory that now juts out from the coastline probably was washed up along the barrier of Alexander’s causeway, but the island itself broke off and SANK AWAY when the subsidence took place; and we have no evidence at all that it ever was built up again after Alexander’s terrible act of vengeance. In the light of these data, then, the predictions of chapter 26, improbable though they must have seemed in Ezekiel’s time, were duly fulfilled to the letter—first by Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century, and then by Alexander in the fourth." (Archer, “Tyre,” Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties)
Verse 19 says, "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." Many island groups rise and fall in the oceans. If you look at the picture, that island today is missing the southern section at least.
Furthermore, the Island of Tyre was a world power Phoenician city-state. The Island of Tyre was fortified with a double wall that was 150 feet high and 20 feet thick surrounded by a half-mile mote of water. The present fishing village called Sur has no fortifications and is on a peninsula. Second, while it is true that a town does currently exist on the "island" part of the peninsula (Sur), that town is on the north side of the "island" while original Tyre was on the south side. The Temple of Melkart was located in a vast park on the north side anciently. A village of Sur has no real connection to the city condemned by Ezekiel. Third, it could be the case that the bulk of Ezekiel’s prophecy dealt with the mainland city of Tyre, the location of which has most likely been lost permanently and is buried under the waters of the Mediterranean Sea. In his monumental work on the city of Tyre, Katzenstein mentioned several ancient sources that discussed the position of “Old Tyre.” He wrote: “Later this town was dismantled by Alexander the Great in his famous siege of Tyre and disappeared totally with the change of the coastline brought about by the dike and the alluvial deposits that changed Tyre into a peninsula” (1973, p. 15, emp. added).
It very likely is the case that the specific site of ancient Tyre has been buried by sand and water over the course of the last 2,500 years and is lost to modern knowledge. That the prophet was speaking about the mainland city in reference to many aspects of his prophecy has much to commend it. It was to that mainland city that King Nebuchadnezzar directed most of his attention and destructive measures described in Ezekiel 26:8-11. Furthermore, it was the mainland city that Alexander destroyed completely and cast into the sea to build his causeway to the island city. In addition, Katzenstein noted that the scholar H.L. Ginsberg has suggested that the name “Great Tyre” was given to the mainland city, while the island city was designated as “Little Tyre” (p. 20). He further noted 2 Samuel 24:7, which mentions “the stronghold of Tyre,” and commented that this “may refer to “Old Tyre,” or the mainland city (p. 20).
If the history of Tyre is traced more completely, it becomes evident that even the island city of Tyre suffered complete destruction. Fleming noted that in approximately A.D. 193. “Tyre was plundered and burned after a fearful slaughter of her citizens” (1966, p. 73). Around the year 1085, the Egyptians “succeeded in reducing Tyre, which for many years had been practically independent” (p. 85). Again, in about 1098, the Vizier of Egypt “entered the city and massacred a large number of people” (p. 88). In addition, the city was besieged in A.D. 1111 (p. 90), and again in April of 1124 (p. 95). Around the year 1155, the Egyptians entered Tyre, “made a raid with fire and sword...and carried off many prisoners and much plunder” (p. 101).
In addition to the military campaigns against the city, at least two major earthquakes pummeled the city, one of which “ruined the wall surrounding the city” (p. 115). And ultimately, in A.D. 1291, the Sultan Halil massacred the inhabitants of Tyre and subjected the city to utter ruin. “Houses, factories, temples, everything in the city was consigned to the sword, flame and ruin” (p. 122). After this major defeat in 1291, Fleming cites several travel logs in which visitors to the city mention that citizens of the area in 1697 were “only a few poor wretches...subsisting chiefly upon fishing” (p. 124). In 1837, another earthquake pounded the remains of the city so that the streets were filled with debris from fallen houses to such a degree that they were impassable (p. 128).
Taking these events into consideration, it is obvious that many nations continued to come against the island city, that it was destroyed on numerous occasions, and that it became a place for fishing, fulfilling Ezekiel’s prediction about the spreading of nets. Furthermore, it is evident that the multiple periods of destruction and rebuilding of the city have long since buried the Phoenician city that came under the condemnation of Ezekiel. The Columbia Encyclopedia, under its entry for Tyre, noted: “The principal ruins of the city today are those of buildings erected by the Crusaders. There are some Greco-Roman remains, but any left by the Phoenicians lie underneath the present town” (“Tyre,” 2006, emp. added).
Concerning Tyre’s present condition, other sources have noted that “continuous settlement has restricted excavation to the Byzantine and Roman levels and information about the Phoenician town comes only from documentary sources” (“Ancient Tyre...,” n.d., emp. added). Another report confirmed, “Uncovered remains are from the post-Phoenician Greco-Roman, Crusader, Arab and Byzantine times.... Any traces of the Phoenician city were either destroyed long ago or remain buried under today’s city” (“Ancient Phoenicia,” n.d., emp. added).