We Hear You -- By: Editors
BSpade 26:3 (Summer 2013) p. 58
We Hear You
A Question Regarding Dr. Paul Ferguson’s Recent Article, Ezekiel 26:1-14: A Proof Text For Inerrancy Or Fallibility Of The Old Testament?
Thanks for the article. I really enjoyed it. I have been reading over many articles that cover the prophecy of Ezekiel against Tyre, and this is definitely one of the best. I particularly liked your use of secular historians to argue your case. However, there is an aspect of the prophecy that still puzzles me. In verses 6 and 8, Ezekiel mentions “your daughters on the mainland.” In verse 8, Ezekiel changes from referring to “your daughters” being killed by the sword, to “you,” being attacked in a variety of ways by Nebuchadnezzar and his army. Does this suggest that the daughters are separate from the “you” being referred to? If so, does this mean that the object of the attacks, the siege, the axes, the horses, is the island-city? This would seem to mean that Nebuchadnezzar entered the island-city of Tyre (v. 10 and v. 11), definitely not a favorable implication for me! It seems strange that Ezekiel, if he knew anything about the island-city of Tyre, would suggest that the island would be attacked in these ways (vv. 8-11), rather than the mainland. However, I’m not sure how to interpret the distinction between “you” and “your daughters.” Can you offer some help?
Dr. Ferguson Replies:
Thank you for the compliment about my article. The problem is the NIV translation “mainland” in both verses. The literal Hebrew phrase is “daughters of the field.” “Field” refers to unprotected, open areas around any city. It is not necessarily a farmer’s field (cf. Gn 25:27, NIV “open country”). It is probably related to an Akkadian word referring to the area directly in front of a mountain or a temple.
“Daughters” refers to collections of helpless peasants living outside a fortified citadel. They were forced to build its defenses but were sadly denied their protection. The safety of the walls was reserved only for the elite. When an invading army came through, the “daughters” were the first to be slaughtered. Both the mainland and island cities of Tyre had such unprotected hamlets in from of them. (The NIV translates “daughters” as “settlements surrounding a city” in Numbers 21:25.)
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