I Travail Not, Nor Bring Forth Children

Isaiah 23

Here is another chapter steep in historical context, a prophecy against Tyre. Tyre is a port city and strategically placed along key trade routes connecting Egypt and all the Mediterranean to the lands of Assyria, Babylon, and also Jerusalem.

The concluding verses are curious. Though Tyre is referred to as a harlot in these verses, yet will her goods and labors be brought to a holy end in the work of the Lord. This leads me to consider parallels in our days, such as developments in technologies, air travel, and many other industries. The work of the Lord could not have gone forward, as it has towards a global conclusion, without the rise in industrialization as we have it today.

Second morning of reading this chapter, and it makes much more sense. It has been revealed to me. Tyre is to be destroyed because is a symbolic harlot. The accusations brought against her have to do with failure to attend to the real duties of life.

Be thou ashamed, O Zidon… I travail not, nor bring forth children, neither do I nourish up young men, nor bring up virgins.

Verse 4

The purposes of family life are pointed to here as chief purpose of our existence, a thing which the lands of Zidon and Tyre did not accommodate well.

The description of Tyre and Zidon as a harlot is a compelling one. The gratification of the senses will soon be past, with no posterity, no legitimate offspring, no family bonds to sustain in old age. As the harlot grows older with less appealing prospects, she will have to sing songs to remind others of her existence.

At the very end of the chapter, again, it talks of the merchandise and hire of Tyre being made into holiness before the Lord. The last sentence is key:

it shall not be treasured nor laid up; for her merchandise shall be for them that dwell before the Lord, to eat sufficiently, and for durable clothing.

Verse 18

This work of the Lord isn’t about filling up the coffers of the king. Rather for those that dwell before the Lord, it will be sufficient to eat and clothing to wear.

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