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Was the city of tyre in Ezekiel's prophecy rebuilt and his prophecy failed?

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/17/2016 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,263 times Debate No: 89801
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I argue that Ezekiel's prophecy concerning the city of tyre was wrong. Finer points I'll make is the city was rebuilt. That Nebuchadnezzar was suppose to destroy tyre not Alexander. Also how it fails as prophecy in general.


First of all, I must say that this is an outstanding debate topic! I very much look forward to debating this with you!

To begin, I assume we are talking primarily about Ezekiel 26? I am pretty sure this is the passage you are referencing, but if I am wrong please correct me!

I will start with your objection that Alexander destroyed Tyre, not Nebuchadnezzar. While a lot of perfectly reasonable people think this passage is predicting that the complete annihilation of Tyre will come at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, the passage is in fact actually predicting that Tyre will be destroyed by "many nations", of which Nebuchadnezzar's is one. I am using the NIV translation of the Bible, but if you prefer a different, academically verifiable translation, please feel free to say so and I will probably use yours.

The prophecy against Tyre begins in chapter 26, verse 3 with, "therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Tyre, and I will bring many nations against you, like the sea casting up its waves." As we can see from the next few verses, these nations were evidently successful in destroying Tyre. So this first part of the prophecy is claiming that Tyre's destruction will come at the hands of "many nations", not just Nebuchadnezzar.

Nebuchadnezzar's role in this prophecy was the destruction of Tyre's mainland settlements. In chapter 26, verse 8, the prophecy describes Nebuchadnezzar's efforts, "He will ravage your settlements on the mainland with the sword; he will set up siege works against you, build a ramp up to your walls and raise his shields against you." It then goes on to describe how awe-inspiring Nebuchadnezzar's army is and how devastated the people of mainland Tyre will be. However, the prophecy does not seem to claim that Nebuchadnezzar will destroy all of Tyre, but only the settlements on the mainland. It does not appear to claim that Nebuchadnezzar will bring the final destruction of Tyre, but it does say that he will devastate the mainland. This is an accurate prediction. Nebuchadnezzar would indeed ravage the mainland, and lay siege to Tyre's island city. So in regard to Nebuchadnezzar, the prophecy is quite correct.

The idea that Nebuchadnezzar was supposed to destroy the entire civilization of Tyre (even though this idea is blatantly denied in the first part of the prophecy) comes from the fact that, following the prophecy about Nebuchadnezzar's destruction of the mainland Tyre, the prophecy transitions to predicting that "they" will plunder and demolish Tyre, and that it will never be rebuilt. At first, many people assume "they" refers to the armies of Nebuchadnezzar, but it is actually going back to the "many nations" the prophecy was originally concerned with. Nebuchadnezzar is never mentioned directly in the description of how "they" will finish Tyre, but he was definitely mentioned by name and directly in the part of the prophecy predicting his attack on the mainland. "They" refers to the "many nations", not Nebuchadnezzar's armies.

And in this "they", it seems, Alexander is actually mentioned. The first time the passage stops referring to Nebuchadnezzar and goes back to talking about "they", it reads (in verse 12), "They will plunder your wealth and loot your merchandise; they will break down your walls and demolish your fine houses and throw your stones, timber and rubble into the sea." To my knowledge, it was not the common practice of the time to carry the rubble of conquered cities to the sea and deposit them. But that is precisely what Alexander did when he used the rubble from mainland Tyre to construct a bridge to the island city of Tyre, which he subsequently conquered. This particular "they" seems to refer to Alexander, who did indeed throw the "stone, timber, and rubble into the sea", the purpose of which was to make a bridge and march on what was left of Tyre. It is interesting to note that he was also working with a coalition of other nations, since he himself did not have a navy at the time and needed naval protection for his bridge-workers. So while Alexander played a vital role in the destruction of Tyre, he was not solely responsible, "many nations" were. Even if we don't count nations from other time periods such as Nebuchadnezzar.

So in regard to who would destroy Tyre, the prophecy seems totally accurate. But the confusion many people are under is fairly understandable.

The statement about Tyre being rebuilt is a lot more interesting and nuanced. It is certainly true that a city called Tyre presently exists in roughly the same location as the ancient city of Tyre. But whether this means Tyre was "rebuilt" is questionable.

First, when God refers to "you" and "Tyre", he is probably not referring to the physical city of Tyre, but rather the people that inhabit it. Their city was a symbol of the power of Tyre, but the prophecy that "you" will never be rebuilt is more likely to say that "you, the people of Tyre" will never be rebuilt, not that there will never be a physical city where Tyre once stood. I might have worded that strangely, so here is a somewhat comparable situation.

In American history, there are many instances of Native American villages being destroyed, and White American settlements being constructed in their place. It is not at all uncommon for cities and towns to arise in locations formerly occupied by Native American settlements, nor do I think it is particularly uncommon for those modern cities to adopt the names of the former Native American settlements out of regard for the location's history. Does that mean that the Native American settlements were rebuilt? I would argue that it does not. Even though the modern cities are in the same location, perhaps have the same name and maybe even are inhabited by some of the original occupants, I do not think it can be said that the Native American city was rebuilt. If you actually think that it can be said that the Native American city was rebuilt, then we can discuss from there. But I think you will agree that the fact that there are modern cities where Native American cities once stood does not mean that the Native American cities have rebuilt. And hopefully you see my logic for saying that similarly, the fact that a modern city exists roughly where Tyre once stood does not mean that Tyre was rebuilt.

Also, (this is less interesting but probably more important) I don't think modern Tyre is actually exactly where the ruins of Tyre are. I don't think they built the modern Tyre directly over the ruins of Tyre, but rather I think the former location of Tyre is still desolate. Some of it is even submerged. So as of yet the city of Tyre that stood at the time of the prophecy has not been rebuilt. I'm getting this from sources that agree with me though, but nobody else really seems to have an alternative opinion. So it seems that the location of Tyre is actually still devastated, though the modern city of "Tyre" is extremely nearby.

There is more I should probably say on this, but let's start here.

I look forward to discussing this with you!
Debate Round No. 1


I personally do not share your enthusiasm for this topic. I have discussed researched it ad nauseam. I chose the topic because it was the first thing that came to mind I know about unfortunately.
Having said that I'll engage anyway but hopefully this will be the last time. The ambiguity of the language makes it impossible to convince those who want to believe.
First let me say claims of supernatural revelation should contain components that could not have been known or imagined by the medium. If Ezekiel had mentioned Alexander by name it would be stronger evidence of divine revelation. The only passage describing any one destroying tyre other than Nebuchadnezzar mentions many nations. That is to ambiguous and without a set time for tyres destruction is an open ended assertion that eventually would come true whether Yahweh wanted it to or not. It's more plausible that Ezekiel was upset the tyrians were mocking Israel and desired retribution. In verse 7 ( I'm using the kjv) 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 horseman, and companies, and much people.
Nebuchadnezzar ruled over many nations. Many nations would have assisted him in military campaigns. Verses 8-11 describe how Nebuchadnezzar will lay siege the city of tyre. Tyre was an island city. The settlements were not considered part of the city of tyre. Yet Ezekiel describes Nebuchadnezzar entering tyre and destroying it with his armies. Which he did not do. Then in verse 12 comes the horrible little word that perpetuates this argument. Now there is no literary device or pause in action to tell the reader that the "they" is referring to any group of people. Naturally the reader would believe the " they" is Nebuchadnezzar' s armies. No context is provided suggesting he is now talking about the many nations. To further discuss how Ezekiel is wrong concerning Nebuchadnezzar jump to Ezekiel 29:18. Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against tyrus: every head was made bald and every shoulder was peeled: he had no wages, nor his army, for tyrus, for the service he had served against it. He and his army constitute a "they". Furthermore he didn't destroy them or he would have gained spoils. Also there is no need for Ezekiel to speak of Nebuchadnezzar getting any spoils if only verses 7-11 pertain to Nebuchadnezzar. It wasn't until verse 12 where that "they" is that spoils are mentioned. Verse 19 in chapter 29 is another failed prophecy of Ezekiel. Therefore thus saith the lord god; behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army. Of course this didn't happen. Also notice how a pretext is given when a change in subject occurs. Ezekiel may not have had a modern education but he didn't just skip around using a single pronoun as pretext. It is a stretch to say a 240 year leap from Nebuchadnezzar to Alexander the great was accomplished between verse 11 and 12 in Ezekiel 26.


Firstly, mainland Tyre was most definitely considered Tyre. I agree that it might not have been considered "the city of Tyre", but the prophecy never directly mentions "the city of Tyre", it's always just "Tyre". The mainland settlements are referred to as "Tyre" in much the same way that the entire Roman Empire was referred to as "Rome", not just the city.

In regard to the reason "they" refers to the "many nations"... at the beginning of the chapter, verse 4 refers to the many nations as "they" when it says "And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and break down her towers: I will also scrape the dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock." This is a clear statement that "they", the many nations, will destroy Tyrus (Tyre). So it is not at all unreasonable to conclude that when the prophecy transitions back to using the pronoun "they", that it is referring to the many nations that were previously referred to as "they". As far as context for describing the "many nations" is concerned, we have to consider that the prophecy about Nebuchadnezzar was a deviation from the prophecy concerning the "many nations", not the other way around. So if the prophecy were to cease to describe Nebuchadnezzar (which the change of pronoun back to the plural form indicates) it is most logical to conclude that the prophecy about the many nations is basically just continuing after the "deviation" about Nebuchadnezzar.

However, there does not appear to be any context or reason that he would suddenly switch from revering to the actions of Babylon as the actions of "him" (Nebuchadnezzar) to "they". There is no readily apparent reason why the pronoun suddenly changes, unless there is a change in what is being described. Especially since verses 7-11 refer to Nebuchadnezzar directly and explicitly, while the following verses do not.

I'm quite glad you brought up Ezekiel 29:18! I think this was a very intelligent verse to choose! This verse is saying that Nebuchadnezzar drove a hard campaign against the Tyrians, but did not get any reward. (Spoils it seems, from the following verses.) If that is what you are saying, I agree. You yourself pointed out that Ezekiel 26:12 explicitly said that "they" gained spoils from Tyre, but Ezekiel 29:18 seems to be saying that Nebuchadnezzar's army really didn't gain any spoils. So this verse further clarifies that Nebuchadnezzar was not being referred to by "they", because unlike "they", Nebuchadnezzar did not take spoils from Tyre. Honestly, I'm not quite sure how this verse supports the idea that "they" refers to Nebuchadnezzar, if that is what you mean to argue here.

In my assessment the prophecy most definitely contains components that could not have been known by Ezekiel, namely, the fact that the rubble of Tyre would be thrown into the sea. How would he have predicted that? The King James Version (which I believe you said you are using,) reads, "they shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water." Laying the rubble of conquered nations in the sea was a virtually unheard of practice at the time of Ezekiel. But this is exactly what would happen when Alexander lay the rubble from mainland Tyre in "the midst of the water" in order to construct a bridge to attack the island city of Tyre. It seems highly unlikely that Ezekiel would accurately predict that the rubble from mainland Tyre would be placed in the sea by his own knowledge or imagination, as this was a virtually (and possibly entirely) unheard of practice at the time. And frankly, it really doesn't make a whole lot of sense unless we understand that the reason for laying the rubble in the sea was to build a bridge. But that is my interpretation, as this seems to me to be the most rational interpretation of that passage. (Obviously.)

In regard to the prophecy about Egypt, I am unclear as to why you do not think this prophecy was correct. You yourself quoted the prophecy as saying, " Therefore thus saith the lord god; behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army." Which part of this did not happen? This prophecy (here) is saying that Egypt will become subject to Babylon, and that Babylon will take her spoils. Many people interpret this to mean full-blown occupation, but that is actually never said at all. Egypt did indeed become subject to Nebuchadnezzar, and agreed to pay him tribute. In the sense that they became subject and had to pay tribute, it is perfectly reasonable to say that the Babylonians took "her spoil" and it became the wages for Nebuchadnezzar's army. Are you interpreting this a different way, or is my assessment fair?

I personally do not think jumping forward 240 years between verses 11 and 12 is too much of a stretch, since this prophecy concerns the destruction of Tyre. It makes sense to jump to the events most significant to the fall of Tyre, even if they are rather spread out time wise. But even if this interpretation does appear to be a stretch, that does not mean that this interpretation is wrong.

In regard to the alleged ambiguity of the prophecies, I am afraid I will have to blatantly disagree. The fact that there is enough specificity that we are arguing about whether those specifics were fulfilled, for one, indicates to me that there is not much ambiguity. However, if you believe that the prophecy is significantly ambiguous, (which you said you do I think) I must ask then how you are sure that your interpretation of the prophecy is the correct one? If you actually don't believe the prophecy is ambiguous, of course, my question is totally irrelevant.

Thanks! This is so much fun!
Debate Round No. 2


The mainland was referenced in other parts of the bible as ushu. While it may have been absorbed by tyre it wasn't the city being described. In verse nine when "God" was describing Nebuchadnezzar breaking down the towers of tyre the city. In verse 11 it is said that "with the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down ALL thy streets". Surely Ezekiel or "God" didn't misspeak here when he said ALL thy streets. This was said to the city of tyre. Even if the mainland was considered tyre, all the streets of tyre weren't on the mainland settlements.
As far as your comparison to Rome you damage your argument. If a prophecy had been made that Rome would be destroyed, it would be inappropriate to consider accurate if part of the empire was attacked and not Rome itself.
It is absolutely unreasonable to ASSUME the "they" in verse 12 is referring to anyone other than Nebuchadnezzar and his armies. The text offers no indication that a change in subject has occurred. Unless Ezekiel was one of the worst writers in history. Which is not likely seeing how throughout the rest of the book he provides context when changing time or subject. The only way to assume otherwise is if Ezekiel was 4 years old and we could ask him what he was thinking. Another note here is Ezekiel 30:10 and 11 Thus saith the lord God; I will also make the multitude of Egypt cease by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.11 He and his people with him, the terrible of the nations, shall be brought to destroy the land: and "they" shall draw their swords against Egypt, and fill the land with the slain. Here Ezekiel is using the pronoun they to describe Nebuchadnezzar and his people.
Concerning Ezekiel's prophecy of Egypt and Nebuchadnezzar, consider this" Behold, I will GIVE THE LAND OF EGYPT unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon". That is not saying Nebuchadnezzar will campaign against Egypt and receive some spoils. That clearly says Egypt as a whole will be Nebuchadnezzar's. Nebuchadnezzar did campaign against Egypt with some success, but never brought Egypt under his control.

The 240 year jump between verses is a stretch even when considering the rest of Ezekiel. One chapter begins designating the 10th year, another the 7th year, the 11th year etc... He emphatically distinguishes far shorter time periods to entire chapters. Not to mention Phoenician culture persisted in tyre beyond Alexander the great.

All of prophecy is ambiguous. That's why it has been debated for so long. Long before you and I ,others have argued these same points. Yet the debate persists.

On a bright note this stimulating.


Sorry for the delay! I was unable to post for a while for some reason.

It is true that one of Tyre's mainland cities was probably Ushu. I'm not entirely sure how that assists your argument, since the prophecy is talking about "mainland settlements", not necessarily that particular "settlement". Did I represent your statement fairly?

In regard to the statement about Rome damaging my argument; if the prophecy was that Rome/Tyre would be destroyed, but only a portion of Rome/Tyre was attacked then yes of course the prophecy would be wrong. But all of Tyre was indeed attacked and subjugated. Was that what you intended to argue? If the prophecy was that all of Tyre would be destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, then I can follow the logic. But it seems that the prophecy is a prophecy that Nebuchadnezzar would attack "Tyre" and ravage the mainland settlements.

As to the statement about Nebuchadnezzar's armies trampling "all your streets..." I was wondering when this might come up! This is a prediction that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer all of Tyre, which he did.

Here, we have to differentiate between the clear prediction that Nebuchadnezzar would enter the city of Tyre, and the prediction that Tyre would someday be destroyed. I agree with your assessment that the prophecy predicts that Nebuchadnezzar would conquer all of Tyre, (which he did) but I am unaware of any basis for saying that he was "supposed" to destroy all of Tyre. He was definitely supposed to "ravage" mainland Tyre, but there is no mention of what he was supposed to do to the island city of Tyre other than conquer it. (As a side note, I think the statement that Nebuchadnezzar's armies will cover "all" Tyre's streets might be just to say that he will conquer all of Tyre. But it is in all reasonableness probably also true literally, as I will argue.) The prediction that Nebuchadnezzar's armies will trample all the streets of Tyre is not necessarily a prediction that his armies will destroy all of Tyre, only that they will conquer it. But I agree with you when you say that the statement that Nebuchadnezzar's armies will trample all of Tyre's streets probably means that they will conquer and enter all of Tyre.

That clarified, it is perfectly reasonable to conclude that Nebuchadnezzar's armies did in fact trample all the streets of the civilization of Tyre, including the city of Tyre. Even though Nebuchadnezzar did not destroy Tyre, we must keep in mind that he did in fact take it. The city of Tyre would eventually surrender to Nebuchadnezzar following Nebuchadnezzar's siege, presumably on the condition that he would not devastate the city the way he had so many others. Now, if the city surrendered, it is not in the least unreasonable to conclude that he probably entered the city. It is also unlikely that the Tyrians would have surrendered on the alleged condition that Nebuchadnezzar be merciful to their city, if they did not expect him to enter it. So to say that Nebuchadnezzar's armies trampled "all" of Tyre's streets is probably perfectly accurate, unless Nebuchadnezzar accepted Tyre's surrender, bid them good-day, and simply left. This exception seems enormously unlikely, so it is totally reasonable to conclude that he and his armies entered the city.

This a perfectly reasonable objection. But it is built upon the assumption that if Nebuchadnezzar were to have entered the island city of Tyre, then he would have destroyed it. This is evidently not the case, as Tyre surrendered to Nebuchadnezzar but was not destroyed. Nor does it seem that the prophecy predicted that he would.

As to the interpretation of verse 12, your own interpretation is actually built on an assumption. It is not an unreasonable assumption (most assumptions are not) nor are assumptions necessarily a bad thing. You are assuming that because Nebuchadnezzar is the subject of verse 11, then he is also the subject of verse 12 because no alternative subject is explicitly named. This is not in the least an irrational assumption, but it is, still, entirely an assumption.

If I have left you under the impression that I am arbitrarily assuming that verse 12 refers to the "many nations", then I have not made my reasoning clear enough. As you will note in the King James Version, the prophecy first mentions the "many nations" as, "Therefore thus 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. 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." Notice, the many nations are almost immediately referred to as "they". The pronoun "they" is not used again until verse 12, where I argue it was again used to refer to the "many nations" as it was previously. Now, the actions of Babylon are referred to as "his" (Nebuchadnezzar's) actions, even generally when referring to the actions of "his" troops in verses 7-11. Verse 11 describes the actions of his armies as such, "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." If verse 11 refers to the actions of Nebuchadnezzar's army as "his" actions, why would the pronoun suddenly change if it still referred to the same thing? If Ezekiel/God was still talking about Nebuchadnezzar and his armies in verse 12, why wasn't the same pronoun used that was used to talk about Nebuchadnezzar and his armies in verses 7-11?

It does not seem reasonable to say that the pronoun should change between verses 11 and 12 if the subject remains the same, but the change of pronoun makes sense if there is a change of subject. The pronoun that is used in verse 12 is the same pronoun used to describe the "many nations" that the prophecy was talking about before it started talking about Nebuchadnezzar. So it seems most reasonable to say that "they" again means "many nations".

In one of your arguments, you claimed, "All of prophecy is ambiguous." So to be fair, we should test this claim. What is your interpretation of verse 12? If we cannot produce a viable alternative explanation, then this passage is probably not ambiguous. I am arguing that verse 12 is a prediction of Alexander the Great's bridge, which he constructed out of the rubble of Tyre. What is your interpretation? Also, do you have an alternative explanation to verse 8? Or can we agree on the non-ambiguity of that verse as well? You can probably see where I am going with this argument.

Finally, your statement at the beginning of this discussion was that "I argue that Ezekiel's prophecy concerning the city of tyre was wrong." But now you are arguing that "All of prophecy is ambiguous." If you actually believed that it was ambiguous, you would have originally said "I argue that Ezekiel's prophecy concerning the city of tyre was ambiguous, and its fulfillment dependent on interpretation." As it is, you flat-out said Ezekiel's prophecy was wrong. So I assume that you simply chose an unfortunate word to describe your thought. Am I correct or do you have another explanation?

In regard to the Egyptian prophecy you also seem to be rather fond of, you quoted "Behold, I will GIVE THE LAND OF EGYPT unto Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon". Your interpretation of this was "That is not saying Nebuchadnezzar will campaign against Egypt and receive some spoils. That clearly says Egypt as a whole will be Nebuchadnezzar's." This is a perfectly valid interpretation, but then you say that "Nebuchadnezzar did campaign against Egypt with some success, but never brought Egypt under his control." This sentence is utterly untrue, Egypt was subjugated to Nebuchadnezzar, and therefore brought under his control. Are you defining "control" differently then me? The land of Egypt most certainly was "given" to Nebuchadnezzar, the way "control" is usually defined. I would in this case usually use "controlled" as synonymous with "conquered" or "subjugated."

It would appear that the enthusiasm is returning to you!
This is indeed most stimulating!
Debate Round No. 3


Tyre was a city itself. There is nothing describing it as having other cities.Ushu is what other civilizations called the mainland settlements to tyre.

My reason for mentioning Rome, is to say when you say Rome in a sentence it means Rome. Not a territory under it's control.

There is nothing in the Ezekiel 26 prophecy that mentions the mainland settlements specifically. Nowhere in verses 7-11 does it say Nebuchadnezzar will attack the mainland settlements. The prophecy is speaking directly to Tyre. One doesn't need to assume this that is what is written.

You assume alot. We are not told Nebuchadnezzar enters the city. There are no accounts that he did. We are told that he didn't receive any spoils or wages for his campaign against tyre. That's what Ezekiel wrote in verse29:18. I want to iterate here no where in Ezekiel 26 did it say settlements or any other synonym for the word.

The only base for assumption I have concerning verse 12 is proper cohesive form as it pertains to writing. Say someone writes an article on baseball. The first paragraph reads "there are alot of good teams this year. It's going to be a good season." Then in the next paragraph talks about the team that did best last year. Writes how the teams coach has brought on some promising rookies. Then somewhere towards the end of that paragraph writes "they should give us a good show this year".
Anyone reading that would assume the they in that last sentence was referring to the team in paragraph two. Not the alot of good teams from paragraph one.

Ambiguous- open to more than one interpretation.

Does many nations seem unambiguous to you? It's not all the nations. There aren't specific nations listed. There isn't a specific number of nations listed. You don't need to ask if it's ambiguous. If it wasn't there wouldn't be so many interpretations.

The language used in prophecy is ambiguous. However it is clear to all of us Ezekiel is predicting tyre will be destroyed and never rebuilt.

On the many nations. Was Babylon a nation? Or was it an empire? Nebuchadnezzar was a Chaldean.

No Nebuchadnezzar never controlled all of Egypt following this prophecy. In 566 b.c.e. Ahmose II defeats the Babylonian invasion of Egypt. There were no further attempts of a Babylonian invasion of Egypt.

To move things forward I will say that even Alexander didn't destroy tyre. Or the Phoenician culture.


As far as the Egyptian prophecy, to be perfectly honest, I do not really think this is a worthwhile discussion since we really have very little historical record of Nebuchadnezzar's invasion of Egypt. (If you want to continue the discussion anyway, feel free. But I do not think it is worthwhile unless you are more aware of the archeological and historical records of this event then I am.) We have a source that says that Nebuchadnezzar attempted to invade Egypt, and that Ahmose II gathered his armies and marched against Nebuchadnezzar. But as to the details of Nebuchadnezzar's campaign, I at least am totally in the dark. I have not come across any historical records or archeological evidence that describes the campaign really, or describes the aftermath of the campaign. If you have found such sources, then PLEASE tell me! I am immensely frustrated trying to find details about this conflict, but all I can find is that there was, in fact, a conflict, and that people generally assume Ahmose II won. But the details of the conflict, as far as I can tell, are totally unknown. I'm not really sure why this is unknown. Ahmose II was in a bit of a dangerous political position, so if he defeated the great Nebuchadnezzar, I would think he would of made a massive event of it. I have heard a (very extensive) theory that Nebuchadnezzar was successful in his invasion, but proceeded to conduct genocide against the Egyptians. Because history is told by the victors, this would make sense because Nebuchadnezzar might not have wanted people to know he committed genocide. But again, this is purely speculation on my part. Until we have enough evidence to understand what happened, we cannot really argue about whether the prophecy was fulfilled. If you have such evidence, however, please feel free to present it! What evidence led you to believe that Ahmose II was victorious over Nebuchadnezzar? I have not personally come across enough evidence to make an extra-Biblical judgment call.

(I realize that this means that my previous argument regarding the battle of Carchimesh is totally invalid.)

To begin, one of your last sentences was "even Alexander didn't destroy tyre." However, one of your very first sentences in this debate was, "That Nebuchadnezzar was suppose to destroy tyre not Alexander." In your original statement you seem to claim that Alexander destroyed tyre, but in your most recent statement you say that he did not. These two statements are contradictory, unless I am interpreting them unfairly. Did I interpret your claims unfairly, or has your position on this matter evolved since we began the debate?

You seem to want to "move this along", so I hope you don't mind if I become a little more aggressive in my arguments.

I agree that some parts of the prophecy are a little ambiguous, such as the "many nations." However, your statement was, "All of prophecy is ambiguous", not parts of this prophecy are ambiguous. I still await your interpretation of verse 12. At this point, you have not provided an alternative explanation for this passage, so I assume that we are in happy agreement that verse 12 is not ambiguous. Thus, it cannot be claimed that the whole prophecy is ambiguous.

I am glad you brought up your confusion about Nebuchadnezzar and the mainland settlements. I had not realized that you held an alternative interpretation of these passages. So PLEASE present your alternative interpretation of the verse I will present. The verse that says that Nebuchadnezzar will ravage the mainland is verse 8. In my translation (NIV) the verse reads, "He will ravage your settlements on the mainland with the sword; he will set up siege works against you, build a ramp up to your walls and raise his shields against you." The version you prefer, the King James Version, reads, "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." My version outright translates "settlements on the mainland", but yours says "daughters in the field." Daughters in the field refer to the mainland settlements. The only fields (to my knowledge) that Tyre had were on the mainland. The city of Tyre was pretty much built on a rock, and while conducive to fishing was not at all suitable for farming. (Rocks usually aren't.) The only place Tyre really had room for fields was on the mainland. The city of Tyre covered the entire rock it was built on, so its fields had to be on the mainland. I do not know where it's fields could plausibly thought to be, besides the mainland.
So when your version says that Nebuchadnezzar will slay all Tyre's "daughters in the field", it is saying that Nebuchadnezzar will attack the mainland settlement, because the only fields Tyre really had or could have had were on the mainland. How do you interpret this passage? Do you interpret it another way, or can we agree that verse 8 is talking about the mainland?
My question about pronouns still has not been answered. If the prophecy really was referring to the same subject in verses 7-11 and 12, why would the pronoun change? Why would the prophecy refer to as Nebuchadnezzar's armies using one pronoun, but change pronouns in verse 12? Why would the pronoun change, if there was no change in subject?
Of course, I think the subject is changing back to the "many nations" originally stated.

Ushu refers to a city, not all of Tyre's mainland settlements. Ushu was indeed a city that was probably controlled by Tyre on the mainland, but Ushu is not synonymous with "mainland settlements".

On the many nations, I am not entirely sure what Babylon would be considered. The actions of Babylon are always referred to as the actions of Nebuchadnezzar, but of course that is what we are arguing about.

As far as your baseball analogy, there are a few adjustments I would like to make to it. Firstly, a better analogy might be, "There are a lot of good teams this year. They will give us a good season." In the Ezekiel prophecy, the many nations are referred to as "they" before the section on Nebuchadnezzar. Secondly, the paper would not just talk about how a team did well last year, it would be how a coach's team did well last year. This is important, because if we are referring to the coach's team as "a team that did well last year" then switching to "they" is totally reasonable. But a more accurate "Translation" would be, "Coach Whoever did really well last year." This is more like the prophecy, because the armies are referred to as "Nebuchadnezzar's armies", not usually just "armies." We have to keep in mind that in verses 7-11, the armies are pretty much exclusively referred to as "his" armies. Finally, we must consider that the actions of Nebuchadnezzar's armies are largely characterized as Nebuchadnezzar's actions. So that part of your analogy might be better as "Coach Whoever did really well last year. His rookies are really good, and he is almost sure to win the league championship. He will certainly dominate all the other teams." Like the prophecy, the actions of the Coach's teams are being described, but they are described as the Coach's actions. So the whole analogy would read,

"There are a lot of good teams this year. They will give us a good season.
Coach Whoever did really well last year. His rookies are really good, and he is almost sure to win the league championship. He will certainly dominate all the other teams.
They should give us a good show."

I can definitely see how on first glance "they" might seem like it refers to Coach Whoever's team, but the action's of Coach Whoever's team are usually referred to as the actions of Coach Whoever. The pronoun shift seems, unjustified. This isn't a perfect allegory by any means, of course. Because the Ezekiel prophecy is much longer, more detailed and a little more subtle. But I liked it so I'll play along with it.

Please answer all my questions if you can.

This is so much fun! You reply really fast, it seems like!
Debate Round No. 4


My argument concerning the "they" in verse 12 is on syntax.

As usual the debate on prophecy becomes one of semantics. My opponent's argument rests solely on semantics. Most likely my opponent will appeal to the authority of Christian apologist with PhDs. Whom have an emotionally vested interest in the bible being the inerrant word of God.

Ezekiel prophesied Tyre would be destroyed and never rebuilt.
Tyre is a modern city in the same geographic location as the ancient city. Ezekiel was wrong, despite centuries of wars and turmoil it has been rebuilt.

My opponent will argue the people are not the same.

All cultures have changed and assimilated over 2000 years to some degree.
A geneticist featured in an article on found 30 percent of males across Lebanon possess genetic signatures of the Phoenicians. Phoenician culture was the dominant culture in Tyre in Ezekiel's day.

My opponent believes the "many nations" in verse 3-6 is referring to Alexander the great 240 years after Ezekiel's prophecy.

Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Babylonian empire.
An empire is states or countries under one authority.
Nebuchadnezzar and his armies satisfy the "many nations".

I argue Ezekiel 26 fails as prophecy.
Biblical prophecy is believed to come from a supernatural source.
A supernatural source is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence.
Everything described in Ezekiel 26 could have been imagined by a mortal man.

Thanks for debating. If you would like I set up another one on Ezekiel's prophecy concerning Nebuchadnezzar and Egypt. I feel it merits it's own.


Ahh, closing statements! I feel so mean writing such direct arguments...but here goes!

My argument concerning the identity of "They" in differentiation from Nebuchadnezzar is this. The actions of the armies of Nebuchadnezzar are referred to as "his" actions in verses 7-11, but the actions of the subject in verse 12 and on are referred to as the actions of "they". My opponent has been unable to provide a reason why the pronoun would change, but the subject remain the same. So the most logical conclusion is that the subject does not remain the same.

Additionally, the original subject of the prophecy is the "many nations". It is perfectly reasonable to conclude that the change of pronoun in verse 12 from "He" to "they" is indicating that the prophecy is shifting back to the original subject.

My argument that "they" refers to Nebuchadnezzar rests solely on the assumption that a reasonable person would read "they" to mean Nebuchadnezzar, and as such "they" must in fact actually refer to Nebuchadnezzar.

I really liked the baseball analogy, so I will use it again. The prophecy's structure more or less is like this,
"There are a lot of good teams this year. They will give us a good season.
Coach Whoever did really well last year. His rookies are really good, and he is almost sure to win the league championship. He will certainly dominate all the other teams.
They should give us a good show."
A reasonable person might assume that "they" refers to the "Coach Whoever's team". But for the reasons stated above, it actually refers to the "many good teams".

It is necessary to point out that, while many individuals are emotionally invested in the prophecy being correct, many are also invested in the prophecy being incorrect. This is not a characteristic of only my particular position, but of humans in general. I would encourage whoever is reading this to instead asses the evidence, arguments and logic of both our sides, with the understanding that there are many individuals on both sides heavily invested in the outcome.

It has been argued that 30 percent of males in Lebanon posses genetic signatures of the Phoenicians. Lebanon is a country of which Tyre is a "city". This statistic may be true of the country as a whole, but that does not mean that it is true of the modern "city" of Tyre. Additionally, the Phoenician people spanned a comparatively vast region, from northern Israel up into Syria. "Phoenician" cities included the cities of Baalbak and notably Sidon, for example. Simply because 30 percent of males in the entire country of Lebanon posses genetic signatures of a people that spanned an area that included Tyre does not mean that those who inhabit the city "Tyre" today are the "same people" that inhabited ancient Tyre.

Indeed, the a city called Tyre exists near the ancient city of old Tyre. But as I claimed earlier (and my opponent did not challenge me) the location of the ancient city of Tyre is still essentially desolate, and in fact is at least partially submerged. I also used the analogy (and again, this went unchallenged) that in American history, many Native American cities were destroyed, and replaced by White American settlements. These White American cities were built in the same location as the Native American cities, and in some cases adopted a name out of respect for the area's historical heritage. But this does not mean that the Native American city was rebuilt, even though a city exists in the same location with potentially the same name.

To illustrate that this prophecy contained elements that could not have been known to Ezekial, I referenced verse 12, which reads, "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." I argue that the statement that they "shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water" is a reference to the bridge Alexander the Great constructed using the rubble of mainland Tyre. No alternative interpretation to the meaning of "shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water" was provided. It was virtually unheard of for nations to take the rubble from conquered nations and place them in the sea at the time Ezekiel wrote the prophecy, so it is unlikely that Ezekiel could have predicted this out of his own knowledge.

Briefly, a few more aggressive points to make.

No alternative explanation as to what "shall lay thy stones and thy timber and thy dust in the midst of the water" was given.

No alternative explanation was given of verse 8, other than my explanation that verse 8 refers to Nebuchadnezzar ravaging the mainland.

Therefore, it cannot be said that "all of prophecy is ambiguous" as was claimed. Because no alternative interpretation could be given to these.

It should also be noted that it was argued that the prophecy of Ezekiel was "wrong", but then it was argued that the prophecy was "ambiguous" which is contradictory.

I agree, the Egyptian prophecy DEFINITELY warrants its own debate. I still do not think we have enough evidence about how this invasion went to be able to really argue about whether the prophecy was fulfilled or not. So I'll wait to see if somebody more knowledgeable than I challenges you, and if not I probably will. It would certainly be a fun debate, one where the evidence both sides can appeal to is But my hope is somebody will challenge you that actually has a lot of evidence they can bring up, opposed to me who really can't find a whole lot.

Thanks! I really enjoyed debating this with you!
Debate Round No. 5
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by ThesnamisSorreall 2 years ago
Awwww. Nice debate!
Posted by ThesnamisSorreall 2 years ago
ThesnamisSorreall far it seems we're neck in neck! We must have done a good job!!!!!!
Posted by Youdontknowjeff 2 years ago
I wasn't trying to offer a rebuttal. I was just hoping for more than the usual. But it is only one chapter.
I apologize if my comment came off as insulting. I enjoyed debating with you as well.
Posted by ThesnamisSorreall 2 years ago
I am sorry you found my arguments disappointing. I actually really enjoyed debating this with you! You are a lot more direct in your arguments than most people, and your use of analogy argument was masterful. I look forward to seeing how you'll debate in the Egyptian prophecy debate!
As a side note, "your arguments are disappointing" is not really a legitimate rebuttal. But I certainly applaud the attempt!
Posted by Youdontknowjeff 2 years ago
Thanks for debating. But your arguments are disappointing. I await the day a christian makes a good case for their belief. I was raised a christian. Everyone I know is a christian. I once considered myself a christian.
I feel it should be disappointing to christians this debate hinges so strongly on semantics. You should find it embarrassing that you can't see the ambiguity in prophecy. I care about truth. Not my opinion or the opinion of others. I will believe truth even if it is against me. This debate was disappointing to me.
Posted by ThesnamisSorreall 2 years ago
Ahem. By "my" argument that "they" refers to Nebuchadnezzar, I mean "the" argument that "they refers to Nebuchadnezzar. That is exceedingly awkward.
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