Paul arrives in Tyre

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In regard to Paul and his many journeys, so much has been written concerning the past history and present condition of Tyre, that these subjects are familiar to every reader, and it is unnecessary to dwell upon them here.

When the Apostle Paul came to Tyre (Acts 21:3), it was neither in the glorious state described in the prophecies of Ezekiel and Isaiah (Ezekiel 26, 27, Isaiah 23) nor in the abject desolation in which it now fulfils those prophecies.

Tyre was in the condition in which it had been left by the successors of Alexander the Great. The island near the mainland, which once held the city, was joined to the mainland by a causeway, with a harbor on the north and another on the south. In honor of its ancient greatness, the Romans made it a free city and it still commanded some commerce.

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It is probable that the Christians at Tyre were not numerous. A Church had existed there ever since the dispersion consequent upon the death of Stephen. Apostle Paul almost certainly had visited it, if not on his mission of charity from Antioch to Jerusalem, yet doubtless on his way to the Jerusalem Conference.


Mosaic of the Apostle Paul
Mosaic of the Apostle Paul
Unknown artist, 1145 - 60

There were not only disciples at Tyre, but prophets. Some of those who had the prophetical power foresaw the danger which was hanging over Apostle Paul, and endeavored to persuade him to desist from his purpose of going to Jerusalem. We see that different views of duty might be taken by those who had the same spiritual knowledge, though that knowledge were supernatural.

Apostle Paul looked on the coming danger from a higher point. What to others was an overwhelming darkness, to him appeared only as a passing storm. And he resolved to face it, in the faith that He who had protected him hitherto would still give him shelter and safety.

The time spent at Tyre in unlading the vessel, and probably taking in a new cargo, and possibly, also, waiting for a fair wind, was "seven days," including a Sunday (Acts 21:4). Apostle Paul "broke bread" with the disciples, and discoursed as he had done at Troas. The weekdays, too, would afford many precious opportunities for confirming those who were already Christians and for making the Gospel known to others, both Jews and Gentiles.

When the time came for Paul's ship to sail, a scene was witnessed on the Phoenician shore like that which had made the Apostle's departure from Miletus so impressive and affecting. There attended the apostle through the city gate, as he and his companions went out to join the vessel now ready to receive them, were all the Christians of Tyre and even their "wives and children." They then, as a group, knelt down and prayed together on the level shore (Acts 21:5).

We are not to imagine in Tyre any Jewish place of worship, like the proseucha at Philippi, but simply that they were on their way to the ship. The last few moments were precious to Paul, and could not be so well employed as in praying to Him who alone can give true comfort and protection. The time spent in prayer, however, was soon passed.

The group tore themselves from each other's embrace. Paul and his companions went on board the ship while the believers living in Tyre returned home sorrowful and anxious. The ship then left the harbor and sailed southwards on her way to Ptolemais.

It is evident that Apostle Paul's company sailed from Tyre to Ptolemais within the day. At the latter city, as at the former, there were Christian disciples, who had probably been converted at the same time and under the same circumstances as those of Tyre. Another opportunity was afforded for the salutations and encouragement of brotherly love. The missionary party, however, stayed here only one day. Though they had accomplished the voyage in abundant time to reach Jerusalem at Pentecost, they hastened onwards, that they might linger some days at Caesarea.

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