I am debating the issue of whether or not the Tanakh contains errors with a friend, who insists that Ezekiel 26 contains a false prophecy with regards to siege of Tyre by Nebuchadnezzar.
Specifically, it says:
11 With the hoofs of his horses shall he tread down all thy streets; he shall slay thy people with the sword, and the pillars of thy strength shall go down to the ground.
12 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 the houses of thy delight; and thy stones and thy timber and thy dust shall they lay in the midst of the waters.
For more background, see this article about the history of Tyre
I have checked my favorite commentary (ArtScroll Commentary by Eisemann) and the issue is not addressed, although there were helpful notes regarding the breaks in the passage.
There are several proposed solutions:
Ezekiel was simply wrong (especially about Nebuchadnezzar plundering the riches of Tyre). He tries to correct this in chapter 29.
Ezekiel was referring to both Nebuchadnezzar and Alexander the Great (as suggested by some Christian apologists). This is because the pronoun in verse 12 switches from "he", referring to Nebuchadnezzar, to "they" referring to the nations in verse 3. This seems unlikely because verses 7- 14 form a unit within the text. I am not a scholar in this regard but am open to the possibility of the Hebrew grammar allowing for this.
- This verse was fulfilled with the siege of Nebuchadnezzar because the related passage in ch. 29 mentions only the plunder not equaling the effort. The old city of Tyre on the mainland was indeed destroyed in the siege, although verse 8 could refer to this with the phrase "daughters in the field". It also seems unlikely that Tyre, which is referred to as being on an island in the sea multiple times, is not in view here. However, this Christian website suggests that it might be the case.
Which one of these would be the most appropriate response in light of the accusation that the account is erroneous? (i.e. that Nebuchadnezzar did not conquer the island portion of Tyre and destroy it in the manner described?)
Per the historical and archaeological records mentioned in the first article, the mainland portion of the city was destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, although the island portion was not. The verses above suggest that the island part of Tyre would be utterly destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar. This did not happen until the time of Alexander the Great, well after Nebuchadnezzar's death. How can we reconcile this apparent discrepency with what what we know to be true from reliable historians like Josephus?
Thank you for any help!