«In the mouth of a fool is a rod of pride, but the lips of the wise will preserve them» (Proverbs 14:3).
Tyre was the most prominent Phoenician city which, from the tenth century BC, took shape under the reign of Hiram I and exerted a solid influence on the rest of the Phoenician cities until the sixth century. Hiram joined two islets through a levee and erected great temples dedicated to Melqart, Astarte, and Baal Shamin. The authors of antiquity praised the beauty and grandeur of the city. It became very famous for its maritime activity, as its traders were the first to navigate the Mediterranean waters. Prosperity filled its inhabitants with pride. The prophet Ezekiel conveys a message from God to the king of Tyre: «Because your heart is lifted up,
And you say, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of gods, in the midst of the seas,’ yet you are a man, and not a god. . . . With your wisdom and your understanding you have gained riches for yourself, and gathered gold and silver into your treasuries; by your great wisdom in trade you have increased your riches, and your heart is lifted up because of your riches, . . . therefore, I will bring strangers against you, the most terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom, and defile your splendor. They shall throw you down into the Pit, and you shall die the death of the slain in the midst of the seas» (Ezekiel 28:2-8). The prophet even compares the attitude of the king of Tyre with Lucifer himself, who corrupted his wisdom because of his splendor (verse 17).
The prophecy was fulfilled to the point. The armies of Alexander the Great waged war against Tyre on January 332 BC and imposed a siege of eight months, which lasted through several phases, with advances and setbacks on the part of both sides. The final attack came in August of the same year: the Greek general employed in his operation all human and material resources, including an immense fleet that shattered the walls of the proud city. The Greeks massacred their enemies, killing about eight thousand Tyrians in the storming of the metropolis and crushing about two thousand more on the shore of the beach.
Pride is not an insignificant evil. That is why the psalmist prayed: «Keep back Your servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me. Then I shall be blameless, and I shall be innocent of great transgression» (Psalm 19:13).