I just finished my series on Ezekiel’s prophecy of Tyre, and in one of the comments, we started discussing Ezekiel’s accuracy percentage. One commenter rounded off the accuracy to about 75%, which I thought was a bit high. This site gives Ezekiel about a 67% accuracy. But thinking of percentages made me curious, so I decided to break out the different parts of the prophecy to see how well he fares.
- Many nations: √
- Destroy walls: √
- While this portion of the prophecy doesn’t say who will do this or when, I’ll go ahead and count it.
- Break towers: √
- Same as above…
- Scrape clean: X
- Nope, this never did happen.
- Place for spreading of nets: √
- This one is actually not so clear. Does the prophecy mean that’s all it will be used for? I tend to think so, but since a lot of fishing is done there, we’ll go ahead and count it.
- Nebuchadnezzar come against it: √
- Neb destroy mainland: √
- Neb put battering rams against walls: X
- Neb break down towers: X
- Neb enter gates with army: X
- Neb trample streets: X
- Neb kill citizens: X
- Neb tear pillars to the ground: X
- “They” plunder riches: √
- If this is talking about Nebuchadnezzar, then it’s false, but since this did eventually happen, we’ll count it.
- “They” destroy houses: √
- Same as above…
- Cast the city’s debris in the sea: X
- Again, while this did happen to the mainland settlement during Alexander’s siege, it never happened to the actual city.
- Stop songs/lyres: X
- Never be rebuilt: X
Out of 18 prophecies, I show him getting 8 right — an accuracy of about 44%.
But before we run with that number, let’s look at the kinds of things he got right and the kinds of things he got wrong. He successfully predicted that Tyre would be attacked by many different nations. Since there’s no timeline given, this could apply at any point in the future. That’s playing it pretty safe. He also accurately predicted that Tyre’s walls and towers would one day be torn down, its riches plundered, and its houses destroyed. So as long as at least one of these “many nations” eventually succeeded in defeating Tyre, this would be fulfilled as well. Finally, he predicted that Tyre would be a place where fishermen spread their nets. While I think this probably means that’s all it would be for (which would fail), we’ll go ahead and let it count. But at this low standard, fishermen would already have been doing this at the time Ezekiel gave the prophecy.
In other words, these are pretty safe predictions, and it shouldn’t surprise us very much that they eventually came true.
On the other hand, when Ezekiel got specific, his accuracy was much lower. While he was right about Nebuchadnezzar coming against Tyre and destroying its mainland suburbs (which seems to have already happened at the time he “predicted” this), he was wrong in every other detail. Tyre was never “scraped bare” and Nebuchadnezzar did not succeed in tearing down its walls, entering the city, and killing its inhabitants. While Tyre was eventually defeated, it was rebuilt.
If we look at his track record on the 12 specific and unlikely prophecies (#s 4, 6-13, 16-18), he only got 2 of them right — an accuracy of 16.7%.