Jer 48:1-47. Prophecy
It had taken part with the Chaldeans against Judea
24:2). Fulfilled by
Nebuchadnezzar five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, when also
he attacked Egypt (Jer 43:8-13) and Ammon (Jer 49:1-6). [Josephus, Antiquities, 10:9,7]. Jeremiah in
this prophecy uses that of Isa 15:1-16:14, amplifying and adapting it to his
purpose under inspiration, at the same time confirming its divine
authority. Isaiah, however, in his prophecy refers to the devastation
of Moab by the Assyrian king, Shalmaneser; Jeremiah refers to
that by Nebuchadnezzar.
1. Nebo—a mountain and town of Moab; its
meaning is "that which fructifies."
Kiriathaim—a city of Moab,
consisting of two cities, as the word signifies; originally held
by the Emim (Ge 14:5).
Misgab—meaning "elevation." It lay on
2. no more praise—(Isa 16:14).
in Heshbon—The foe having taken
Heshbon, the chief city of Moab (Jer 48:45), in it devise evil against
Moab ("it") saying, Come, &c. Heshbon was midway between the
rivers Arnon and Jabbok; it was the residence of Sihon, king of the
Amorites, and afterwards a Levitical city in Gad (Nu 21:26). There is a play on words in the
Hebrew, "Heshbon, Hashbu." Heshbon means a place
of devising or counsel. The city, heretofore called the
seat of counsel, shall find other counsellors, namely,
those who devise its destruction.
thou shall be cut down …
Madmen—rather, by a play on words on the meaning of
madmen ("silence"), Thou shalt be brought to silence, so
as well to deserve thy name (Isa 15:1). Thou shalt not dare to utter a
3. Horonaim—the same as the city Avara,
mentioned by Ptolemy. The word means
"double caves" (Ne 2:10; Isa 15:5).
4. little ones … cry—heightening
the distress of the scene. The foe does not spare even infants.
5. going up of Luhith … going down of
Horonaim—Horonaim lay in a plain, Luhith on a height. To the
latter, therefore, the Moabites would flee with "continual
weeping," as a place of safety from the Chaldeans. Literally,
"Weeping shall go up upon weeping."
6. They exhort one another to flee.
heath—or the juniper (see on Jer 17:6). Maurer
translates, "Be like one naked in the wilderness." But the sense
is, Live in the wilderness like the heath, or juniper; do not
"trust in" walls (Jer 48:7)
[Grotius]. (Compare Mt 24:16-18).
7. thy works—namely, fortifications
built by thy work. Moab was famous for its fortresses (Jer 48:18). The antithesis is to Jer 48:6, "Be … in the wilderness," where
there are no fortified cities.
thou … also—like the rest of the
surrounding peoples, Judah, &c.
Chemosh—the tutelary god of Moab
(Nu 21:29; Jud 11:24; 1Ki 11:7; 2Ki 23:13). When a people were vanquished,
their gods also were taken away by the victors (Jer 43:12).
8. the valley … shall perish—that
is, those dwelling in the valley.
9. Give wings, &c.—(Ps 55:6). Unless it get wings, it cannot escape
the foe. "Wings," the Hebrew root meaning is a "flower" (Job 14:2); so the flower-like
plumage of a bird.
10. work of … Lord—the divinely
appointed utter devastation of Moab. To represent how entirely this is
God's will, a curse is pronounced on the Chaldeans, the instrument, if
they do it negligently (Margin) or by halves (Jud 5:23); compare Saul's sin as to Amalek
15:3, 9), and Ahab's as to
11. settled on … lees—(See on Isa 25:6; Zep 1:12). As wine left to settle on its own lees
retains its flavor and strength (which it would lose by being poured
from one vessel into another), so Moab, owing to its never having been
dislodged from its settlements, retains its pride of strength
emptied from vessel, &c.—To make
it fit for use, it used to be filtered from vessel to vessel.
scent—retaining the image: the bouquet
or perfume of the wine.
12. wanderers—rather, "pourers out,"
retaining the image of Jer 48:11,
that is, the Chaldeans who shall remove Moab from his settlements, as
men pour wine from off the lees into other vessels. "His vessels" are
the cities of Moab; the broken "bottles" the men slain [Grotius]. The Hebrew and the kindred
Arabic word means, "to turn on one side," so as to empty a
13. ashamed—have the shame of
disappointment as to the hopes they entertained of aid from Chemosh,
Beth-el—(1Ki 12:27, 29)—that is, the golden
calf set up there by Jeroboam.
15. gone up … gone down—in
out of her cities—Rather, "Moab
… and her cities are gone up," namely, pass away in the ascending
smoke of their conflagration (Jos 8:20, 21; Jud 20:40). When this took place, the young
warriors would go down from the burning citadels only to meet
their own slaughter [Grotius].
English Version is somewhat favored by the fact that "gone out"
is singular, and "cities" plural. The antithesis favors
16. near—to the prophet's eye, though
probably twenty-three years elapsed between the utterance of the
prophecy in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (2Ki 24:2) and its fulfilment in the fifth year of
17. bemoan—Not that Moab deserves pity,
but this mode of expression pictures more vividly the grievousness of
all ye that know his name—those at a
greater distance whom the fame of Moab's "name" had reached, as
distinguished from those "about him," that is, near.
strong staff … rod—Moab is so
called as striking terror into and oppressing other peoples (Isa 9:4;
14:4, 5); also because of its
dignity and power (Ps 110:2; Zec 11:7).
18. (Isa 47:1).
dost inhabit—now so securely settled
as if in a lasting habitation.
thirst—Dibon, being situated on the
Arnon, abounded in water (Isa 15:9). In
sad contrast with this, and with her "glory" in general, she shall be
reduced not only to shame, but to the want of the commonest necessaries
("thirst") in the arid wilderness (Jer 48:6).
19. Aroer—on the north bank of the
Arnon, a city of Ammon (De 2:36; 3:12). As it was on "the way" of the
Moabites who fled into the desert, its inhabitants "ask" what is the
occasion of Moab's flight, and so learn the lot that awaits themselves
(compare 1Sa 4:13, 16).
20. Answer of the fleeing Moabites to the
Ammonite inquirers (Jer 48:19; Isa 16:2). He enumerates the Moabite cities at
length, as it seemed so incredible that all should be so utterly
ruined. Many of them were assigned to the Levites, while Israel
in Arnon—the north boundary between
Moab and Ammon (Jer 48:19; Nu 21:13).
21. plain—(Jer 48:8). Not only the mountainous regions, but
also the plain, shall be wasted.
Holon—(Compare Jos 15:51).
Jahazah—(Nu 21:23; Isa
22. Beth-diblathaim—"the house of
Diblathaim": Almon-diblathaim (Nu 33:46); "Diblath" (Eze 6:13); not far from Mount Nebo (Nu 33:46, 47).
23. Beth-gamul—meaning "the city of
Beth-meon—"the house of habitation":
Beth-baalmeon (Jos 13:17).
Now its ruins are called Miun.
24. Kerioth—(Jos 15:25; Am
Bozrah—(See on Isa
34:6); at one time under the dominion of Edom, though belonging
originally to Moab (Ge 36:33; Isa 63:1). Others think the Bozrah in Edom
distinct from that of Moab. "Bezer" (Jos 21:36).
25. horn—the emblem of strength and
sovereignty: it is the horned animal's means of offense and defense
(Ps 75:5, 10; La 2:3).
26. drunken—(see on Jer 13:12; Jer 25:17).
Intoxicated with the cup of divine wrath, so as to be in helpless
magnified … against …
Lord—boasted arrogantly against God's people, that
whereas Israel was fallen, Moab remained flourishing.
wallow in … vomit—following up
the image of a drunken man, that is, shall be so afflicted by God's
wrath as to disgorge all his past pride, riches, and vainglory,
and fall in his shameful abasement.
he also … derision—He in his
disaster shall be an object of derision to us, as we in ours have been
to him (Jer 48:27).
Retribution in kind.
27. (Zep 2:8).
a derision—The Hebrew has the
article: referring to Jer 48:26,
"Was not Israel (the whole nation) the object of derision
to thee?" Therefore, Moab is to suffer as formerly for its exultation
over the calamity (2Ki 17:6) of
the ten tribes under the Assyrian Shalmaneser (Isa
15:1-16:14), so now for its
exultation over the fall of Judah, under the Chaldean Nebuchadnezzar.
God takes up His people's cause as His own (Ob 10-13).
was he … among thieves—(Jer 2:26). Proverbial. What did Israel do
to deserve such derision? Was he detected in theft, that thou
didst so exult over him in speaking of him? Though guilty
before God, Israel was guiltless towards thee.
since—"since ever" thou didst begin
speaking of him.
skippedst for joy—at Israel's calamity
[Calvin]; or, "thou didst shake thy
head" in "derision" [Maurer].
28. Doves often have their nests in the
"sides" of caverns. No longer shalt thou have cities to shelter thee:
thou shalt have to flee for shelter to caves and deserts (Ps 55:6, 8; So
29. pride—(Isa 16:6, 7). Moab was the trumpeter of his
own fame. Jeremiah adds "loftiness and arrogancy" to Isaiah's picture,
so that Moab had not only not been bettered by the chastisement
previously endured as foretold by Isaiah, but had even become worse; so
that his guilt, and therefore his sentence of punishment, are increased
now. Six times Moab's pride (or the synonyms) are mentioned, to show
the exceeding hatefulness of his sin.
30. I know—Moab's "proud arrogancy"
48:29) or "wrath," against My
people, is not unknown to Me.
it shall not be so—The result shall
not be so as he thinks: his lies shall not so effect what
he aims at by them. Calvin translates,
"his lies are not right (that is, his vauntings are vain because God
will not give them effect); they shall not do so" as they project in
their minds, for God will set at naught their plans.
31. I will cry … for …
Moab—Not that it deserves pity, but the prophet's "crying"
for it vividly represents the greatness of the calamity.
Kir-heres—Kir-hareseth, in Isa 16:7; see on Isa
16:7. It means "the city of potters," or else "the city of the sun"
[Grotius]. Here "the men of
Kir-heres" are substituted for "the foundations of
Kir-hareseth," in Isa 16:7. The
change answers probably to the different bearing of the disaster under
Nebuchadnezzar, as compared with that former one under Shalmaneser.
32. with the weeping—with the same
weeping as Jazer, now vanquished, wept with for the destruction of its
vines. The same calamity shall befall thee, Sibmah, as befell Jazer.
The Hebrew preposition here is different from that in Isa 16:9, for which reason Maurer translates, "with more than the
weeping of Jazer." English Version understands it of the
continuation of the weeping; after they have wept for Jazer,
fresh subject of lamentation will present itself for the wasting of the
plants … gone over … sea of
Jazer—As the Septuagint reads "cities of
Jazer," and as no traces of a lake near Jazer are found, the reading of
English Version is doubtful. Retaining the present reading, we
avoid the difficulty by translating [Grotius], "Thy plants (that is, citizens:
alluding to the 'vine') are gone over the sea (that is, shall be
transported beyond the sea to Cyprus, and such distant lands subject to
Babylon; and this, too, in summertime), whereas Jazer (that is, the men
of Jazer) reached the sea" (shore only, but are not transported beyond
the sea); so that worse shall befall thee than befalls Jazer.
33. the plentiful field—rather,
"Carmel": as the parallel "land of Moab" requires, though in Isa 16:10, it is "the plentiful field." Joy
is taken away as from the nearer regions (Canaan and Palestine), so
from the farther "land of Moab"; what has happened to Judah shall
befall Moab, too (Jer 48:26, 27) [Maurer]. However, Moab alone seems to be spoken of
here; nor does the parallelism forbid "plentiful field" answering to
"Moab." English Version is therefore better.
shouting—repeated; as at the
conclusion of the vintage, men sing over and over again the same cry of
joy. A shouting shall be heard, but not the joyous shouting of laborers
treading the grapes, but the terrible battle cry of the foe.
34. From the cry of Heshbon,
&c.—Those who fly from Heshbon on its capture shall continue
the cry even as far as Elealeh … . There will be continued
cries in all quarters, from one end to the other, everywhere slaughter
as an heifer of three years old—Moab
heretofore not having known foreign yoke, and in its full strength, is
compared to an heifer of three years old, never yet yoked, nor as yet
worn out with many birth-givings (compare Note, see on Isa 15:5).
waters … of Nimrim—that is, the
well-watered and therefore luxuriant pastures of
desolate—The Hebrew is
stronger: not merely shall be "desolate," but desolation itself
multiplied: plural, "desolations." The most fertile tracts shall
be dried up.
35. him that offereth—namely, whole
burnt offerings as the Hebrew requires [Grotius]. Compare the awful burnt offering of the
king of Moab (2Ki 3:27).
high places—(Isa 16:12).
36. (See on Isa 15:7;
like pipes—a plaintive instrument,
therefore used at funerals and in general mourning.
riches … gotten—literally,
the abundance … that which is over and above the
necessaries of life. Grotius translates,
"They who have been left remaining shall perish"; they who have not
been slain by the enemy shall perish by disease and famine.
37. (See on Jer 47:5;
upon all … hands—that is, arms,
in which such cuttings used to be made in token of grief (compare Zec 13:6).
38. vessel … no pleasure—(See on
Jer 22:28); a vessel cast aside by the potter
as refuse, not answering his design.
How … how—prodigious, yet sure
turned the back—not daring to show her
derision … dismaying to all—a
derision to some; a dismaying to others in beholding such a judgment of
God, fearing a like fate for themselves.
40. he—Nebuzara-dan, the captain of
as … eagle—not to bear them "on
eagles' wings" (Ex 19:4; De 32:11, 12), as God does His people, but to pounce
on them as a prey (Jer 49:22; De 28:49; Hab 1:8).
41. as … woman in …
42. (See on Jer
43, 44. (See on Isa 24:17,
44. When thou thinkest thou hast escaped one
kind of danger, a fresh one will start up.
45. under … shadow of Heshbon—They
thought that they would be safe in Heshbon.
because of the force—that is, "they
that fled because of the force" of the enemy: they that fled
from it. Glassius translates,
"through want of strength." So the Hebrew particle is translated
109:24), "faileth of
fatness," that is, "faileth through want of fatness"; also La 4:9.
but a fire, &c.—copied in part
from Sihon's hymn of victory (Nu 21:27, 28). The old "proverb" shall hold good
again. As in ancient times Sihon, king of the Amorites, issued forth
from his city, Heshbon, as a devouring "flame" and consumed Moab, so
now the Chaldeans, making Heshbon their starting-point, shall advance
to the destruction of Moab.
midst of Sihon—that is, the city of
corner of Moab—that is, Moab from one
corner to the other.
crown of … head—the most
elevated points of Moab. Making some alterations, he here copies
Balaam's prophecy (Nu 24:17).
Margin there translates "princes" for corners; if so, "crown of
… head" here refers to the nobles.
tumultuous ones—sons of tumult;
those who have tumultuously revolted from Babylon. Heshbon passed from
the Amorite to the Israelite sway. Moab had wrested it from Israel and
helped the Chaldeans against the Jews; but revolting from Babylon, they
brought ruin on themselves in turn.
46. Copied from Nu 21:29.
47. Restoration promised to Moab, for the sake
of righteous Lot, their progenitor (Ge 19:37; Ex 20:6; Ps
89:30-33). Compare as to
46:26; Ammon, Jer 49:6; Elam, Jer 49:39. Gospel blessings, temporal and
spiritual, to the Gentiles in the last days, are intended.