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16. Prophecy Against Moab
1Send ye the lambs for the ruler of the land from Selah to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. 2For it shall be that, as wandering birds, as a scattered nest, so shall the daughters of Moab be at the fords of the Arnon. 3Give counsel, execute justice; make thy shade as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; betray not the fugitive. 4Let mine outcasts dwell with thee; as for Moab, be thou a covert to him from the face of the destroyer. For the extortioner is brought to nought, destruction ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. 5And a throne shall be established in lovingkindness; and one shall sit thereon in truth, in the tent of David, judging, and seeking justice, and swift to do righteousness. 6We have heard of the pride of Moab, that he is very proud; even of his arrogancy, and his pride, and his wrath; his boastings are nought. 7Therefore shall Moab wail for Moab, every one shall wail: for the raisin-cakes of Kir-hareseth shall ye mourn, utterly stricken. 8For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah; the lords of the nations have broken down the choice branches thereof, which reached even unto Jazer, which wandered into the wilderness; its shoots were spread abroad, they passed over the sea. 9Therefore I will weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah; I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for upon thy summer fruits and upon thy harvest the battle shout is fallen. 10And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the fruitful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither joyful noise: no treader shall tread out wine in the presses; I have made the vintage shout to cease. 11Wherefore my heart soundeth like a harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kir-heres. 12And it shall come to pass, when Moab presenteth himself, when he wearieth himself upon the high place, and shall come to his sanctuary to pray, that he shall not prevail. 13This is the word that Jehovah spake concerning Moab in time past. 14But now Jehovah hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of a hireling, the glory of Moab shall be brought into contempt, with all his great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and of no account.
Isa 16:1-14. Continuation of the Prophecy as to Moab.
1. lamb—advice of the prophet to the Moabites who had fled southwards to Idumea, to send to the king of Judah the tribute of lambs, which they had formerly paid to Israel, but which they had given up (2Ki 3:4, 5). David probably imposed this tribute before the severance of Judah and Israel (2Sa 8:2). Therefore Moab is recommended to gain the favor and protection of Judah, by paying it to the Jewish king. Type of the need of submitting to Messiah (Ps 2:10-12; Ro 12:1).
from Sela to—rather, "from Petra through (literally, 'towards') the wilderness" [Maurer]. "Sela" means "a rock," Petra in Greek; the capital of Idumea and Arabia-Petræa; the dwellings are mostly hewn out of the rock. The country around was a vast common ("wilderness") or open pasturage, to which the Moabites had fled on the invasion from the west (Isa 15:7).
ruler of the land—namely, of Idumea, that is, the king of Judah; Amaziah had become master of Idumea and Sela (2Ki 14:7).
2. cast out of … nest—rather, "as a brood cast out" (in apposition with "a wandering bird," or rather, wandering birds), namely, a brood just fledged and expelled from the nest in which they were hatched [Horsley]. Compare Isa 10:14; De 32:11.
at the fords—trying to cross the boundary river of Moab, in order to escape out of the land. Ewald and Maurer make "fords" a poetical expression for "the dwellers on Arnon," answering to the parallel clause of the same sense, "daughters of Moab."
3-5. Gesenius, Maurer, &c., regard these verses as an address of the fugitive Moabites to the Jews for protection; they translate Isa 16:4, "Let mine outcasts of Moab dwell with thee, Judah"; the protection will be refused by the Jews, for the pride of Moab (Isa 16:6). Vitringa makes it an additional advice to Moab, besides paying tribute. Give shelter to the Jewish outcasts who take refuge in thy land (Isa 16:3, 4); so "mercy" will be shown thee in turn by whatever king sits on the "throne" of "David" (Isa 16:5). Isaiah foresees that Moab will be too proud to pay the tribute, or conciliate Judah by sheltering its outcasts (Isa 16:6); therefore judgment shall be executed. However, as Moab just before is represented as itself an outcast in Idumea, it seems incongruous that it should be called on to shelter Jewish outcasts. So that it seems rather to foretell the ruined state of Moab when its people should beg the Jews for shelter, but be refused for their pride.
bewray … wandereth—Betray not the fugitive to his pursuer.
4. Rather, "Let the outcasts of Moab dwell with thee" (Judah) [Horsley].
for the extortioner, &c.—The Assyrian oppressor probably.
is at an end—By the time that Moab begs Judah for shelter, Judah shall be in a condition to afford it, for the Assyrian oppressor shall have been "consumed out of the land."
5. If Judah shelters the suppliant Moab, allowing him to remain in Idumea, a blessing will redound to Judah itself and its "throne."
truth … judgment … righteousness—language so divinely framed as to apply to "the latter days" under King Messiah, when "the Lord shall bring again the captivity of Moab" (Ps 72:2; 96:13; 98:9; Jer 48:47; Ro 11:12).
hasting—"prompt in executing."
6. We—Jews. We reject Moab's supplication for his pride.
7. Therefore—all hope of being allowed shelter by the Jews being cut off.
foundations—that is, "ruins"; because, when houses are pulled down, the "foundations" alone are left (Isa 58:12). Jeremiah, in the parallel place (Jer 48:31), renders it "men," who are the moral foundations or stay of a city.
Kirhareseth—literally, "a citadel of brick."
surely they are stricken—rather, joined with "mourn"; "Ye shall mourn utterly stricken" [Maurer and Horsley].
8. fields—vine-fields (De 32:32).
vine of Sibmah—near Heshbon: namely, languishes.
lords of … heathen—The heathen princes, the Assyrians, &c., who invaded Moab, destroyed his vines. So Jeremiah in the parallel place (Jer 48:32, 33). Maurer thinks the following words require rather the rendering, "Its (the vine of Sibmah) shoots (the wines got from them) overpowered (by its generous flavor and potency) the lords of the nations" (Ge 49:11, 12, 22).
come … Jazer—They (the vine shoots) reached even to Jazer, fifteen miles from Heshbon.
wandered—They overran in wild luxuriance the wilderness of Arabia, encompassing Moab.
9. I—will bewail for its desolation, though I belong to another nation (see on Isa 15:5).
with … weeping of Jazer—as Jazer weeps.
shouting for … fallen—rather, "Upon thy summer fruits and upon thy luxuriant vines the shouting (the battle shout, instead of the joyous shout of the grape-gatherers, usual at the vintage) is fallen" (Isa 16:10; Jer 25:30; 51:14). In the parallel passage (Jer 48:32) the words substantially express the same sense. "The spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits."
10. gladness—such as is felt in gathering a rich harvest. There shall be no harvest or vintage owing to the desolation; therefore no "gladness."
sound … harp—as its strings vibrate when beaten with the plectrum or hand.
12. when it is seen that—rather, "When Moab shall have appeared (before his gods; compare Ex 23:15), when he is weary (that is, when he shall have fatigued himself with observing burdensome rites; 1Ki 18:26, &c.), on the high place (compare Isa 15:2), and shall come to his sanctuary (of the idol Chemosh on Mount Nebo) to pray, he shall not prevail"; he shall effect nothing by his prayers [Maurer].
13. since that time—rather, "respecting that time" [Horsley]. Barnes translates it, "formerly" in contrast to "but now" (Isa 16:14): heretofore former prophecies (Ex 15:15; Nu 21:29) have been given as to Moab, of which Isaiah has given the substance: but now a definite and steady time also is fixed.
14. three years … hireling—Just as a hireling has his fixed term of engagement, which neither he nor his master will allow to be added to or to be taken from, so the limit within which Moab is to fall is unalterably fixed (Isa 21:16). Fulfilled about the time when the Assyrians led Israel into captivity. The ruins of Elealeh, Heshbon, Medeba, Dibon, &c., still exist to confirm the inspiration of Scripture. The accurate particularity of specification of the places three thousand years ago, confirmed by modern research, is a strong testimony to the truth of prophecy.