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48. Message About Moab

Against Moab thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Woe unto Nebo! for it is spoiled: Kiriathaim is confounded and taken: Misgab is confounded and dismayed. 2 There shall be no more praise of Moab: in Heshbon they have devised evil against it; come, and let us cut it off from being a nation. Also thou shalt be cut down, O Madmen; the sword shall pursue thee. 3A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim, spoiling and great destruction. 4Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard. 5For in the going up of Luhith continual weeping shall go up; for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction. 6Flee, save your lives, and be like the heath in the wilderness.

7For because thou hast trusted in thy works and in thy treasures, thou shalt also be taken: and Chemosh shall go forth into captivity with his priests and his princes together. 8And the spoiler shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape: the valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the Lord hath spoken. 9Give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein. 10Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.

11Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed. 12Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will send unto him wanderers, that shall cause him to wander, and shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles. 13And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel their confidence.

14How say ye, We are mighty and strong men for the war? 15Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts. 16The calamity of Moab is near to come, and his affliction hasteth fast. 17All ye that are about him, bemoan him; and all ye that know his name, say, How is the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod! 18Thou daughter that dost inhabit Dibon, come down from thy glory, and sit in thirst; for the spoiler of Moab shall come upon thee, and he shall destroy thy strong holds. 19O inhabitant of Aroer, stand by the way, and espy; ask him that fleeth, and her that escapeth, and say, What is done? 20Moab is confounded; for it is broken down: howl and cry; and tell ye it in Arnon, that Moab is spoiled, 21And judgment is come upon the plain country; upon Holon, and upon Jahazah, and upon Mephaath, 22And upon Dibon, and upon Nebo, and upon Beth-diblathaim, 23And upon Kiriathaim, and upon Beth-gamul, and upon Beth-meon, 24And upon Kerioth, and upon Bozrah, and upon all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near. 25The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken, saith the Lord.

26Make ye him drunken: for he magnified himself against the Lord: Moab also shall wallow in his vomit, and he also shall be in derision. 27For was not Israel a derision unto thee? was he found among thieves? for since thou spakest of him, thou skippedst for joy. 28O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth. 29We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart. 30I know his wrath, saith the Lord; but it shall not be so; his lies shall not so effect it. 31Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kir- heres. 32O vine of Sibmah, I will weep for thee with the weeping of Jazer: thy plants are gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer: the spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits and upon thy vintage. 33And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting. 34From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, and even unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even unto Horonaim, as an heifer of three years old: for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate. 35Moreover I will cause to cease in Moab, saith the Lord, him that offereth in the high places, and him that burneth incense to his gods. 36Therefore mine heart shall sound for Moab like pipes, and mine heart shall sound like pipes for the men of Kir-heres: because the riches that he hath gotten are perished. 37For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth. 38 There shall be lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the Lord. 39They shall howl, saying, How is it broken down! how hath Moab turned the back with shame! so shall Moab be a derision and a dismaying to all them about him. 40For thus saith the Lord; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab. 41Kerioth is taken, and the strong holds are surprised, and the mighty men’s hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs. 42And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the Lord. 43Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the Lord. 44He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the Lord. 45They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon because of the force: but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones. 46Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives, and thy daughters captives. 47Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the Lord. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.

This verse is variously explained, at least the second clause. Some render it, “His indignation, and not what is right;” then they add by itself, “his lies;” and lastly, “they have not done rightly,” or as others, “they will not do anything fixed,” which is more suitable, and comes near to the rendering which I have given. But I will not here discuss other interpretations, or try at large to disprove-them, but it is sufficient for us to understand the real meaning of the Prophet.

In the first place, God is here introduced as saying, I know his insolence The pronoun אני, ani, is emphatical, for in the last verse the Prophet had said, that the boastings of Moab were a terror, as they spoke loudly of their own strength and defences. As then they thus with open mouths sounded forth their own praises, they filled all their neighbors with terror; hence the Prophet said, We have heard the pride of Moab Now God also on his part gives this answer, I know, he says, his insolence; as though he had said, “The Moabites do not thus boast, but that I am a witness; all these things ascend to my tribunal.”

He afterwards adds, still in the person of God, Not rectitude are his lies By the word עברתו, obertu, which some render, “his indignation,” the Prophet means, I think, insolence. It signifies properly excess, as it comes from עבר, ober, to pass over. The noun is indeed often taken to express indignation, because anger keeps within no limits, but is, as Horace says, a momentary madness. 1515     Ira furor brevis est Epist. 2 ad Loll. But on account of what the passage seems to require, I render it insolence, and it is the most suitable word. And God having declared that the insolence of Moab was seen by him, mentions also his lies The word בדים, means branches of trees, and sometimes sons or children, they being members of the community; and hence some render it “sons” here, as though the Prophet had said, that after the Moabites had been cut off, there would be none remaining to continue their name in the world. As then there was to be no posterity to the Moabites, they think that בדים, badim here means sons or children. But this view cannot be admitted, because we shall hereafter see that there was to be some residue to the Moabites. We cannot then take בדים, badim, but as referring to their vain boastings, for they were nothing but lies.

But we must consider what Jeremiah says; the word כן, ken, means right; and I take the two words as being in apposition, “His lies are not right;” that is, there is no stability in his lies. For when an apposition is explained, one of the words is turned to an adjective, or a preposition is inserted: Not right then are his lies; that is, in his lies there is no rectitude, or in his lies there is no stability. But the rectitude of which the Prophet now speaks, refers not to justice or equity, but to stability; and that it has this meaning may be gathered from other places. Then he says, that the boastings which the Moabites indulged in were vain, because God would not establish what they thought, or as they commonly say, what they presumed.

And then he adds the reason; the particle כן, ken, is to be taken here adverbially; it is an adverb of likeness, “so,” or thus, they shall not so do; that is, as they had conceived in their minds. It is a confirmation of the last clause; for why was there to be no stability in their lies? because God would break down the Moabites, so that their counsels would be vain, without any effect. We now then perceive the meaning of the words. Isaiah 16:6 uses nearly the same expressions, but he does not add this confirmation, that they would not be able to do what they intended. He only says, “there shall no rectitude be in their boastings,” לא כן בדיו, la ken bediu, having previously spoken of the loftiness of their heart and of their ferocity and insolence; for he mentions the third word with the other two. 1616     The versions and the Targ. all differ as to this verse. The Vulg. is the best; it takes בדים, branches, and also limbs, in a metaphorical sense, signifying strength. I give the following rendering, —
   30. I know, saith Jehovah, his excess, (i.e. of pride;) But not so his strength, not so have they done.

   The mixture of numbers, singular and plural, is common in the prophets — “his” and “they.” The meaning seems to be, that however excessive was the pride and insolence of Moab, they had no power fully to effect their purposes. - Ed.

Now this verse may be accommodated to our use; whenever the ungodly indulge in boasting, and insolently arrogate all things to themselves, let us not fear and tremble, but bear in mind what the Prophet teaches us here, whose admonition is very necessary; for he shews that this pride is in derision with God, and that when the ungodly fulminate in a terrible manner, there will be no effect to their lies. It follows, —


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