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Send lambs

to the ruler of the land,

from Sela, by way of the desert,

to the mount of daughter Zion.


Like fluttering birds,

like scattered nestlings,

so are the daughters of Moab

at the fords of the Arnon.


“Give counsel,

grant justice;

make your shade like night

at the height of noon;

hide the outcasts,

do not betray the fugitive;


let the outcasts of Moab

settle among you;

be a refuge to them

from the destroyer.”


When the oppressor is no more,

and destruction has ceased,

and marauders have vanished from the land,


then a throne shall be established in steadfast love

in the tent of David,

and on it shall sit in faithfulness

a ruler who seeks justice

and is swift to do what is right.



We have heard of the pride of Moab

—how proud he is!—

of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence;

his boasts are false.


Therefore let Moab wail,

let everyone wail for Moab.

Mourn, utterly stricken,

for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth.



For the fields of Heshbon languish,

and the vines of Sibmah,

whose clusters once made drunk

the lords of the nations,

reached to Jazer

and strayed to the desert;

their shoots once spread abroad

and crossed over the sea.


Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer

for the vines of Sibmah;

I drench you with my tears,

O Heshbon and Elealeh;

for the shout over your fruit harvest

and your grain harvest has ceased.


Joy and gladness are taken away

from the fruitful field;

and in the vineyards no songs are sung,

no shouts are raised;

no treader treads out wine in the presses;

the vintage-shout is hushed.


Therefore my heart throbs like a harp for Moab,

and my very soul for Kir-heres.

12 When Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself upon the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail.

13 This was the word that the L ord spoke concerning Moab in the past. 14But now the L ord says, In three years, like the years of a hired worker, the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt, in spite of all its great multitude; and those who survive will be very few and feeble.


1. Send ye a lamb. Here the Prophet scoffs at the Moabites for not acknowledging God at the proper time, but recklessly waiting for the stroke of his hand, till they were completely destroyed. It is, therefore, a condemnation of late repentance, when men cannot be brought to obedience by any warnings, and continue in obstinate opposition to God. Where the disease is incurable, an exhortation of this kind is appropriate; and this ought to be carefully observed, for both Jews and Christians misinterpret this passage.

Jerome explains it as referring to Christ, because he drew his birth from the Moabites, (Ruth 1:4; Matthew 1:5,) from whom Ruth was descended; and that opinion has been adopted by almost all Christians; as if the Prophet had said, “O Lord, though a judgment so severe as this awaits the Moabites, still thou wilt not utterly destroy them; for they will send thee a Lamb, the ruler of the world.” But that interpretation, being destitute of plausibility, need not be refuted.

On the other hand, the Jews think that these words were spoken because, while the Jews were in a depressed condition, the Moabites ceased to pay the tribute which they owed them, but that, after having prophesied about the restoration of the kingdom of Judah, Isaiah likewise added an exhortation to remind them to acknowledge their king. They even go so far as to say that it serves the purpose of a royal edict, taking them to task for their disloyalty, “Send the tribute which you owe.” But we nowhere read that the Moabites were subjects or tributaries to the Jews, and there is no probability in the conjecture. Nor does the passage which they quote (2 Kings 3:5, 6) give them any support; for that passage relates to the king of Israel, and expressly mentions Ahab and Samaria, who cherished, as we are aware, the utmost hatred against the Jews.

I therefore adhere to the interpretation which I first noticed, as the true and natural interpretation; for the design of the Prophet is to condemn the Moabites for not having repented in due season, and to tell them that they will now in vain do what they might easily have done formerly, and with great advantage to themselves. We ought, therefore, to view it as spoken ironically, (εἰρωνικῶς,) Send; as if he had said that there is no hope of pardon, that they will send in vain. When the wicked are warned, they indolently disregard all exhortation; when they are punished, they gaze around them with distressful looks, seeking assistance in every direction, and trying every method of relief, but unsuccessfully, for they gain no advantage. Isaiah, therefore, reproaches them for obstinacy and rebellion, and shows that there will be no time for repentance, when they meet with the destruction which they deserve.

To the ruler of the world. The opinion of the Jews, that this denotes Hezekiah, is at variance with all reason; for ארץ (eretz) does not here denote a particular country, but rather the whole world, of which he speaks in general terms. The appellation Ruler must therefore be viewed as referring to God himself. By a lamb, he means what was to be offered in sacrifice; for even the Gentiles acknowledged that they worshipped God when they offered sacrifices.

From the rock 249249     From Sela, (or, Petra.) — Eng. Ver.
    FT241 “Petra, Rock, also called Sela, (Isaiah 16:1,) and Joktheel, (2 Kings 14:7.) The capital of Idumea, and one of the most remarkable cities of the ancient world. For more than a thousand years this city remained unknown and unvisited, till Burckhardt discovered it in 1812. It was afterwards visited, with some difficulty, by Messrs. Legh, Banks, Captains Irby and Mangles, as well as by M. Linant and M. Laborde.” Those who have not access to the details of those enterprizing researches, or who wish to see it ably stated and argued, that “the present condition of Petra furnishes a remarkable fulfillment of Scripture prophecy,” will do well to read the article Petra in Dr. Eadie’s Biblical Cyclopaedia, from which the above extracts are taken; an article which draws largely both from the narratives of travelers and from the inspired writers, and compresses within moderate limits a large amount of information. — Ed

    FT242 As a wandering bird. — Eng. Ver.

    FT243 Take (Heb. Bring) counsel. — Eng. Ver.

    FT244 “Make a shadow for thee at noon, to throw darkness over thee, as in the night, that by means of it thou mayest be concealed from the face of thy enemies.” — Jarchi

    FT245 For the extortioner (Heb. wringer) is at an end. — Eng. Ver.

    FT246 Until the extortioner כי (ki) answers here to the Latin adverb, usquedum. — Tayl. Concord. quoted by Stock.

    FT247 And in mercy shall the throne be established,(or, prepared.) — Eng. Ver.

    FT248 His wrath. — Eng. Ver. In the author’s version of this chapter, the rendering is, his insolence; but in his margin he puts indignation. Lowth and Stock make it his anger. — Ed

    FT249 The rendering of the Septuagint is, οὐχ οὕτως ἡ μαντεία σου, οὐχ οὕτως Not so thy divination, not so. — Ed

    FT250 לא כן (lo ken,) non rectum, the frivolous predictions of his diviners, on which no wise man would place dependence. — Rosenmuller

    FT251 Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab. — Eng. Ver.

    FT252 Shall ye mourn, (or, mutter,) surely they are stricken — Eng. Ver. Moan even ye who yourselves are smitten. — Stock

    FT253 For the fields of Heshbon languish. — Eng. Ver.

    FT254 “It ought to be known that Heshbon was a place of fields, and Sibmah was a place of vineyards. If you object, that all these cities were on the other side of Jordan, and at what time therefore did they fall under the hand (or power) of the Moabites? we reply. When Sennacherib carried the Reubenites and Gadites into captivity, the Moabites, who were their neighbors, came and dwelt in those cities.” — Jarchi

    FT255 The lords of the heathen have trodden down the principal plants thereof. — Eng. Ver.

    FT256 They are come even unto Jazer. — Eng. Ver.

    FT257The lake of Jazer, as Jeremiah explains it, Jeremiah 48:32. The plantations of this vine spread onward to the banks, and seemed to overhang the whole breadth of the lake.” — Rosenmuller

    FT258 For the shouting for thy summer-fruits and for thy harvest is fallen. (Or, the alarm is fallen upon thy summer-fruits and upon thy harvest. — Eng. Ver.

    FT259 Jam canit extremos effoetus vinitor antes. — Virg. Georg. 2:417.

    FT260 But he shall not prevail. — Eng. Ver.

of the desert. He gives the name of the rock of the desert to the city, which is supposed to have been the chief city of the Moabites; 250250    {Bogus footnote} though it is possible that he intended to include the whole of the country, and thus a part will be taken for the whole.

To the mountain of the daughter of Zion; that is, to God’s authorized temple, in which sacrifices were offered according to the injunction of the Law. (Deuteronomy 12:5, 6, 7; 2 Chronicles 7:12.) This is a remarkable passage against obstinate men, who set aside all instruction, and fearlessly despise God, till they are visited by his judgments.

2. It shall be as a bird let loose. 251251    {Bogus footnote} The Prophet now shows what he meant by the former mockery, that the Moabites ought not at that time to think of sending sacrifices, because they will not be able to provide for their safety in any other way than by leaving their native country. By the metaphor of birds he describes the terror with which they shall be struck, so that they will flee even at the rustling of a leaf. He threatens that the Moabites, who had abused their tranquillity, shall have a trembling and wearisome flight.

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