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Judgment on Moab


Concerning Moab.


Thus says the L ord of hosts, the God of Israel:

Alas for Nebo, it is laid waste!

Kiriathaim is put to shame, it is taken;

the fortress is put to shame and broken down;


the renown of Moab is no more.

In Heshbon they planned evil against her:

“Come, let us cut her off from being a nation!”

You also, O Madmen, shall be brought to silence;

the sword shall pursue you.



Hark! a cry from Horonaim,

“Desolation and great destruction!”


“Moab is destroyed!”

her little ones cry out.


For at the ascent of Luhith

they go up weeping bitterly;

for at the descent of Horonaim

they have heard the distressing cry of anguish.


Flee! Save yourselves!

Be like a wild ass in the desert!



Surely, because you trusted in your strongholds and your treasures,

you also shall be taken;

Chemosh shall go out into exile,

with his priests and his attendants.


The destroyer shall come upon every town,

and no town shall escape;

the valley shall perish,

and the plain shall be destroyed,

as the L ord has spoken.



Set aside salt for Moab,

for she will surely fall;

her towns shall become a desolation,

with no inhabitant in them.


10 Accursed is the one who is slack in doing the work of the L ord; and accursed is the one who keeps back the sword from bloodshed.



Moab has been at ease from his youth,

settled like wine on its dregs;

he has not been emptied from vessel to vessel,

nor has he gone into exile;

therefore his flavor has remained

and his aroma is unspoiled.

12 Therefore, the time is surely coming, says the L ord, when I shall send to him decanters to decant him, and empty his vessels, and break his jars in pieces. 13Then Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their confidence.



How can you say, “We are heroes

and mighty warriors”?


The destroyer of Moab and his towns has come up,

and the choicest of his young men have gone down to slaughter,

says the King, whose name is the L ord of hosts.


The calamity of Moab is near at hand

and his doom approaches swiftly.


Mourn over him, all you his neighbors,

and all who know his name;

say, “How the mighty scepter is broken,

the glorious staff!”



Come down from glory,

and sit on the parched ground,

enthroned daughter Dibon!

For the destroyer of Moab has come up against you;

he has destroyed your strongholds.


Stand by the road and watch,

you inhabitant of Aroer!

Ask the man fleeing and the woman escaping;

say, “What has happened?”


Moab is put to shame, for it is broken down;

wail and cry!

Tell it by the Arnon,

that Moab is laid waste.


21 Judgment has come upon the tableland, upon Holon, and Jahzah, and Mephaath, 22and Dibon, and Nebo, and Beth-diblathaim, 23and Kiriathaim, and Beth-gamul, and Beth-meon, 24and Kerioth, and Bozrah, and all the towns of the land of Moab, far and near. 25The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken, says the L ord.

26 Make him drunk, because he magnified himself against the L ord; let Moab wallow in his vomit; he too shall become a laughingstock. 27Israel was a laughingstock for you, though he was not caught among thieves; but whenever you spoke of him you shook your head!



Leave the towns, and live on the rock,

O inhabitants of Moab!

Be like the dove that nests

on the sides of the mouth of a gorge.


We have heard of the pride of Moab—

he is very proud—

of his loftiness, his pride, and his arrogance,

and the haughtiness of his heart.


I myself know his insolence, says the L ord;

his boasts are false,

his deeds are false.


Therefore I wail for Moab;

I cry out for all Moab;

for the people of Kir-heres I mourn.


More than for Jazer I weep for you,

O vine of Sibmah!

Your branches crossed over the sea,

reached as far as Jazer;

upon your summer fruits and your vintage

the destroyer has fallen.


Gladness and joy have been taken away

from the fruitful land of Moab;

I have stopped the wine from the wine presses;

no one treads them with shouts of joy;

the shouting is not the shout of joy.


34 Heshbon and Elealeh cry out; as far as Jahaz they utter their voice, from Zoar to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah. For even the waters of Nimrim have become desolate. 35And I will bring to an end in Moab, says the L ord, those who offer sacrifice at a high place and make offerings to their gods. 36Therefore my heart moans for Moab like a flute, and my heart moans like a flute for the people of Kir-heres; for the riches they gained have perished.

37 For every head is shaved and every beard cut off; on all the hands there are gashes, and on the loins sackcloth. 38On all the housetops of Moab and in the squares there is nothing but lamentation; for I have broken Moab like a vessel that no one wants, says the L ord. 39How it is broken! How they wail! How Moab has turned his back in shame! So Moab has become a derision and a horror to all his neighbors.


For thus says the L ord:

Look, he shall swoop down like an eagle,

and spread his wings against Moab;


the towns shall be taken

and the strongholds seized.

The hearts of the warriors of Moab, on that day,

shall be like the heart of a woman in labor.


Moab shall be destroyed as a people,

because he magnified himself against the L ord.


Terror, pit, and trap

are before you, O inhabitants of Moab!

says the L ord.


Everyone who flees from the terror

shall fall into the pit,

and everyone who climbs out of the pit

shall be caught in the trap.

For I will bring these things upon Moab

in the year of their punishment,

says the L ord.



In the shadow of Heshbon

fugitives stop exhausted;

for a fire has gone out from Heshbon,

a flame from the house of Sihon;

it has destroyed the forehead of Moab,

the scalp of the people of tumult.


Woe to you, O Moab!

The people of Chemosh have perished,

for your sons have been taken captive,

and your daughters into captivity.


Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab

in the latter days, says the L ord.

Thus far is the judgment on Moab.


This prophecy is against the Moabites, who, though they derived their origin from Lot, and were of the same blood with the Israelites, had yet been inimical to them. This prophecy would be uninteresting, were we not to remember the history on which the application and use of what is said depends. We have said that the Moabites, as the father of their nation was Lot, were connected by blood with the Israelites; they ought then to have retained the recollection of their brotherhood, and to have dealt kindly with them; for God had spared them when the people of Israel entered into the land of Canaan. The Israelites, we know, passed through the borders of Moab without doing any harm to them, because it was God’s purpose, from a regard to Lot, to preserve them for a time. But this people never ceased to contrive all manner of plots against God’s people; and, as we shall hereafter see, when the state of that people became embarrassed, they cruelly exulted over them, and became more insolent than avowed enemies. Hence God prophesied against them, that the Israelites might know, as we reminded you yesterday, that their miserable condition was not overlooked by God, and that though he chastised them, yet some hope of mercy remained, as he undertook their cause and would be their defender. It was then no small comfort which this prophecy brought to the faithful; for they thus knew that God was still their father, though apparently he seemed to be severe to them. We now perceive the design of what is here said.

The case of the Moabites was different from that of the Egyptians, for the Egyptians were wholly aliens to the chosen people; but the Moabites, as we have said, were related to them. They were therefore willful, and as it were intestine enemies; and nature itself ought to have taught them to acknowledge the Israelites as their brethren, and to cultivate mutual kindness. This cruelty and ingratitude were so hateful to God, that at length he punished them most severely. But as the Moabites remained in quietness when Judea was laid waste, and the city Jerusalem destroyed, after the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel, and the banishment of the ten tribes to distant countries, it behooved the faithful to exercise patience, which could not have been done without hope. It was this then that Jeremiah had in view, even to sustain the minds of the godly with the expectation of God’s judgment, which he here denounces on the Moabites.

He says, Against Moab; 11     All the versions, except the Syriac, which Calvin has followed, have “to Moab,” and connect the words with the following, that is, “Jehovah says thus to Moab.” The best version is, as given by Blayney and Henderson, “concerning Moab, thus saith,” etc. — Ed. and then it follows, Thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel By the first term he designates the immense power of God, and reminds them that God is the judge of the whole world, and that his kingdom extends over all nations; but by the second expression he bears testimony to the love with which he had embraced the children of Abraham, because he had been pleased to choose them as his peculiar inheritance. Woe, he says, on Nebo; 22     Some give this rendering, “Alas! no Nebo;” it had ceased to exist, and the reason is given, “for it is laid waste. — Ed. which was a city in the land of Moab; because laid waste, ashamed, taken is Kiriathaim He names here, as we see, some cities, and he will name more as he proceeds. Ashamed then and taken is Kiriathaim; and Misgab 33     Neither the Vulg. nor the Syr. gives this as a proper name, nor is there any such place found elsewhere. Blayney renders it “the high fortress,” agreeably with the Vulg., Syr., and the Targ. Ed. is ashamed and torn, or broken in mind. It follows, —

Jeremiah 48:2

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.

2. Nulla amplius gloriatio Moab in Chesbon; cogitaverunt super eam malum, Venite et excidamus eam, ne sit gens; etiam Madmen, (alloquitur urbem ipsam,) excisa es (ad verbum, in solitudinem redacta, sed metaphorice accipitur pro interitu, interiit ergo Madmen;) post to proficiscetur gladius.


The Prophet, as before, does not speak in an ordinary way, but declares in lofty terms what God had committed to him, in order that he might terrify the Moabites; not indeed that they heard his threatenings, but it was necessary that he should denounce vengeance in this vehement manner, that the Jews might know that the cruelty and pride of the Moabites, hereafter mentioned, would not go unpunished.

Hence he says, No more shall be the praise or the boasting of Moab over Heshbon We may learn from this place and from others, that Heshbon had been taken from the Moabites; for it was occupied by God’s people, because the Moabites had lost it, as Moses relates in Numbers 21:30, and in Deuteronomy 2:26, etc. But (as things change) when the Moabites became strong, they took away this city from the Israelites. Hence the Prophet says, that there would be no more boasting that they possessed that city; for he adds, They have thought, or devised, etc. There is here a striking allusion, for חשבון, chesbon, is derived from חשב, chesheb, to devise or to consult, as though it were a place of consultation or devisings. The Prophet then says, that as to Heshbon they consulted against it, חשבו עליה cheshbu olie He uses the root from which the name of the city is derived. Heshbon, then, hitherto called the place of consultation, was to have and find other counselors, even those who would contrive ruin for it. Come ye; the Prophet refers here to the counsel taken by the Chaldeans, Come ye, and let us cut her off from being a nation He then joins another city, And thou, Madmen, 44     None of the versions renders this a proper name, but as a participle from the verb which follows, and no such place is mentioned elsewhere. They must have read מרמה, instead of מדמן. Then the version would be,
   Even silenced thou shalt be silenced,
After thee shall go the sword.

   To be silenced, in the language of the prophets, is to be subdued. See Isaiah 15:1, when the same thing is said of Moab. The word silence forms a contrast with the boasting of Moab mentioned at the beginning of the verse. After being subdued and removed elsewhere, still the sword would follow Moab. — Ed.
shalt be cut off, for a sword shall go after thee, or pursue thee, as though the city itself was fleeing from the sword; not that cities move from one place to another; but when the citizens deliberate how they may drive away their enemies and resist their attacks, — when they seek aid here and there, — when they set up their own remedies, they are said to flee. But the Prophet says, “Thou shalt gain nothing by fleeing, for the sword shall pursue thee.” It follows, —

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