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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.


The Prophet here reproves the pride of the Moabites, because they trusted in their own strength, and derided God and what the Prophets announced. We indeed know that ungodly men, when all things prosper with them, are moved by no fear, divest themselves of every feeling, and become so sunk in indifference, that they not only disdainfully disregard the true God, but also what is connected with moral obligation. Such, then, was the confidence which prevailed among the Moabites. Hence the Prophet here checks this foolish boasting.

How say ye, We are strong, we are warlike men? as though he had said, “These boastings, while God is seriously contending with you, are all empty, and will avail you nothing: ye think yourselves beyond the reach of danger, because ye possess great power, and are surrounded with strong defences; but God will reduce to nothing whatever you regard as your protection.” Wasted, then, is Moab He sets up this threatening in opposition to their arrogance. He indeed foretells what was to come, but speaks of it as a thing already fulfilled. Wasted, he says, is Moab, and the enemy has cut off his cities The verb עלה, ole, is to be taken in a transitive sense; it is indeed a neuter verb, but the other meaning is more suitable to this place, that the enemy would cut off the cities of the Moabites. I yet allow that it may be explained otherwise, that the inhabitants would ascend or depart from his cities; for, עלה, ole, metaphorically, indeed, signifies to ascend, and to flow off, or to go away, as they say, in smoke; and if an anomaly as to number, common in Hebrew, be approved, the sense will be, “and from his cities they have vanished.” 88     There is no agreement in the Versions and Targ., as to these words, nor among critics. The easiest construction is presented by Blayney,
   A spoiler of Moab and of her cities is gone up.

   The next clause is not so well rendered by Blayney. He applies it to the Chaldeans. “Moab” is spoken of in this chapter, both in the feminine and in the masculine gender. In our language the neuter would be the most suitable, it and its. I render the verse thus, —

   15. The waster of Moab and of its cities is going up, And the choice of its youth shall descend to the slaughter, Saith the King, Jehovah of hosts is his name.

   “Going up” as ascribed to the conqueror, and “descending” to the conquered. — Ed.
And this explanation agrees well with what follows, and his young men have descended to the slaughter; that is, they who seem the strongest among them shall be drawn to destruction, or shall descend to the slaughter. But as the event seemed difficult to be believed, God is again introduced. Then the Prophet says, that he did not speak from his own mind, but announced what God had committed to him. And he adds his title, that the Jews might be more attentive to the consideration of God’s power. God, he says, is he who speaks, the King, whose name is Jehovah of hosts He sets up God’s name in opposition to the warlike preparations, of which the Moabites, as we have seen, boasted; as though he had said, that if the Moabites had to do with mortals, they might indeed have justly gloried; but as they had a contest with the living God, all their power would vanish away, since God was prepared to execute vengeance. It follows —

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