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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.


But the higher cause for the drunkenness mentioned here ought to be observed, even because Moab exalted himself against God. For after having spoken of the pride through which he exulted over God, he adds an explanation, Has not Israel been a derision to thee? See then how the Moabites acted proudly towards God, even because they treated his Church reproachfully. And this ought especially to be noticed; for God intimates by these words, that he is so connected with the faithful as to regard their cause as his own, as it is said elsewhere,

“He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of my eye.” (Zechariah 2:8)

God then so takes the faithful under his own protection, that whatever injury is done to them, he counts it as done to him. This connection is well expressed by the Prophet, when he says, “The Moabites have raised themselves against God;” and at the same time he shews the way and manner, even because they exulted over the Israelites. Were any one to object and say, that the Moabites injured mortal men only and not God; the answer has already been given, even that God has so adopted his Church as to identify himself with it. Let us then know, that God, when he sees us suffering anything unjustly, regards the wrong as done to himself. As then the people of Israel had been a derision to the Moabites, the Prophet threatens them with a similar punishment for their pride.

And then he adds, Has he been found among thieves? It is, indeed, certain, that the people of Israel deserved very severe scourges, and that when they were subjected to so many adversities, a just reward was rendered to them for their iniquities. With regard to God this is certain; but with regard to the Moabites, the people of Israel were innocent; for these ungodly men could not object anything to the Israelites, for they were altogether like them, or even worse. God then compares here his chosen people with aliens, and says that the Israelites were not thieves. Under one thing he comprehends everything, as though he had said, “Of what wickedness have the Israelites been guilty, that you have thus become so enraged against them?” We hence see what the words of the Prophet mean, even that the Moabites were impelled by nothing but cruelty and pride, when they so basely raged against the Israelites, and so disdainfully oppressed them; for as I have already said, there was no cause why the Moabites should have been so hostile to the miserable people. Thus their crime was doubled, for they acted proudly towards God’s people, and they acted thus without a cause; for with regard to them, God’s people were innocent.

By saying that they were moved, or excited whenever they spoke of the Israelites, he intimates that they were carried away by malevolence, so as to wish all kinds of evil to the miserable, and then, as far as they could, to lay snares for them. As then they thus raged furiously against the Israelites, the Prophet includes everything of this kind in the word “moved,” or raised an uproar. 1313     The Vulg. and the Targ. give the best version of these words, —
   Surely for the abundance of thy words against him, thou shalt be quickly removed, or, led captive.

   Then, in the following verse, Moab is bidden to quit his cities — Ed.
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