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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 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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