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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.


He continues the same subject; and by many and various expressions confirms the same thing, in order that the faithful might know that the destruction of the Moabites was really foretold, and that they might feel more assured that God announced nothing but what he would presently execute.

At the cry of Heshbon even to Elealeh they shall send forth their voice. He means, as before, that there would be continued cryings and howlings sounding forth from every part, and spreading through every region. He then adds, From Zoar to Horonaim We must bear in mind the situations of these cities; but we may suppose that the Prophet chose those cities which were opposite to each other. Then from one corner to the other continual crying would be heard, because there would be everywhere desolation and ruin. And then he comes to another part, from one city even to another there would be a similar cry. In short, he shews that no part in the whole land of Moab would be in a quiet state and free from miseries. This is the meaning.

But he compares the whole land of Moab, or the city Horonaim, to an heifer three years old, on account of its lasciviousness. Some restrict the comparison to the city Horonaim, for they read the words in apposition, “to Heronaim, an heifer three years old,” putting the last words in the accusative case: but others read them apart, “an heifer three years old” is Moab. And I prefer this construction, because he afterwards adds another city, even Nimrim. As, however, it is a matter of no great moment, I will not contend with any one who may take the other view. Whether then it be one city or the whole country, it is compared to an heifer three years old, because that nation had long luxuriated in its own pleasures. Now, an heifer three years old, as it is well known, frisks and leaps, because it knows not what it is to fear the yoke; and then it is not worn out, as the case is with cows, who are weakened by having often brought forth young; and further, the milk that is taken from them exhausts their strength. But all heifer three years old is in her rigor and prime. In short, the Prophet intimates that the Moabites lived well, and as it were unrestrained, for they had long exulted in their abundance; and as they had plenty of wine and bread, they gave themselves up to luxury. 1919     A reason more suitable to the passage has been given for this comparison, — that Moab in its distress is compared to an heifer lowing for want of pasture and especially of water, for it follows that the waters of Nimrim would be dried up. See Isaiah 15:5, 6Ed.

He then adds, Surely even the waters of Nimrim shall be a desolation Some think Nimrim to have been a city, and it is elsewhere called Nimra. Its waters are also mentioned by Isaiah, as the brooks of the willows. We may hence conclude that these waters were perpetual and flowed continually. But the Prophet speaks metaphorically as before, for the meaning is, that nothing would be so safe in the land of Moab as not to be destroyed, that nothing would be so fruitful as not to be dried up. Then by the waters of Nimrim he means the abundance which was in the whole country. For the Chaldeans did not dry up that river or those lakes, for it is certainly unknown whether there was a river there or a lake. But it is probable that there was there abundance of waters, which were not dried up by the coming of an hostile army; but, as I have said, he shews by these figurative expressions that the whole land of Moab would be laid waste. It follows —

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