Isaiah 15:5 MEANING

Isaiah 15:5
(5) My heart shall cry out for Moab . . .--The prophet, though a stranger to Moab, and belonging to a hostile people, is touched with pity at the sight--the fugitives fleeing before the army coming from the north to Zoar, at the extreme south of the Dead Sea (see Note on Genesis 19:22), in the wild scare as of a frightened heifer as yet untamed by the yoke (Jeremiah 31:18; Jeremiah 48:34; Jeremiah 1:11). The English "fugitives" answers to the marginal reading of the Hebrew, the text of which (followed by the Vulg.) gives, "his bars reach unto Zoar;" but it is not easy to connect this with the context.

By the mounting up of Luhith . . .--No city has been identified as bearing this name. Probably "the ascent of Luhith" (the name may indicate a staircase of boards) was the well-known approach (Jeremiah 48:5) to a Moabite sanctuary. Eusebius (Onomast.) speaks of it as between Zoar and Areopolis (Rabbath Moab). Horonaim (here and in Jeremiah 48:3; Jeremiah 48:5; Jeremiah 48:34) is as little known as its companion. The name, which in Hebrew means "two caverns," is, perhaps, descriptive of the nature of the sanctuary. The point of the description is that the fugitives when they reach Horonaim, are met with the cry of destruction, "All is over."

Verse 5. - My heart shall cry out for Moab (comp. Isaiah 16:9, 11). The prophet sympathizes with the sufferings of Moab, as a kindred people (Genesis 19:37), and perhaps as having, in the person of Ruth, furnished an ancestress to the Messiah (Matthew 1:5). His fugitives; literally, her fugitives. The country is here personified, instead of the people, the former being feminine, the latter masculine. Shall flee unto Zoar. Zoar, the "little" town, spared for Lot's sake (Genesis 19:20-22), is placed by some at the northern, by others at the southern, extremity of the Dead Sea. The present passage makes in favor of the more southern site. An heifer of three years old. Those who defend this rendering refer the simile either to Zest, or to Moab, or to the fugitives. Having regard to the parallel passage of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 48:34), we may pronounce the last explanation to be the best. The resemblance to the heifer will consist in the cries uttered. To ninny critics, however, this idea appears harsh, and the alternative is proposed of regarding Eglath - the word translated "heifer" - as a place, and the epithet, "of three years old," as really meaning "the third." Attempts are made to show the existence of three Eglaths in these parts; but they are not very successful; nor is any instance adduced of a city being distinguished from others of the same name by a numerical suffix. The rendering of the Authorized Version may therefore stand, the comparison being regarded as one of the fugitive Moabites to a heifer in its third year, "rushing along with loud, hopeless bellowings" (Kay). By the mounting up of Luhith. This ascent has not been identified. It should have been on the way from Moab proper to Zoar. The way of Horonaim. On the Moabite Stone Horonaim is mentioned as a town of the Edomites attacked and taken by Mesha (11:31-33). It lay probably south or southeast of the Dead Sea. The Moabites, flying kern their invaders, seek a refuge in the territories of Edom and Judah, weeping and wailing as they go.

15:1-9 The Divine judgments about to come upon the Moabites. - This prophecy coming to pass within three years, would confirm the prophet's mission, and the belief in all his other prophecies. Concerning Moab it is foretold, 1. That their chief cities should be surprised by the enemy. Great changes, and very dismal ones, may be made in a very little time. 2. The Moabites would have recourse to their idols for relief. Ungodly men, when in trouble, have no comforter. But they are seldom brought by their terrors to approach our forgiving God with true sorrow and believing prayer. 3. There should be the cries of grief through the land. It is poor relief to have many fellow-sufferers, fellow-mourners. 4. The courage of their soldiers should fail. God can easily deprive a nation of that on which it most depended for strength and defence. 5. These calamities should cause grief in the neighbouring parts. Though enemies to Israel, yet as our fellow-creatures, it should be grievous to see them in such distress. In ver. 6-9, the prophet describes the woful lamentations heard through the country of Moab, when it became a prey to the Assyrian army. The country should be plundered. And famine is usually the sad effect of war. Those who are eager to get abundance of this world, and to lay up what they have gotten, little consider how soon it may be all taken from them. While we warn our enemies to escape from ruin, let us pray for them, that they may seek and find forgiveness of their sins.My heart shall cry out for Moab,.... These seem to be the words of the prophet, pitying them as they were fellow creatures, though enemies; which shows humanity in him, and signifies that their calamities were very great, that a stranger should be concerned for them, and such to whom they had been troublesome; so Jarchi understands it, who observes the difference between the true and false prophet, particularly between Isaiah and Balaam; but others, as Kimchi, interpret it of the Moabites themselves, everyone expressing their concern for the desolation of their country; and so the Targum,

"the Moabites shall say in their hearts:''

his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar; a city where Lot fled to, when he came out of Sodom, to which it is thought the allusion is, see Genesis 19:20 the meaning seems to be, that those that escaped out of the above cities, when taken and destroyed, should flee hither for safety: the words may be supplied thus, "his fugitives" shall cry out "unto Zoar"; that is, those that flee from other places shall cry so loud as they go along, that their cry shall be heard unto Zoar, Jeremiah 48:34,

an heifer of three years old; which is not to be understood of Zoar in particular, or of the country of Moab in general, comparable to such an heifer for fatness, strength, beauty, and lasciviousness; but of the cry of the fugitives, that should be very loud and clamorous, like the lowing of an ox, or an heifer in its full strength, which is heard a great way; see 1 Samuel 6:9. Dr. Lightfoot (c) conjectures that "Eglath Shelishiah", translated an heifer of three years old, is the proper name of a place; and observes, that there was another place in this country called Eneglaim, Ezekiel 47:10 which being of the dual number, shows that there were two Egels, in reference to which this may be called the "third" Eglath; and so the words may be rendered, "his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, unto the third Eglath"; and he further conjectures, that this may be the Necla of Ptolemy (d), mentioned by him in Arabia Petraea, along with Zoara; and also to be the Agella of Josephus (e), reckoned with Zoara and Oronai, and other cities of Moab:

for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up; which seems to have been a very high place, and the ascent to it very great; and as the Moabites went up it, whither they might go for safety, they should weep greatly, thinking of their houses and riches they had left to the plunder of the enemy, and the danger of their lives they were still in. This place is thought by some to be the same with the Lysa of Ptolemy (f); Josephus (g) calls it Lyssa; Jerom (h) says in his time it was a village between Areopolis and Zoara, and went by the name of Luitha; it is mentioned in Jeremiah 48:5,

for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction; of Moab, and the several cities of it; or "of breaking", of breaking down of walls and of houses. The Targum is,

"the cry of the broken (or conquered) in battle;''

whose bones are broken, or however their strength, so that they are obliged to surrender; or a "broken cry", such as is made when there is a multitude of people together, and in great distress. The word Horonaim is of the dual number, and signifies two Horons, the upper and the lower, as say Kimchi and Ben Melech; which is true of Bethhoron, if that was the same place with this, Joshua 16:3. By Josephus (i) it is called Oronas and Oronae; it is taken by some to be the Avara of Ptolemy (k); it seems, by the Targum, that as Luhith was a very high place, this lay low, since it renders it,

"in the descent of Horonaim;''

to which its name agrees, which signifies caverns; and mention is made of Bethhoron in the valley, along with Bethnimrah (l).

(c) See his Works, vol. 2. p. 502. (d) Geograph. l. 5. c. 17. (e) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 1. sect. 4. (f) Geograph. l. 5. c. 17. p. 137. (g) Antiqu. l. 14. c. 1. sect. 4. (h) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 93. A. (i) Antiqu. l. 13. c. 15. sect. 4. & l. 14. c. 1. sect. 4. (k) Geograph. l. 5. c. 17. p. 137. (l) T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 38. 4.

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