seeing the Lord hath given it a charge against Ashkelon, and against the seashore? for it had a commission from the Lord to destroy the inhabitants of Ashkelon, and other places, which lay still more towards the sea, as Joppa and Jamne; and indeed all Palestine lay on the coast of the Mediterranean sea:
there hath he appointed it; by an irreversible decree of his, in righteousness to punish the inhabitants of these places for their sins.
INTRODUCTION TO Jeremiah 48
This chapter contains a prophecy of the destruction of Moab, and of the mourning that should be for it; and not only its destruction in general is predicted, but particular places are mentioned, on which it should fall, Jeremiah 48:1; the causes of which were their confidence in their works and riches, their carnal ease and security, and their idolatry, they should now be ashamed of, Jeremiah 48:6; and this destruction is represented both as certain and as near, notwithstanding their mighty warriors and choice young men, Jeremiah 48:14; and then other cities are particularly named, that should share in the calamity, Jeremiah 48:18; and all this because of their insolence to the Lord; their contempt of his people; their pride, arrogance, and haughtiness; their wrath, and their lies, Jeremiah 48:26; and this destruction is further exaggerated by the lamentation of the prophet over Moab in general, and over several particular cities; and by the lamentation of the inhabitants of them, because of the spoiling of their vines, their fruits, and their riches, Jeremiah 48:31; and this is confirmed by the Lord, as to the swiftness of the enemy that should destroy them; the consternation and fear that should seize them; the flight they should be put to; and the consumption and captivity of them, Jeremiah 48:40; and the chapter is concluded with a promise of the return of their captivity in the latter day, Jeremiah 48:47.
woe unto Nebo, for it is spoiled; its walls broken down; its houses demolished; its inhabitants destroyed, and plundered of their riches; this, in prophetic language, is represented as done, because of the certainty of it. Of this city See Gill on Isaiah 15:2; It is thought to be an oracular one, where was a temple of their idol; and from whence their priests gave out oracles, promising peace, and prosperity and safety, to Moab; and therefore the desolation of that is first prophesied of, to show that no dependence was to be had on those lying oracles;
Kirjathaim is confounded and taken; a city in the tribe of Reuben, which afterwards came into the hands of the Moabites, Joshua 13:19. The word is of the dual form; and it might be a double city, like Jerusalem, consisting of a lower and upper city; or it might be divided by a river; or, as Kimchi and Ben Melech think, it was so called because it had two towers in it. It seems to be the same with Kir of Moab, Kirharesh, and Kirhareseth, Isaiah 15:1; when it was taken by the Chaldeans, the inhabitants were confounded, as having looked upon the place, and boasted of it, as impregnable;
Misgab is confounded and dismayed; so called from its being built on a high place, and well fortified; though some think that this is not the proper name of a place; but only signifies a high and fortified place both by nature and art; a place of refuge, where persons thought themselves safe; and so the Targum renders it,
"the house of their confidence;''
this, when besieged and taken by the Babylonians, threw the inhabitants into the utmost consternation and confusion. Some take it to be the same with Bamoth, a name of much the same signification, Joshua 13:17; see Isaiah 15:2.
(z) "ad Moab", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus; "de Moabo", Vatablus, Cocceius. (a) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7.
in Heshbon, or "concerning Heshbon" (b), should be read in connection with this; and then the sense is, there shall be none any more in Heshbon to praise the country of Moab, what a fine and fertile country it is, since that city will be destroyed also; or there will be no more a Moabite to boast of his being an inhabitant in Heshbon, such an utter destruction will be made of it; or there will be no more boasting of Moab, or of any Moabite concerning Heshbon, what a famous, opulent, or strong city that is, since it is no more. Of this city See Gill on Isaiah 15:4;
they have devised evil against it; that is, the Chaldeans devised evil against Heshbon, to besiege it, take and destroy it: there is in the expression a beautiful allusion to the name of the city of Heshbon, which has its name from a word that signifies to devise and consult (c);
come, and let us cut it off from being a nation: this is what the Babylonians consulted together against Heshbon; and not only against that, a principal city; but against the whole country of Moab, to make such an entire desolation of it, that it should be no more a nation: that which the Moabites with others devised against the people of Israel is now devised against them; a just retaliation this; see Psalm 83:4;
also thou shalt be cut down, O Madmen; or utterly destroyed: it may be rendered, "shall become silent" (d); the voice of man shall not be heard in it, especially the voice of praise, of boasting, and rejoicing: there is in this clause also an elegant allusion to the name of the place, which comes from a root that signifies to "cut down", or "be silent" (e). This is thought by Grotius to be the Madiama of Ptolemy (f):
the sword shall pursue thee; after it has destroyed other cities, it should come in great haste and with great force to Madmen; or it should pursue after the inhabitants, of it, that should make their escape, or attempt to do so. The Targum is,
"after thee shall go out those that slay with the sword.''
(b) "nulla amplius gloriatio Moab in Chesbon", Calvin; "non ultra laus, Moab in Chesbon", Montanus; to the same purpose Vatablus. (c) a "cogitavit", "excogitavit". (d) "silebis", Montanus; so R. Judah in Ben Melech; "ad silentium redigeris"; so some in Vatablus. (e) . (f) Geograph. l. 6. c. 7.
spoiling, and great destruction; because the city was spoiled, and a great destruction made in the inhabitants and riches of it.
"the kingdom of Moab is broken;''
and so Abarbinel; or a city so called, which some take to be the city Areopolis. Jerom (g) says, that Moab is a city of Arabia, now called Areopolis; and which also has the name of Rabbathmoab, or "grand Moab";
her little ones have caused a cry to be heard; seeing their parents killed, and they left desolate, and in the hands of the enemy; and not only so, but just going to be dashed in pieces by them. The Targum interprets it, her governors; and so Jarchi, who thinks they are so called, because they are lesser than kings. Kimchi and Ben Melech suggest, that these are called so by way of contempt. The word "tzeir" signifies both "little" and "great", as the learned Pocock (h) has abundantly proved.
(g) De locis Heb. fol. 87. H. & 93. B. (h) Not. Miscell. in Port. Mosis, p. 17, 18.
for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction; a place before mentioned, which lay low, in the descent of which, the enemies, the Chaldeans, heard the cries of those that fled from Horonaim, and went up from thence to Luhith, which cry was as follows:
and be like the heath in the wilderness; which is called "erice", or "ling", which grows in waste places. Kimchi and Menachem in Jarchi interpret it of a tree that grows in dry and desert places; a low, naked, barren, fruitless shrub; signifying, that, when they were fled from their habitations, they should be as solitary and stripped of all their good things as such a bare and naked shrub in a desert. Kimchi's note is, that when they had left their cities and fled, their cities would be as the heath in the wilderness. The Targum is,
"and be ye as the tower of Aroer, "as they" who dwell in tents in the wilderness.''
Jarchi observes that the tower of Aroer was built in the wilderness, and there was no inhabitant round it but those that dwelt in tents; and, the tower standing where there was no inhabitant, it looked like a waste. The Septuagint version is very foreign, "as a wild ass in the wilderness"; which is followed by the Arabic version.
and in thy treasures: their gold and silver, and other riches they had heaped together:
thou shalt be taken: some particular city seems to be meant, the city Moab, or Ar of Moab, Jeremiah 48:4; or Horonaim, Jeremiah 48:5;
and Chemosh shall go forth in captivity, with his priests and his princes together; this was the god of the Ammonites, Judges 11:24; and of the Moabites, 1 Kings 11:7; hence the Moabites are called the people of Chemosh, Numbers 21:29; which Philo the Jew (i) explains thus; that is, thy people and power are found blind, and deprived of sight; and says that Chemosh is interpreted "as groping", or feeling, which is the property of one that cannot see. "Mosh" in Hebrew signifies to grope or feel; and "caph" is a servile letter, and a note of similitude; and by another Jewish writer (k) Chemosh is called the god of the blind. Jerom (l) takes it to be the same idol with Baalpeor, thought by some the Priapus of the Heathens. Camus, the god of festivals and merriment, seems to have had his name from hence; very probably the sun was worshipped by the Moabites under this name, which may be so called from its swiftness; for the Arabic word, "camash", signifies swift and hastening (m); as the sun is to run its race. The Moabites put their trust in this their deity; and to let them see that he would be of no avail unto them, in this time of their distress, he himself should be taken away by the enemy out of his temple, for the sake of the gold or silver that was upon him, and with him the priests that attended his service; or his worshippers, as the Targum; and the princes of the nation that served him, and supported the worship of him, and defrayed the expenses of it.
(i) Allegor. l. 2. p. 104. (k) R. Iedaia Habadreshi, Bechinat Olam, c. 30. p. 184. (l) Comment in lsaiam, c. 15. 2.((m) Vid. Castell. Lex. Polyglott. col. 1749. & Gol. Lex. Arab. p. 2064.
and no city shall escape; the spoiler, and destruction by him:
the valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the Lord hath spoken; not only the cities, and the inhabitants of them; but the inhabitants of the valleys and plains, as the Targum paraphrases it, should be destroyed; and also the corn that grew upon them, and the flocks and herds that grazed there, exactly as the Lord had foretold.
(n) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7.
"take away the crown from Moab, for going it shall go away into captivity.''
The word is used of the plate of gold on the high priest's mitre, Exodus 28:36;
for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein; which expresses the utter destruction of them.
(o) "quia volando volabit", Pagninus, Montanus, Vatablus; "quia avolando avolabit", Schmidt; "nam avolabit", Piscator.
and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood; from shedding the blood of the Moabites, when God had given command to do it. The curse is repeated, as Kimchi observes, to confirm the matter, that it might be most assuredly expected; since it would certainly come, if the Lord's work was not done aright.
and he hath settled on his lees; a metaphor taken from wine; which, the longer it remains on the lees, the better body it has, and the richer and stronger it is; and denotes the great tranquillity of the Moabites; the riches they were possessed of, and in which they trusted. The Targum renders it,
"quiet in their substance;''
herein they were an emblem of unconverted sinners, who are settled and hardened in the corruptions of their nature; and not at all disturbed at the evil of sin; the wrath of God; his judgments on men; the last and awful judgment; or at the terrors of hell; and likewise of such who trust in their own righteousness, and depend upon that for salvation:
and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel; like wine that has never been racked off from the vessel or vessels it was first put into: they were never removed from place to place, but always continued in their land; in which they were an emblem of such who have never seen their own emptiness, and their want of the grace of God, and have never been emptied of sin, nor of self-righteousness:
neither hath he gone into captivity; this explains in proper words the metaphor in the preceding clause: the Moabites had never been carried captive out of their own land into others; an emblem of such who have never seen their captive state to sin and Satan; or ever brought to complain of it, or become the captives of Christ;
therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed; his wealth, riches, and prosperity, continued without any change and alteration; and also his sins and vices, idolatry, pride, luxury, and which were the cause of his ruin; and for that reason are here mentioned; an emblem of unregenerate men, whose taste is vitiated by sin, and continues as it was originally; they relish sin, and disrelish everything that is good; and savour the things that be of man, and not the things of God; and so are in a most dangerous condition.
that I will send unto him wanderers that shall cause him to wander; the Chaldeans, who wandered out of their own country to Moab, directed by the providence of God to come there to do his work; and who, at first, might be treated by the Moabites with contempt, as vagrants, but would soon be made to know that they would cause them to wander; or would remove them out of their own country into other lands, particularly Babylon, to be vagrants there. The word may be rendered "travellers" (q); and signifies such that walk with great strength of body, in a stately way, and with great agility and swiftness; in which manner the Chaldeans are described as coming to Moab, and who should cause them to travel back with them in all haste; see word in Isaiah 63:1. The Targum renders it "spoilers"; according to the metaphor of wine used in Jeremiah 48:11, it may signify a sort of persons that cause wine to go, or empty it from one vessel to another; such as we call "wine coopers"; and this agrees with what follows:
and shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles; depopulate the cities of Moab; destroy the inhabitants of them, and make them barren and empty of men. The Targum is,
"I will send spoilers upon them, and they shall spoil them, and empty their substance, and consume the good of their land;''
see Jeremiah 48:8. The Septuagint version is, "they shall cut in pieces his horns"; which, as Origen (r) interprets them, were a kind of cups anciently used; for in former times they drank out of horns, either of oxen, or other animals; and Pliny (s) says that the northern people used to drink out of the horns of buffaloes, a creature larger than a bull, and which the Muscovites call "thur"; the same is asserted by Athenaeus (t), and others, that the horns of beasts were drinking vessels before cups were invented.
(p) Antiqu. l. 10. c. 9. sect. 7. (q) "viatores", Tigurine version. (r) Apud Drusium in fragmentis in loc. (s) Nat. Hist. l. 11. e. 37. (t) Deipnosoph. l. 11. p. 235. Rhodigin. 1. 30.
as the house of Israel were ashamed of Bethel their confidence; that is, of the golden calf that was set up in Bethel by Jeroboam, and which the ten tribes of Israel worshipped, and in which they trusted; but that could not save them from being carried captive by the Assyrians; and so were ashamed of it, and of their idolatrous worship, and vain confidence.
and gone up out of her cities; the inhabitants of Moab were gone up out of their cities, either through fear and flight; or through force, being made to go out of them, and were carried captive. The Targum is,
"the Moabites are spoiled, and their cities are desolate;''
and so Kimchi interprets it,
"the multitude of her cities is made to cease;''
the people of them. It might be as well rendered, "and he is gone up to her cities" (u); that is, the spoiler (w), as Kimchi's father rightly interprets it; see Jeremiah 48:8; or it may be rendered, "and his cities, into which he went up" (x); that is, those are spoiled and destroyed, into which the Moabites used to go up, being built on high places; or whither they went for safety, the enemy being in their country, but in vain:
and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter; or, "the choice of his chosen ones" (y); the select of them, for comeliness, strength, and valour; these being taken, when the enemy entered the cities, were had down to some place of slaughter, and there put to death; or were brought down to the grave, the pit of corruption; unless this can be understood of the choice young men of the enemy, the Chaldean army; who, mounting and scaling the walls of the cities of Moab, went down into them to slay the inhabitants of them; but this is submitted to consideration. All this was not barely said by the prophet, who was but a man, though sent of God; but by the Lord himself, as it follows:
saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts; who is "the King" by way of eminency; the King of kings, and Lord of lords; mightier than the king of Moab, or even than the king of Babylon; and the Lord of greater armies than either; and therefore what he said should certainly be accomplished.
(u) "et civitates ejus conscendit", Montanus; "ascendit super urbes ejus", Gataker. (w) "Sub. hostis", Vatablus, Calvin; "vastator", Gataker. (x) "Et urbes ejus in quas ascendit", Schmidt. (y) "electio electorum ejus", Gataker.
and his affliction hasteth fast: or, "his evil" (z) the evil of punishment for his sin; his utter destruction.
(z) "malum ejus", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Schmidt.
and all ye that know his name; not only that had heard of his fame and glory, but knew in what grandeur and splendour he lived; these have a form of condolence given them:
say, how is the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod! the mighty men of war, the staff of the nation, in which they trusted, destroyed; their fortified cities demolished; the powerful kingdom, which swayed the sceptre, and ruled in great glory, and was terrible and troublesome to others, now pulled down. The Targum is,
"how is the king broken that did evil, the oppressing ruler!''
"O kingdom of the congregation of Dibon;''
but this was not a kingdom of itself, though a principal city in the kingdom of Moab:
come down from thy glory, and sit in thirst; in a dry and thirsty land; in want of all the necessaries of life; in captivity; who before abounded with all good things, inhabiting a well watered and fruitful soil; see Isaiah 15:9; but now called to quit all their former glory and happiness, their fulness and felicity, and submit to the greatest straits and difficulties:
for the spoiler of Moab shall come upon thee, and he shall destroy thy strong holds; the king of Babylon and his army, who spoiled the other cities of Moab; he should come against this also, and take it, and demolish its fortifications, by reason of which it thought itself secure; but these should not be able to protect it.
stand by the way, and espy; get to the road side where travellers pass, and look out for them:
ask him that fleeth, and her that escapeth; whether man or woman you see fleeing, having escaped the army of the Chaldeans:
and say, what is done? by the Chaldeans; ask what cities they have taken; what progress they have made; what is done to their cities, that they flee from them? tell all the particulars of things.
howl and cry; because of the general ruin at the nation, and who must expect themselves to share the same fate; and therefore should prepare themselves and their neighbours for it, as follows:
tell ye it in Arnon, that Moab is spoiled; the country of Arnon, so called from a river of that name, on the banks of which Aroer was situated; the inhabitants of which are desired to spread it all over that part of the country, that Moab was utterly ruined by the Chaldean army; the particulars of which follow:
"they that execute vengeance are come:''
upon Holon; a city of Moab; of which see Joshua 15:51; it had its name perhaps from the sandy ground on which it stood. Grotius takes it to be the Alabana of Ptolemy:
and upon Jahazah: the same with Jahaz; see Gill on Isaiah 15:4; reckoned by Grotius to be the Jadu of Ptolemy; see Joshua 13:18;
and upon Mephaath; of which see Joshua 13:18; said by Grotius to be the Maipha of Ptolemy.
and upon Nebo: of which see Jeremiah 48:1;
and upon Bethdiblathaim: the same with Almondiblathaim in Numbers 33:46 and Diblath in Ezekiel 6:14.
and upon Bethgamul; this is nowhere else mentioned in Scripture; supposed by Grotius to be the Maccala of Ptolemy, put for Camala:
and upon Bethmeon: of which see Isaiah 15:2.
and upon Bozrah; not in Idumea, but in Moab; the same with Bezer, Joshua 21:36;
and upon all the cities of the land of Moab, for and near; all the rest of the cities not named, whether nearer or farther off from Aroer.
and his arm is broken, saith the Lord; so that he cannot hold a sword, or manage any weapon of war against the enemy, or do anything to annoy him, or in his own defence. The Targum is,
"the kingdom of Moab is cut off, and their rulers are broken, saith the Lord;''
and so Ben Melech interprets it of his princes, and his armies, which were the arm of the king, and of the people.
for he magnified himself against the Lord; made himself as great as he; yea, set himself above him; thought himself out of his reach; spoke proudly, haughtily, and contemptibly of him, and blasphemously against him, as if he could not deliver his people, or destroy his and their enemies. The Targum interprets it of the people of God, as in Zephaniah 2:10; paraphrasing the words thus;
"bring distress upon them, that they may be like to drunken men; for against the people of the Lord have they magnified themselves:''
Moab also shall wallow in his vomit; as drunken men do: or, he shall "clap", or "dash (a) his hand in his vomit": dash his hands and feet against the ground as he lies in his vomit, as persons in such a condition do: or shall wring his hands, and clap them together for sorrow, being sick, and in distress. Some render it, "he shall clap the hand at Moab in his vomit" (b); men shall laugh at him as he lies wallowing in it, or rejoice at his fall and ruin; but this is expressed in the next clause:
and he also shall be in derision; as drunken men are; he shall be derided by others, as others have been derided by him; now it will be his turn.
(a) "plaudat", Junius & Tremellius, Cocceius; "plaudet", Piscator; "complodat", Munster, Tigurine version, Schmidt; "allidet", Lyranus. (b) "Complodet manus super Moabum jacentem in vomitu suo", Gataker.
was he found among thieves? that is, Israel; that he should be a derision to any, as thieves are when they are taken; men rejoice at it, insult them, and deride them; but was this the case of Israel? had he robbed any? had he done any injury to Moab, or any other? no, verily: why this derision then?
for since thou spakest of him, thou skippedst for joy; or, "shookedst thyself" (c); whenever the Moabites spoke of the distresses and calamities of Israel, and of their captivity, they laughed till they shook themselves; not only shook their heads, but their whole bodies. The Vulgate Latin version is, "therefore, because of thy words which thou hast spoken against him, thou shall be carried captive"; and Jarchi mentions such a sense of the words, as given by some of their Rabbins; and to this agrees the Targum,
"and because ye have multiplied words against them, therefore ye shall go into captivity.''
(c) "commovisti te", Vatablus, Calvin; "commoves te", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "motitas te", Schmidt.
and be like the dove, that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole's mouth; which, for fear of birds of prey, makes her nest in the side of a hole, or cleft of a rock, that she and her young may be safe from them; and which being pursued by the hawk, flies into a hollow rock or cavern, as Homer (d) observes: but here it intends the place where it makes its nest; which is for the most part in deserts and rocky places, where great numbers of doves resort, and make their nests, as Diodorus Siculus (e) relates; and especially in the holes and clefts of rocks, to which the allusion is in Sol 2:14. The Targum is,
"and be as a dove that leaves her dove house, and comes down and dwells in the bottom of a pit,''
(d) Iliad. 21. v. 495. (e) Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 92.
(he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart; a heap of words to express the same thing; suggesting that the instances of his pride were many, and that it was exceeding great indeed: these many words were little enough; and indeed words were wanting fully to declare it. The same was observed in Isaiah's time, and in much the same language; only more words are here used, to show that his pride was increased since that time; see Isaiah 16:6.
but it shall not be so; as he has devised in his mind, and threatened in his wrath; all his swelling thoughts and big words shall come to nothing:
his lies shall not so effect it; it shall not be according to his words; they will prove lies, and of no effect. Kimchi interprets it of the sons of Moab, who shall not be able to do what they thought to do; and Jarchi of his mighty ones; and the Targum of his nobles, paraphrasing it,
"and their nobles are not right, they do not as is becoming;''
perhaps it may be better understood of his diviners and soothsayers, as the word is used in Isaiah 44:25; and be rendered, "his diviners have not done right" (f); they have deceived him with their lying oracles; swelled him with pride; and brought him to ruin, he trusting to them.
(f) "vaniloqui ejus non rectum fecerunt", Cocceius. So R. Sol. Urbin. Ohel Moed, fol. 38. 1.
and I will cry out for all Moab; the whole country of Moab, which should become desolate:
mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres; the same with Kirhareseth, a city of Moab, Isaiah 16:7; whose foundations should be sapped, the city taken, and the men of it put to the sword, or caused to flee; and their case being deplorable, the prophet says his heart should mourn for them like a dove, as Kimchi and Jarchi observe; though it may be rendered, "he shall mourn" (g); that is, Moab; for the destruction of such a principal city, and the men of it. The Targum renders it,
"for the men of the city of their strength.''
(g) "gemet", Montanus.
thy plants are gone over the sea; the Dead sea; meaning the inhabitants of Sibmah, the governors and common people, who were gone over sea into captivity, as it is generally understood:
they reach even to the sea of Jazer; a lake or confluence of water near to Jazer, called a sea; as it was usual with the Jews to call such seas; as the sea of Tiberias, and the like: this spread of the plants seems to refer to the multitudes of those that belonged to Sibmah, and the villages of it, which extended beyond the Dead sea, even to the sea of Jazer; but as fruitful as this vine was, and extensive as its branches were, they should come to destruction:
the spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits, and upon thy vintage: the king of Babylon, who came upon them with his army in the summer season, and at the time of their vintage, and devoured the fruits of their vines and fig trees, with which this country abounded; and so impoverished and ruined them. The Targum of the whole is,
"therefore as I have brought an army against Jazer, so I will bring slayers against Sibmah; they that carry them captive have waded; they have passed through the sea; they are come to the sea of Jazer; upon thy harvest, and upon thy vintage, the spoilers are fallen.''
(h) "a fletu", Pagninus, Montanus, Calvin, Schmidt. (i) "Supra fletum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Gataker.
and from the land of Moab; from all parts of it, where there had used to be plenty, and so joy:
and I have caused wine to fail from the wine presses: there being no grapes to put into them, or men to tread them, were there any; or, if put in and trodden, not the owners, but the enemy, should have the wine; so that it should fail from the Moabites; they should be never the better for it. These are the words of the Lord, who has the disposal of the fruits of the earth:
none shall tread with shouting; as treaders in the wine press used to do, to encourage one another, and make their labour more easy, and the time to pass on in it more pleasantly; but now there should neither be treading nor shouting; see Isaiah 16:10;
their shouting shall be no shouting; not a shouting of joy, as used to be when they trod out the wine; but a cry of mourning and lamentation, because of the sword of the enemy.
(k) "de Carmelo", V. L. "de Charmel", Montanus; "ex Carmelo", Schmidt.
and even unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice; another city of Moab; see Isaiah 15:4; which also was laid waste, and where the Moabites uttered their voice of lamentation on account of it:
from Zoar even unto Horonaim, as an heifer of three years old: that is, as the destruction should go on to Zoar, and so to Horonaim; of which places see Isaiah 15:5; so the cry of the distressed, and of those that flee, should also go from place to place; and be as loud, and as strong, and heard as far, as the lowing of a heifer of three years old. Naturalists (l) observe, that the voice in all female creatures is smaller and shriller, excepting the ox; for the voices of the females of that creature is stronger than in the males; and also that the taming of these creatures is when they are three years old, that is the proper time; before it is too soon, and afterwards too late (m); and then it is their voice is fuller, and their strength firmer, to which the allusion here is; See Gill on Isaiah 15:5;
for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate; being disturbed by the Chaldean army, their horses treading them with their feet, and so fouling them; or being mixed with the blood of the slain, and so unfit to drink. A sad case this, to have neither wine nor water; See Gill on Isaiah 15:6; to which may be added, that Jerom also makes mention of a village in his time called Benamerium, to the north of Zoar; and seems rather the place intended.
(l) Aristotel. Hist. Animal. l. 4. c. 11. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 51. (m) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 45.
and him that burneth incense to his gods: Chemosh, and others, the Moabites worshipped: this suggests that idolatry was one of the sins for which they were punished; and as all places and all sorts of persons should suffer in this calamity, so likewise idolatrous places, priests, and worshippers.
"therefore the Moabites shall sound in their hearts like a harp:''
and my heart shall sound like pipes for the men of Kirheres; as for the country of Moab in general, so for this principal city, and the inhabitants of it, in particular; See Gill on Isaiah 16:11;
because the riches that he hath gotten is perished; either Moab or Kirheres; the abundance of goods they had got together were now lost, falling into the hands of the enemy; and which was matter of lamentation. The Targum is,
"for the rest of their substance they had got were spoiled.''
Some understand it of the residue of men that escaped the sword; these perished by famine, or other means; see Isaiah 15:7.
upon all the hands shall be cuttings: it was usual with the Heathens to make incisions in the several parts of their bodies, particularly in their hands and arms, with their nails, or with knives, in token of mourning; which are forbidden the Israelites, Deuteronomy 14:1;
and upon the loins sackcloth; this is a well known custom for mourners, to put off their clothes, and put on sackcloth; all these things are mentioned, to show how great was the mourning of Moab for the calamities of it.
upon all the house tops of Moab, and in the streets thereof; the mourning, as it was general, it was public; it was seen by all, and everywhere; See Gill on Isaiah 15:3;
for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the Lord; as an earthen vessel, which the potter does not like, and which is useless and unprofitable to any, and which he takes and dashes into pieces; into a thousand shivers, as the word (o) here signifies, and can never be put together again; or as a filthy unclean vessel a man cannot bear in his sight: Moab is by the Lord called his wash pot, Psalm 60:8. The Moabites were vessels of wrath, fitted for destruction by their own this; and now the time of it was come.
(n) "totus luctus (est) vel omnia luctus (sunt)", Schmidt; "totus erit planctus", Junius & Tremellius; "per omnia erit planctus", Piscator. (o) "totalis confractio praedicitur", Schmidt.
"howl ye over her (q), and say, how is it broken!''
Kimchi says it may be taken either as in the past or in the imperative;
how hath Moab turned the back with shame? not being able to look their enemies in the face, but obliged to flee before them;
so shall Moab be a derision and a dismaying to all them about him; a derision to some, to their enemies, as Israel had been to them, and so they are paid in their own coin; and a consternation to others, their friends, who would fear sharing the same fate, at the hands of the Chaldeans.
(p) "quomodo consternata est", Piscator, Schmidt. (q) "ululate", Munster, Piscator; "ejulate", Junius & Tremellius.
and shall spread his wings over Moab; as an eagle spreads its wings, which are very large, over the little birds it seizes upon as its prey; so the king of Babylon would bring a numerous army against Moab, and spread it over his country. The Targum is,
"behold, as all eagle which flies, so a king shall come up with his army, and encamp against Moab.''
and the strong holds are surprised; everyone of them; so that there was not a city, or a fortified place, but what came into the enemies' hands:
and the mighty men's hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs; even the hearts of the soldiers, and the most courageous generals, shall sink within them; and they be not only as timorous as women in common, but as low spirited as a woman when she finds her pains are coming upon her, and the time of her delivery is at hand.
because he hath magnified himself against the Lord; the Targum is, against the people of the Lord; this is the cause of his destruction; See Gill on Jeremiah 48:26.
O inhabitant of Moab, saith the Lord; what in the prophecy of Isaiah is said of the inhabitants of the earth in general, is here applied to the inhabitants of Moab in particular.
shall fall into the pit; into some misfortune or another:
and he that getteth out of the pit shall be taken in the snare; laid by the enemy for him, and so shall fall into his hands. Sanctius very ingeniously observes that the allusion is to the hunting of deer, and such like creatures; when first a line of feathers of various colours is placed to frighten them; and if they get over that, then there is a pit dug for them, to catch them in; and if they get out of that, a snare is laid to take them; so that they rarely escape: and thus it would be with the Moabites, if they got rid of a first and second danger, a third would involve them; their destruction was certain, as follows; see Isaiah 24:18;
for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the Lord; in a way of wrath and punishment; for which there was a time fixed, and was now at hand, and would quickly take place, according to the will and word of the Lord, of which Moab might be assured; who is expressed by name, for the sake of explanation, and that it might be manifest who was intended.
for a fire (s) (for so it should be rendered, and not "but a fire")
shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon; the same with Heshbon; so called from Sihon, an ancient king of it; the meaning is, that the Chaldeans should make themselves masters of Heshbon, this strong city, in which the Moabites trusted; and from thence should go out like a flame of fire, and spread themselves all over the country, and destroy it: what was formerly said of the Amorites, who took the land of Moab out of the hands of the king of it, and it became afterwards a proverbial expression, is here applied to the Chaldeans; see Numbers 21:26; so the Targum, by a flame of fire, understands warriors:
and shall devour the corner of Moab; the whole country, even to the borders of it. The Targum is,
"and shall slay the princes of Moab;''
so great men are sometimes called corners; see Zechariah 10:4;
and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones; not of the common people that were tumultuous and riotous, but of the great ones, who swaggered and boasted, and made a noise about their strength and riches; but now should have their heads broke, and their pride and glory laid in the dust. So the Targum,
"and the nobles, the children of noise.''
(r) "ex virbus (soil. suis) erunt fugientes", Schmidt. (s) "quia ignis", V. L. Pagninus, Montanus, Cocceius, Schmidt.
for thy sons are taken captives, and thy daughters captives; this explains the woe that should come upon them, and in what sense they should perish; since their sons and daughters, who they hoped would have continued their name and nation, were taken, and would be carried captives into Babylon; see Numbers 21:29.