Isaiah 15:7
Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Therefore the abundance . . .—The picture of the flight is completed. The fugitives carry with them all that they can collect together of their household goods, and bear them in their flight.

To the brook of the willows.—This, which has been variously translated as (1) “the torrent of the poplars,” or (2) “the Arabians,” or (3) “of the wilderness,” was probably the Wady el Achsar, where a stream falls into the Dead Sea, between the territory of Moab and Edom, the brook Zered of Numbers 21:12, Deuteronomy 2:13. It is obviously named here as being the point where the fugitives pass the boundary of their own lands. With less probability it has been taken as a poetical equivalent for the Euphrates (Psalm 137:2).

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.Therefore, the abundance they have gotten - Their wealth they shall remove from a place that is utterly burned up with drought, where the waters and the grass fail, to another place where they may find water.

To the brook of willows - Margin, 'The valley of the Arabians.' The Septuagint renders it, 'I will lead them to the valley of the Arabians, and they shall take it.' So Saadias. It might, perhaps, be called the valley of the Arabians, because it was the boundary line between them and Arabia on the south. Lowth renders it, 'To Babylon.' The probability is, that the prophet refers to some valley or brook that was called the brook of the willows, from the fact that many willows grew upon its bank. Perhaps it was the small stream which flows into the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, and which forms the boundary of Arabia Petrea of the province of Jebal. They withdrew toward the south, where toward Petra or Sela they had their property in herds Isaiah 16:1, for probably the invader came from the north, and drove them in this direction. Lowth, and most commentators, suppose that 'they' in this verse refers to the enemies of Moab, and that it means that they would carry away the property of Moab to some distant place. But the more probable meaning is, that when the waters of the Nimrim should fail, they would remove to a place better watered; that is, they would leave their former abode, and wander away. It is an image of the desolation that was coming upon the land.

7. Therefore—because of the devastation of the land.

abundance—literally, "that which is over and above" the necessaries of life.

brook of … willows—The fugitives flee from Nimrim, where the waters have failed, to places better watered. Margin has "valley of Arabians"; that is, to the valley on the boundary between them and Arabia-Petræa; now Wady-el Arabah. "Arabia" means a "desert."

Shall they, to wit, their enemies, which is plainly implied,

carry away to the brook of the willows; unto some brook or river having great numbers of willows growing by it, by which they might convey them to some eminent and strong city built upon the same river. Possibly he means some such river which ran into Euphrates, and so gave them opportunity of carrying their spoils by water unto Babylon. Though the words may be rendered, into the valley of the Arabians; whither the spoils might be first carried, in order to their transportation into Assyria or Chaldea; for part of Arabia lay between Moab and those countries. But the former translation seems better, because these very words are so rendered, Leviticus 23:40. Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up,.... The great substance which the Moabites had got, and hoarded up:

shall they carry away to the brook of the willows; either the Moabites should carry their substance to some brook, it may be near Nimrim, where many willows grew, and cast it into the brook, or lay it by the brook side, in some private place, or under and among the willows, to preserve it from the enemy; or else the meaning is, that their enemies should take what they had with a great deal of labour got, and with a great deal of care had laid up, and carry it to the brook of the willows, some place without the city, and there divide it; or to the valley of the Arabians (q), as some render it, some part of Arabia lying between Moab and Babylon, whither they might carry it, in order to the conveyance of it into their own country at a proper time: it may be observed, that the country of Moab came after this into the hands of the Arabians; and, according to Jerom, the valley of Arabia lay in the way from Moab to Assyria; but it may be rendered "the valley of the willows", and design the land of Babylon, or Babylon itself, which was built in a plain, or on a flat by the river Euphrates, out of which many canals and rivulets were cut and derived, near to which willows in great abundance grew; as they usually do in marshy and watery places; hence the Jews in Babylon are said to hang their harps upon the willows which were by its rivers; so Jarchi thinks the land of Babylon is meant, and compares it with Psalm 137:1 which sense is approved of by Bochart and Vitringa. The Septuagint version is,

"I will bring upon the valley the Arabians, and they shall take it;''

and the Targum is,

"their border, which is by the western sea, shall be taken from them.''

(q) "in vallem Arabum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius.

Therefore the abundance they have gained, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the {i} brook of the willows.

(i) To hide themselves and their goods there.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. (Jeremiah 48:36.) The fugitives have now reached the border of their own land, and prepare to cross into Edom. The boundary between the two countries was formed by the Wadi el-Ahsa (“valley of water-pits,” the scene of the miracle in 2 Kings 3:16 ff. See Robertson Smith, Old Test. in Jewish Ch. p. 147). In all probability this Wadi is identical with the brook of the willows here mentioned. There is, however, some doubt about the correct translation of the name, arising from its similarity to the “brook of the wilderness” in Amos 6:14 (here pl. ‘ǎrâbîm, there sing. ‘ǎrâbâh. Cf. 2 Kings 14:25 “sea of the ‘ǎrâbâh”). Some regard the word here as an irregular pl. of that used by Amos, and render “brook of the wastes.” But the two brooks are not necessarily identical, and even if they are, the translation “willows” (or rather, “poplars”) is perhaps to be preferred. Cf. ch. Isaiah 44:4; Psalm 137:2, &c., for the name of the tree.

the abundance] is lit. “surplus.” that which they have laid up is in Heb. a single word, meaning something entrusted for safe keeping. Instead of carry away to read carry over.Verse 7. - The abundance, etc.; i.e. "the property which they have been able to save and carry off with them." This, finding no place of refuge in their own territory, they convey to their southern border, where "the brook of the willows" separates their country from Edom, with the intention, no doubt, of transporting it across the brook. There is no other prophecy in the book of Isaiah in which the heart of the prophet is so painfully affected by what his mind sees, and his mouth is obliged to prophesy. All that he predicts evokes his deepest sympathy, just as if he himself belonged to the unfortunate nation to which he is called to be a messenger of woe. He commences with an utterance of amazement. "Oracle concerning Moab! for in a night 'Ar-Moab is laid waste, destroyed; for in a night Kir-Moab is laid waste, destroyed." The ci (for) is explanatory in both instances, and not simply affirmative, or, as Knobel maintains, recitative, and therefore unmeaning. The prophet justifies the peculiar heading to his prophecy from the horrible vision given him to see, and takes us at once into the very heart of the vision, as in Isaiah 17:1; Isaiah 23:1. 'Ar Moab (in which 'Ar is Moabitish for 'Ir; cf., Jeremiah 49:3, where we find 'Ai written instead of 'Ar, which we should naturally expect) is the name of the capital of Moab (Grecized, Areopolis), which was situated to the south of the Arnon, at present a large field of ruins, with a village of the name of Rabba. Kir Moab (in which Kir is the Moabitish for Kiryah) was the chief fortress of Joab, which was situated to the south-east of Ar, the present Kerek, where there is still a town with a fortification upon a rock, which can be seen from Jerusalem with a telescope on a clear day, and forms so thoroughly one mass with the rock, that in 1834, when Ibrahim Pasha resolved to pull it down, he was obliged to relinquish the project. The identity of Kir and Kerek is unquestionable, but that of Ar and Rabba has been disputed; and on the ground of Numbers 22:36, where it seems to be placed nearer the Arnon, it has been transposed to the ruins on the pasture land at the confluence of the Lejm and Mujib ( equals "the city that is by the river" in Deuteronomy 2:36 and Joshua 13:9, Joshua 13:16 : see Comm. on Numbers 21:15) - a conjecture which has this against it, that the name Areopolis, which has been formed from Ar, is attached to the "metropolis civitas Ar," which was called Rabba as the metropolis, and of which Jerome relates (on the passage before us), as an event associated with his own childhood, that it was then destroyed by an earthquake (probably in 342). The two names of the cities are used as masculine here, like Dammesek in Isaiah 17:1, and Tzor in Isaiah 23:1, though it cannot therefore be said, as at Micah 5:1, that the city stands for the inhabitants (Ges. Lehrgebude, p. 469). "In a night" (ליל absolute, as in Isaiah 21:11, not construct, which would give an illogical assertion, as shuddad and nidmâh are almost coincident, so far as the sense is concerned) the two pillars of the strength of Moab are overthrown. In the space of a night, and therefore very suddenly (Isaiah 17:14), Moab is destroyed. The prophet repeats twice what it would have been quite sufficient to say once, just as if he had been condemned to keep his eye fixed upon the awful spectacle (on the asyndeton, see at Isaiah 33:9; and on the anadiplosis, Isaiah 15:8; Isaiah 8:9; Isaiah 21:11; Isaiah 17:12-13). His first sensation is that of horror.
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