|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verses 1-9. - THE BURDEN OF MOAB. The present chapter and the next are very closely connected, and may be regarded as together constituting "the burden of Moab." It has been argued on critical grounds that the bulk of the prophecy is quoted by Isaiah from an earlier writer, and that he has merely modified the wording and added a few touches here and there (so Gesenius, Rosenmüller, Hitzig, Maurer, Ewald, Knobel, and Cheyne). Jeremiah is thought to have also based his "judgment of Moab" (Jeremiah 48.) on the same early writing. But speculations of this kind are in the highest degree uncertain, and moreover lead to no results of the slightest importance. It is best, therefore, to regard Isaiah as the author of these two chapters. Having threatened Philistia, Israel's nearest enemy upon the west, he turns to Moab, her nearest foe towards the east. Verse 1. - Because. An elliptical beginning. Mr. Cheyne supposes some such words as "Lament for Moab," or "Alas for Moab!" to have been in the writer's mind, but to have been omitted through "lyrical excitement." In the night. This is best taken literally. Night attacks, though not common in antiquity, were not unknown. Mesha, King of Moab, boasts that he "went in the night" against Nebo, and assaulted it at early dawn (Moabite Stone, I. 15). Ar of Moab; or, Ar-Moab. An ancient city, mentioned among those taken from the Moabites by Sihon (Numbers 21:28). According to Jerome, it was called in Roman times Areopolis, or Rabbath-Moab. Modern geographers identify it with Rabba, a place on the old Roman road between Kerak and Arair, south of the Amen, where there are some ancient remains, though they are not very extensive (Burckhardt, 'Travels,' p. 377). Is laid waste, and brought to silence; rather, is stormed, is ruined. Kir of Moab. "Kir of Moab" is reasonably identified with Kerak, a place very strongly situated on a mountain peak, about ten miles flora the south-eastern corner of the Dead Sea.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The burden of Moab,.... A heavy, grievous prophecy, concerning the destruction of Moab. The Targum is,
"the burden of the cup of cursing, to give Moab to drink.''
This seems to respect the destruction of it by Nebuchadnezzar, which is prophesied of in Jeremiah 48:1 for that which was to be within three years, Isaiah 16:14 looks like another and distinct prophecy from this; though some think this was accomplished before the times of Nebuchadnezzar, either by Shalmaneser king of Assyria, some time before the captivity of the ten tribes, as Vitringa and others; or by Sennacherib, after the invasion of Judea, so Jarchi.
Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; this was a chief city in Moab, perhaps the metropolis of it; see Numbers 21:28. Kimchi conjectures it to be the same with Aroer, which was by the brink of the river Arnon, Deuteronomy 2:36, Deuteronomy 3:12 and is mentioned with Dibon, as this, in Numbers 32:34 of which notice is taken, and not of Ar, in Jeremiah 48:19. Some versions take Ar to signify a "city", and render it, "the city of Moab", without naming what city it was; and the Targum calls it by another name, Lahajath; but, be it what city it will, it was destroyed in the night; in such a night, as Kimchi interprets it; in the space of a night, very suddenly, when the inhabitants of it were asleep and secure, and had no notice of danger; and so the Targum adds,
"and they were asleep.''
Some have thought this circumstance is mentioned with a view to the night work, that work of darkness of Lot and his daughter, which gave rise to Moab; however, in a night this city became desolate, being taken and plundered, and its inhabitants put to the sword, and so reduced to silence; though the last word may as well be rendered "cut off" (n), utterly destroyed, being burnt or pulled down; two words are made use of, to denote the utter destruction of it:
because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; either in the same night, or rather in another. Kir, another city of Moab, met with the same fate as Ar. This is called Kirhareseth, and Kirharesh, in Isaiah 16:7 and so Kirheres in Jeremiah 48:31 called Kir of Moab, to distinguish it from Kir in Assyria, Amos 1:5 and Kir in Media, Isaiah 22:6.
(n) "succisus", Pagninus, Montanus; "excisa", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. So Ben Melech interprets it by
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Isa 15:1-9. The Fifteenth and Sixteenth Chapters Form One Prophecy on Moab.
Lowth thinks it was delivered in the first years of Hezekiah's reign and fulfilled in the fourth when Shalmaneser, on his way to invade Israel, may have seized on the strongholds of Moab. Moab probably had made common cause with Israel and Syria in a league against Assyria. Hence it incurred the vengeance of Assyria. Jeremiah has introduced much of this prophecy into his forty-eighth chapter.
1. Because—rather, "Surely"; literally, "(I affirm) that" [Maurer].
night—the time best suited for a hostile incursion (Isa 21:4; Jer 39:4).
Ar—meaning in Hebrew, "the city"; the metropolis of Moab, on the south of the river Arnon.
Kir—literally, "a citadel"; not far from Ar, towards the south.
Bajith—rather, "to the temple" [Maurer]; answering to the "sanctuary" (Isa 16:12), in a similar context.
to Dibon—Rather, as Dibon was in a plain north of the Arnon, "Dibon (is gone up) to the high places," the usual places of sacrifice in the East. Same town as Dimon (Isa 15:9).
to weep—at the sudden calamity.
over Nebo—rather "in Nebo"; not "on account of" Nebo (compare Isa 15:3) [Maurer]. The town Nebo was adjacent to the mountain, not far from the northern shore of the Dead Sea. There it was that Chemosh, the idol of Moab, was worshipped (compare De 34:1).
Medeba—south of Heshbon, on a hill east of Jordan.
baldness … beard cut off—The Orientals regarded the beard with peculiar veneration. To cut one's beard off is the greatest mark of sorrow and mortification (compare Jer 48:37).
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