|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.
Verse 3. - In their streets; literally, in his streets; i.e. the streets of Moab. They shall gird themselves with sackcloth. Another widely spread custom, known to the Assyrians (Jonah 3:5), the Syrians (1 Kings 20:31), the Persians (Esther 4:1, 2), the Israelites (Nehemiah 9:1), and, as we see here, to the Moabites. The modern wearing of black garments, especially crape, is representative of the old practice. Every one shall howl. "Howling" remains one of the chief tokens of mourning in the East. It was a practice of the Egyptians (Herod., 2:79), of the Persians (ibid., 8:99; 9:24), of the Babylonians (Jeremiah 51:8), and probably of the Orientals generally. Weeping abundantly; or, running down with tears (comp. Jeremiah 9:18; Jeremiah 13:17; Herod., 8:99).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
In their streets they shall girt themselves with sackcloth,.... Instead of their fine clothes, with which they had used to deck themselves, being a very proud people; see Isaiah 16:6 this was usual in times of distress on any account, as well as a token of mourning for the dead; see Joel 1:8. The word for "streets" might be rendered "villages", as distinct from cities, that were "without" the walls of the cities, though adjacent to them; and the rather, seeing mention is made of streets afterwards:
on the tops of their houses; which were made flat, as the houses of the Jews were, on which were battlements, Deuteronomy 22:8 hither they went for safety from their enemies, or to see if they could spy the enemy, or any that could assist them, and deliver them; or rather, hither they went for devotion, to pray to their gods for help; for here it was usual to have altars erected, to burn incense on to their deities; see 2 Kings 23:12 and in such places the people of God were wont to pray, Acts 10:9,
and in their streets; publicly, as well as privately, where they ran up and down to get from the enemy, and save themselves:
everyone shall howl, weeping abundantly: or, "descending with weeping": the tears running down his cheeks in great abundance, so that his whole body was as it were watered with them; or the meaning may be, that everyone that went up to the temples of the idols, and to the high places, Isaiah 15:2 or to the roofs of the houses, as here, to pray the assistance of their gods, should come down weeping and howling, having no success.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. tops of … houses—flat; places of resort for prayer, &c., in the East (Ac 10:9).
weeping abundantly—"melting away in tears." Horsley prefers "descending to weep." Thus there is a "parallelism by alternate construction" [Lowth], or chiasmus; "howl" refers to "tops of houses." "Descending to weep" to "streets" or squares, whither they descend from the housetops.
Isaiah 15:3 Parallel Commentaries
Isaiah 15:3 NIV
Isaiah 15:3 NLT
Isaiah 15:3 ESV
Isaiah 15:3 NASB
Isaiah 15:3 KJV
Bible Hub: Online Parallel Bible