|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
48:14-47. The destruction of Moab is further prophesied, to awaken them by national repentance and reformation to prevent the trouble, or by a personal repentance and reformation to prepare for it. In reading this long roll of threatenings, and mediating on the terror, it will be of more use to us to keep in view the power of God's anger and the terror of his judgments, and to have our hearts possessed with a holy awe of God and of his wrath, than to search into all the figures and expressions here used. Yet it is not perpetual destruction. The chapter ends with a promise of their return out of captivity in the latter days. Even with Moabites God will not contend for ever, nor be always wroth. The Jews refer it to the days of the Messiah; then the captives of the Gentiles, under the yoke of sin and Satan, shall be brought back by Divine grace, which shall make them free indeed.
Verse 34. - Based on Isaiah 15:4-6. The cry of one town echoes to another, and is taken up afresh by its terrified inhabitants. Heshbon and Elealeh lay on eminences but a short distance apart, so that the shrill cry of lamentation would be heard far away in the southeast at Jahaz. Zoar and Horonaim both lay in the southern half of Moah (see on vers. 3, 4). An heifer of three years old. If this is the right rendering, the phrase is descriptive of Horonaim, which may, in the time of Jeremiah, have been a "virgin fortress." But the phrase, thus understood, comes in very oddly, and in the parallel passage in Isaiah it stands, not after Horonaim, but after Zoar; it hardly seems likely that there were two Gibraltars in Moab. Another rendering (Ewald, Keil) is, "(to) the third Eglath." This involves an allusion to the fact that there were other places in Moab called Egiath or Eglah, which has been rendered highly probable by Gesenius. The waters also of Nimrhn. Canon Tristram speaks of the "plenteous brooks gushing from the lofty hills into the Ghor-en-Numeira." Consul Wetzstein, however, says that nature appears there under so unspeakably gloomy an aspect, that the identification is impossible. He proposes a site in the Wady So'eb, about fourteen miles east of the Jordan, which with its luxuriant meadows, covered with the flocks of the Bedouin, is probably suitable to the passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah (Excursus it. in Delitzsch's 'Jesaja,' 4th edit., pp. 572, 573). So also Seetzen, who remarks that the lower part of this wady is still called Nahr Nimrin. In Joshua 13:27 a place called Beth - nimrah is mentioned as situated in the valley (i.e. the Jordan valley); no doubt this was in the wady referred to by the prophets. "The valley" seems to have been sometimes used in a wider signification, so as to include lateral valleys like that of Nimrim. The antiquity of the name is shown by its occurrence in the Annals of Thothmos III., who penetrated into the heart of Palestine, and, in the temple of Karnak, enumerates the cities which he conquered. From before B.C. 1600 to nearly A.D. this secluded valley has borne precisely the same name!
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh,.... Two cities in the land of Moab; of which see Isaiah 15:4. Heshbon being destroyed, a cry was made by the inhabitants of it, which either reached from thence to Elealeh; or the destruction being carried on to that city, the cry was continued there:
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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
34. From the cry of Heshbon, &c.—Those who fly from Heshbon on its capture shall continue the cry even as far as Elealeh … . There will be continued cries in all quarters, from one end to the other, everywhere slaughter and wasting.
as an heifer of three years old—Moab heretofore not having known foreign yoke, and in its full strength, is compared to an heifer of three years old, never yet yoked, nor as yet worn out with many birth-givings (compare Note, see on Isa 15:5).
waters … of Nimrim—that is, the well-watered and therefore luxuriant pastures of Nimrim.
desolate—The Hebrew is stronger: not merely shall be "desolate," but desolation itself multiplied: plural, "desolations." The most fertile tracts shall be dried up.
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