|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 45. - Apparently quoted from memory from Numbers 21:28; Numbers 24:17, except the first clause; the application, however, is peculiar to this passage. They that fled, etc.; rather, The fugitives stand without strength in the shadow of Heshbon. There is a difficulty here, for, according to ver. 2, the hostile raid into Moab started from Heshbon. Surely the fugitives would not think of escaping northwards, much less would they be able to elude the vigilance of the foe and reach Heshbon. But it is not surprising that the author of so long a poem should now and then make a slip; the author of the Book of Job is sometimes inconsistent with the Prologue, and ver. 2 is as far away from the passage before us as the Prologue of Job is from Job 19:18. Nor can we be absolutely certain that our prophecy is exactly as Jeremiah wrote it. Shall come forth; rather, hath come forth (or, cometh forth). From the midst of Sihon. Sihon being, perhaps, regarded as the leader and representative of his warriors. The corner of Moab; rather, the sides (literally, side, used collectively) of Moab. The tumultuous ones; literally, sons of tumult, a poetical phrase for warriors. The prophet has substituted the more common word shaon for its synonym sheth.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon, because of the force,.... Heshbon was a strong city in the land of Moab, to which many of the Moabites betook themselves in this time of their calamity; thinking they should be sheltered, under the protection of it, from the fury of the Chaldean army; hither they fled, and here they stood, imagining they were safe, "because of the force"; because of the strength of the city of Heshbon, as Kimchi; or because of the force of their enemies, for fear of them, as Kimchi's father; or for want of strength, because they had no more strength to flee, and therefore stopped there, so Jarchi and Abarbinel: but the words should rather be rendered, "they that stood under the shadow of Heshbon"; thinking themselves safe, but now perceiving danger, "fled with strength" (r); or as swiftly as they could, and with all the strength they had, that they might, if possible, escape from thence:
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.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
45. under … shadow of Heshbon—They thought that they would be safe in Heshbon.
because of the force—that is, "they that fled because of the force" of the enemy: they that fled from it. Glassius translates, "through want of strength." So the Hebrew particle is translated (Ps 109:24), "faileth of fatness," that is, "faileth through want of fatness"; also La 4:9.
but a fire, &c.—copied in part from Sihon's hymn of victory (Nu 21:27, 28). The old "proverb" shall hold good again. As in ancient times Sihon, king of the Amorites, issued forth from his city, Heshbon, as a devouring "flame" and consumed Moab, so now the Chaldeans, making Heshbon their starting-point, shall advance to the destruction of Moab.
midst of Sihon—that is, the city of Sihon.
corner of Moab—that is, Moab from one corner to the other.
crown of … head—the most elevated points of Moab. Making some alterations, he here copies Balaam's prophecy (Nu 24:17). Margin there translates "princes" for corners; if so, "crown of … head" here refers to the nobles.
tumultuous ones—sons of tumult; those who have tumultuously revolted from Babylon. Heshbon passed from the Amorite to the Israelite sway. Moab had wrested it from Israel and helped the Chaldeans against the Jews; but revolting from Babylon, they brought ruin on themselves in turn.
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