|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
48:1-13. The Chaldeans are to destroy the Moabites. We should be thankful that we are required to seek the salvation of men's lives, and the salvation of their souls, not to shed their blood; but we shall be the more without excuse if we do this pleasant work deceitfully. The cities shall be laid in ruins, and the country shall be wasted. There will be great sorrow. There will be great hurry. If any could give wings to sinners, still they could not fly out of the reach of Divine indignation. There are many who persist in unrepented iniquity, yet long enjoy outward prosperity. They had been long corrupt and unreformed, secure and sensual in prosperity. They have no changes of their peace and prosperity, therefore their hearts and lives are unchanged, Ps 55:19.
Verse 6. - Flee, save your lives; literally, your souls. The prophet's human feeling prompts him to this counsel; but he knows full well that a life of abject misery is the utmost that can be hoped for. And be like the heath in the wilderness; literally, and (your souls) shall be like destitute ones in the wilderness. Imagine the case of one who has been robbed of everything, and left alone in the desert; not less miserable is that of the Moabite fugitives. The word rendered "the heath" (aro'er) is either miswritten for ar'ar, which occurs in the sense of "destitute" in Jeremiah 17:6 (see note), or also a rare plural form of the same word. The sense remains the same. It is tempting to see an allusion to one of the towns called Aroer (as in Isaiah 17:2). But the only Aroer the prophet could be thinking of is that on the Amen (Deuteronomy 2:36), which could not be described as "in the wilderness."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Flee, save your lives,.... These are either the words of the Moabites, their cry of destruction mentioned in the latter part of Jeremiah 48:5; who, seeing nothing but ruin before their eyes, advise one another to flee in all haste, and save their lives if possible, since nothing else could be saved: or else they are the words of the prophet, giving counsel to the Moabites to betake themselves to flight for the safety of their lives, these being in great danger; so Abarbinel; with whom others agree, only think they are spoken ironically; suggesting, that when they had endeavoured by flight to save their lives, it would be to no purpose; they should not escape the hands of their enemies; which seems to be the truest sense:
and be like the heath in the wilderness; which is called "erice", or "ling", which grows in waste places. Kimchi and Menachem in Jarchi interpret it of a tree that grows in dry and desert places; a low, naked, barren, fruitless shrub; signifying, that, when they were fled from their habitations, they should be as solitary and stripped of all their good things as such a bare and naked shrub in a desert. Kimchi's note is, that when they had left their cities and fled, their cities would be as the heath in the wilderness. The Targum is,
"and be ye as the tower of Aroer, "as they" who dwell in tents in the wilderness.''
Jarchi observes that the tower of Aroer was built in the wilderness, and there was no inhabitant round it but those that dwelt in tents; and, the tower standing where there was no inhabitant, it looked like a waste. The Septuagint version is very foreign, "as a wild ass in the wilderness"; which is followed by the Arabic version.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. They exhort one another to flee.
heath—or the juniper (see on Jer 17:6). Maurer translates, "Be like one naked in the wilderness." But the sense is, Live in the wilderness like the heath, or juniper; do not "trust in" walls (Jer 48:7) [Grotius]. (Compare Mt 24:16-18).
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