For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass fails, there is no green thing.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The waters of Nimrim . . .—These also appear in Jeremiah 48:34. They were probably a reservoir from which the fields were irrigated so as to be conspicuous for their verdure Eusebius (Onomast.) places it north of Zoar. The name appears to survive in the Wady en Nemeirah on the south-eastern shore of the Dead Sea (De Saulcy, Voyage, i. 284; Tristram, Land of Israel, 340). Beth-Nimrah appears as the name of a town in Numbers 32:36). The desolation predicted was probably thought of as caused by the stoppage of the wells, one of the common acts of an invading army (2Kings 3:25).Isaiah 15:6-8. For the waters, &c. — The prophet, in these verses, sets forth the causes of lamentation among the inhabitants of the southern part of Moab. The first is the desolation of their fruitful fields, Isaiah 15:6. The waters of Nimrim, or, the waterish, or well-watered grounds, shall be desolate — Such grounds, being very fruitful, are commonly most inhabited and cultivated; but now they also, and much more the dry and barren grounds, should be desolate, and without inhabitant. That which they have laid up, &c. — Here we have a second cause of their grief: the property which they had acquired and reserved for their future use, and that of their offspring, should be seized and carried away by the Assyrians their enemies. To the brook of the willows — Or, rather, to the valley of the willows, as Bishop Lowth translates it, that is, to Babylon: see note on Psalm 137:2. The cry is gone round about the borders, &c. — “The prophet, contemplating with the most lively imagination the consternation of all Moab, as if present to his view, scarcely satisfies himself in painting the scene. He repeats again the proposition, and supplies, by a general declaration, what he might seem not to have expressed with sufficient perfection before. He therefore declares, that this lamentation, of which he speaks, shall not be private, nor peculiar to one place, or to a few, but common to all: and that the tempest shall not break upon this or that part of the country only, but shall afflict all Moab, every corner and boundary of it, and take in the whole land from Eglaim to Beer-elim, two cities in the extremities of Moab.” — Vitringa.Numbers 32:3; compare Jeremiah 48:34). It was, doubtless, a city celebrated for its pure fountains and springs of water. Here Seetzen's chart shows a brook flowing into the Jordan called "Nahr Nimrim, or Wady Shoaib." 'On the east of the Jordan over against Jericho, there is now a stream called Nimlim - doubtless the ancient Nimrim. This flows into the Jordan, and as it flows along gives fertility to that part of the country of Moab.' (Eli Smith.) It is possible that the waters failed by a common practice in times of war when an enemy destroyed the fountains of a country by diverting their waters, or by casting into them stones, trees, etc. This destructive measure of war occurs, with reference to Moab, in 2 Kings 3:25, when the Israelites, during an incursion into Moab, felled the fruit trees, cast stones into the plowed grounds, and "closed the fountains, or wells."The waters; either,
1. Properly, they shall be dried up; or,
2. Figuratively, the waterish grounds, as waters seem to be taken, Ecclesiastes 11:1 Isaiah 32:20. These being very fruitful, are commonly most inhabited and cultivated; but now they also, and much more the dry and barren grounds, shall be desolate, and without inhabitant.
There is no green thing, by the just and special judgment of God. Thus God and man conspire together to destroy them. Numbers 32:3. Jerom (p) calls it Nemra, and says it was a large village in his time; it seems to have its name from panthers or leopards, of which there might be many in these parts:
for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing; by which it seems that the desolation spoken of was not merely through the forage and trampling of the enemy's army, but by a drought.For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. (Jeremiah 48:34) the waters of Nimrim are generally supposed to be connected with Beth-nimrah (Numbers 32:36), now Tell-nimrin, on the Wadi Shaib, flowing into the Jordan about 8 miles from its mouth. A place in the south of Moab would perhaps suit the context better, and explorers have found a Wadi Numeirah running into the Dead Sea a little south of Kerak. Eusebius also (Onomast.) says that the place was known in his day under the name Βηνναμαρείμ (= the Heb. mê Nimrîm, “waters of N.”), and lay to the N. of Zoar. On the stopping of the waters by an enemy, see 2 Kings 3:25.
hay … grass] Better: grass … tender grass (R.V.).Verse 6. - The waters of Nimrim shall be desolate. The Wady Numeira is a watercourse running into the Dead Sea from the east, hallway between the promontory called the "Lisan" and the sea's southern extremity. It is fed by "six or seven springs" ('Quarterly Statement' of Palest. Expl. Fatal, October, 1880, p. 254) - "plenteous brooks gushing from the lofty hills" (Tristram), and boasts along its banks a number of "well-watered gardens." There is no reason to doubt the identity of this stream with "the waters of Nimrim." Their "desolation" was probably caused by the enemy stopping up the sources (2 Kings 3:19, 25; 2 Chronicles 32:3, 4). The hay is withered away. There is luxuriant vegetation in the wadys and ghors at the southern end of the Dead Sea, especially in the Ghor-es-Safiyeh, the Wady Numeira, and the Wady el-Mantara ('Quarterly Statement' of Palest. Expl. Fund, October, 1880, pp. 252, 254). Isaiah 14:32, which follows here, nothing more is needed than a few simple parenthetical thoughts, which naturally suggest themselves. This one desire was the thirst for conquest, and such a desire could not possibly have only the small strip of Philistian coast for its object; but the conquest of this was intended as the means of securing possession of other countries on the right hand and on the left. The question arose, therefore, How would Judah fare with the fire which was rolling towards it from the north? For the very fact that the prophet of Judah was threatening Philistia with this fire, presupposed that Judah itself would not be consumed by it.
And this is just what is expressed in Isaiah 14:32 : "And what answer do the messengers of the nations bring? That Jehovah hath founded Zion, and that the afflicted of His people are hidden therein." "The messengers of the nations" (maleacē goi): goi is to be taken in a distributive sense, and the messengers to be regarded either as individuals who have escaped from the Assyrian army, which was formed of contingents from many nations, or else (as we should expect pelitē in that case, instead of mal'acē) messengers from the neighbouring nations, who were sent to Jerusalem after the Assyrian army had perished in front of the city, to ascertain how the latter had fared. And they all reply as if with one mouth (yaaneh): Zion has stood unshaken, protected by its God; and the people of this God, the poor and despised congregation of Jehovah (cf., Zechariah 11:7), are, and know that they are, concealed in Zion. The prophecy is intentionally oracular. Prophecy does not adopt the same tone to the nations as to Israel. Its language to the former is dictatorially brief, elevated with strong self-consciousness, expressed in lofty poetic strains, and variously coloured, according to the peculiarity of the nation to which the oracle refers. The following prophecy relating to Moab shows us very clearly, that in the prophet's view the judgment executed by Asshur upon Philistia would prepare the way for the subjugation of Philistia by the sceptre of David. By the wreck of the Assyrian world-power upon Jerusalem, the house of David would recover its old supremacy over the nations round about. And this really was the case. But the fulfilment was not exhaustive. Jeremiah therefore took up the prophecy of his predecessor again at the time of the Chaldean judgment upon the nations (Jeremiah 47:1-7), but only the second strophe. The Messianic element of the first was continued by Zechariah (Zechariah 9).
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