Isaiah 15:6
For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.
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(6) 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.

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.For the waters of Nimrim - It is supposed by some that the prophet here states the cause why the Moabites would flee to the cities of the south, to wit, that the "waters" of the northern cities would fail, and the country become desolate, and that they would seek support in the south. But it is more probable that he is simply continuing the description of the desolation that would come upon Moab. Nimrah, or Beth Nimra, meaning a "house of limpid waters," was a city of Reuben east of the Dead Sea (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."

For the hay is withered away - The waters are dried up, and the land yields nothing to support life.

6. For—the cause of their flight southwards (2Ki 3:19, 25). "For" the northern regions and even the city Nimrim (the very name of which means "limpid waters," in Gilead near Jordan) are without water or herbage. 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.

For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate,.... Or dried up, through a great drought that should come upon the land at this time; or being defiled with the blood of the slain, as Jarchi: it may denote the well watered pastures about Nimrim, that should become the forage of the enemy, and be trodden under foot by its army, or be forsaken by the proprietors of them. Josephus (m) speaks of fountains of hot water springing up in the country of Peraea, where Nimrim was, of a different taste, some bitter, and others sweet; which, Dr. Lightfoot (n) suggests, might be these waters of Nimrim; and, according to the Jerusalem Talmud (o), Bethnimrah was in that part of the country which was called the valley, and so was very fruitful with springs of water. The word is in the plural number, and may design more places of the same name; and we read of Nimrah and Bethnimrah, 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.

(m) De Bello Jud. l. 7. c. 6. sect. 3. Ed. Hudson. (n) Ut supra (See his Works, vol. 2.) p. 50. (o) T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 38. 4. (p) De locis Hebraicis, fol. 93. I.

For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.
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 15:6The difficult words in which the prophet expresses this sympathy we render as follows: "My heart, towards Moab it crieth out; its bolts reached to Zoar, the three-year-old heifer." The Lamed in l'Moab is the same both here and in Isaiah 16:11 as in Isaiah 14:8-9, viz., "turned toward Moab." Moab, which was masculine in Isaiah 15:4, is feminine here. We may infer from this that עד־צער בריחה is a statement which concerns Moab as a land. Now, berichim signifies the bolts in every other passage in which it occurs; and it is possible to speak of the bolts of a land with just as much propriety as in Lamentations 2:9 and Jeremiah 51:30 (cf., Jonah 2:7) of the bolts of a city. And the statement that the bolts of this land went to Zoar is also a very appropriate one, for Kir Moab and Zoar formed the southern fortified girdle of the land; and Zoar, on the south-western tongue of land which runs into the Dead Sea, was the uttermost fortress of Moab, looking over towards Judah; and in its depressed situation below the level of the sea it formed, as it were, the opposite pole of Kir Moab, the highest point in the high land itself. Hence we agree with Jerome, who adopts the rendering vectes ejus usque ad Segor, whereas all the modern translators have taken the word in the sense of fugitives. ‛Eglath sheilshiyyâh, which Rosenmller, Knobel, Drechsler, Meier, and others have taken quite unnecessarily as a proper name, is either in apposition to Zoar or to Moab. In the former case it is a distinguishing epithet. An ox of the three years, or more literally of the third year (cf., meshullesheth, Genesis 15:9), i.e., a three-year-old ox, is one that is still in all the freshness and fulness of its strength, and that has not yet been exhausted by the length of time that it has worn the yoke. The application of the term to the Moabitish nation is favoured by Jeremiah 46:20, where Egypt is called "a very fair heifer" (‛eglâh yephēh-phiyyâh), whilst Babylon is called the same in Jeremiah 50:11 (cf., Hosea 4:16; Hosea 10:11). And in the same way, according to the lxx, Vulg., Targum, and Gesenius, Moab is called juvenca tertii anni, h. e. indomita jugoque non assueta, as a nation that was still in the vigour of youth, and if it had hitherto borne the yoke, had always shaken it off again. But the application of it to Zoar is favoured (1.) by Jeremiah 48:34, where this epithet is applied to another Moabitish city; (2.) by the accentuation; and (3.) by the fact that in the other case we should expect berı̄châh (the three-year-old heifer, i.e., Moab, is a fugitive to Zoar: vid., Luzzatto). Thus Zoar, the fine, strong, and hitherto unconquered city, is now the destination of the wildest flight before the foe that is coming from the north. A blow has fallen upon Joab, that is more terrible than any that has preceded it.

In a few co-ordinate clauses the prophet now sets before us the several scenes of mourning and desolation. "for the mountain slope of Luhith they ascend with weeping; for on the road to Horonayim they lift up a cry of despair. For the waters of Nimrim are waste places from this time forth: for the grass is dried up, the vegetation wasteth away, the green is gone." The road to Luhith (according to the Onom. between Ar-Moab and Zoar, and therefore in the centre of Moabitis proper) led up a height, and the road to Horonayim (according to Jeremiah 48:5) down a slope. Weeping, they ran up to the mountain city to hide themselves there (bo, as in Psalm 24:3; in Jeremiah 48:5 it is written incorrectly בּכי). Raising loud cries of despair, they stand in front of Horonayim, which lay below, and was more exposed to the enemy. יעערוּ is softened from יערערוּ (possibly to increase the resemblance to an echo), like כּוכב from כּבכּב. The Septuagint renders it very well, κραυγὴν συντριμμοῦ ἐξαναγεροῦσιν - an unaccustomed expression of intense and ever renewed cries at the threatening danger of utter destruction, and with the hope of procuring relief and assistance (sheber, as in Isaiah 1:28; Isaiah 30:26). From the farthest south the scene would suddenly be transferred to the extreme north of the territory of Moab, if Nimrim were the Nimra (Beth-Nimra, Talm. nimrin) which was situated near to the Jordan in Gilead, and therefore farther north than any of the places previously mentioned, and the ruins of which lie a little to the south of Salt, and are still called Nimrin. But the name itself, which is derived from the vicinity of fresh water (Arab. nemir, nemı̄r, clear, pure, sound), is one of frequent occurrence; and even to the south of Moabitis proper there is a Wadi Numere, and a brook called Moyet Numere (two diminutives: "dear little stream of Nimra"), which flows through stony tracks, and which formerly watered the country (Burckhardt, Seetzen, and De Saulcy). In all probability the ruins of Numere by the side of this wady are the Nimrim referred to here, and the waters of the brook the "waters of Nimrim" (me Nimrim). The waters that flowed fresh from the spring had been filled up with rubbish by the enemy, and would now probably lie waste for ever (a similar expression to that in Isaiah 17:2). He had gone through the land scorching and burning, so that all the vegetation had vanished. On the miniature-like short sentences, see Isaiah 29:20; Isaiah 33:8-9; Isaiah 32:10; and on היה לא ("it is not in existence," or "it has become not," i.e., annihilated), vid., Ezekiel 21:32.

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