Isaiah 16:13
This is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning Moab since that time.
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(13) Since that time.—The phrase is used of an indefinite past, like our “of yore,” or “of old time.” It is variously translated by “hitherto” (2Samuel 15:34), “from the beginning” (Isaiah 48:3; Isaiah 48:5; Isaiah 48:7). It seems to imply that thus far Isaiah had been in part reproducing the “burden” of an older prophet, or of one given to him to deliver at an earlier date.

Isaiah 16:13-14. This is the word that the Lord hath spoken — This prophecy, hitherto related; since that time — Since the beginning of God’s revelation to me concerning Moab hitherto; or, rather, a good while ago, for so the Hebrew, מאז, meaz, signifies, Isaiah 44:8, and elsewhere. This judgment, says the prophet, was denounced against Moab in former times, particularly by Amos, (Amos 2:1,) and is now confirmed, and the particular time specified when it shall be accomplished. For now the Lord hath spoken — Hath made this further discovery of his mind to me; saying, Within three years — To be computed, it seems, from the time of the delivery of this prophecy; as the years of a hireling — That is, within three years precisely counted; for hirelings are very punctual in observing the time for which they are hired; and the glory of Moab shall be contemned — Their strength, and wealth, and other things in which they glory, shall be made contemptible to those who formerly admired them; with all that great multitude — With the great numbers of their people, of which they boasted. And the remnant shall be very small and feeble — Comparatively to what they were before. Vitringa is of opinion, that this prophecy was delivered at the same time with that preceding, that is, in the year when Ahaz died, at which time the Israelites, as well as the Jews, stood much in need of the kindness of the Moabites; so that it had its completion in the third year of King Hezekiah, namely, from the death of his father, which was really the fourth year of his reign, when Shalmaneser, coming against the Ephraimites, on a sudden attacked the Moabites, and plundered and destroyed their cities: see 2 Kings 18:9. This is also Bishop Lowth’s opinion, as has been stated in the note on Isaiah 15:1. It may, however, be understood of some other great blow given to the Moabites; perhaps by Sennacherib, or by his son Esar-haddon; (in which case Isaiah must have delivered this prophecy some years later;) from which blow, notwithstanding, they in a little time recovered themselves, and flourished again, and continued so to do, till Nebuchadnezzar completed their destruction according to the prophecy of Jeremiah 48:1, &c. 16:6-14 Those who will not be counselled, cannot be helped. More souls are ruined by pride than by any other sin whatever. Also, the very proud are commonly very passionate. With lies many seek to gain the gratification of pride and passion, but they shall not compass proud and angry projects. Moab was famous for fields and vineyards; but they shall be laid waste by the invading army. God can soon turn laughter into mourning, and joy into heaviness. In God let us always rejoice with holy triumph; in earthly things let us always rejoice with holy trembling. The prophet looks with concern on the desolations of such a pleasant country; it causes inward grief. The false gods of Moab are unable to help; and the God of Israel, the only true God, can and will make good what he has spoken. Let Moab know her ruin is very near, and prepare. The most awful declarations of Divine wrath, discover the way of escape to those who take warning. There is no escape, but by submission to the Son of David, and devoting ourselves to him. And, at length, when the appointed time comes, all the glory, prosperity, and multitude of the wicked shall perish.This is the word - This is the substance of the "former" predictions respecting Moab. This has been the "general course" or sense of the prophecies respecting Moab, during all its history.

Since that time - Formerly; from former times. There had been a course of predictions declaring in general that Moab should be destroyed, and the prophet says here that he had expressed their general sense; or that "his" predictions accorded with them all - for they all predicted the complete overthrow of Moab. He now says Isaiah 16:14 that these general prophecies respecting Moab which had been of so long standing were now to be speedily accomplished. The prophecies respecting Moab, foretelling its future ruin, may be seen in Exodus 15:15; Numbers 21:29; Numbers 24:17; Psalm 60:8; Psalm 108:9; Amos 2:2; Zephaniah 2:9. It "may," however, be intended here that the former portion of this prophecy had been uttered by Isaiah himself during the early part of his prophetic life. He is supposed to have prophesied some sixty or more years ("see" Introduction, Section 3); and it may be that the prophecy in the fifteenth and the previous part of the sixteenth chapter had been uttered during the early part of his life without specifying the time when it would be fulfilled; but now he says, that it would be accomplished in three years. Or it may be that some other prophet had uttered the prediction which he now repeats with additions at the close. The fact that Isaiah had done this on some occasions seems probable from the beginning of Isaiah 2, which appears to be a quotation from Micah 4:1-3 (see the Analysis to Isaiah 15:1-9, and the notes at Isaiah 2:2).

13. since that time—rather, "respecting that time" [Horsley]. Barnes translates it, "formerly" in contrast to "but now" (Isa 16:14): heretofore former prophecies (Ex 15:15; Nu 21:29) have been given as to Moab, of which Isaiah has given the substance: but now a definite and steady time also is fixed. Since the beginning of God’s revelation to me concerning Moab, and hitherto; which exposition seems to be confirmed by the following words, but now. This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning Moab,.... That is, this prophecy now delivered out is what comes from the Lord; it is the word of the Lord, and not of man, and so shall certainly come to pass; when this word was spoken follows:

since that time; from eternity, as some, and so refer it to the decree of God within himself; or from the time that Moab was in being, or a nation, as others; or from the time that Balak hired Balaam to curse Israel, so Jarchi; or rather from the time that the Lord made known his mind and will, concerning this matter, to the prophet Isaiah: for it should be rendered, "this is that word which the Lord spake concerning Moab then" (i); that is, at the time or year in which Ahaz died, Isaiah 14:28 and is observed, to distinguish it from what the prophet spoke, or was about to speak, now or from this time, concerning him, as in the next verse Isaiah 16:14.

(i) So Noldius, Ebr. Concord. Part. p. 473. No. 1586.

This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning Moab since that time.
13. since that time] Render aforetime. The expression is used both of the recent past (as in 2 Samuel 15:34) and of a remote or even immemorial past (as Proverbs 8:22; Psalm 93:2). The sense here is indeterminate.

13, 14. The Epilogue. See Introductory Note.Verse 13. - This is the word, etc. The third and concluding section begins here. This prophecy, Isaiah says, is one, not now delivered for the first time, but existent previously. How long previously, he leaves quite vague. Therefore the delightful land is miserably laid waste. "Therefore will Moab wail for Moab, everything will wail: for the grape-cakes of Kir-hareseth will ye whine, utterly crushed. For the fruit-fields of Heshbon have faded away: the vine of Sibmah, lords of the nations its branches smote down; they reached to Ja'zer, trailed through the desert: its branches spread themselves out wide, crossed over the sea." The Lamed in l'Moab is the same as in Isaiah 15:5, and in la'ashishē, which follows here. Kir-hareseth (written Kir-heres in Isaiah 16:11, and by Jeremiah; compare 2 Kings 3:25, where the vowel-pointing is apparently false): Heres or Hareseth may possibly refer to the glazed tiles or grooved stones. As this was the principal fortress of Moab, and according to Isaiah 15:1 it had already been destroyed, ‛ashishē appears to mean the "strong foundations," - namely, as laid bare; in other words, the "ruins" (cf., Jeremiah 50:15, and mōsedē in Isaiah 58:12). But in every other passage in which the word occurs it signifies a kind of cake; and as the devastation of the vines of Moab is made the subject of mourning afterwards, it has the same meaning here as in Hosea 3:1, namely raisin-cakes, or raisins pressed into the form of cakes. Such cakes as these may have been a special article of the export trade of Kir. Jeremiah has altered 'ashishē into 'anshē (Jeremiah 48:31), and thus made men out of the grapes. Hâgâh is to be understood in accordance with Isaiah 38:14; Isaiah 59:11 (viz., of the cooing of the dove); 'ac (in good texts it is written with mercha, not with makkeph) according to Deuteronomy 16:15. On the construction of the pluralet. shadmoth, compare Habakkuk 3:17. We have rendered the clause commencing with baalē goyim (lords of the nations) with the same amphibolism as we find in the Hebrew. It might mean either "lords of the nations (domini gentium) smote down its branches" (viz., those of the vine of Sibmah;

(Note: In MSS Shibmah is written with gaya, in order that the two labials may be distinctly expressed.)

hâlam being used as in Isaiah 41:7), or "its branches smote down (i.e., intoxicated) lords of the nations" (dominos gentium; hâlam having the same meaning as in the undisputed prophecy of Isaiah in Isaiah 28:1). As the prophet enlarges here upon the excellence of the Moabitish wine, the latter is probably intended. The wine of Sibmah was so good, that it was placed upon the tables of monarchs, and so strong that it smote down, i.e., inevitably intoxicated, even those who were accustomed to good wines. This Sibmah wine was cultivated, as the prophet says, far and wide in Moab - northwards as far as Ja'zer (between Ramoth, i.e., Salt, and Heshbon, now a heap of ruins), eastwards into the desert, and southwards across the Dead Sea - a hyperbolical expression for close up to its shores. Jeremiah defines yâm (the sea) more closely as yam Ja‛zer (the sea of Jazer; vid., Jeremiah 48:32), so that the hyperbole vanishes. But what sea can the sea of Jazer be? Probably some celebrated large pool, like the pools of Heshbon, in which the waters of the Wady (Nahr) Sir, which takes its rise close by, were collected. Seetzen found some pools still there. The "sea" (yâm) in Solomon's temple shows clearly enough that the term sea was also commonly applied to artificial basins of a large size; and in Damascus the marble basins of flowing water in the halls of houses are still called baharât; and the same term is applied to the public reservoirs in all the streets of the city, which are fed by a network of aqueducts from the river Baradâ. The expression "break through the desert" (tâ‛u midbâr) is also a bold one, probably pointing to the fact that, like the red wines of Hungary at the present time, they were trailing vines, which did not require to be staked, but ran along the ground.

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