Isaiah 16:7
Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken.
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(7) Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab.—Either the whole nation wailing for its downfall, or the survivors wailing for the fallen.

The foundations of Kir-hareseth.—The name has been commonly explained as the “brick fortress,” (city of pottery). Others, with a different derivation, make it “city of the sun.” Others, again (E. H. Palmer, in the Athenæum of August 19, 1871), connect it with háreith, the modern Moabite name for the hillocks on which the rock fortresses were built. The word for foundations occurs in Hosea 3:1, for raisin-cakes (“flagons of wine” in the Authorised version (comp. 2Samuel 6:19, Song Song of Solomon 2:5), and has been supposed to refer to this as the main product of Kir-hareseth, the traffic in which she lost through the destruction of the vineyards, mentioned in the next verse. Ruins would, in any case, be better than “foundations.”

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.Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab - One part of the nation shall mourn for another; they shall howl, or lament, in alternate responses. Jerome renders it, 'the people (shall howl) to the city; the city to the provinces.' The general idea is, that there would be an universal lamentation throughout the land. This would be the punishment which would result from their pride in neglecting to send the tribute and seeking the favor of the Jews; or they would lament because the expectation of finding a refuge among the Israelites was taken away.

For the foundations - On account of the foundations of Kir-hareseth, for they shall be overthrown; that is, that city shall be destroyed. The word rendered here 'foundations' (אשׁישׁי 'ăshı̂yshēy), occurs nowhere else but in this place, and in Hosea 3:1. The Septuagint renders it: 'The inhabitants.' The Chaldee, 'Men.' Jeremiah, in the parallel place, renders it also 'men' Jeremiah 48:31. In Hosea 3:1, it is rendered 'flagons of wine' - and it has been supposed by many that it has this sense here, as this would agree with what is immediately added of the fields of Heshbon, and the vine of Sibmah. Rosenmuller renders it by 'strong people, or heroes;' and supposes that it means that the "strong" people of Kir-hareseth would be destroyed, and that they would mourn on that account. The probable sense is, that that on which the city rested, or was based, was to be destroyed. So Kimchi, Jarchi, and the Syriac understand it.

Kir-ha-reseth - literally, "wall of potsherds, or of bricks." Aquila renders it, Τοιχῳ ὀστρακίνῳ Toichō ostrakinō. Symmachus, Τείχει ὀστρακίνῳ Teichei ostrakinō. This was a city of Moab, but where it was situated is unknown. Vitringa supposes that it was the same as Kir Moab Isaiah 15:1, which, Gesenius says, is not improbable, for it is now mentioned as in ruins, and as one of the chief cities.

7. Therefore—all hope of being allowed shelter by the Jews being cut off.

foundations—that is, "ruins"; because, when houses are pulled down, the "foundations" alone are left (Isa 58:12). Jeremiah, in the parallel place (Jer 48:31), renders it "men," who are the moral foundations or stay of a city.

Kirhareseth—literally, "a citadel of brick."

surely they are stricken—rather, joined with "mourn"; "Ye shall mourn utterly stricken" [Maurer and Horsley].

For Moab; for itself; the noun put for the pronoun, as is usual in the Hebrew text. Or, to Moab. One Moabite shall howl or lament to or for another.

Kir-hareseth; an ancient and eminent city of Moab, called Kir, Isaiah 15:1 and Kir-haresh, Isaiah 16:11, which signifies, The city of the sun, probably because there was the temple of the sun; which city was preserved when their other cities were ruined, 2 Kings 3:25, and therefore the destruction of it was more lamented.

Shall ye mourn; or, ye shall meditate or talk, as this word commonly signifies. Your thoughts and discourses will run much upon the ruin of such a city.

Stricken; or, broken; overthrown or destroyed.

Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab,.... One Moabite shall mourn for another; the living for the dead; or one part of the country for another; or to Moab, they shall howl in turns, answering to one another:

everyone shall howl: every Moabite, or the whole country of Moab shall howl, being everywhere desolate:

for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn: surely they are stricken; this was a very principal city in the land of Moab, and a very strong one, see 2 Kings 3:25. It signifies, according to some, "the city of the sun", so called, it may be, because the sun was worshipped here; or, according to others, "the earthen city", or "city of brick", because its houses and walls were made of brick; and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "the walls of burnt brick". Now this strong city was to be razed even to the foundations, so that these would be discovered, which would occasion mourning to its inhabitants, and those of other places. Kimchi interprets "the foundations", of the great men and princes of Moab, see Jeremiah 48:31 so the Targum,

"and they shall howl over the men of the city of their strength;''

R. Jonah, of the men of the army, the foundation of the kingdom; so Ben Melech. The word translated "foundations" signifies also flagons or bottles, and so Aben Ezra and Abendana understand it here; and accordingly the words may be thus rendered, "for the bottles of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn, verily they are broken" (d); this agrees with the signification of the word in Hosea 3:1 and with what follows, concerning the vine of Sibmah; the reason of the mourning seems to be, that there would be no wine, and the bottles would lie useless, and be broken.

(d) "de lagenis Kir-hareseth gemetis, ubique confractae sunt", De Dieu; "propter dolia Cir-hareseth gemetis"; so some in Vatablus.

Therefore shall Moab wail for Moab, every one shall wail: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are {g} stricken.

(g) For all your mourning, yet the city will be destroyed even to the foundation.

7. the foundations] R.V. renders rightly raisin-cakes. These cakes of compressed grapes are mentioned less as an article of commerce than as a delicacy used at religious feasts (cf. Hosea 3:1, R.V.). The word never means “foundations.” The parallel passage in Jeremiah substitutes the tamer “men.” Kir-hareseth is the same as Kir-heres (Isaiah 16:11) and perhaps identical with Kir of Moab (Isaiah 15:1).

surely they are stricken] Better, as R.V.: utterly stricken (apposition to “ye”).

7, 8. (Cf. Jeremiah 48:31-32.) Moab’s last hope being thus disappointed, the poet resumes his lament over the doomed people.

Verse 7. - Every one shall howl; rather, the whole of it shall howl; i.e. the entire nation collectively (comp. Herod., 8:99; 9:24). For the foundations of Kir-Hareseth shall ye mourn. The word here translated "foundations" is elsewhere always rendered "flagons" or "flagons of wine" (2 Samuel 6:19; Song of Solomon 2:5; Hosea 3:1). And this rendering is more agreeable to the context than "foundations," since it is the loss of the products of the soil which is threatened in the next three verses. "Kir-Hareseth" is probably the same place as the "Kir-Moab" of Isaiah 15:1. It was one of the principal cities of Moab (see 2 Kings 2:25). Isaiah 16:7Therefore 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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