Jeremiah 48:28
O you that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that makes her nest in the sides of the hole's mouth.
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(28) O ye that dwell in Moab . . .—The general thought is the same as in Jeremiah 48:6; Jeremiah 48:9, but is more vivid as being more specific. The Moabites are to leave their cities and take refuge in the caves, always in Palestine the asylum of fugitives (1Samuel 13:6; 2Samuel 17:9), as the wild dove flies to “the clefts of the rock” (Song Song of Solomon 2:14).

Jeremiah 48:28. Ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities — The walls of which will not be sufficient to defend you from the sword of the enemy. And dwell in the rock — Hide yourselves in the rocks and caverns of your country. And be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole’s mouth — That is, on the edge of the precipice, as Blaney interprets the expression, or the brink of destruction. The Moabites are here, therefore, “exhorted to retire for safety to those places where the apprehensions of danger would secure them from the enemy’s pursuit. That doves build in the clefts, or natural hollows of rocks, see Song of Solomon 2:14. Dr. Shaw, in his Travle, p. 162, fol., mentions a city on the African coast, called Hamanet, from the number of wild pigeons that are bred in the cliffs of the adjacent mountains.”48:14-47. The destruction of Moab is further prophesied, to awaken them by national repentance and reformation to prevent the trouble, or by a personal repentance and reformation to prepare for it. In reading this long roll of threatenings, and mediating on the terror, it will be of more use to us to keep in view the power of God's anger and the terror of his judgments, and to have our hearts possessed with a holy awe of God and of his wrath, than to search into all the figures and expressions here used. Yet it is not perpetual destruction. The chapter ends with a promise of their return out of captivity in the latter days. Even with Moabites God will not contend for ever, nor be always wroth. The Jews refer it to the days of the Messiah; then the captives of the Gentiles, under the yoke of sin and Satan, shall be brought back by Divine grace, which shall make them free indeed.Dwell in the rock - See Jeremiah 4:29. The sole chance of escape is refuge in inaccessible fastnesses.

In the sides ... - On the further side "of the mouth of the pit." The wild rock pigeon invariably selects deep ravines for its nesting and roosting.

28. Doves often have their nests in the "sides" of caverns. No longer shalt thou have cities to shelter thee: thou shalt have to flee for shelter to caves and deserts (Ps 55:6, 8; So 2:14). Still the prophet speaks of the Moabites as a people whose armies were routed, and calls to them to leave their houses in cities, not promising themselves any security, either to or from their houses, or from the walls of their cities, but to get them to rocks, which are naturally fortified, and from whence (if from any place) security might be promised. And he commends to them the natural sagacity of a dove, which being a feeble creature, and not able to encounter a hawk or eagle, makes herself a nest in the sides of some rock where she may be at safety. O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock,.... Signifying hereby that they would not be in safety in their strongest and most fortified cities, which would be besieged by the enemy, and taken; and therefore are advised to leave them, and flee to the rocks and mountains, that if possible they might be safe there:

and be like the dove, that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole's mouth; which, for fear of birds of prey, makes her nest in the side of a hole, or cleft of a rock, that she and her young may be safe from them; and which being pursued by the hawk, flies into a hollow rock or cavern, as Homer (d) observes: but here it intends the place where it makes its nest; which is for the most part in deserts and rocky places, where great numbers of doves resort, and make their nests, as Diodorus Siculus (e) relates; and especially in the holes and clefts of rocks, to which the allusion is in Sol 2:14. The Targum is,

"and be as a dove that leaves her dove house, and comes down and dwells in the bottom of a pit,''

or ditch.

(d) Iliad. 21. v. 495. (e) Bibliothec. l. 2. p. 92.

O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole's mouth.
28. dwell in the rock] See on Jeremiah 4:29.

in the sides of the hole’s mouth] The expression is peculiar and probably corrupt, but the figure is plain. See Tristram, Nat. Hist. of the Bible, p. 215, for mention of the many fissures in the rocky sides of the defiles in Palestine. Cp. Ca. Jeremiah 2:14.Verse 28. - Dwell in the rook. Jeremiah probably thinks of the rocky defiles of the Amen, so splendidly adapted for fugitives (see Consul Wetzstein's excursus to the third edition of Delitzsch's 'Jesaja;' he speaks of perpendicular walls of rock). Like the dove (i.e. the wild dove); comp. 'Iliad,' 21:493; 'AEneid,' 5:213. In Jeremiah 48:21-24 the general idea of Moab's being laid waste is specialized by the enumeration of a long list of towns on which judgment has come. They are towns of ארץ המּישׁור, the table-land to the north of the Arnon, the names of which early all occur in the Pentateuch and Joshua as towns in the tribe of Reuben. But Holon is mentioned only here. According to Eusebius, in the Onomasticon, s.v. ̓Ιεσσά, Jahzah was situated between Μηδαβῶν (Medeba) and Δηβοῦς (Dibon); according to Jerome, between Medeba and Debus, or Deblathai; but from Numbers 21:23, we conclude that it lay in an easterly direction, on the border of the desert, near the commencement of the Wady Wale. Mophaath or Mephaath, where, according to the Onomasticon, a Roman garrison was placed, on account of the near proximity of the desert, is to be sought for in the neighbourhood of Jahzah; see on Joshua 13:18. As to Dibon, see on Jeremiah 48:18; for Nebo, see on Jeremiah 48:1. Beth-diblathaim is mentioned only in this passage. It is probably identical with Almon-diblathaim, Numbers 33:46, and to be sought for somewhere north from Dibon. For Kirjahthaim see Jeremiah 48:1. Beth-gamul is nowhere else mentioned; its site, too, is unknown. Eli Smith, in Robinson's Palestine, iii. App. p. 153, is inclined to recognise it in the ruins of Um-el-Jemel, lying on the southern boundary of the Hauran, about twenty miles south-west from Bozrah; but a consideration of the position shows that they cannot be the same. Beth-meon, or Baal-meon (Numbers 32:38), or more fully, Beth-baal-meon (Joshua 13:17), lay about three miles south from Heshbon, where Burckhardt (p. 365) found some ruins called Mi-n (Robinson, iii. App. p. 170, Ma-n); see on Numbers 32:38. Kerioth, Jeremiah 48:24 and Jeremiah 48:41, and Amos 2:2, is not to be identified with the ruins called Kereyath or Kreiyath, mentioned by Burckhardt (p. 367) and Seetzen (Reisen, ii. 342, iv. 384), as Ritter has assumed; for this Kereyath is more probably Kirjathaim (see on Jeremiah 48:1). Rather, as is pretty fully proved by Dietrich (in Merx' Archiv. i. 320ff.), it is a synonym of Ar, the old capital of Moab, Numbers 22:36; and the plural form is to be accounted for by supposing that Ar was made up of two or several large portions. We find two great arguments supporting this position: (1.) When Ar, the capital, occurs among the names of the towns of Moab, as in the list of those in Reuben, Joshua 13:16-21, and in the prophecy against Moab in Isaiah, Jeremiah 15 and 16, where so many Moabitic towns are named, we find no mention of Kerioth; and on the other hand, where Kerioth is named as an important town in Moab, Amos 2:2; Jeremiah 48:1, there is no mention of Ar. (2.) Kerioth is mentioned as an important place in the country in Amos 2:2, where, from the whole arrangement of the prophecy, it can only be the capital of Moab; in this present chapter also, Jeremiah 48:24, Kerioth and Bozrah are introduced as two very important towns which maintained the strength of Moab; and immediately afterwards it is added, "The horn of Moab is cut off," etc. Further, in Jeremiah 48:41 the capture of Kerioth is put on a level with the taking of the fortresses; while it is added, that the courage of the mighty men has failed, just as in Jeremiah 49:22 the capture of Bozrah is coupled with the loss of courage on the part of Edom's heroes. Bozrah is not to be confounded with Bozrah in Edom (Jeremiah 49:13), nor with the later flourishing city of Bostra in Hauran: it is the same with Bezer (בּצר), which, according to Deuteronomy 4:43 and Joshua 20:8, was situated in the Mishor of the tribe of Reuben, but has not yet been discovered; see on Deuteronomy 4:43. For the purpose of completing the enumeration, it is further added, "all the towns of the land of Moab, those which are far off (i.e., those which are situated towards the frontier) and those which are near" (i.e., the towns of the interior, as Kimchi has already explained). Thereby the horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm broken. Horn and arm are figures of power: the horn an emblem of power that boldly asserts itself, and pushes down all that opposes (cf. Psalm 75:5, 11); the arm being rather an emblem of dominion.
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