Jeremiah 48:31
Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; my heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres.
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(31) Therefore will I howl for Moab.—The changes of person are remarkable. The “I” that speaks is neither Jehovah nor the prophet, but the unnamed mourner, who in the next clause appears in the third person (“she shall mourn,” the English “mine heart” having no equivalent in the Hebrew) as the representative of those who mourn for Moab. In Jeremiah 48:33, “I have caused wine to fail” appears as the utterance of Jehovah. In Isaiah 16:7, of which the whole passage is a free reproduction, Moab is named as the mourner. Possibly, however, Jeremiah in his sympathy may speak here in his own person.

For the men of Kir-heres.—The name appears in Isaiah 16:7 as Kirhareseth, and is probably identical with the “Kir of Moab” of Isaiah 15:1. The place was obviously an important stronghold. The Targum on Isaiah and Jeremiah renders it by Crac, and this has led to its being identified with the modern Kerak, occupying a strong position on one of the Moabite mountains to the south-east of the Dead Sea. The name, which signifies “City of the Sun,” may indicate its connection with that form of nature-worship.

Jeremiah 48:31-33. Therefore will I howl for Moab — See note on Isaiah 15:5. I will cry out for all Moab — The whole country of Moab: the phrase is the same with whole Palestina, Isaiah 14:31. For the men of Kirheres — See note on Isaiah 16:7; Isaiah 16:11. O vine of Sibmah — The expressions here denote the destruction of the fruitful vineyards of Sibmah; the loss of which the neighbouring places of Jazer would have reason to lament. Thy plants are gone over the sea — The vineyards of Sibmah seem to have been of a vast extent, and to have been greatly celebrated: see note on Isaiah 16:8-9. And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field — The gathering in of the harvest and other fruits of the earth is usually accompanied with great expressions of joy; but there would be no occasion for this in the land of Moab, as the enemy would spoil or carry away their crop and vintage. None shall tread with shouting — They shall not have a vintage left sufficient to excite them to shouts of joy, or to induce them to exhort and encourage one another to labour diligently.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.Mine heart ... - Rather, "there shall be mourning for" etc. 31. I will cry … for … Moab—Not that it deserves pity, but the prophet's "crying" for it vividly represents the greatness of the calamity.

Kir-heres—Kir-hareseth, in Isa 16:7; see on [981]Isa 16:7. It means "the city of potters," or else "the city of the sun" [Grotius]. Here "the men of Kir-heres" are substituted for "the foundations of Kir-hareseth," in Isa 16:7. The change answers probably to the different bearing of the disaster under Nebuchadnezzar, as compared with that former one under Shalmaneser.

Though wicked men rejoice and triumph in the ruin of good men, yet their charity suffereth them not to do the like, but engageth them to mourn for them in the day of their affliction. Jeremiah declareth his compassion toward these Moabites, though they derided the Jews when they were carried into captivity. nay, he mourns upon the prospect of their misery at some distance; when the sight of the Jews’ present calamity would not affect the Moabites with any compassion at all. We find the like compassion in another prophet, Isaiah 16:11 Jeremiah 48:7 there it is called Kir-hareseth, which was a city of Moab, as we read, 2 Kings 3:25. Therefore will I howl for Moab,.... The prophet, being as a man affected with the miseries of a people very wicked, and so deserving of them; though indeed by this he does not so much design to express the affections of his own heart, as to show what reason the Moabites would have to howl for the calamities of their country; for, as Kimchi observes, the prophet here speaks in the person of the people of Moab; see Isaiah 16:7;

and I will cry out for all Moab; the whole country of Moab, which should become desolate:

mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres; the same with Kirhareseth, a city of Moab, Isaiah 16:7; whose foundations should be sapped, the city taken, and the men of it put to the sword, or caused to flee; and their case being deplorable, the prophet says his heart should mourn for them like a dove, as Kimchi and Jarchi observe; though it may be rendered, "he shall mourn" (g); that is, Moab; for the destruction of such a principal city, and the men of it. The Targum renders it,

"for the men of the city of their strength.''

(g) "gemet", Montanus.

{r} Therefore will I wail for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; my heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres.

(r) Read Isa 16:7.

31. Based on Isaiah 16:7, but the influence of the first person in Jeremiah 48:9 there (“I will, etc.”) has led here to the prophet’s grief for Moab being represented as caused by her pride.

will I howl] In the corresponding passage in Isaiah it is first the country that mourns for itself, Jeremiah 48:7, and only later, Jeremiah 48:9, the prophet also expresses grief.

For “the men of” we should probably read, as in Isaiah, raisin-cakes of Kir-heres. They were made of a mixture of raisins and meal. Cp. Hosea 3:1. The two words in the original resemble each other. Kir-heres was probably the modern Kerak, eighteen miles S. of the Arnon and eight miles E. of the Dead Sea; a strong fortress on a steep hill surrounded by ravines.Verse 31. - Based upon Isaiah 16:7. Therefore. Moab cannot escape the catastrophe, for his moral basis is utterly insecure. "Therefore," etc. Will I howl. It is at first sight strange that the prophet should speak thus sympathetically after the strong language in ver. 26. But the fact is that an inspired prophet has, as it were, a double personality. Sometimes his human feelings seem quite lost in the consciousness of his message; sometimes (and especially in Jeremiah) the natural, emotional life refuses to be thus restrained, and will have itself expressed. All Moab; i.e. Moab in all its districts, both north and south of the Amen, or, at any rate, the fugitive populations. Mine heart shall mourn. The Authorized Version effaces one of the points of difference between Jeremiah and his original. The former leaves the subject indefinite - one shall mourn. For the men of Kir-heres. Isaiah 16:7 has "for the raisin cakes of Kir-heres" (i.e. for the cakes of pressed grapes, for which Kir-heres was specially famous) - a much more expressive phrase. Jeremiah, or his scribe, has changed ashishe into anshe, and the Targum and Septuagint have adopted this weak reading in Isaiah, l.c. 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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