Jeremiah 48:31
Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine 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. Jeremiah 48:31Jeremiah 48:31-33 are also an imitation of Isaiah 16:7-10. V. 31 is a reproduction of Isaiah 16:7. In Jeremiah 48:7, Isaiah sets forth the lamentation of Moab over the devastation of his country and its precious fruits; and not until v. 9 does the prophet, in deep sympathy, mingle his tears with those of the Moabites. Jeremiah, on the other hand, with his natural softness, at once begins, in the first person, his lament over Moab. על־כּן, "therefore," is not immediately connected with Jeremiah 48:29., but with the leading idea presented in Jeremiah 48:26 and Jeremiah 48:28, that Moab will fall like one intoxicated, and that he must flee out of his cities. If we refer it to Jeremiah 48:30, there we must attach it to the thought implicitly contained in the emphatic statement, "I (Jahveh) know his wrath," viz., "and I will punish him for it." The I who makes lament is the prophet, as in Isaiah 16:9 and Isaiah 15:5. Schnurrer, Hitzig, and Graf, on the contrary, think that it is an indefinite third person who is introduced as representing the Moabites; but there is no analogous case to support this assumption, since the instances in which third persons are introduced are of a different kind. But when Graf further asserts, against referring the I to the prophet, that, according to what precedes, especially what we find in Jeremiah 48:26., such an outburst of sympathy for Moab would involve a contradiction, he makes out the prophet to be a Jew thirsting for revenge, which he was not. Raschi has already well remarked, on the other hand, under Isaiah 15:5, that "the prophets of Israel differ from heathen prophets like Balaam in this, that they lay to heart the distress which they announce to the nations;" cf. Isaiah 21:3. The prophet weeps for all Moab, because the judgment is coming not merely on the northern portion (Jeremiah 48:18-25), but on the whole of the country. In Jeremiah 48:31, Jeremiah has properly changed לאשׁישׁי (cakes of dried grapes) into אל־אנשׁי, the people of Kir-heres, because his sympathy was directed, not to dainties, but to the men in Moab; he has also omitted "surely they are smitten," as being too strong for his sympathy. יהגּה, to groan, taken from the cooing of doves, perhaps after Isaiah 38:15; Isaiah 59:11. The third person indicates a universal indefinite. Kir-heres, as in Isaiah 16:11, or Kir-haresheth in Isaiah 16:7; 2 Kings 3:25, was the chief stronghold of Moab, probably the same as Kir-Moab, the modern Kerek, as we may certainly infer from a comparison of Isaiah 16:7 with Isaiah 15:1 see on 2 Kings 3:25, and Dietrich, S. 324.
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