Jeremiah 48:34
From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, and even unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even unto Horonaim, as an heifer of three years old: for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) From the cry of Heshbon . . .—Elealeh (now El-Al) and Heshbon (now Hesbân) were about two miles apart. The panic-cry of the one city was echoed in the other; it reached even to Jahaz (see Note on Jeremiah 48:21), to the south-west of Heshbon.

From Zoar even unto Horonaim . . .—Both names represent the south district of Moab. In the “heifer of three years old” (see Isaiah 15:5) many critics find simply a proper name, “the third Eglath,” and conjecture that it was either one of three towns having the same name, or part of a tripolis or tripartite city, the other two members of which were Zoar and Horonaim. Nothing is known, however, of any town so constituted, and the epithet of the “third-year heifer,” i.e., a heifer not brought under the yoke, would be a suitable name enough for either Zoar or Horonaim, as a virgin fortress, as yet untaken by the foe. (Comp. Hosea 4:16; Hosea 10:11.)

The waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate.—Recent travellers, Seetzen and De Saulcy, have found a brook Nimrah, with a mass of ruins near it, near the southern extremity of the Dead Sea. The Nimrah of Numbers 32:3; Numbers 32:36; Josh. 14:27, is probably too far to the north. Tristram (Land of Israel, p. 54) identifies it with the Wady-Shaib near the fords of the Jordan, and possibly with the Bethabara of John 1:28.

Jeremiah 48:34-39. From the cry of Heshbon — When Heshbon was taken by the enemy, the cry of the inhabitants reached as far as Elealeh and Jahaz: the same was likewise heard from Zoar to Horonaim. As a heifer of three years old — The meaning undoubtedly is, that the cry of Moab, beginning at Heshbon, was continued on from city to city, till the whole country resounded as with the lowing of a cow that runs from place to place in search of her calf that has been taken from her. An image singularly expressive: see notes on Isaiah 15:4-6. I will cause to cease in Moab him that offereth in the high places — For an explanation of this and the next verse, see notes on Isaiah 16:11-12. For every head shall be bald, &c. — This and all the other expressions of this verse signify the greatness of the affliction, intimated by the manner of mourning, which is such as was used in the greatest calamities: compare Isaiah 15:3. I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure — As earthen vessels, if they are not fit for the use for which they were designed, are broken to pieces without any concern or regret, so as never to be repaired; thus have I broken Moab, saith the Lord. They shall howl, saying, How is it broken down! — Hebrew, חתה, broken to pieces, as the same word is twice rendered Jeremiah 50:2. The prophet persists in his allusion to the breaking of an earthen vessel.

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.The meaning is that, taking up the lamentation of Heshbon, the Moabites break forth into a wail, heard as far as Elealeh, scarcely two miles distant Numbers 32:37, but thence spreading over the land to towns on the southern and southwestern borders of the land.

An heifer of three years old - Applied in Isaiah 15:5 to Zoar, but here to Horonaim. Some take "an heifer" as a proper name, and render it: "Eglah for the third part" (compare Isaiah 19:24). Zoar, Horonaim, and Eglah formed a tripolis, or confederacy of three towns, and Eglah might therefore be put after either one or the other.

Nimrim - Probably the Wady-en-Nemeirah at the southeastern end of the Dead Sea.

34. From the cry of Heshbon, &c.—Those who fly from Heshbon on its capture shall continue the cry even as far as Elealeh … . There will be continued cries in all quarters, from one end to the other, everywhere slaughter and wasting.

as an heifer of three years old—Moab heretofore not having known foreign yoke, and in its full strength, is compared to an heifer of three years old, never yet yoked, nor as yet worn out with many birth-givings (compare Note, see on [982]Isa 15:5).

waters … of Nimrim—that is, the well-watered and therefore luxuriant pastures of Nimrim.

desolate—The Hebrew is stronger: not merely shall be "desolate," but desolation itself multiplied: plural, "desolations." The most fertile tracts shall be dried up.

An heifer of three years old. See Isaiah 15:5.

Heshbon, and

Elealeh, and

Jahaz, and

Zoar, and

Horonaim, were all cities of Moab, who are here all threatened with ruin; with the country about Nimrim; which Nimrim is mentioned no where in Scripture but here, and in Isaiah 15:6; nor are interpreters well agreed, whether in this place it be the name of a river, or a lake, or a city. The sense is, the whole country of Moab shall be destroyed, the cry shall reach from one part of the country to another, either the cry of the inhabitants, or of their enemies pursuing them with a great noise.

From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh,.... Two cities in the land of Moab; of which see Isaiah 15:4. Heshbon being destroyed, a cry was made by the inhabitants of it, which either reached from thence to Elealeh; or the destruction being carried on to that city, the cry was continued there:

and even unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice; another city of Moab; see Isaiah 15:4; which also was laid waste, and where the Moabites uttered their voice of lamentation on account of it:

from Zoar even unto Horonaim, as an heifer of three years old: that is, as the destruction should go on to Zoar, and so to Horonaim; of which places see Isaiah 15:5; so the cry of the distressed, and of those that flee, should also go from place to place; and be as loud, and as strong, and heard as far, as the lowing of a heifer of three years old. Naturalists (l) observe, that the voice in all female creatures is smaller and shriller, excepting the ox; for the voices of the females of that creature is stronger than in the males; and also that the taming of these creatures is when they are three years old, that is the proper time; before it is too soon, and afterwards too late (m); and then it is their voice is fuller, and their strength firmer, to which the allusion here is; See Gill on Isaiah 15:5;

for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate; being disturbed by the Chaldean army, their horses treading them with their feet, and so fouling them; or being mixed with the blood of the slain, and so unfit to drink. A sad case this, to have neither wine nor water; See Gill on Isaiah 15:6; to which may be added, that Jerom also makes mention of a village in his time called Benamerium, to the north of Zoar; and seems rather the place intended.

(l) Aristotel. Hist. Animal. l. 4. c. 11. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 51. (m) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 8. c. 45.

From the cry of Heshbon even to Elealeh, and even to Jahaz, have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even to Horonaim, as an {t} heifer of three years old: for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate.

(t) Read Geneva Isa 15:5

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
34. Abbreviated from Isaiah 15:4-6. The first words need emendation; “How criest thou, O H. and El.” (Gi.), or “Crying are H. and El.” (Du.). Elealeh according to Conder (HBD.) was about a mile N. of Heshbon. For the other towns see notes above.

Eglath-shelishiyah] mg. much less suitably, as an heifer of three years old. The Hebrew apparently means the third Eglath, i.e. as distinct from two other neighbouring Eglaths. Pe. compares “the three Strettons which are close together, Little Stretton, Church Stretton, and All Stretton.”

Nimrim] probably the modern Wady Numeirah at the S.E. end of the Dead Sea.

desolate] lit. desolations. The sources of water-supply shall be cut off. Cp. 2 Kings 3:25.

Verse 34. - Based on Isaiah 15:4-6. The cry of one town echoes to another, and is taken up afresh by its terrified inhabitants. Heshbon and Elealeh lay on eminences but a short distance apart, so that the shrill cry of lamentation would be heard far away in the southeast at Jahaz. Zoar and Horonaim both lay in the southern half of Moah (see on vers. 3, 4). An heifer of three years old. If this is the right rendering, the phrase is descriptive of Horonaim, which may, in the time of Jeremiah, have been a "virgin fortress." But the phrase, thus understood, comes in very oddly, and in the parallel passage in Isaiah it stands, not after Horonaim, but after Zoar; it hardly seems likely that there were two Gibraltars in Moab. Another rendering (Ewald, Keil) is, "(to) the third Eglath." This involves an allusion to the fact that there were other places in Moab called Egiath or Eglah, which has been rendered highly probable by Gesenius. The waters also of Nimrhn. Canon Tristram speaks of the "plenteous brooks gushing from the lofty hills into the Ghor-en-Numeira." Consul Wetzstein, however, says that nature appears there under so unspeakably gloomy an aspect, that the identification is impossible. He proposes a site in the Wady So'eb, about fourteen miles east of the Jordan, which with its luxuriant meadows, covered with the flocks of the Bedouin, is probably suitable to the passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah (Excursus it. in Delitzsch's 'Jesaja,' 4th edit., pp. 572, 573). So also Seetzen, who remarks that the lower part of this wady is still called Nahr Nimrin. In Joshua 13:27 a place called Beth - nimrah is mentioned as situated in the valley (i.e. the Jordan valley); no doubt this was in the wady referred to by the prophets. "The valley" seems to have been sometimes used in a wider signification, so as to include lateral valleys like that of Nimrim. The antiquity of the name is shown by its occurrence in the Annals of Thothmos III., who penetrated into the heart of Palestine, and, in the temple of Karnak, enumerates the cities which he conquered. From before B.C. 1600 to nearly A.D. this secluded valley has borne precisely the same name! Jeremiah 48:34Jeremiah 48:34 is based on Isaiah 15:4-6. "From the cry of Heshbon is heard the echo as far as Elealeh and Jahaz," or "from Heshbon to Elealeh and Jahaz is heard a cry, and from Zoar to Horonaim." Heshbon and Elealeh are only about two miles distant from each other; their ruins are still visible under the names of Hesbn (Husban, see on Jeremiah 48:2) and El Al (see on Numbers 32:37). They were both built on hills; Elealeh in particular was situated on the summit of a hill whence the whole of the southern Belka may be seen (Burckhardt, p. 365), so that a shout thence emitted could be heard at a great distance, even as far as Jahaz, which is pretty far off to the south-west from Heshbon (see on Jeremiah 48:21). The words "from Zoar to Horonaim" also depend on "they uttered their voice." Both places lay in the south of the land; see on Jeremiah 48:3 and Jeremiah 48:4. The wailing resounds not merely on the north, but also on the south of the Arnon. There is much dispute as to the meaning of עגלת שׁלישׁיּה, which is here mentioned after Horonaim, but in Isaiah 15:5 in connection with, or after Zoar. To take the expression as an appellative, juvenca tertii anni (lxx, Vulgate, Targum, Gesenius, etc.), would perhaps be suitable, if it were an apposition to Moab, in which case we might compare with it passages like Jeremiah 46:20; Jeremiah 50:11; but this does not accord with its position after Horonaim and Zoar, for we have no analogy for the comparison of cities or fortresses with a juvenca tertii anni, h. e. indomita jugoque non assueta; and it cannot even be proved that Zoar and Horonaim were fortresses of Moab. Hence we take 'עגלת שׁ as the proper name of a place, "the third Eglath;" this is the view of Rosenmller, Drechsler, and Dietrich (in Merx' Archiv. i. S. 342ff.). The main reason for this view, is, that there would be no use for an addition being made, by way of apposition, to a place which is mentioned as the limit of the Moabites' flight, or that reached by their wailing. The parallelism of the clauses argues in favour of its being a proper name; for, on this view of it, three towns are named in both members, the first one, as the starting-point of the cry of wailing, the other two as points up to which it is heard. The preposition עד, which is omitted, may be supplied from the parallel member, as in Isaiah 15:8. Regarding the position of Eglath Shelishijah, it is evident from the context of both passages that we must look for it on the southern frontier of Moab. It is implied in the epithet "the third" that there were three places (villages), not far from one another, all bearing the same name. Dietrich (S. 344f.) has adduced several analogous cases of towns in the country to the east of the Jordan, - two, and sometimes even three, towns of the same name, which are distinguished from each other by numerals. "The waters of Nimrim also shall become desolations," because the enemy fill up the springs with earth. Nimrim is not the place called נמרה or בּית נמרה mentioned in Numbers 32:3, Numbers 32:36; Joshua 13:27, whose ruins lie on the way from Szalt to Jericho, in the Wady Shaib, on the east side of the Jordan (see on Numbers 32:36), for this lies much too far to the north to be the place mentioned here. The context points to a place in the south, in Moab proper. where Burckhardt (p. 355), Seetzen (Reisen, ii. S. 354), and de Saulcy (Voyage, i. 283, ii. 52) have indicated a stream fed by a spring, called Moiet Numre (i.e., brook Nimrah), in the country at the south end of the Dead Sea, and in that wady a mass of ruins called Numre (the Nimmery of Seetzen, iii. 18).
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