Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Her little ones.—The Hebrew adjective is the same as the Zoar, the little one, of Genesis 19:20, and that city may probably have been, as in Isaiah 15:5, in the prophet’s mind. In any case the “little ones” are cities, and not children.
little ones some understand little children; others, inferior magistrates, or the common people.
"the kingdom of Moab is broken;''
and so Abarbinel; or a city so called, which some take to be the city Areopolis. Jerom (g) says, that Moab is a city of Arabia, now called Areopolis; and which also has the name of Rabbathmoab, or "grand Moab";
her little ones have caused a cry to be heard; seeing their parents killed, and they left desolate, and in the hands of the enemy; and not only so, but just going to be dashed in pieces by them. The Targum interprets it, her governors; and so Jarchi, who thinks they are so called, because they are lesser than kings. Kimchi and Ben Melech suggest, that these are called so by way of contempt. The word "tzeir" signifies both "little" and "great", as the learned Pocock (h) has abundantly proved.Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. her little ones have caused a cry to be heard] Read rather, with LXX, they make a cry to be heard unto Zoar (S.E. of the Dead Sea). The point then is that the cry extends throughout Moab from N. to S. Cp. Isaiah 15:5, from which also Jeremiah 48:5 is mainly taken.
4, 5. Both these vv. are probably later than Jeremiah.Verse 4. - Moab is destroyed. The mention of Moab in the midst of towns is certainly surprising. We should expect Ar-Moab. Her little ones. The received text, as it stands, is untranslatable, and our choice lies between the correction suggested by the vowel points, and the reading of the Septuagint and a few of the extant Hebrew manuscripts, "unto Zoar." In favour of the latter, which is adopted by Ewald and Graf, it may he urged that Zoar and Horenaim are mentioned together, not only in ver. 34, but also in Isaiah 15:5, which has evidently been imitated in the following verse. It is not quite clear what "her little ones" in the first mentioned correction mean. Some think, the children; others, the poor; Hitzig prefers the small towns of Moab. On the site of "Zoar," see Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible,' but compare Canon Tristram in 'The Land of Moab.' Micah 1:16. נדמתה is rendered by the Vulgate conticuit. After this Graf and Ngelsbach take the meaning of being "speechless through pain and sorrow;" cf. Lamentations 2:10. Others translate "to be destroyed." Both renderings are lexically permissible, for דּמה and דּמם have both meanings. In support of the first, the parallelism of the members has been adduced; but this is not decisive, for figurative and literal representations are often interchanged. On the whole, it is impossible to reach any definite conclusion; for both renderings give suitable ideas, and these not fundamentally different in reality the one from the other. שׁארית עמקם, "the rest of their valley" (the suffix referring to Gaza and Ashkelon), is the low country round about Gaza and Ashkelon, which are specially mentioned from their being the two chief fortresses of Philistia. עמק is suitably applied to the low-lying belt of the country, elsewhere called שׁפלה, "the low country," as distinguished from the hill-country; for עמק does not always denote a deep valley, but is also sometimes used, as in Joshua 17:16, etc., of the plain of Jezreel, and of other plains which are far from being deeply-sunk valleys. Thus there is no valid reason for following the arbitrary translation of the lxx, καὶ τὰ κατάλοιπα ̓Ενακείμ, and changing עמקם into ענקים, as Hitzig and Graf do; more especially is it utterly improbable that in the Chaldean period Anakim were still to be found in Philistia. The mention of them, moreover, is out of place here; and still less can we follow Graf in his belief that the inhabitants of Gath are the "rest of the Anakim." In the last clause of Jeremiah 47:5, Philistia is set forth as a woman, who tears her body (with her nails) in despair, makes incisions on her body; cf. Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 41:5. The question, "How long dost thou tear thyself?" forms a transition to the plaintive request, "Gather thyself," i.e., draw thyself back into thy scabbard. But the seer replies, "How can it rest? for Jahveh hath given it a commission against Ashkelon and the Philistine sea-coast." For תּשׁקטי, in Jeremiah 47:7, we must read the 3rd pers. fem. תּשׁקט, as the following להּ shows. The form probably got into the text from an oversight, through looking at תּשׁקטי in Jeremiah 47:6. חוף, "the sea-coast," a designation of Philistia, as in Ezekiel 25:16.
The prophecy concludes without a glance at the Messianic future. The threatened destruction of the Philistines has actually begun with the conquest of Philistia by Nebuchadnezzar, but has not yet culminated in the extermination of the people. The extermination and complete extirpation are thus not merely repeated by Ezek; Ezekiel 25:15., but after the exile the threats are once more repeated against the Philistines by Zechariah (Zechariah 9:5): they only reached their complete fulfilment when, as Zechariah announces, in the addition made to Isaiah 14:30., their idolatry also was removed from them, and their incorporation into the Church of God was accomplished through judgment. Cf. the remarks on Zephaniah 2:10.
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