Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence;
Isa 15:1-9. The Fifteenth and Sixteenth Chapters Form One Prophecy on Moab.
Lowth thinks it was delivered in the first years of Hezekiah's reign and fulfilled in the fourth when Shalmaneser, on his way to invade Israel, may have seized on the strongholds of Moab. Moab probably had made common cause with Israel and Syria in a league against Assyria. Hence it incurred the vengeance of Assyria. Jeremiah has introduced much of this prophecy into his forty-eighth chapter.
1. Because—rather, "Surely"; literally, "(I affirm) that" [Maurer].
night—the time best suited for a hostile incursion (Isa 21:4; Jer 39:4).
Ar—meaning in Hebrew, "the city"; the metropolis of Moab, on the south of the river Arnon.
Kir—literally, "a citadel"; not far from Ar, towards the south.
Bajith—rather, "to the temple" [Maurer]; answering to the "sanctuary" (Isa 16:12), in a similar context.
to Dibon—Rather, as Dibon was in a plain north of the Arnon, "Dibon (is gone up) to the high places," the usual places of sacrifice in the East. Same town as Dimon (Isa 15:9).
to weep—at the sudden calamity.
over Nebo—rather "in Nebo"; not "on account of" Nebo (compare Isa 15:3) [Maurer]. The town Nebo was adjacent to the mountain, not far from the northern shore of the Dead Sea. There it was that Chemosh, the idol of Moab, was worshipped (compare De 34:1).
Medeba—south of Heshbon, on a hill east of Jordan.
baldness … beard cut off—The Orientals regarded the beard with peculiar veneration. To cut one's beard off is the greatest mark of sorrow and mortification (compare Jer 48:37).
He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba: on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off.
In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly.
3. tops of … houses—flat; places of resort for prayer, &c., in the East (Ac 10:9).
weeping abundantly—"melting away in tears." Horsley prefers "descending to weep." Thus there is a "parallelism by alternate construction" [Lowth], or chiasmus; "howl" refers to "tops of houses." "Descending to weep" to "streets" or squares, whither they descend from the housetops.
And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz: therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him.
4. Heshbon—an Amorite city, twenty miles east of Jordan; taken by Moab after the carrying away of Israel (compare Jer 48:1-47).
Elealeh—near Heshbon, in Reuben.
Jahaz—east of Jordan, in Reuben. Near it Moses defeated Sihon.
therefore—because of the sudden overthrow of their cities. Even the armed men, instead of fighting in defense of their land, shall join in the general cry.
life, &c.—rather, "his soul is grieved" (1Sa 1:8) [Maurer].
My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old: for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction.
5. My—The prophet himself is moved with pity for Moab. Ministers, in denouncing the wrath of God against sinners, should do it with tender sorrow, not with exultation.
fugitives—fleeing from Moab, wander as far as to Zoar, on the extreme boundary south of the Dead Sea. Horsley translates, "her nobility," or "rulers" (Ho 4:18).
heifer, &c.—that is, raising their voices "like a heifer" (compare Jer 48:34, 36). The expression "three years old," implies one at its full vigor (Ge 15:9), as yet not brought under the yoke; as Moab heretofore unsubdued, but now about to be broken. So Jer 31:18; Ho 4:13. Maurer translates, "Eglath" (in English Version, "a heifer") Shelishijah (that is, the third, to distinguish it from two others of the same name).
by the mounting up—up the ascent.
Luhith—a mountain in Moab.
Horonaim—a town of Moab not far from Zoar (Jer 48:5). It means "the two poles," being near caves.
cry of destruction—a cry appropriate to the destruction which visits their country.
For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.
6. For—the cause of their flight southwards (2Ki 3:19, 25). "For" the northern regions and even the city Nimrim (the very name of which means "limpid waters," in Gilead near Jordan) are without water or herbage.
Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows.
7. Therefore—because of the devastation of the land.
abundance—literally, "that which is over and above" the necessaries of life.
brook of … willows—The fugitives flee from Nimrim, where the waters have failed, to places better watered. Margin has "valley of Arabians"; that is, to the valley on the boundary between them and Arabia-Petræa; now Wady-el Arabah. "Arabia" means a "desert."
For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab; the howling thereof unto Eglaim, and the howling thereof unto Beerelim.
8. Eglaim—(Eze 47:10), En-eglaim. Not the Agalum of Eusebius, eight miles from Areopolis towards the south; the context requires a town on the very borders of Moab or beyond them.
Beer-elim—literally, "the well of the Princes"—(so Nu 21:16-18). Beyond the east borders of Moab.
For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land.
9. Dimon—same as Dibon (Isa 15:2). Its waters are the Arnon.
full of blood—The slain of Moab shall be so many.
bring more—fresh calamities, namely, the "lions" afterwards mentioned (2Ki 17:25; Jer 5:6; 15:3). Vitringa understands Nebuchadnezzar as meant by "the lion"; but it is plural, "lions." The "more," or in Hebrew, "additions," he explains of the addition made to the waters of Dimon by the streams of blood of the slain.