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Against Moab.
#Moab, located east of the Dead Sea, was one of Israel’s bitter enemies (cf., e.g., Is 15–16; Am 2:1–3). According to Flavius Josephus, Nebuchadnezzar conquered Moab and Ammon in his twenty-third year (582 B.C.), five years after the destruction of Jerusalem. This chapter is full of local place names in Moab. 1Concerning Moab. Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel:
Ah, Nebo! it is ravaged;
Kiriathaim is disgraced, captured;
Disgraced and overthrown is the stronghold:
2Moab’s glory is no more.
In Heshbon they plot evil against her:
“Come! We will put an end to her as a nation.”
You, too, Madmen,#Madmen: a place name, not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament. shall be silenced;
you the sword stalks!
3Listen! an outcry from Horonaim,#a. [48:3–5] Is 15:5.
“Ruin and great destruction!”
4“Moab is crushed!”
their outcry is heard in Zoar.
5Up the ascent of Luhith
they go weeping;
At the descent to Horonaim
they hear cries of anguish:
6“Flee, save your lives!
Be like a wild donkey in the wilderness!”
7Because you trusted in your works and your treasures,
you also shall be captured.
Chemosh#Chemosh: chief god of Moab (cf. Nm 21:29). shall go into exile,
his priests and princes with him.#b. [48:7] Nm 21:29.
8The destroyer comes upon every city,
not a city escapes;
Ruined is the valley,
wasted the plateau—oracle of the Lord.
9Set up a tombstone for Moab;
it will soon become a complete wasteland,
Its cities turned into ruins
where no one dwells.
10Cursed are they who do the Lord’s work carelessly,
cursed those who keep their sword from shedding blood.
11#Moabite wine was known for its high quality. Here the wine is a metaphor for Moab’s complacency. Moab has been resting from its youth,
suspended above its dregs,
Never poured from flask to flask,
never driven into exile.
Thus it retained its flavor,
its bouquet is not lost.#c. [48:11] Zep 1:12.
12Be assured! The days are coming—oracle of the Lord—when I will send him wine-makers to decant the wine; they shall empty its flasks and smash its jars. 13Chemosh shall disappoint Moab, just as the house of Israel was disappointed by Bethel, in which they trusted.#d. [48:13] Is 16:12.
14How can you say, “We are heroes,
mighty warriors”?
15The one who ravages Moab and its cities comes up,
the best of its youth go down to slaughter—
oracle of the King, whose name is Lord of hosts.
16Moab’s ruin is near at hand,
its disaster approaches swiftly.
17Mourn, all you neighbors,
all you who know its name!
Say: How the mighty scepter is broken,
the glorious staff!
18Come down from glory, sit on the parched ground,
enthroned daughter Dibon;#Dibon, the capital of Moab at that time, is situated on a height. The prophet here offers a personification of the city, pictured as a confident ruler.
Moab’s destroyer has fallen upon you,
has shattered your strongholds.#e. [48:18] Nm 21:30.
19Stand along the road, keep watch,
enthroned Aroer;
Ask the fleeing man, the escaping woman:
ask them what has happened.#f. [48:19] Dt 2:36.
20“Moab is put to shame, destroyed.”
Wail and cry out,
Proclaim it at the Arnon:
“Moab is destroyed!”#g. [48:20] Is 16:7.
21Judgment has come upon the plateau: on Holon, Jahzah, and Mephaath,#h. [48:21] Is 15:4. 22on Dibon, Nebo, and Beth-diblathaim, 23on Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul, and Beth-meon, 24on Kerioth and on Bozrah: on all the cities of the land of Moab, far and near.
25The horn of Moab is cut off,
its arm is broken—oracle of the Lord.
26Make him drunk because he set himself over against the Lord; let Moab swim in his vomit and become a laughingstock. 27Has Israel not been a laughingstock to you? Was he caught among thieves that you wag your heads whenever you speak of him?#i. [48:27] Zep 2:8–10.
28Abandon the cities, take shelter in the crags,
inhabitants of Moab.
Be like the dove that nests
in the walls of a gorge.
29We have heard of the pride of Moab,#j. [48:29–30] Is 16:6.
pride beyond bounds:
His loftiness, his pride, his scorn,
his insolent heart.
30I myself know his arrogance—oracle of the Lord
liar in word, liar in deed.
31And so I wail over Moab,
over all Moab I cry,
over the people of Kir-heres I moan.#k. [48:31] Is 16:7.
32More than for Jazer I weep for you,
vine of Sibmah.
Your tendrils trailed down to the sea,
as far as Jazer they stretched.
Upon your summer harvest and your vintage,
the destroyer has fallen.#l. [48:32] Is 16:8–9.
33Joy and gladness are taken away
from the garden land, the land of Moab.
I dry up the wine from the wine vats,
the treader treads no more,
the vintage shout is stilled.
34The cry of Heshbon and Elealeh is heard as far as Jahaz; they call from Zoar to Horonaim and to Eglath-shelishiyah; even the waters of Nimrim turn into a wasteland.#m. [48:34] Is 15:4–5. 35I will leave no one in Moab—oracle of the Lord—to offer burnt offerings on the high place or to make sacrifices to their gods. 36Hence my heart wails like a flute for Moab; my heart wails like a flute for the people of Kir-heres: the wealth they accumulated has perished.#n. [48:36] Is 16:11. 37Every head has been shaved bald, every beard cut off; every hand gashed, and all their loins are draped in sackcloth.#o. [48:37] Jer 47:5; Is 15:2–3; Ez 7:18. 38On all the rooftops of Moab and in all its squares there is mourning. I have shattered Moab like a pot that no one wants—oracle of the Lord. 39How terrified they are, how they wail! How Moab turns its back in shame! Moab has become a laughingstock and a horror to all its neighbors!
40For thus says the Lord:
Look there! Like an eagle he swoops,
spreading his wings over Moab.#p. [48:40] Jer 49:22.
41Cities are captured,
strongholds seized:
On that day the hearts of Moab’s warriors
become like the heart of a woman in labor.#q. [48:41] Jer 6:24; 30:6.
42Moab shall be wiped out, a people no more,
because it set itself over against the Lord.#r. [48:42] Zep 2:9–10.
43Terror, pit, and trap be upon you,
enthroned Moab—oracle of the Lord.#s. [48:43] Is 24:17–18.
44Those fleeing the terror
fall into the pit;
Those climbing out of the pit
are caught in the trap;
Ah, yes! I will bring these things upon Moab
in the year of their punishment—oracle of the Lord.
45In Heshbon’s shadow the fugitives
stop short, exhausted;
For fire blazes up from Heshbon,
and flames up from the house of Sihon:
It consumes the forehead of Moab,
the scalp of the noisemakers.#t. [48:45] Nm 21:28–29.
46Woe to you, Moab!
You are finished, people of Chemosh!
Your sons are taken into exile,
your daughters into captivity.
47Yet I will restore the fortunes of Moab
in the days to come—oracle of the Lord.#u. [48:47] Jer 49:39.
Thus far the judgment on Moab.
1 Against Moab, thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: "Woe upon Nebo! For it has been devastated and confounded. Kiriathaim has been seized; the strong one has been confounded and has trembled.
2 There is no longer any rejoicing in Moab over Heshbon. They have devised evil. 'Come and let us destroy it as a nation.' Then you will be utterly silenced, and the sword will pursue you.
3 A voice of clamor from Horonaim: devastation and great destruction!
4 Moab has been crushed. Announce an outcry for her little ones.
5 For, along the ascent of Luhith, the mourner will ascend with weeping. For, on the descent of Horonaim, the enemies have heard the wailing of devastation.
6 Flee, save your lives! And you shall be like a saltcedar tree in the desert.
7 For because you have had faith in your fortifications and in your storehouses, you too will be seized. And Chemosh will go into captivity: his priests and his leaders together.
8 And the despoiler will overwhelm every city, and not a single city will be saved. And the valleys will perish, and the fields will be destroyed. For the Lord has spoken.
9 Give a blossom to Moab. For it will depart when it is blossoming. And its cities will become desolate and uninhabited.
10 Cursed is he who does the work of the Lord deceitfully. And cursed is he who prohibits his sword from blood.
11 Moab has been fertile from his youth, and he has rested amid his brood. And he has not been transferred from vessel to vessel, nor has he gone into the transmigration. Therefore, his taste has remained with him, and his scent has not changed.
12 Because of this, behold, the days are approaching, says the Lord, when I will send to him those who will line up and knock down his bottles, and they will knock him down and empty his vessels, and they will break their bottles against one another.
13 And Moab will be confounded by Chemosh, just as the house of Israel was shamed by Bethel, in which they had faith.
14 How can you say: 'We are strong and robust men of battle?'
15 Moab has been devastated, and they have cut down her cities. And her elect young men have descended to slaughter. So says the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.
16 The passing away of Moab draws near and arrives. Its evil will rush forward with great speed.
17 Console him, all you who surround him and all you who know his name. Say: 'How has the strong staff become broken, the glorious staff?'
18 Descend from your glory, and sit in thirst, O habitation of the daughter of Dibon! For the destroyer of Moab has ascended to you; he has dissipated your fortifications.
19 Stand in the way, and gaze out, O habitation of Aroer! Question him who is fleeing, and say to him who has escaped: 'What has happened?'
20 Moab has been confounded, because he has been conquered. Wail and cry out! Announce it in Arnon: Moab has been devastated,
21 and judgment has arrived upon the land of the plains: upon Holon, and upon Jahzah, and upon Mephaath,
22 and upon Dibon, and upon Nebo, and upon the house of Deblathaim,
23 and upon Kiriathaim, and upon the house of Gamul, and upon the house of Meon,
24 and upon Kerioth, and upon Bozrah, and upon all the cities of the land of Moab, those far away and those nearby.
25 The horn of Moab has been cut away, and his arm has been crushed, says the Lord.
26 Inebriate him, for he has lifted himself up against the Lord. And Moab will thrust his hand into his own vomit, and also now he himself will become a derision.
27 For Israel had been a derision to them. It was as if you had discovered him among thieves. Because of your own words, then, which you have spoken against him, you will be led away captive.
28 Relinquish the cities, and live upon a rock, O inhabitants of Moab, and be like a dove nesting at the mouth of an opening at the summit.
29 We have listened to the arrogance of Moab; he is very proud: his exaltation, and arrogance, and pride, and the loftiness of his heart.
30 I myself know, says the Lord, his boasting, and that his ability is not in accord with it, nor is it in accord with what he has been striving to do.
31 For this reason, I will wail over Moab, and I will cry out to all of Moab, to the men on the brick wall who are lamenting.
32 O vineyard of Sibmah, I will weep for you, with the mourning of Jazer. Your offshoots have crossed over the sea. They have reached even to the sea of Jazer. The despoiler has rushed over your harvest and your vintage.
33 Rejoicing and exultation has been taken away from Carmel and from the land of Moab. And I have taken the wine from the winepresses. The treader of grapes will no longer sing the usual rhythmic chant.
34 From the outcry of Heshbon, even to Elealeh and Jahzah, they have uttered their voice; from Zoar, even to Horonaim, like a three year old calf. So too, the waters of Nimrim will be very bad.
35 And I will take away from Moab, says the Lord, the one who makes offerings in exalted places, and the one who sacrifices to his gods.
36 Because of this, my heart will resound for Moab, like the pipes, and my heart will make a sound like the pipes for the men on the brick wall. For he has done more than he was able, yet still they have perished.
37 For every head will be bald, and every beard will be shaved. All the hands will be bound together, and there will be haircloth on every back.
38 Over all the rooftops of Moab, and in its streets, everyone will mourn. For I have crushed Moab like a useless vessel, says the Lord.
39 How was it conquered, so that they would wail? How is it that Moab has cast down his neck and been confounded? And Moab will be a derision and an example to everyone around him."
40 Thus says the Lord: "Behold, he will fly like the eagle, and he will extend his wings to Moab.
41 Kerioth has been captured, and the fortifications have been taken. And in that day, the heart of the strong ones of Moab will be like the heart of a woman giving birth.
42 And Moab will cease to be a people. For he has been glorified against the Lord.
43 Terror and the pit and the snare will overwhelm you, O inhabitant of Moab, says the Lord.
44 Whoever flees from the terror will fall into the pit. And whoever climbs out of the pit will be seized by the snare. For I will lead over Moab the year of their visitation, says the Lord.
45 Those fleeing from the snare stood in the shadow of Heshbon. For a fire has gone forth from Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and it will devour the portion of Moab, and the top of the head of the sons of tumult.
46 Woe to you, O Moab! You have been ruined, O people of Chemosh! For your sons and your daughters have been taken into captivity.
47 But I will convert the captivity of Moab in the last days, says the Lord." Such are the judgments of Moab thus far.