Jeremiah 48
Barnes' Notes
This prophecy Jeremiah 48 is an amplification of Isaiah 15-16, and also introduces two verses, Jeremiah 48:43-44, from Isaiah 24:17-18. Jeremiah's introduction of passages from older writers being accepted, it would seem that the passages borrowed are so inwoven with that which is Jeremiah's own, that they cannot be omitted as a later interpolation without destroying the whole. On the other hand in that which is the writer's own, and even in many of the alterations of the borrowed passages, Jeremiah's mode of expression is so clearly to be recognized that the whole must be acknowledged to be his.

From Isaiah 16:13 it has been conjectured that Isaiah had an ancient prophecy before him, and that Jeremiah drew from the same source. Bearing in mind the number of prophetic writings mentioned in the Books of Chronicles which have not come down to us, there is nothing unreasonable in such a supposition.

Against Moab thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Woe unto Nebo! for it is spoiled: Kiriathaim is confounded and taken: Misgab is confounded and dismayed.
Against Moab - Concerning Moab.

Is confounded - Is brought to shame.

Misgab - The high fort; some special fortress, probably Kir-haraseth 2 Kings 3:25.

There shall be no more praise of Moab: in Heshbon they have devised evil against it; come, and let us cut it off from being a nation. Also thou shalt be cut down, O Madmen; the sword shall pursue thee.
No more praise of Moab - literally, "The glory of Moab is no more," i. e., Moab has no more cause for boasting.

Heshbon - This town now belonged to the Ammonites Jeremiah 49:3 but was on the border. The enemy encamped there arranges the plan of his campaign against Moab.

In the original there is a play of words upon the names Heshbon and Madmen.

A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim, spoiling and great destruction.
Omit shall be. "Spoiling and great destruction," literally breaking, is the cry heard from Horonaim Isaiah 15:5.

Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard.
Moab - Probably the city elsewhere called Ar-Moab. See the Septuagint of this verse.

For in the going up of Luhith continual weeping shall go up; for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction.
Luhith was situated upon an eminence, and Jeremiah describes one set of weeping fugitives as pressing close upon another.

In the going down of Horonaim ... - Rather, in the descent of Horonaim they have heard the distresses of the cry of breaking, i. e., the cry of distress occasioned by the ruin inflicted by the enemy. It was situated in a hollow, probably near the Dead Sea.

Flee, save your lives, and be like the heath in the wilderness.
Like the heath - Or, Like a destitute man. See the marginal reference note.

For because thou hast trusted in thy works and in thy treasures, thou shalt also be taken: and Chemosh shall go forth into captivity with his priests and his princes together.
Works - Possibly the products of labor. The versions render fortifications.

Chemosh - As the national god of Moab Numbers 21:29, he represents the whole land; and his being led into captivity implies the total ruin of those under his protection. His name here spelled Chemish is repeated in Car-chemish, i. e., the fortress of Chemish.

And the spoiler shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape: the valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the LORD hath spoken.
The valley - The lowlands on the east bank of the Jordan, and at the top of the Dead Sea.

The plain - An upland pasture; it answers very much to downs: so in Jeremiah 48:21.

Give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein.
Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.
Deceitfully - Better as in the margin.

Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.
Moab from the time it conquered the Emims Deuteronomy 2:9-10, and so became a nation, had retained quiet possession of its land, and enjoyed comparative prosperity. From the Moabite Stone we gather that King Mesha, after the death of Ahab threw off the yoke of Israel; nor except for a short time under Jeroboam II was Israel able to bring the Moabites back into subjection. They gradually drove the Reubenites back, and recovered most of the territory taken from the Amorites by Moses, and which originally had belonged to them.

He hath settled on his lees - Good wine was thought to be the better for being left to stand upon its sediment Isaiah 25:6, and in all cases its flavor was rendered thereby stronger (marginal reference). "By being emptied from vessel to vessel" it became vapid and tasteless. So a nation by going into captivity is rendered tame and feeble. By his taste is meant the flavor of the wine, and so Moab's national character.

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will send unto him wanderers, that shall cause him to wander, and shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles.
I will send - tilters "unto him and they shall" tilt "him, and they shall empty his vessels, and break their" pitchers "in pieces." "Pitchers" originally meant "skins," but the word came to signify small earthenware jars Isaiah 30:14 : thus the Chaldaeans shall destroy of Moab everything that has contained the wine of her political life both small and great.

And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel their confidence.
Israel was ashamed of Beth-el - After Salmaneser had carried Israel away, they could trust no longer in the calf of Bethel established by Jeroboam.

How say ye, We are mighty and strong men for the war?
Mighty - Heroes, veteran warriors.

Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
Rather, "Moab is spoiled," and her cities have gone up, i. e., in smoke, have been burned Joshua 8:20-21. Others render, "The waster of Moab and of her towns is coming up to the attack, and her chosen youths are gone down to the slaughter."

The calamity of Moab is near to come, and his affliction hasteth fast.
Near to come - Twenty-three years elapsed between the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when this prophecy was spoken, and its accomplishment by the invasion of Moab five years after the capture of Jerusalem. So slowly does God's justice move onward.

All ye that are about him, bemoan him; and all ye that know his name, say, How is the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod!
The lamentation over Moab uttered by those "round about him," i. e., the neighboring nations, and those "that know his name," nations more remote, who know little more than that, there is such a people, takes the form of an elegy. The metaphorical expressions, "staff of strength," and "rod" or "scepter of beauty," indicate the union of power and splendor in the Moabite kingdom.

Thou daughter that dost inhabit Dibon, come down from thy glory, and sit in thirst; for the spoiler of Moab shall come upon thee, and he shall destroy thy strong holds.
Sit in thirst - Jeremiah draws a picture of the conquered inhabitants, collected outside the walls, waiting for their captors to march them away to the slave mart. The enemy occupied with plundering the houses of Dibon thinks little of the hunger and thirst of his prisoners.

Strong holds - The remains of the fortifications of Dibon are still visible.

O inhabitant of Aroer, stand by the way, and espy; ask him that fleeth, and her that escapeth, and say, What is done?
Aroer - On the Arnon, due south of Dibon. If Dibon falls, the turn of Aroer will come next, and therefore its inhabitants are to be on the look out, asking for news.

Moab is confounded; for it is broken down: howl and cry; tell ye it in Arnon, that Moab is spoiled,
Or, "Moab is ashamed, because she (Dibon) is broken" by her fortifications being battered down.

And judgment is come upon the plain country; upon Holon, and upon Jahazah, and upon Mephaath,
Holon - This place apparently took its name from caverns in its neighborhood.

And upon Dibon, and upon Nebo, and upon Bethdiblathaim,
Beth-diblathaim - i. e., "the house of the two cakes of figs," perhaps so called from two hills in its neighborhood. Hosea 1:3 note.

And upon Kiriathaim, and upon Bethgamul, and upon Bethmeon,
Beth-meon - Meon is probably the Moabite Olympus, and thus Beth-Baal-Meon, the full name of this town Joshua 13:17, would signify the place where the heavenly Baal was worshipped.

And upon Kerioth, and upon Bozrah, and upon all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near.
Kerioth - A synonym of Ar, the old capital of Moab. It appears to have been a considerable place, and has been identified with El-Korriat, situated on the long ridge of Mount Attarus.

Bozrah - Probably the Bosora mentioned in 1 Macc. 5:26 in company with Bosor, i. e., Bezer. Since the word means sheepfolds, it was no doubt a common name for places in this upland region, fit only for pasturage.

The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken, saith the LORD.
The horn - i. e., his pride (marginal reference); his arm, i. e., his strength Jeremiah 17:5.

Make ye him drunken: for he magnified himself against the LORD: Moab also shall wallow in his vomit, and he also shall be in derision.
Make ye him drunken - With the wine-cup of God's fury, until terror deprive him of his senses.

For was not Israel a derision unto thee? was he found among thieves? for since thou spakest of him, thou skippedst for joy.
Was he found ... - Or, "was he found among thieves that so often as thou speakest of him" thou waggest thy head? - in contempt for a fallen enemy.

O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole's mouth.
Dwell in the rock - See Jeremiah 4:29. The sole chance of escape is refuge in inaccessible fastnesses.

In the sides ... - On the further side "of the mouth of the pit." The wild rock pigeon invariably selects deep ravines for its nesting and roosting.

We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.
I know his wrath, saith the LORD; but it shall not be so; his lies shall not so effect it.
But it shall not be so - Most commentators translate, "I know, saith Jehovah, his arrogancy, and the emptiness of his boastings; they have worked emptiness."

Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres.
Mine heart ... - Rather, "there shall be mourning for" etc.

O vine of Sibmah, I will weep for thee with the weeping of Jazer: thy plants are gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer: the spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits and upon thy vintage.
Or, "More than the weeping of Jazer" over its ruined vineyards "will I weep for thee, O vine of Sibmah." Compare the marginal reference. Jazer lies in an upland valley about 15 miles north of Heshbon.

Thy plants ... - "Thy branches are gone over the sea, i. e." the power of Moab is felt even on the western side of the Dead Sea; "they reached etc."

And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.
Winepresses - Rather, "wine-vats," into which the wine runs from the presses.

Their shouting shall be no shouting - The vintage shout is - silence. For the vines have been destroyed, and desolation reigns where once was the joyful cry of those who tread the grapes.

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.
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.

Moreover I will cause to cease in Moab, saith the LORD, him that offereth in the high places, and him that burneth incense to his gods.
Therefore mine heart shall sound for Moab like pipes, and mine heart shall sound like pipes for the men of Kirheres: because the riches that he hath gotten are perished.
Like pipes - A wind instrument, used at funerals Matthew 9:23.

The riches that he hath gotten - literally, "that which remains over, a superfluity."

For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth.
Cuttings - Compare Jeremiah 16:6, and marginal references.

There shall be lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the LORD.
Generally - Rather, entirely.

They shall howl, saying, How is it broken down! how hath Moab turned the back with shame! so shall Moab be a derision and a dismaying to all them about him.
Literally, "How is it broken down! they wail! How hath Moab tutored the back in shame! Yea, Moab is become a laughter and a terror Jeremiah 17:17 to all who are round about him."

For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.
The rapid and irresistible attack of Nebuchadnezzar is compared to the impetuous dash of the eagle on its prey Deuteronomy 28:49.

Kerioth is taken, and the strong holds are surprised, and the mighty men's hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
Surprised - captured by force.

And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the LORD.
Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the LORD.
He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.
They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon because of the force: but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones.
Because of the force - Rather, without force. Translate it: "The fugitives have stood, (i. e., halted) powerless in the shadow of Heshbon." As Heshbon was the capital of the Ammonites, the sense is that the defeated Moabites looked to Ammon for protection.

But afire ... - Not only will Ammon refuse aid to Moab, but her ruin is to come forth from Heshbon. To show this Jeremiah has recourse to the old triumphal poetry of the Mosaic age (marginal reference).

The corner - i. e., of the beard ..."the crown of the head." The fire of war consumes both far and near, both hair and beard, i. e., everything that it can singe and destroy.

The tumultuous ones - literally, "sons of the battle-shout," the brave Moabite warriors.

Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives, and thy daughters captives.
Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.
Bring again the captivity - (Or, "restore the prosperity.") A similar promise is given to Egypt, Ammon, and Elam Jeremiah 46:26; Jeremiah 49:6.

Thus far ... Moab - An editorial note by the same hand as the last words of Jeremiah 51:64.

Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes [1834].
Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.

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