Ezekiel 25:9
Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities, from his cities which are on his frontiers, the glory of the country, Bethjeshimoth, Baalmeon, and Kiriathaim,
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(9) Open the side of Moabi.e., lay it open to the enemy. This is to be done “from the cities,” on which a special emphasis is placed. The cities named were all on the north of the Arnon, and before the time of Moses had been wrested from the Moabites by the Amorites, from whom in turn they were taken by the Israelites, and long formed a part of their territory. In the decay of the power of Israel they were re-conquered by Moab, and are here spoken of, perhaps in view of their being rightfully a possession of Israel, as appropriately the point from which desolation should go out over the whole of Moab.

The glory of the country.—The territory designated by the mention of these three cities is still considered by the Arabs as the best part of the land, and is called Belka. They have a proverb, “Thou canst find no land like Belka.” The sites of all the cities which are alluded to here have been probably identified by existing ruins.

25:8-17 Though one event seem to the righteous and wicked, it is vastly different. Those who glory in any other defence and protection than the Divine power, providence, and promise, will, sooner or later, be ashamed of their glorying. Those who will not leave it to God to take vengeance for them, may expect that he will take vengeance on them. The equity of the Lord's judgments is to be observed, when he not only avenges injuries upon those that did them, but by those against whom they were done. Those who treasure up old hatred, and watch for the opportunity of manifesting it, are treasuring up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath.I will open the side ... - i. e., lay it open to the attack of the enemy from the cities, from his cities, from his frontier (or, in every quarter). There is an ironical stress on "his" cities, because these cities belonged not to Moab but to Israel, having been assigned to the Reubenites Numbers 32:38; Joshua 13:20. They lay to the north of the river Arnon, which was the proper boundary of Moab Numbers 21:13. The Moabites had in the last days of the kingdom of Israel recovered this territory Isaiah 16:1-14. They still occupied this land in the time of Ezekiel (see Jeremiah 48).

The glory of the country - This tract, belonging to the district called by the Arabians "Al Belka," has been at all times highly valued on account of the excellence of its pastures for cattle. The most southern of these three cities is Kiriathaim, called on the Moabitic stone Kirjath, and now Kureiyat. The dual termination of the name Kiriathaim," is explained by the fact that Kureiyat is situated on two sister hillocks half a mile apart, both covered by the ancient city. It is situated about eight miles north of the Arnon, and seven miles east of the shore of the Dead Sea. Baal-meon is about ten miles north of Kureiyat - known at present as Main. It is probable that Kiriathaim was the "Kirjath-Huzoth" (city of streets), and Baal-meon, the "Bamoth-Baal" (high places of Baal), to which Balak took Balaam Numbers 22:39, Numbers 22:41. Baal-meon occurs on the Moabitic stone as a place which Mesa built or fortified. He probably erected a stronghold on the old locality, reviving the ancient name. Beth-jeshimoth is identified with a knoll at the northeasternmost point of the Dead Sea.

9, 10. open … from the cities—I will open up the side, or border of Moab (metaphor from a man whose side is open to blows), from the (direction of) the cities on his northwest border beyond the Arnon, once assigned to Reuben (Jos 13:15-21), but now in the hands of their original owners; and the "men of the east," the wandering Bedouin hordes, shall enter through these cities into Moab and waste it. Moab accordingly was so wasted by them, that long before the time of Christ it had melted away among the hordes of the desert. For "cities," Grotius translates the Hebrew as proper names, the Ar and Aroer, on the Arnon. Hence the Hebrew for "cities," "Ar" is repeated twice (Nu 21:28; De 2:36; Isa 15:1).

glory of the country—The region of Moab was richer than that of Ammon; it answers to the modern Belka, the richest district in South Syria, and the scene in consequence of many a contest among the Bedouins. Hence it is called here a "glorious land" (literally, "a glory," or "ornament of a land") [Fairbairn]. Rather, "the glory of the country" is in apposition with "cities" which immediately precedes, and the names of which presently follow.

Beth-jeshimoth—meaning "the city of desolations"; perhaps so named from some siege it sustained; it was towards the west.

Baal-meon—called also "Beth-meon" (Jer 48:23), and "Beth-baal-meon" (Jos 13:17, called so from the worship of Baal), and "Bajith," simply (Isa 15:2).

Kiriathaim—"the double city." The strength of these cities engendered "the pride" of Moab (Isa 16:6).

I will open; when the Lord will open the gates of iron, and say, The gates shall not be shut, as Isaiah 45:1,2, every attempt shall be easy, and his soldiers shall break through the defences, that were vainly boasted impregnable.

The side of Moab; that part of his country, which was best fortified for the safeguard of the whole.

From the cities; from the cities of strength, called here his, because he gloried and trusted in them, such as Har and Aroer, seated on Arnon, very strong garrisons.

On his frontiers; or, from his frontiers, (for it is the same construction, Hebrew,) or from his outmost bounds, I will lay all open to the Chaldeans, they shall overrun it, as if it were an open country, as easily as if no fortresses to impede them.

The glory; so the great, strong, and beautiful, or regularly built and fortified cities are ever accounted the glory of the country, and these are reckoned beside Ar and Aroer.

Beth-jeshimoth; an ancient city, and formerly Reuben’s lot, Joshua 13:20: its name tells you it was a fortress toward the desert, which watched, lest any should, through those wastes, make an inroad on the country.

Baal-meon; called also Moon, and Baiith, and Beth-baal-meon, mansion-house of Baal, word for word; it was situate on the north coast of Moab, as the other on the west.

Kiriathaim; a city, which probably consisted of two cities, or principal parts; a very strong frontier town, but not able to keep out those that God would lead in.

Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities,.... Or, "the shoulder of Moab" (t); that part of their country where their greatest strength lay, So the Targum renders it,

"the strength of Moab;''

where their principal cities were, their frontier towns, and fortified places, as appears by what follows:

from his cities which are on his frontiers; or, "from his Ars" (u),

from his cities which are at his end; at the extreme part of the land, upon the borders of his countries; the two cities of Ar and Aroer, Numbers 21:28,

the glory of the country; as the above cities were, and what follow:

Bethjeshimoth; this was formerly in the tribe of Reuben, now in the possession of the Moabites, and one of their principal cities, Joshua 13:20,

Baalmeon; the same with Bethbaalmeon, and which was also of the tribe of Reuben, Joshua 13:17, in Jerom's time it was a large village in Moab, about nine miles from Heshbon: some think by Meon is meant Menes, or Osiris the god of the Egyptians, and so this might be a temple of his; or at least he might have a temple in it, from whence it had its name:

and Kirjathaim; or the double city, built also by the Reubenites, Numbers 32:37, now in the hands of the Moabites, ten miles from Medeba; on this side of the country of Moab, and through these cities, the Lord threatens to open a way for their enemies to enter in and destroy them, as follows:

(t) , Sept.; "humerum", V. L. Montanus. (u) "ab ipsis", Haris, Junius & Tremellius, Polanus.

Therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab from the cities, {e} from his cities which are on his frontiers, the glory of the country, Bethjeshimoth, Baalmeon, and Kiriathaim,

(e) So that no power or strength should be able to resist the Babylonians.

9. open the side] Lit. the shoulder of Moab, i.e. the border or territory of Moab conceived as looking towards other countries, as “shoulder” has hardly reference to the shape of the Moabite territory (Isaiah 11:14). To open the side is to give invaders access to the country (Nahum 3:13).

from the cities … frontiers] Perhaps: at the cities, at his cities in every quarter. The prep. from seems to indicate position, by or on the cities, i.e. where they are. Others take it in a privative sense: stript of the cities. The three towns named are given as examples of the glory of Moab. Beth-Jeshimoth lay at the N.E. of the head of the Dead Sea, Numbers 33:49; Joshua 12:3; Joshua 13:20; it is supposed to be Suweimeh, at the mouth of the Jordan. Baal-meon, Numbers 32:3; Numbers 32:38, more fully Beth-baal-meon (Joshua 13:17), and in another form, Bethmeon (Jeremiah 48:23), lay further inland, a little S. of Heshbon; supposed to be Mâ‘in. Kirjathaim lay somewhat further south (Numbers 32:37; Joshua 13:19; Jeremiah 48:1; Jeremiah 48:23); supposed to be El Kureyat.

Verse 9. - I will open the side of Moab; literally, the shoulder, i.e. the slopes of the mountain of Moab (Joshua 15:8, 10). For Beth-jeshimoth (equivalent to "House of wastes"), see Numbers 33:49; Joshua 12:3; Joshua 13:20. It had been assigned to Reuben, but had been seized by the Moabites. It has been identified by De Sauley with the ruins now known as Suaime, on the northeastern border of the Dead Sea. Baal-moon (Numbers 32:38), more fully Beth-baal-meon (Joshua 13:17), or Beth-moon (Jeremiah 48:23). The name is found in ruins of some extent, known as the fortress of Mi'un or Maein, about three miles south of Heshbon ('Dict. Bible,' s.v.). Kiriathaim. The dual form of the name (equivalent to "Two cities") implies, perhaps, the union of an old and new town, or two towns on the opposite sides of a brook or wady. The name appears in Genesis 14:5; Numbers 32:37; Joshua 13:19; Jeremiah 48:1, 23. It has been identified with El-Teym, about two miles from Medeba (Burckhardt), and with Kurei-yat, on the south side of Jebel Attarus. Eusebius ('Onom.,' s.v.) describes it as about ten miles from Medeba, and close to the Baris, lint nothing is known as to the last-named place. The three cities all belonged to the region which Sihon and Og had conquered from the Moabites before Israel obtained possession of them, and they were afterwards claimed as belonging to the Israelites by right of conquest (Judges 11:23), and them may therefore be a touch of irony in Ezekiel's language describing them as Moabite cities. Collectively they were the glory of the country, the region known as the Belka, in which they were situated, giving the best pasturage, then as now, in Southern Syria. Havernick quotes a Bedouin proverb, "There is no land like Belka" (see Tristram's 'Land of Moab,' pp. 275, 303-305, 350). Kirjath and Baal-meon appear in Mesha's inscription on the Moabite Stone. Ezekiel 25:9Against the Moabites

Ezekiel 25:8. Thus saith the Lord Jehovah, Because Moab, like Seir, saith, Behold, like all other nations is the house of Judah: Ezekiel 25:9. Therefore, behold, I will open the shoulder of Moab from the cities, from its cities even to the last, the ornament of the land, Beth-hayeshimoth, Baal-meon, and as far as Kiryathaim, Ezekiel 25:10. To the sons of the east, together with the sons of Ammon, and will give it for a possession, that the sons of Ammon may no more be remembered among the nations. Ezekiel 25:11. Upon Moab will I execute judgments; and they shall learn that I am Jehovah. - Moab has become guilty of the same sin against Judah, the people of God, as Ammon, namely, of misunderstanding and despising the divine election of Israel. Ammon gave expression to this, when Judah was overthrown, in the malicious assertion that the house of Judah was like all the heathen nations, - that is to say, had no pre-eminence over them, and shared the same fate as they. There is something remarkable in the allusion to Seir, i.e., Edom, in connection with Moab, inasmuch as no reference is made to it in the threat contained in Ezekiel 25:9-11; and in Ezekiel 25:12-13, there follows a separate prediction concerning Edom. Hitzig therefore proposes to follow the example of the lxx, and erase it from the text as a gloss, but without being able in the smallest degree to show in what way it is probable that such a gloss could have found admission into an obviously unsuitable place. Seir is mentioned along with Moab to mark the feeling expressed in the words of Moab as springing, like the enmity of Edom towards Israel, from hatred and envy of the spiritual birthright of Israel, i.e., of its peculiar prerogatives in sacred history. As a punishment for this, Moab was to be given up, like Ammon, to the Bedouins for their possession, and the people of the Moabites were to disappear from the number of the nations. Ezekiel 25:9 and Ezekiel 25:10 form one period, לבני קדם in Ezekiel 25:10 being governed by פּתח in Ezekiel 25:9. The shoulder of Moab is the side of the Moabitish land. In the application of the word כּתף to lands or provinces, regard is had to the position of the shoulder in relation to the whole body, but without reference to the elevation of the district. We find an analogy to this in the use of כּתף in connection with the sides of a building. In 'מהערים וגו' , the מן cannot be taken, in a privative sense, for מהיות; for neither the article הערים, nor the more emphatic מעריו מקּצהוּ, allows this; but מן indicates the direction, "from the cities onwards," "from its cities onwards, reckoning to the very last," - that is to say, in its whole extent. מקּצהוּ, as in Isaiah 56:11; Genesis 19:4, etc. This tract of land is first of all designated as a glorious land, with reference to its worth as a possession on account of the excellence of its soil for the rearing of cattle (see the comm. on Numbers 32:4), and then defined with geographical minuteness by the introduction of the names of some of its cities. Beth-Hayeshimoth, i.e., house of wastes (see the comm. on Numbers 22:1), has probably been preserved in the ruins of Suaime, which F. de Saulcy discovered on the north-eastern border of the Dead Sea, a little farther inland (vid., Voyage en terre sainte, Paris 1865, t. i. p. 315). Baal-meon, - when written fully, Beth-Baal-Meon (Joshua 13:17) - contracted into Beth-Meon in Jeremiah 48:23, is to be sought for to the south-east of this, in the ruins of Myun, three-quarters of an hour's journey to the south of Heshbon (see the comm. on Numbers 32:38). Kiryathaim was still farther south, probably on the site of the ruins of El Teym (see the comm. on Genesis 14:5 and Numbers 32:37). The Chetib קריתמה is based upon the form קריתם, a secondary form of קריתים , like דּתן, a secondary form of דּתין, in 2 Kings 6:13. The cities named were situated to the north of the Arnon, in that portion of the Moabitish land which had been taken from the Moabites by the Amorites before the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan (Numbers 21:13, Numbers 21:26), and was given to the tribe of Reuben for its inheritance after the defeat of the Amoritish kings by the Israelites; and then, still later, when the tribes beyond the Jordan were carried into captivity by the Assyrians, came into the possession of the Moabites again, as is evident from Isaiah 15:1-9 and Isaiah 16:1-14, and Jeremiah 48:1, Jeremiah 48:23, where these cities are mentioned once more among the cities of the Moabites. This will explain not only the naming of this particular district of the Moabitish country, but the definition, "from its cities." For the fact upon which the stress is laid in the passage before us is, that the land in question rightfully belonged to the Israelites, according to Numbers 32:37-38; Numbers 33:49; Joshua 12:2-3; Joshua 13:20-21, and that it was therefore unlawfully usurped by the Moabites after the deportation of the trans-Jordanic tribes; and the thought is this, that the judgment would burst upon Moab from this land and these cities, and they would thereby be destroyed (Hvernick and Kliefoth). על, not "over the sons of Ammon," but "in addition to the sons of Ammon." They, that is to say, their land, had already been promised to the sons of the east (Ezekiel 25:4). In addition to this, they are now to receive Moab for their possession (Hitzig and Kliefoth). Thus will the Lord execute judgments upon Moab. Ezekiel 25:11 sums up what is affirmed concerning Moab in Ezekiel 25:9 and Ezekiel 25:10, in the one idea of the judgments of God upon this people.

The execution of these judgments commenced with the subjugation of the Ammonites and Moabites by Nebuchadnezzar, five years after the destruction of Jerusalem (vid., Josephus, Antt. x. 9. 7, and M. von Niebuhr, Gesch. Assurs, etc., p. 215). Nevertheless the Ammonites continued to exist as a nation for a long time after the captivity, so that Judas the Maccabaean waged war against them (1 Macc. 5:6, 30-43); and even Justin Martyr speaks of ̓Αμμανιτῶν νῦν πολὺ πληθος (Dial. Tryph. p. 272). - But Origen includes their land in the general name of Arabia (lib. i. in Job). The name of the Moabites appears to have become extinct at a much earlier period. After the captivity, it is only in Ezra 9:1; Nehemiah 13:1, and Daniel 11:41, that we find any notice of them as a people. Their land is mentioned by Josephus in the Antiq. xiii. 14. 2, and xv. 4, and in the Bell. Jude 3.3. 3. - A further fulfilment by the Messianic judgment, which is referred to in Zephaniah 2:10, is not indicated in these words of Ezekiel; but judging from the prophecy concerning the Edomites (see the comm. on Ezekiel 25:14), it is not to be excluded.

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