Jeremiah 48
Lange Commentary on the Holy Scriptures

1. “Because the destruction of the Moabites is of no service to us except for penitence, we must note well what particular sins are specified, of which they were guilty, and for which such heavy punishments were heaped upon them, viz.; 1. Disdain, in that they gave no one a good word, were unfriendly and only blustered and boasted with every one, Ps. 52:3 (1). 2. Confidence in their fortifications, in their power, money and riches, 2 Chron. 32:8; Isa. 40:6. 3. Security, all being prosperous and peaceful, which was the sin of their sister Sodom, Ezek. 16:49; Zeph. 2:9. 4. Talking great things, and thrasonic self-praise. But although Goliath was such a mighty fellow he had yet to bite the grass, 1 Sam. 17:50. 5. Pride and Arrogance. These never do well, but act with violence and injustice. By violence, injustice and avarice, however, a kingdom passes from one people to another, Sir. 10, 8.” CRAMER.

2. On Jer 48:10. “His verb is duo peccata severissime prohibentur. 1. negligentia in operibus vocationis, cui oppositum cap. 39 Sir.; 2. misericordia intempestiva (2 Tim. 4:2).” FÖRSTER.

3. On Jer 48:10, Esther ex ore Dei maledictus et impius est hic Qui Domini curat corde dolosus opus.

(MS. marginal note in my copy of the CRAMER Bible).

4. On Jer 48:10. God glorifies Himself in such judgments over the malignant and proud powers of the world. He who knows Him is also made strong, so as to see the world perish and yet be able to sing praises to God thereat.” DIEDRICH.

5. On Jer 48:11. “Moab retained its old character; being far from the traffic of the great world it was well pleased to keep to itself. Yet things cannot continue thus in this world forever, every family and every nation is at some time rudely terrified from its rest, for what is peculiar, natural or national is not in itself the good. This comes here only through conflict and tribulation, and by God’s word among men. One’s own way is full of idolatry, and all idols will in like manner come to shame: the golden calf of the Israelites certainly first, but afterwards Kamosh.” DIEDRICH.

6. On Jer 48:11. “Hic notetur, quod hac allegoria Jeremiæ nefarie et fanatice abusus circa annum Christi 1664 quidam Martinus Steinbach, vector vinarius sive doliarius Selecestadiensis, qui se esse dictitavit spiritum sanctum incarnatum uti Christus filius incarnatus est, hæreseos suæ fundamentum statuens hoc præsens Jeremiæ dictum. Cumque sibi asseclas fecisset circiter viginti ex plebe, obiit et se post mortem appariturum splendors luminis affirmavit. Vide Theatr. Zwingeri Vol. V., L. 4, F. 1328” FÖRSTER.

7. On Jer 48:26, 27. Proud men rejoice with malicious pleasure when they can treat one, whom they do not like, as a caught thief. But it may happen to them that notwithstanding their age, rank and high dignity, they may yet fall in a truly beastly manner into that which they have themselves vomited, and thus become a laughing stock to the street gamins.

8. On Jer 48:39. “It also comes about that the natural man hangs his head, and at this time believers commonly look up and raise their heads, because their redemption draweth nigh.” ZINZENDORF.


1. “How many are still like the Moabites? For how many are there of those who depend on their power and violence, their fortified cities and buildings, riches, money and property, and set all their hope and confidence thereupon! How many are there of those who, when they have been some time at peace, become secure and think there is no more trouble from the rising to the setting of the sun! How many of those who rely on their own strength and say, let the enemy come, they area match for him! How many who, when they surpass others in bodily and mental gifts or in perishable goods, become proud and despise, ridicule and treat badly their inferiors, as if they had found such among thieves, as God the Lord here says! Not to mention that even the dear God is not exempted. For although all good and perfect gifts come only from above, from the Father of light (Jas. 1:17), yet many will not acknowledge this, but ascribe them to their own wisdom and skill, do not thank God for them, and thus make themselves and the outward means, by which they obtain one and another thing, the idol which they serve.” Bibl. Summarien, Halle, 1848.

2. On Jer 48:10. Remissness in the work of the Lord. 1. Wherein it consists (in not doing or doing ill that which is commanded. Comp. Saul in 1 Sam. 15, and doing that which is forbidden). 2. Its causes (Selfishness, Pride, Unbelief, Cowardice, Indolence, worldly interests). 3. Its punishment (to be cursed).

[JEREMY TAYLOR: 1. He that serves God with the body, without the soul, serves God deceitfully. 2. He that serves God with the soul, without the body, when both can be conjoined, doth the work of the Lord deceitfully. 3. They are deceitful in the Lord’s work that reserve one faculty for sin, or one sin for themselves, or one action to please their appetite and many for religion. 4. And they who think God sufficiently served with abstaining from evil, and converse not in the acquisition and pursuit of holy charity and religion.—S. R. A.]

3. On Jer 48:42. The world’s boldness towards God. 1. Whereon it is supported (on the one hand on the real [material] powers apparently standing at its behest alone; on the other hand, on the apparent powerlessness of God’s servants, who have only truth and right on their side). 2. What its end will be (Destruction, or termination of national existence). [COWLES: “If all the historians who record the ultimate extinction of nations were inspired of God to give the true reasons of their fall, we should often meet this testimony, ‘Perished of national pride, producing contempt of God and of fundamental morality.’ ”—S. R. A.]

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.

Although Israel had received the command by Moses, not to oppress or make war on the Moabites (Deut. 2:9), the Moabites on their part acted in a most hostile manner towards Israel, and according to Balaam’s counsel (Num. 31:17), did them greater injury by seducing them to idolatry, than they could have done with weapons of war. In consequence of the command given by Moses, the Israelites took possession of none, of the country of the Moabites, but the Arnon, which had formed the boundary line between the Moabites and Ammonites (Num. 21:13; Jud. 11:18), now formed that between Moab and Reuben (Deut. 2:36; Josh. 13:9). From this time the history of the relations between Israel and Moab falls into two periods. The first extends from the occupation of the transjordanic country to the subjugation of the Moabites by David (2 Sam. 8:2). During this period many struggles took place between the two nations with varying success (Jud. 3:12 sqq.; 28 sqq.; 1 Sam. 14:47). The second period embraces the subjection of the Moabites under David and his successors (after the division under the kings of Israel) to their revolt after the death of Ahab (2 Ki. 1:1; 3:4, 5). The third period again is one of hostility with varying success (2 Ki. 3:6–27; 13:20), but closes with the occupation of the region to the north of the Arnon by the Moabites in consequence of the deportation of the East-jordanic Israelites by Tiglath Pileser (2 Ki. 15:29; 1 Chron. 5:6, 26). The fourth period embraces their entire subsequent history. In this the only account we have of wars between the two nations is, that Moabitish troops were sent against Jehoiakim after his revolt from the Chaldeans (2 Ki. 24:2). Under Zedekiah we see the Moabites in league with Israel against the common enemy, the Chaldeans (Jer. 27:1–3), of which Josephus (Ant. X., 9,7) that records that Nebuchadnezzar in the fifth year after the destruction of Jerusalem subjugated the Ammonites and Moabites. In this fourth period fall the other prophecies against Moab, with the exception of the brief oracle, Am. 2:1–3, viz., those of Isaiah (chh. 15. and 16. coll. 25:16–19) Zephaniah (2:8–11), Jeremiah (Jer 48.), Ezekiel (25:8–11).

No-proof is needed that Jeremiah had occasion to direct a prophecy against this old hereditary foe. The account in 2 Ki. 24:2 shows that even specially at that time the disposition of the Moabites was hostile to Judah; for this prophecy certainly belongs to the time of Jehoiakim and before the fourth year, the Chaldeans and Nebuchadnezzar not being mentioned. The form of the superscription favors its contemporaneousness with the first prophecy against Egypt (46:1, 2). Comp. rems. on that passage. —Jeremiah’s object in this prophecy was evidently to reanimate, as it were, the former declarations of similar purport, and comprise them together for the sake of a powerful total effect. From ver.29 onwards, there is a constant, more or less free, use of older utterances. Of special importance appeared to our prophet the prophecy of Isaiah, itself reproducing an older oracle (Isa. 16:13). He makes very extensive use of it, particularly of Jer 48:29–38. Amos also (comp. בְּנֵי־שָׁאוֹן, Jer 48:45, and הַקְרִיוֹת, Jer 48:24 and 41, with Am. 2:2). Zephaniah (comp. הִגְדִּיל, Jer 48:26 and 42, with Zeph. 2:8, 10) and even older utterances of the Pentateuch (comp. Jer 48:45, 46 with Num. 21:28, 29; 25:17) have not been left unemployed. Thus the prophecy has not only become very long, but many unevennesses have been produced by the introduction of foreign matters. MOVERS and HITZIG have thus been misled to assume various interpolations. GRAF, however, has satisfactorily rebutted these attacks on the integrity of our text. As regards the structure of the discourse, it consists, according to the peculiarity of Jeremiah’s style, in pictures of various extent, of which we number eleven. The first five are predominantly occupied with the description of the punitive Judgment breaking in upon Moab (Jer 48:1–25), while the four following (Jer 48:26–42) have the reasons of this judgment for their subject. The last two pictures (Jer 48:43, 44, and Jer 48:45, 46) are related to the two main divisions as supplements, in so far as they contain nothing new, but draw only on two older sources, viz.: 1, a drastic passage by Isaiah, which moreover has nothing to do with Moab; 2, some declarations of the book of Numbers referring to Moab. The last verse is a consolatory glance forming a conclusion to the whole.

1. The Description of the Punitive Judgment (48:1–25)

1. The Devastation Proceeding from City to City


1          AGAINST MOAB.

Thus saith Jehovah Zebaoth, the God of Israel:

Woe unto Nebo, for it is laid waste!

Confounded and taken is Kiriathaim!

Confounded and broken to pieces is the citadel [Misgab].

2     The glory of Moab is departed.

In Heshbon they have spun evil against her.

“Up! and let us cut her off from being a nation!”1

Thou also, O Madmen, art made mad [feeble]:2

Behind thee cometh the sword.

3     Hark! Crying from Choronaim—

Desolation and great ruin.

4     Broken in pieces is Moab!

They cry aloud towards Zoar.3

5     For the ascent of Luhith is ascended with weeping, with weeping.4

For on the descent of Choronaim are heard the oppressors5 of the cry of woe.


The prophet proclaims destruction to Moab by, as it were, sketching a great picture, in which we not only perceive the abomination of desolation embracing and, as it were, enveloping the whole country, but also distinguish particular points marked by glaring colors. In the enumeration of the cities there is a general progress from north to south.

Against Moab. The superscription leans for support on 46:2. Comp. the introduction to chh. 46–51.

Jer 48:1. Thus saith … citadel. That the mountain Nebo is not meant, is seen from the verb, both in its sense and form (fem.). The city of Nebo (comp. Jer 48:22; Num. 32:3, 38) was situated, according to the Onomasticon of JEROME, eight Roman miles south of Heshbon, while Mt. Nebo was six miles west of this city. Comp. RAUMER, Paläst., S. 265.—Kiriathaim (comp. Jer 48:23; Gen. 14:5; Num. 32:37; Josh. 13:19; Ezek. 25:9) is one of the oldest cities of the East-Jordanic district. BURKHARDT (Travels in Syria, II., S. 626) found ruins of a place called Et-Taim, half an hour west of Medaba, which, however, does not well harmonize with the statement of JEROME, who places Καριάθα (Koroiatha, Kiriathaim), ten Roman miles west of Medaba. Comp. RAUMER, S. 263, 4 et pass.; HERZ.R.-Enc., VII., S. 710.

The citadel [Misgab]. It is very probable from the context that a definite locality is meant, for otherwise either the citadel of the last mentioned city must be intended, or the citadels of Moab generally. In both cases, however, we should expect the word to have a suffix. Hence the chief fortress of the Moabites, Kir-Moab, or Kir-heres (comp. Jer 48:31 and 36; Isa. 15:1; 16:7, 11; 2 Ki. 3:25) has been correctly understood. No appeal can be made in behalf of this view to Isa. 25:12, since it is extremely questionable whether a definite locality is there intended. Comp. DRECHSLER on Isa. 25:12. On Kir-Moab, comp. HERZ.R.-Enc. VII:, S. 558 sqq.

Jer 48:2. The glory … the sword. From Jer 48:29, 30, we see that the Moabites were inclined to proud self-praise, but we cannot here take the word translated glory in the subjective sense, as the whole strophe has for its subject the destruction of real objects. It is, therefore, here as in Deut. 26:19; Jer. 13:11; 51:4, the subject of their glory.—The name of the city Heshbon gives occasion for a play upon words. We translate “spun” after the example of MEIER. Heshbon was then in the possession of the Ammonites (49:3). On arriving at the boundary the enemy projects his plan of attack. Comp. rems on Jer 48:45. After the deportation of the East-Jordanic tribes by Tiglath-Pileser (2 Ki. 15:29; 1 Chron. 5:26), the Moabites appear to have taken possession of their territory. Hence Isaiah (15:4; 16:8, 9) mentions Heshbon among the Moabitish cities. The Ammonites must have come subsequently into possession of the city. Comp. GRAF, S. 554; VON RAUMER, S. 202 and 289, 270.—A place called Madmen, in Moab, is not expressly mentioned elsewhere, but there seems to be a trace of it in the figure of the dung pit (Isa. 25:10), to the choice of which Isaiah may have been occasioned by the existence of such a place, as JOSEPH KIMCHI supposed. Besides a מַדְמֵנָהֹ is mentioned in Benjamin, Isa. 10:31; a מַדְמַנָּה in Judah, Josh. 15:31; a דִּמְנָה in Zebulon, Josh. 21:35. Hence מַרְמֵן here also is not to be taken as an appellative, as some modern commentators would do, following the LXX., Vulg. and Syr., but as a proper noun.

Jer 48:3-5. Hark … cry of woe. From Choronaim (comp. Isa. 15:5) a loud cry is heard, and at (he same time the noise of the city falling into ruins. Comp. 4:6; 6:1; 50:22; Is. 59:7; 60:18.—GRAF has made it very probable that by Moab in Jer 48:14 is to be understood, not the country, but the city (Num. 21:28; Isa. 15:1; Num. 22:36). The mention of several cities in connection, and the feminine gender of the verb (comp., however, the masculine in Jer 48:11) favor this. I refer also to Num. 21:15, where עָר alone seems to be given as the name of the city.—The first hemistich of Jer 48:5 is taken almost verbatim from Isa. 15:5, there being a difference only in the last words. As we have Luhith in Isaiah, without any difference in reading, we ore justified in following the Keri, which has the same here. From the other reading (לוּחוֹת= tables, boards) a suitable sense can be wrung only with difficulty. “Esther usque hodie vicus inter Areopolin (i.e., Ar-Moab) et Zoarum nomins Luitha,” says JEROME in the Onomasticon. By For the declaration of the preceding verse, that the inhabitants of Ar-Moab cry towards Zoar, is explained, viz., the ascent of Luhith, which is on the road designated, they are seen to ascend weeping.—In the second half of the verse we find a much altered copy of the second half of the verse in Isa. 15:5. Instead of “in the way of Horonaim” it is in Jeremiah, “in the descent of Horonaim.” The present form of the text appears to me to betray an effort after greater distinctness and closer correspondence to the topography. Hence the ascent of Luhith is opposed to the descent of Horonaim. He who would go from Ar-Moab to Zoar, would have to go down a declivity at Horonaim, and ascend an elevation at Luhith. Similarly VITRINGA on Isa. 15:5, only that he makes Luhith come first after Ar-Moab and Horonaim afterward, which, however, evidently contradicts the connection. In Isaiah it reads “they raise a cry of destruction,” and here it might be objected, how could those who go up by Luhith weep, because they raise a cry at Horonaim? When the ascent of Luhith is taking place, the descent of Horonaim lying in the rear is vacant. Or are the people of Horonaim supposed to have remained behind, when the stream of fugitives passed through from Ar-Moab? How could this stream raise a cry at Horonaim while ascending Luhith? They might, however, he anxious when they heard the oppressors behind them at Horonaim. I therefore think that צָרֵי, which has given the commentators so much trouble, and produced so many curiosities of exegesis, is quite correct. צָר is the oppressor; for צוּר is premere, urgere aliquem hostili modo. The genitive is to be taken in that wider and freer sense, which the construct state so frequently has. The oppressors of the cry of woe are those who cause the cry by their oppressions.


[1]Jer 48:2.—מִגוֹי. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 106, 6.

[2]Jer 48:2.—Whether תִּדֹּמִּי is Kal or Niphal, is doubtful. Both are possible. The Niphal meaning would correspond best to the connection. Comp. OLSH., § 243 d, with EWALD, § 140 b.

[3]Jer 48:3.—I concur with GRAF in reading צוֹעֲרָה, following the LXX., instead of צְעוֹרֶיה. In Isa. 15:5, which passage the prophet had in view here, the fugitives of Moab flee עַד צֹעַר, and in Jer 48:34 of this chapter, צֹעַר is mentioned with Choronaim. The reading ציערה which appears also to have led the LXX. astray, so that they write Ζογόρα instead of Σηγώρ, as they elsewhere leader צֹעַר (Gen. 14:2; 19:22 sqq.; Isa. 15:5) seems to have arisen in a similar manner with יאושׁיהו ,שׁומע, etc. Comp. rems. on 17:23. The analogy of 14:3 finally produced the alteration into צְעוֹרֶיהָ.

[4]Jer 48:5.—יַעֲלֶה is a paronomasia with קַעֲלהֵ; grammatically it is the third person singular impersonal. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 101, 2 b. Instead of the second בְּכִי, we have בוֹ in the passage in Isaiah. It is natural to suppose that here בְּכִי arose from a blending of the following כִּי with the preceding בְּ, in consequence of indistinct or defective writing of the vowel. DELITZSCH also (Jes., S. 207) attributes the reading to a mistake. It is not, however, to be denied that Jeremiah may possibly have written בְּכי. Then it would be more advisable to take the second as an emphatic rhetorical repetition of the first with omission of the preposition (comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 112, 8), than to give it the part of the subject. For, when we compare cases like עַיִן בְּעַיִן ,שָׁנָה בְשָׁנָה, we must not forget that here the immediate juxtaposition of the two assonant words is essential.

[5]Jer 48:5.—Comp. צוְר with accus., and following עַל as a designation of the term. ad quem; Jud. 9:31; Isa. 29:3, and on the construct state, as a substitute for the preposition, NAEGELSB. Gr., § 64, 5 c. In accordance with the exegesis of this passage, as given below, we are neither to take צָרִים as an abstraction=angustiæ, nor with HITZIG to read צְרֵי (צֵרֵא), and regard this as the literal name, and connect it as a gloss with צְרִי, meaning the same nor with GRAF to take צְרִי (which does not once occur in old Hebrew) is connection with = cry of murder.

Flee, save your lives, and be like the heath in the wilderness.
2. Summons to flight, which yet will not secure safety


6          Flee, save your lives!

But they shall be6 like a forsaken one7 in the wilderness.

7     For on account of thy confidence in thy bungling work8

And in thy treasures shalt thou also be taken,

And Chemosh shall go into captivity,

His priests and his princes together,9

8     And the spoiler shall come upon every city,

And the city shall not be delivered;

The valley also shall perish,

And the plains shall be devastated—as10 Jehovah hath spoken.

9     Give wings11 unto Moab, for it will flee forth.

But its cities shall be desolation

Without any to dwell therein.

10     Cursed be he who doeth Jehovah’s work remissly,

And cursed be he who keepeth back his sword from blood.


This strophe portrays the destruction threatening Moab by summoning the people to flight, but at the same time distinctly declaring that this would not avail. This summons is made in a double gradation: 1. Moab is simply called upon to flee (Jer 48:6a), but it is directly remarked; that Moab would only barely escape and then be recaptured (Jer 48:6b–7a), and that in consequence the entire people, idols, priests and princes at their head, would be carried into captivity, while all remaining immovable property would be destroyed (Jer 48:7b, 8). 2. The means of flight are offered to Moab in a figure (9a) but, as the second half of the verse briefly intimates, the end will yet be the same, namely, devastation (Jer 48:9b). It cannot also possibly be otherwise, for the Lord makes known His fixed resolution to destroy Moab, by threatening remissness or forbearance in the work of destruction with His curse (Jer 48:10).

Jer 48:6-8. Flee … hath spoken. The call to flee is evidently intended ironically, for the announcement directly follows that the condition of the fugitives will be an extremely wretched one, that they will indeed be again taken.—Like a forsaken one,—like Aroer. Three Aroers are known; in Judah (1 Sam. 30:26), in Gad (Num. 32:34; Josh. 13:25; Jud. 11:33, 2 Sam. 24:5), and in Reuben (Deut. 2:36: 3:12; 4:18; Josh. 12:2; 13:9; Jud. 11:26). The first cannot possibly be meant. How one of the two others, whether that on the Arnon, or that further to the north, in the vicinity of Rabbath-Ammon, can be called “Aroer in the wilderness,” it is difficult to perceive. For if even on the basis of Isa. 17:2, the city be supposed to be then destroyed, it is yet strange that a destroyed city should be designated as situated “in the wilderness,” since this expression by no means involves the idea of destruction. Hence I have adopted the alternate reading proposed, which is favored by what follows. Neither a city, nor a tree, nor ruins, can See and be taken, but this may easily happen to one nudatus et desertus in the wilderness. The causal sentence, Jer 48:7, has then the sense: thy flight will no longer procure thee protection, as one forsaken in the desert, finds out, for thou also (like other nations) wilt be taken. And this will be the punishment of Moab for having founded its happiness on false supports.—Chemoah (the Chethibh כִּמִישׁ is perfectly unique) was the national god of the Moabites and Ammonites (1 Ki. 11:7; 2 Ki. 23:13; Jud. 11:24). Moab is, therefore, called the people of Chemosh (Jer 48:46; Num. 21:29); accordingly here, also, his princes are called princes of Chemosh. The idol goes into captivity when his image is carried away. Comp. 49:8; Am. 1:15; Hos. 10:5, 6. The passage Am. 1:15 seems to have been in the prophet’s mind here, as in 49:3.

Jer 48:8 describes the destruction of the immovable property; cities, valleys (all river-valleys in antithesis to elevated plains and mountains), and plains (מִישׁוֹר the plateau of Rabbath-Ammon, south as far as the Arnon. Comp. Deut. 3:10; 4:43; Josh. 13:9, 16, 17, 21; 20:8; RAUMER, Pal. S. 71 ff.)

Jer 48:9. Give wings … therein. In comparison with Jer 48:6 there is evidently a progress here; there it is a mere call to Fight, here the call is to at ford Moab the only still imaginable means for this, viz., wings. The one call is as ironical as the other. There is a strengthening of the irony in the word “for,” which designates the fleeing away as the object not of the speaker, but of Moab. Comp. Isa. 16:2.—The second half of the verse corresponds as a brief synopsis to all that has been mentioned from Jer 48:6b to Jer 48:8, as the result of the first summons (Jer 48:6a). The expression is as in 46:19; 49:17; 51:43; 4:9, etc.

Jer 48:10. Cursed … from blood. These words are the foil to the foregoing description. On this background the irony appears in its full strength. From these words we perceive what was the true meaning of the summons to flight, and how much more bitter the severity is rendered by these contrasting announcements (Jer 48:6b–Jer 48:8; Jer 48:9b). Moab’s destruction is designated as the work of the Lord, because this is no more than the execution of a decree of judgment pronounced by Him. Comp. 25:31; 46:10; 51:6.—Remissly. Comp. Prov. 10:4; 12:27.


[6]Jer 48:6.—ותהינה. If the condition to be expected as a consequence of the flight were to be designated, וְהָיוּ or ותהינה would be grammatically more correct. Hence I take וְהָיוּ in the adversative sense, and the Imperf. as a simple announcement. The plural of the third person refers to the ideal plural contained in the collective נַפְשְׁכֶם.

[7]Jer 48:6.—It has been with reason supposed that כְּעַרְעַר is to be read instead of כְּעֲרוֹעֵר, according to the analogy of 17:6 The opinion that the strange word was also the name of a city, and indeed of the well known Aroer, may easily have given occasion to the raiding of the text. The ancient translations vacillate: the LXX. translate ὄνος ἄγριος (עָרוֹר). Vulg.: myrica (virgultum humile et spinosum); Syrus: truncus arboris, stips. All these renderings lack proper etymological foundation, GESENIUS (Commentary on Isa. 7:2), and in his Thesaurus (S. 10, 74), fixes the meaning of rudera, ruinæ, on עֲרועֵר itself, but for this also there is no etymological basis.

[8]Jer 48:7.—The meaning of מַ‍ֽעַשִׂים is doubtful—bulwark, bungling work (idol images), property—the latter according to passages like Exod. 23:16; 1 Sam. 25:2. But in these passages מַעֲשֶׁה denotes only the pursuit of agriculture and its products. An emphasis on this appears to be superfluous with אוֹצָרוֹת. Since immediately afterwards the disgraceful carrying away of the principal idol of Moab is expressly mentioned, the mention of these manufactured idols as vain supports is more suitable to the connection (50:16; 10:3, 9; 25:6, 7. Comp. 49:4).

[9]Jer 48:7.—יחד (Chethibh) does not occur elsewhere in Jeremiah. In the parallel passages, also, we find יַחְדָּי.

[10]Jer 48:8.—אשׁר אמר י׳. This אֲשְׁר, whether we take it as=as, because, or which, is quite contrary to the usage of Jeremiah, since he always inserts אמֹר י׳ alone (6:15; 30:3; 33:11, 13; 49:2, 18). J. D. MICHAELIS supposes it is ortum ex repetitione finalium literarum præcedentis, מישׁר. It is also wanting, according to him, in Cod. 72.

[11]Jer 48:9.—ציץ from the radical meaning micare, promicare, has also the meanings of “forehead plate” (of the high-priest, Exod. 28:36–38), “flower,” and “wing,” in which last it occurs here. In Chaldee it is used for ala, Ps. 139:9; for fin Lev. 11:9. Comp. BUXTORF’S Lox. Chald., p. 1907. The choice both of this word and the following נָצא, seems to have been occasioned by an effort at paronomasia. For נָצָא also (properly נצה. Comp. נ֥וֹצָה, wing; Ezek. 17:3, 7; Job 39:13—the א for the sake of uniformity with תֵּצֵא. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr. § 93 d, Anm.), is ἅπαξ λεγόμενον.

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.
3. The Transfusion


11          Moab hath been at ease from his youth,

And he lay still on his lees,

And was not drawn off from one vessel to another,12

Neither hath he gone into exile:

Therefore hath his taste remained in him,

And his fragrance hath not changed.

12     Therefore behold, the days are coming, saith Jehovah,

That I will send unto him tilters, who shall tilt him up

And empty his vessels and dash his dishes in pieces.13

13     And Moab shall be put to shame by Chemosh,

As the house of Israel was put to shame by Bethel, their confidence.


In a very palpable figure the prophet compares Moab with wine, which has never been drawn off into another cask and has therefore retained its taste and scent unchanged (Jer 48:11). The Lord will transfuse Moab and cause his old cask to be broken in pieces (Jer 48:12), and then, like Israel, he will be put to shame by his idols.

Jer 48:11-13. Moab … their confidence. Since the Moabites took the land from the original inhabitants, the Emims (Deut. 2:10), they had generally remained in quiet possession of it. They had never been carried into captivity, as had been the case with Israel in their stay in Egypt and the deportation of the ten tribes. That this is the meaning of the figure is expressly declared in Jer 48:11, by the words neither hath he gone into exile. It seems to me doubtful whether Jeremiah has reference to Isa. 25:6; at any rate, on account of the difference in the main thoughts, the reference can be only cursory and verbal. Essentially the same thought, however, is expressed in the same words in Zeph. 1:12, whence it is probable that Jeremiah had this passage in mind. Four points are distinguished: 1. As a basis the fact that Moab has never been transfused. 2. The primary consequence that its taste and odor have remained. So far as this refers to the outward status rerum, a great degree of national prosperity is thus designated. In so far, however, as the words refer to the inward habitus, or to their relation to God and connected with this to His people, they express a sense unfavorable to Moab. They declare that Moab has never been thoroughly purified, never been freed from its enmity to the Lord and His people. 3. As a secondary consequence, it is mentioned, that a time of visitation is impending on Moab, since it cannot possibly be privileged against such a season. The instruments of the visitation are designated, in accordance with the figure in Jer 48:11, as coopers, who are to tilt up the old casks, empty and then break them in pieces. 4. As the final result it is mentioned that Moab will be put to shame by Chemosh as Israel by Bethel. The long undisturbed quiet was physically considered a benefit to Moab, but spiritually a gracious opportunity which it did not make use of. Hence Moab must become wise, like Israel, by loss and suffering (comp. 1 Ki. 12:28–33).


[12]Jer 48:11.—On אֵל for עַל comp. rems. on 10:1.

[13]Jer 48:12.—עָעָה, inclinare, only here and 2:20 in Jeremiah. In צֹעִים, the object is Moab, or the wine representing it; since it is to be mentioned what is made empty there must be another object to יָרִיקיּ and as נֵבֶל, (originally a leathern bottle, and then cadus, urceus; comp. 13:12; Lam. 4:2; Isa. 30:14) offered itself as a paronomasia [alliteration] to נִכִּץ, it is given as the third object, though really the object remains the same. In order to render the alliteration we have translated, after LUTHER, [BLAYNEY, NOYES, WORDSWORTH] “tilters” and “tilted;” [COWLES: emptyers; and the former after MEIER, render “dash” and “dishes.”—S. R. A.]

How say ye, We are mighty and strong men for the war?


14          How can ye say, we are heroes

And strong men for the war?

15     Desolated is Moab and his cities go up,14

And his best young men go down to the slaughter,

Saith the King, Jehovah Zebaoth is his name.

16     Moab’s destruction is near approaching,

And his calamity hastens on apace.15

17     Bemoan him, all his neighbors,

All ye, who know his name,

Say, how is the mighty stem broken,

The splendid rod!


All human glory is turned to shame, whether one glorify himself, as, according to Jer 48:14, Moab had done, to which the destruction of all his warlike power stands in strong contrast (Jer 48:15), or good friends and neighbors praise us. These may soon and easily find occasion (Jer 48:16) to turn their song of praise into a lamentation.

Jer 48:14, 15. How can … his name. In opposition to Moab’s boastful glorying in his warlike strength, desolation is announced in general and destruction according to a just Nemesis of the main objects of his glorying: the fortified cities, which seemed to rest immovably on their foundations, must fly away in smoke; the strong youths, who aimed high, must go down to slaughter.—Go down, etc. Comp. Isa. 34:6, 7; Jer. 50:27; 51:40.—Saith, etc. Comp. 46:18; 51:57.

Jer 48:16, 17. Moab’s destruction … splendid rod. So near and certain is the destruction of Moab that his neighbors and friends are called upon to bemoan the overthrow of this power so highly extolled hitherto by themselves.—Bemoan him. Comp. 15:6; 16:5; 22:10.—Neighbors (comp. 46:14; 48:39; 49:5), literally those round about him, therefore most intimately acquainted with him, ye who know his name, being the more distant acquaintances. (Comp. the related expressions in Ps. 87:4; Job 19:13; 42:11; Ps. 56:14; 88:9, 19).—The mighty stem. Comp. Ps. 110:2; Ezek. 19:12, 14.


[14]Jer 48:15.—The singular עָלָה is certainly surprising, but the alteration of the text to שֹׁדֵד (the spoiler of Moab and his cities goes up) [as J. D. MICH., EWALD, GRAF, BLAYNEY], seems to me unnecessary. I believe that Jeremiah had in view the passage in Jud. 20:40 (וְהִנֵּה עָלָה כְלִיל־הָעִיר הַשָּׁמַיְמָה), and that thus the sing. masc. is explained, which moreover in the principle of the ideal number (the entirety of the cities regarded as a unit. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 105, 4 a) has a grammatical support.

[15]Jer 48:16—Comp. Isa. 13:22; 54:1; NAEGELSB. Gr., § 95, 3 b.

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.


18          Come down from thy glory and seat thyself in the thirsty,16

Thou inhabitant daughter of Dibon!17

For the spoiler of Moab is advancing against thee,

He destroyeth thy strongholds.

19     Place thyself by the wayside and look out,

Thou inhabitress of Aroer;

Ask of the fugitive and her who is escaped!18

Say, What hath been done?19

20     “Moab is confounded, for she is broken down.20

Howl and cry!21

Proclaim it on the Arnon, that Moab is destroyed;

21     And judgment has come on the land of the plain,

On Holon and on Jahazah, and on Mephaath,

22     And on Dibon, Nebo and Beth-diblathaim,

23     And on Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul and Beth-meon,

24     And on Kerioth and Bozrah,

And on all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near.

25     The horn of Moab is broken off,

And his arm is shattered”—saith Jehovah.


An animated picture! First some concrete forms of cities are directly addressed: Dibon is to go down, Aroer to question the fugitives (Jer 48:18, 19). The answer of the latter is sad enough. Arrived on the Arnon, where Aroer is situated, and thus on the borders of the mishor, they proclaim that it is at an end with Moab, for all the cities of the northern half of the country are taken (Jer 48:20–24). From this it follows as the total result, that the power of Moab is broken (Jer 48:25).

Jer 48:18. Come down … thy strongholds. Isa. 47:1 was here in the prophet’s mind, “Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon.”—On Dibon, which, as we conclude from thy strongholds, was a fortified city and was situate a league north of the Arnon, comp. Num. 32:3, 34; Josh. 13:9, 17; Isa. 5:2; RAUMER, Pal. S. 261.

Jer 48:19. Place thyself … done. To the inhabitants of Aroer, the southern boundary city of the מִישׁוֹר (comp. rems. on Jer 48:8) the sad summons is addressed to go out into the street, to spy out (comp. Nah. 2:2) and then to make inquiries from the approaching train of the fugitives.

Jer 48:20-25. Moab … saith Jehovah. These verses contain the answer of the escaped.—Judgment. The choice of the expression is occasioned by the mishor, plain, which signifies not merely plain, but æquitas, justitia. Comp. Ps. 29:11; 45:7; 67:5. Judgment is thus to come upon the land, whose name also signifies “land of righteousness.” The cities mentioned afterwards are all in the Mishor. Holon (different from another in Judah, Josh. 15:51) is mentioned here only. Jahaza (Comp. Isa. 15:4; Num. 21:23; Josh. 13:18; Jud. 11:20) lay, according to EUSEBIUS and JEROME, in the vicinity of Medaba. Comp. RAUMER, S. 263.—Mephaath is elsewhere called מֵיפַעַת (Josh. 13:18) or מֵיפַעַת (Josh. 21:37; 1 Chron. 6:64). According to the passages cited from the book of Joshua it belongs to the tribe of Reuben and to the Mishor.—Dibon. Comp. rems on Jer 48:18.—Nebo. Comp. rems. on Jer 48:1.—Beth-diblathaim is not mentioned elsewhere in the Old Testament. Its position is clear from the statement of JEROME, that Jahaza was situated between Medaba and Diblathaim. (Vid. Onomasticon s. v. Jaffa).—Kiriathaim. Comp. rems. on Jer 48:1.—Beth-gamul occurs here only. If PORTER is correct in recognizing Bozrah, Kerioth and Beth-gamul in the present ruined cities of the Hauran, Bosra, Kureiyeh and El Jemal, we have here three cities not in Moab, but separated from it by the entire territory of the Ammonites. Comp. RAUMER, Pal. S. 251, 2. This hypothesis is, however, improbable, since real Moabitish cities can be shown for Bozrah and Kerioth. See below.—Beth-meon was named in full Beth-baal-meon (Josh. 13:17); elsewhere Baal-meon (Num. 32:38), and is designated among the other places as belonging to the Mishor and to the tribe of Reuben. Comp. RAUMER, S. 259 and 264.—Kerioth. Comp. Jer 48:41 and Am. 2:2. SEETZEN found a place on Mt. Attarus (comp. עֲטָרֹתNum. 32:34, 35) called El-Karriât, which he decidedly regards as Kerioth not Kiriathaim. Comp. RAUMER, S. 251, 2.—Bozrah. There is a Bozrah mentioned as in Edom (comp. rems. on 49:13) and one as in the Hauran, but the latter not in the Bible. It was the Bostra of the Romans, the birthplace of Philippus Arabs. Immense ruins still testify to the importance of the city. Comp. RAUMER, S. 244. Since, however, a place בֶּצֶר in the Mishor is expressly mentioned (Deut. 4:43; Josh. 20:8; 21:36), and since the LXX. always render this name by Bόσορ, we do not hesitate to recognize בָּצְרָה in this בֶּצֶר.—And on all the cities, etc. From the context it can only be the cities to the north of Aroer which are meant, for according to Jer 48:19 sqq., the fugitives announce to the people of Aroer that both the cities further to the north, and also those more to the south in the vicinity of Aroer were already taken. From this it follows that the whole northern half of the country was in the hands of the enemy, and consequently Moab’s horn and arm (the biblical types of dominion and strength, comp. Ps. 75:5, 11, 1 Sam. 2:31; Ps. 10:15) are broken.

[On the Moabitic stone recently discovered, which confirms many of the names here mentioned, see Bibliotheca Sacra, Oct. 1870. Andover.—S. R. A.]

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.
II. The Reasons of the Punitive Judgment (48:26–42.)

1. Moab’s Pride and his Punishment in General


26          Make ye him drunken, for against Jehovah hath he magnified himself!

And Moab may wallow22 in his vomit,

And he also may become a derision!

27     Or23 was not Israel a derision24 unto thee,

When he was found25 among the thieves?

Yea, for at each of thy words concerning him thou shookest thyself.

28     Leave the cities and dwell in the rock, ye inhabitants of Moab,

And be as the dove that maketh her nest on the walls of the yawning ravine.

29     We have heard the arrogance of Moab, the very arrogant,26

His loftiness, and his arrogance and his pride and the haughtiness of his heart

30     I know, saith Jehovah, his insolence

And the nothingness of his boastings; nothing have they effected.27


To Jer 48:42 the prophet describes specially the judgment of God on the criminal arrogance of Moab, which he manifested particularly towards Israel and Israel’s God. First, generally, (Jer 48:26–30) the disgraceful fate of a drunken man, who falls into his own vomit (Jer 48:26), is announced as a just punishment for the scorn, with which they always treated Israel when chastised by his God (Jer 48:27), and further, the fate of the dove driven into the fearful clefts of the rock (Jer 48:28) as a punishment for his insolent and false arrogance (Jer 48:29, 30).

Jer 48:26, 27. Make ye him … shookest thyself. A man, who is beastly intoxicated, falls into his own vomit, and how does he provoke to its full extent the derisive laughter of the beholder! So shall it be to Moab for his boasting against Jehovah. This making drunk reminds us of the figure of the cup of wrath (15:15 coll. 13:13). As there, those who make drunk are those whom the Lord has appointed His agents in executing the punishment.—Magnified himself Comp. Jer 48:42. The expression seems to be taken from Zeph. 2:8, 10, an older prophecy against Moab. Comp. also Joel 2:20.—The objection on the part of Moab that this is too severe a punishment is met with the intimation that Moab had done the same to the Israelites.—When he was found, etc. This is usually also taken as a question. But was not Israel really often caught in thievery and punished for it? Jeremiah expressly affirms this in 2:26. What reason would Moab otherwise have had for scorning Israel? I therefore regard אִם as a particle of time=when, as often as (Num. 21:9; Gen. 38:9). It is then thus admitted that Israel had been more than once caught in criminal conduct and punished, but observe that it is said among thieves. In this there is an allusion to the fact that Israel was only seduced by others, and that the principal thieves, to which Moab belonged, were his heathen neighbors.—Yea, for, etc. This is the answer to the question. We supply Yea.—מִדֵּי=Proverbs sufficientia, pro ratione (Isa. 66:23; Zech. 14:16), comp. 31:20. From the latter passage we see also that (בּוֹ) him is to be referred to thy words.—Shookest thyself. This may be shaking of the head (comp. 18:16) or shrugging of the shoulders, but equally in either case is it an expression of scorn.

Jer 48:28. Leave … yawning ravine. The preceding figure was adapted to humble Moab’s national pride, the present relates to his warlike pride. They boasted greatly of their valor in war (Jer 48:14), and doubtless also of their excellent fortifications (comp. Jer 48:18). They are now told that they will be driven from their bulwarks and into the rocky mountains, there like a wild pigeon to pass a troubled, ever threatened existence.—On the walls. The word is found besides only in Isa. 7:20, where it undoubtedly signifies beyond. עֵבֶר, however, signifies not merely the side beyond, but the side generally. (Comp. 49:32; 1 Ki. 5:4; Exod. 32:15). On the doves in Palestine comp. HERZOG, Real-Enc., XV. S. 425.

Jer 48:29, 30. We have heard … effected. These two verses are no more than a reproduction, extended by a few additions, of Isa. 16:6 in accord with Zeph. 2:10. In this quotation the prophet expresses the thought, which is expected as a foundation to Jer 48:26–28, viz., an answer to the question, whence comes on the one band Moab’s scorn towards Jehovah and His people, on the other, the particularly severe punishment of the same? Answer: to the pride of Moab corresponds both his scorn against Israel and the chastisement, which he receives on the part of Jehovah. Hence the prophet labors by an accumulation of terms to describe the arrogance of the Moabites as surpassing all bounds.


[16]Jer 48:18.—Judging from the parallel passage (Isa. 47:1) we must read with the Keri וּשֻׁבִי. צָמָא everywhere else signifies thirst. “To seat one’s self in the thirst,” however, sounds very strange. We must then either punctuate צָמַא, or regard צָמָא as a collateral form of צָמֵא (comp. לָבֵן with לָבֶן, Gen. 49:12; חָלֵב with חָלָב, Exod. 23:19). In Latin also sitientia is used for regiones aridæ. Comp. PLIN. Hist., N. X. 73; XII. 28; XXV. 11.

[17]Jer 48:18.—ישׁבת בת־דיבון. This form of expression is found besides here only in 46:19. The construction is as in בְתוּלַת בַּת צִיּוֹן, Isa. 37:22. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 64, 4.

[18]Jer 48:19.—נס ונמלטהֹ. The different gender is to express the variety. On the irregular accentuation of נִמְלָטָה comp. OLSH., S. 253 and 363.

[19]Jer 48:19.—On נִהְיָ‍ֽתָה and its difference from the masc. (the idea of multiplicity involved in the feminine) comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 60, 6 b.

[20]Jer 48:20.—The fem. חַתָּה can only be referred to Moab, in spite of the immediately preceding הֹבִישׁ. It is the same change in gender as in Jer 48:9, Jer 48:11, Jer 48:15 (שֻׁדַּד מ׳ וּעָיֶיהָ, and then again בַּחוּרָיו), Jer 48:38. and 39. Observe besides that הֹבִישׁ precedes as שֶׁדַּד does.

[21]Jer 48:20.—The alteration of the Keri (to accord with the following הַגִּידוּ) is unnecessary, since the fem. form of the imperf. evidently attaches itself to the preceding עִמְדִי, etc. Accordingly it is Aroer, which is addressed, not Moab.

Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres.


31          Therefore I howl over Moab,

And over Moab, the whole of it, I cry.

Over the men of Kir-heres there is sighing.28

32     My tears over Jazer flow even to thee, thou vine of Sibmah:

Thy shoots are gone over the sea,

Even to the sea of Jazer they did reach.

On thy fruit harvest and thy vintage is the spoiler fallen;

33     And joy and gladness is taken from the fruit fields and the land of Moab;

And I cause the wine to fail from the wine presses;

They will not tread with shouting,—

With a shouting that is no shouting.

34     From the cry of Heshbon even to Elealeh,

Unto Jahaz they raise their voice:

From Zoar to Horonaim, the three year old heifer,29

For even the waters of Nimrim shall be desolations.30

35     And I destroy Moab, saith Jehovah,

Him who ascends31 the high places and burns incense to his gods.


After the reason and manner of the judgment on Moab have been set forth in general, the latter is now described more in particular. This is done by the prophet’s first expressing (Jer 48:31a) what feeling he has in consequence of his knowledge of the destruction threatening all Moab (i.e., no longer merely the northern half as in Jer 48:18–25), and then turns to single places of the whole land, with special emphasis on the destruction which is impending on the vine and fruit culture of Moab (Jer 48:32, 33), as well as the worship of the idols connected therewith (Jer 48:35).

Jer 48:31. Therefore … there is sighing. This verse begins with a free rendering of Isa. 16:7. While there the third person is used, here Jeremiah speaks in the first person, being evidently himself shocked by the fearful import of the message which he has to deliver. Comp. Isa. 15:5; 16:9, 11; 21:3 and DRECHSLERad loc.—In the words, the whole of it, he declares that here he has not merely the northern half of the country, the Mishor, but the whole country in view, mentioning a series of cities from the north to the extreme south (Jer 48:34).—Over the men, etc. In the original passage it reads “over the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth will ye sigh, deeply troubled.” There is no need of seeking aid from indistinctly written MSS., it being quite in Jeremiah’s manner to substitute for a marked and strange expression, one softer and more usual. He has evidently omitted the concluding words and substituted אֲנְשֵׁי (men) for אֲשִׁישׁי (grapes, raisin-cakes). The second person plural would be in too strong a contrast to the first person in the hemistich, and therefore the third person singular masculine is chosen, which is to be taken in its impersonal sense.

Jer 48:32, 33. My tears … no shouting. In Isa. 16:9 it reads “Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer.” If we take מִבְּכִי of the text in the sense of a comparison the connection in meaning with the original would disappear, and then no good ground for the comparative is apparent. Jaazer, according to the Onomast. (s. v. Azer and Jazer), was 15 m. p., Sibmah only live hundred paces from Heshbon. They were, therefore, neighboring towns in a fertile district abounding in fruit and wine. Since then they were thus, as it were, sisters, the centres of agriculture closely connected by solidarity of interest, and the blow which strikes one affects the other also, one is not to be bewailed alone, but both at the same time. This is essentially the meaning of בִבְכַי (in the weeping over Jaazer is contained also that over Sibmah) and of מִבְִכִי (Sibmah participates in the tears which flow over Jaazer).—The district of Salt, in the vicinity of which Jaazer must have been situated (comp. RAUMER, S. 262, 3) is still very rich in vines. Comp. HERZOG, R.-Enc., XVII. S 611.

The elements of the two following sentences also are found in Isa. 16:8, “branches” only instead of “shoots” and “sea,” being wanting before Jazer. The sea of Jazer may denote only a pond or great basin. That the term may be so used is shown by the “sea” in the temple (1 Ki. 7:23). “The sea of Jazer was probably some celebrated large pond, like the ponds of Heshbon, in which the water of the Wady (Nahr) Sir, which springs near by, was collected. SEETZEN found some ponds there still.” DELITZSCH, Jes., S. 211 [Eng. Tr., p. 384]. RAUMER, Pal., S. 263, Anm. The hypothesis that the repetition of the word sea is based on a scriptural error is therefore unnecessary. The widely extended (even according to Isa. 16:7, 8, over the Dead Sea) wine-culture of Moab is poetically represented under the figure of a single vine. Comp. DRECHSLER [and ALEXANDER] on Isa. 16:8.—On thy fruit-harvest, etc. Comp. 40:10, 12. Instead of vintage, which suits the connection better, we find in Isa. 16:9 “harvest,” and instead of spoiler the more forcible but less distinct “shouting.”—And joy, etc., from Isa. 16:10. Comp. Joel 2:20; 4:15. Carmel (fruit-fields) cannot possibly be a proper noun here. For what occasion had the prophet to make such a spring? In Isa. 16:10, also stands מִן הַכַּרְמֶל, but there without the following and the land of Moab, and hence evidently in an appellative significance. The prophet would say: joy and gladness having vanished from the vineyards they have departed from the whole country.—And I cause, etc. These words are altered from Isa. 16:10b, in a peculiar manner. Instead of they will not tread with shouting, we read in Isaiah “the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses.” The following words contain the justification of the rendering given. It is emphasized that the trending will be altogether without shouting. A shouting will indeed be heard, not, however, such as pertains to the treading of grapes (25:30), but another, a warlike shouting. The word is elsewhere only applied to war-cries. 51:14

Jer 48:34. From the cry … be desolations. These words to their voice are taken, with modifications from Isa. 15:4. The cry of Heshbon, as it is called in Jeremiah, represents at the same time a place, and consequently serves as a terminus a quo. On Heshbon comp. rems. on Jer 48:2. Elealeh (now El AI) lies only half an hour from Heshbon. Comp. Numb, 32:37; Isa. 16:19; RAUMER, S. 261. Jahaz (identical with Jahza, Jer 48:21) must, according to Numb. 21:23 have lain to the south east, towards the desert. Zoar (comp. Jer 48:4) and Horonaim (Jer 48:3) represent the south country of the Moabites. We distinctly meet here the idea of the whole of Moab (Jer 48:31 in contrast to the limitation, in which Moab is spoken of in Jer 48:18–25. The individual elements are taken from Isa. 15:5. There Eglath-shalishiyah appears to stand in apposition to Zoar. In the present passage it is as formally co-ordinated with the name Horonaim. Both are possible only if Eglath, etc., is either a place near both the cities in question, or a predicate equally applicable to both. The latter view is favored by the grammatical structure, for in the former case we should expect עַדunto or יְעַד (comp. on Jahaz, Jer 48:21, etc.) In what sense, however, are these cities called Eglath-shalishiyah? KÖSTER (Stud. u. Krit., 1862, I., S. 113 ff.) perceives herein a topographical definition. Egla was a Tripolis, and “Egla of the third part” is equivalent to the third part of Egla. Egla is the principal name, Zoar and Horonaim the names of the two other parts. It is however surprising that of this group of cities, which must certainly have been of some importance, we find no trace elsewhere. We should also expect the reverse order. Shalishah-Eglath, and if Egla, Zoar and Horonaim form one city, what is the cry from Zoar to Horonaim to mean? DELITZSCH (on Isa. S. 206) [Eng. Tr., p. 336] attaches himself to GESENIUS and his predecessors (Vulg., Targ.) taking the words to signify “juvenca tertii, i.e., anni” = indomita, jugoque non assueta. Yet he does not refer the predicate to Moab (which can be done in Isaiah only with great harshness, and in Jeremiah not at all) but to Zoar “the beautiful, fortified, hitherto unconquered city.” Although the reason why Zoar should be so called is not very transparent, the language compels us to give this exegesis the preference. Whether Horonaim deserved the predicate in the same degree as Zoar is a question of minor importance, for the transference to Horonaim, which is mentioned only one line after in Isa. 15:5, can be only accidental.—For even, etc. Comp. Isa. 15:6. If by מֵי נִמְרִים we are to understand Beth-Nimrah, we shall thus be carried into the extreme north-west of the country, not inappropriately to the purport of the strophe. (Comp. the whole, Jer 48:31). The name and character of Beth-Nimrah favor the identity, for this place at the mouth of the Wady Shaib or Shoêb in the plain of the Jordan is still celebrated for its wealth of springs. Comp. WINER, R.-W.-B., s. v. Bethnimra. Yet it must be confessed, that according to the connection, a place in the South, as the ruined Numêre with the spring Moyet Numêre (DELITZSCH, S. 207) [Eng. Tr., p. 327], might be meant.

Jer 48:35. And I destroy … to his gods. The prophet has Isa. 15:2 and 16:12 in mind. What he means by the words מַ‍ֽעֲלֵה בָמָה is not perfectly clear. They may mean, who erects the high places, throws them up (HITZIG) or, who offers on the height (literally: offerers of the height), or who ascends to the height; or, finally, the ascending to the height. Each of these renderings has its light and its shadow. In Isa. 16:12, however, the idea of going up to the sanctuary is expressed. Hence I give those explanations the preference which take מַ‍ֽעֲלֵה in the sense of ascending.

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.


36          Therefore my heart sighs over Moab like flutes,

And my heart sighs like flutes over the men of Kir-heres;

Because the remnant32 of what was gained has perished.

37     For every head is bald, and every beard cut short,

Upon all hands cuttings, and on the loins sackcloth!

38     On all the roofs of Moab and in his streets all is lamentation:33

For I have broken Moab like a vessel

Wherein there is no more pleasure, saith Jehovah.


The prophet Feels his heart to be, as it were, a mourning flute in view of the great loss of Moab (Jer 48:36) and this all the more that he perceives in Moab itself on every hand lamentation for the dead (Jer 48:37, 38a). This is also warranted, for the Lord has broken Moab like a vessel which has become worthless (Jer 48:38b.)

Jer 48:36. Therefore … perished. This verse is parallel to Jer 48:31. For 1, both begin with therefore; 2, in both the object of the utterance of feeling is designated as Moab (hardly Ar Moab Jer 48:4, on account of “whole,” Jer 48:31—and why should Jeremiah have constantly omitted the עַר?) and Kir-heres; in both eases an analogous thought is introduced by the particle "therefore:" there the expression of howling and crying, here the sighing of the heart compared with the tone of a funeral flute. “Therefore" in Jer 48:36 then refers not to the special calamities enumerated immediately before, but to that general description, which we have read in Jer 48:25–30. Moreover here also the single elements of the discourse are taken primarily from Isa 15. This employment of foreign property explains much of the unevenness in the arrangement of the sentences. Isa. 16:11 and 15:5 are in the prophet’s mind, but he changes the harp, spoken of in Isa. 21:11 into the flute, as is correctly remarked, because the flute is the instrument used in mourning, and thus conformity is obtained with the funeral customs afterwards described. On the use of the flute in mournings for the dead comp. Matth. 9:23. JOSEPH.Bell. Jud. III., 9, 5; OVIDFast. VI., 656; HERZOG, R.-Enc, 16. 5. 364—Because, etc. The words are from Isa. 15:7, but there they are the object of the following verb (יִשָּאוּם) instead of which we here find perished. The words remnant, etc., must therefore be the subject of the verb, since אָבַד never means “to lose” but only “to be lost, to perish.” The plural of the predicate is explained by the collective meaning of the subject.—[עַל־בֵּן is also here taken from Isa. 15: 7, but it cannot possibly signify “therefore” as it does there. So unless we assume an error there is nothing left but to take it as equivalent to עַל־בֵּן אֲשֶׁר, a meaning which is certainly not proved, since this very passage is adduced as the strongest evidence (comp. GESEN., Thes. pag. 669). A double reason is then given for the mourning of the prophet in Jer 48:36: 1. a mediate, Jer 48:36b; 2. an immediate, Jer 48:37, 38a. Whence dost thou know that all is lost ? From the fact that all mourns.

Jer 48:37, 38. For every head . . Jehovah. Isa. 15:2,3 is the original passage. On Bald comp.7. 29; 16:6. Instead of cut short (נְרֻעָה) Isaiah has “cut off” (נְדוּעָהcæssa). In the latter passage however the editions vary. Comp. DELITZSCH, S. 205 [Eng. Tr., p. 325].—Cuttings. Comp. 16:6; 41:5—Sackcloth. Comp. 4:8; 6:26; Joel 1:8.—Roofs. Comp. Isa 22:1; HERZOG, R.-Enc. 16 , 5. 863.—All is lamentation. In Isaiah “everything wails, melting into tears.”—For I have broken,etc. The ground of the facts which cause the lamentation is, that (not chance, or any human or demoniac power, but) Jehovah has broken Moab. In like a vessel, etc., Jeremiah quotes himself, 22. 28.


[22]Jer 48:26.—סָפַק an onomatopoëtic word, denotes originally “to spank, to clap.” Comp. סָפַקְתִּי עַל יָרֵךְ, 31:19. Then it is frequently used of striking hands: Num. 24:10; Job 34:37; Lam. 2:15.—שָׂפַק is used in part for סָפַק (Job 27:23), and in part as an independent root with meaning sufficere. In the latter signification it occurs, however, in the Hebrew of the Old Testament only in the imperfect יִשְׂפֹק (1 Ki. 20:10), and (perhaps) in the Hiphil (Isa. 2:6), and besides (perhaps) the substantive שֶׂפֶק (Job 36:18). Yet in consequence of the interchange of the related radical סֵפֶק occurs in Job 20:22, as also in the Aramaic סְפַק and סֻפְקָנָא in the sense of sufficiency and superfluity. Here it is evident that the rendering “that Moab had superfluity in his vomit” (MEIER) is feeble, and moreover unsafe, since the prefix בְּ is striking, and it is not proved that the meanings of sufficiency (of the things) and of having a superfluity (of the persons) are united in the verb. The common radical meaning of ספק to strike, to clap, gives a perfectly satisfactory sense. Comp. Isa. 19:14.

[23]Jer 48:27.—וְאִם=or ? Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 107, 4. In the second clause of the disjunctive question הֲ (with a following Dag. forte. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 53, 3 Anm.) is repeated as in Gen. 17:17; Ps. 94:9.

[24]Jer 48:27.—שְׂהק=object of derision as in Job 12:4.

[25]Jer 48:27.—The fem. נִמְצְאָה is unjustly suspected by the Masoretes. Comp. rems. on חַתָּה, Jer 48:20.

[26]Jer 48:29.—גֵאֶה is an adjective (Comp. Isa. 2:12; Ps. 94:2), and to be referred to Moab.

[27]Jer 48:30.—Isa. 16:6 concludes with לֹא־כֵן בַּרָּיו. Here the words לֹא כֵן עָשׂוּ, also are added. And the Masoretes punctuate so as to connect בַּרָּיו with עַשׂוּ as its subject. We cannot, however, doubt that כַּרָּיו, in accordance with the fundamental passage, belongs to לֹא־כֵן. It would then be “the nothingness (comp. 2 Ki. 17:9; Prov. 15:7) of his boastings (Isa. 44:25; Job 11:3),” while the words לֹא־כֵן עַשׂוּ seem to declare the nothingness of his deeds.

[28]Jer 48:31.—The correction אֶהְגֶּה, which MEIER allows himself, is unnecessary and not sufficiently authorized by the examples adduced by him (Mic. 6:10, אִשׁ for יֵשׁ, Jer 48:11, אִזְכֶּה for יִזְכֶּה, דּוֹאֵד for דּוֹיֵג).

[29]Jer 48:34.—עֶגְלָת is used of nations is 46:20; 50:11; Hos. 4:16; 10:11. The genitive עֶגְלַת is explained by analogies like בִּשְׁנַת הָרְבעִית, anno quarti, i.e., numeri (Jer. 46:2; 51:59; 2 Ki. 17:6), מִשְּׁפַט אֶחָד (Lev. 24:22), אֶחָדאֲרוֹן (2 Ki. 12:10).

[30]Jer 48:34.—We have adopted the translation of MEIER [German]—Nimrim nimmer rinnen [Nimrim will never run, which expresses the alliteration of the Hebrew, but is rather a free rendering]. The כִּי at the beginning of the verse is transferred from Isaiah, where it is fully in place. In the present passage it can only introduce a single point in corroboration of the main proposition (Jer 48:31).

[31]Jer 48:35.—Is מַ‍ֽעֲלֵה a participle or a substantive? Grammatically the latter is the easier (comp. Jer 48:5), but the discrepancy with מַקְטִיר is disturbing. We may take it then in the direct causative meaning (ascensum faciens. Comp. on 48:5, 2), and observe the remark of GRAF that correspondence with this word occasioned the choice of the Hiphil participle.

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.
4. Pride comes before a Fall


39          How is she broken! How do they howl!

How has Moab turned the back shamefully!

And Moab shall become a derision

And a horror to all his neighbors.

40     For thus saith Jehovah: Behold like an eagle he flies,

And spreads his wings over Moab.

41     Taken are the cities,34

And the fortresses captured,35

And the heart of the heroes of Moab in that day

Shall be like the heart of a parturient woman.36

42     And Moab shall be destroyed from being a nation,

For against Jehovah hath he magnified himself.


With Jer 48:38 the quotations from Isa. 15. and 16. cease; the beginning of Jer 48:39 reminds us of the beginning of Jer 48:31 and 26; Jer 48:39 and 41 are evidently closely related, reproducing, as it were, the fundamental thought of Jer 48:26, 27 that Moab is to become a derision, because he has magnified himself against the Lord. I therefore take Jer 48:39–41 as one strophe. This begins with an exclamation; how is Moab broken, given up to shameful flight, and thus become an object of ridicule and horror (Jer 48:39)! This effect corresponds exactly to the cause, for a powerful enemy, comparable to a powerful eagle, is to come upon Moab (Jer 48:40). In consequence the fortified places are taken, the courage of all the warriors broken (Jer 48:41), and Moab stricken from the roll of nations. This is his punishment for having magnified himself against Jehovah.

Jer 48:39. How is she … his neighbors. Moab is here again conceived of as feminine. Comp. rems. on Jer 48:20. Since this passage was generally in the prophet’s mind, הַתַּה also must be taken in the meaning which it has there, viz., of being broken. (Comp. Isa. 7:8). The first result of this being broken is howling. We however take הֵילילוּ as 3d pers. perf., since the imperative here, as afterwards in בּוֹשׁ, does not suit the connection. The further consequence is shameful flight (בּוֹשׁ to be regarded as in the accusative. Comp. Mic. 1:11). From all this it follows lastly that Moab is become two things, a derision (Jer 48:26, 27) and a terror (17:17) to all his neighbors.

Jer 48:40. For thus saith … over Moab.—For is argumentative. The effect corresponds to the cause. The choice of figures is founded on Deut. 28:49, where the people of Israel are assured in case of apostasy of severe judgment, to be executed by a nation coming from afar. la 4:13 also there was an echo of this passage. It is possible that Isa. 46:11 was in the mind of the prophet, even as this present passage lay before the prophet. Ezekiel, when in 17:3 he used the same figure of Nebuchadnezzar. Who the eagle is here the prophet does not say. If what we have said in the introduction concerning the date of composition of this and the contemporary prophecies against the Nations is correct, the present passage is in so far dissimilar to 46:18 in that there Nebuchadnezzar is mentioned just before (Jer 48:13). Here the non-mention is due to the circumstance that the prophet did not yet know who was the chosen instrument for the execution of the judgment.—And spreads, etc. Here also a passage from Deuteronomy (32:11) seems to have hovered before the prophet’s mind. This however applies only to the expression, for here the spreading of wings is intended in an exactly opposite sense. Comp. also Job 39:26. A repetition of this passage and of the following verse is found in 49:22.

Jer 48:41, 42. Taken … magnified himself. The prophet here passes into the literal style of discourse.—From being, etc. Comp Jer 48:2 and Isa 7:8—For against Jehovah, etc. This points back to Jer 48:26, and here as there is to be regarded as a reminiscence from Zeph. 2:8, 10. The prophet here brings to a close that part of his prophecy, which has the pride of Moab especially for its object.


[32]Jer 48:36.—On the construct state of יִתְרַ עָשָׂה comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 65, 2, 3.

[33]Jer 48:38.—In regard to the construction, the abstract stands for the concrete. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 59, 1.

[34]Jer 48:41.—קְרִיּות cannot here as in Jer 48:14, be a proper name on account of the following מְעָדוֹת. The plural קְרִיּוֹת does not indeed occur in an appellative sense elsewhere, but this form no objection, since the prophet may have chosen this form with reference to the names to the name of Moabitish cities. Comp. OLSH § 146 d ; 152 a

[35]Jer 48:41.—On the singular נִתְפָ‍ֽשָׂה comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 105, 4, b ; EWALD, § 3 1 7 , a

[36]Jer 48:41.—The expression אִשָּׁה מְצֵרָה (mulier uterum comprimens) occurs here and in 49:22 only. On the subject matter comp. 4:31.

Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the LORD.
III. Two Appendices with a Concluding Word (47:43–47)

1. Application to Moab of a passage from Isaiah

48:43, 44

43          Terror37 and ditch [pit] and trap38 on thee,

Thou inhabitant of Moab,39 saith Jehovah.

44     He that fleeth40 from the terror shall fall into the ditch,

And he that riseth from the ditch shall be taken in the trap;

For I bring upon them, upon Moab,41

The year of their punishment, saith Jehovah.


Application of a passage from Isaiah (24:17, 18). That Jeremiah is the original here, and at most took the remote analogy of Am. 5:19 for his model, appears to me an entirely unwarranted assertion. This pithy drastic play upon words corresponds as much more to the Old Testament master of such word-play, Isaiah, as it is contrary to the softer and more fluent style of our prophet. In addition it is inconceivable that at the close of his discourse, where he has evidently already exhausted himself and has for some time been speaking only in quotations, he should suddenly make such a pithy original utterance. Comp. DELITZSCH in DRECHSLER’SComm. zu Jes. III., S. 405, 6, and in his own Comm. on Isaiah, S. 271 [Eng. Tr., pp. 431, 2].


[37]Jer 48:43.—כַּחַד fear, terror, is found besides in Jeremiah only in 30:5 and 49:5.

[38]Jer 48:43.—כַּחַת pit, only In Jer 48:28. כּח snare, only in the plural, 18:22. [The rendering ditch for pit and trap for snare is given to express the alliteration of the original pa’hadh, pa’hath, pa’h.—S. R. A.]

[39]Jer 48:43.—יִושׁב מואב. This expression is entirely contrary to the usage of Jeremiah, as he never uses the singular in this connection. Isaiah however uses the singular in a similar connection.

[40]Jer 48:44.—The Chethibh הַנִּים (comp. FUERST, Concord, S. 691, 1365) is a form which does not occur elsewhere, so the Keri would read הַנָם after Isaiah. Ac echo of this passage is found in Lam. 3:47.

[41]Jer 48:44.—אליה אל־מואב. Comp. 9:14; 11:15; 27:8, etc. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 77, 2. [“אליה is anticipative of אל־מואכ as the pronominal suffixes frequently are in the Aramaic dialects.” HENDERSON.—S. R. A.

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.


45          In the shade of Heshbon the fugitives stand powerless;42

For fire43 goes forth from Heshbon,

And came from the midst of Sihon,

And it devoured the side of Moab

And the crown (of the head) of the sons of tumult.44

46     Woe unto thee, Moab!

Destroyed is the people of Chemosh,

For thy sons are led away into prison,

And thy daughters into captivity.45

47     And I turn the captivity of Moab at the end of days, saith Jehovah.

—Thus far the judgment on Moab.


With the exception of Jer 48:45a, the verses are a free reproduction of Num. 21:28, 29; 24:17. The prophet who already in the previous context has brought into use old prophecies against Moab, does the same here with some passages of the book of Numbers. It is only natural that Jeremiah should not leave unemployed those ancient utterances occasioned by the first conflict between Israel and Moab. This use is evidently the main intention, and no emphasis is therefore to be laid on the less strict connection of the words with the previous context, and with each other. GRAF has, therefore, rightly rejected the hypothesis of MOVERS and HITZIG, that these verses are a later gloss.

Jer 48:45, 46. In the shade … captivity. As the passage to be used speaks of a going forth of the fire from Heshbon upon the Moabites (Num. 21:28), the Moabites must be represented as having come into the district of Heshbon. This is done by assuming a flight of the Moabites in that direction (doubtless also with a reference to “he that fleeth,” Jer 48:44). It has indeed been correctly remarked that as the enemy is approaching from the north, the flight could not be towards Heshbon (comp. rems. on Jer 48:19 sqq.), but all that concerns the prophet is to show that the ancient sentence will be verified anew in this judgment on Moab. It is assuredly not his meaning that this will take place literally in the form chosen by him (for which Isa. 30:2, 3, also was, perhaps, in his mind). Jer 48:45a is thus a mere connecting clause, of which the expressions are not to be emphasized.—Powerless declares that the fugitives, who for protection had betaken themselves to the shade of Heshbon, receive from thence no strength but the contrary. The following בִּי which is also taken from Num. 21:28, need not then be taken in an adversative sense (but).—From the midst of Sihon. In Num. 21:28 it reads, “from the city of Sihon.” Heshbon is called in 21:26 the city of Sihon the king of the Amorites. Owing to the omission of city here, I would neither alter the text with J. D. MICHAELIS, EWALD and MEIER (בבית for בבין) so as to read, from the house of Sihon, nor with GRAF, conceive an ideal presence of Sihon (with reference to Gen. 49:10), but as in Jer 48:4, and more frequently according to GRAF, Moab stands for Ar-Moab, and elsewhere usually Shechem for city of Shechem (Gen. 33:18), so here also the name of Lord of the city stands for the city itself. The sense of from the midst, is that fire breaks forth from between the openings of the city (i.e., the gates of the walls and towers).—The side of Moab. Num. 24:17, “and a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the borders of Moab.” As here the subject is a staff which smites, the borders can mean only the sides of the body. Accordingly in this passage also it is more natural to think of the side (MEIER) as burnt or roasted by the fire, than the end of the beard [HENDERSON; corner of the beard], which would inflict no material injury.—And the crown, etc.Num. 24:17, “and destroy all the children of Sheth,” Sheth has also the meaning of tumult. The children of tumult are homines tumultuosi. The designation corresponds on the one hand to the arrogant character of the Moabites mentioned in vers, 26–30, and on the other hand there seems to be an allusion to Am. 2:2, where it reads “and Moab shall die with tumult.”—Woe unto thee, etc., from Num. 21:29. Moab is called the people of Chemosh (comp. Jer 48:7) as Israel the people of Jehovah (Num. 11:29; 17:6Jud. 5:11).—For thy sons, etc., Num. 21:29: he gives his sons up as fugitives, and his daughters into captivity. It is apparent that the original is softened down. Comp. Gen. 12:15.

Jer 48:47. And I turn … on Moab.—Close of the chapter. Comp. 46:26; 49:6, 39.—I turn. Comp. 30:3, 18; 33:7, 11.—At the end of days. Comp. rems. on 23:20. The expression points to that final period in which the heathen also will be converted to the God of Israel. Comp. 3:17; Isa. 24:13–16; 25:6; Hagg. 2:7.—Thus far the judgment. Comp. Jer 48:21; 51:64. With the exception of the latter passage (on which comp. the exeg. rems.) this formula is not found in Jeremiah. It appears to be a later addition.


[42]Jer 48:45.—On the privative מִן in מִכֹּהַ comp. NAEGELSB. Gr.; § 112, 5, d; Jer. 10:14.

[43]Jer 48:45.—אֵש is used in Numbers as feminine, as it usually is, but here as masculine, as in Ps. 104:4. (In Job 20:26 נִכַּח regarded as neuter is in apposition. Comp. NAEGELSB. Gr., § 60, 4 coll. Jer. 20:9).

[44]Jer 48:45.—קַרְקַר Numb. 24:17, not being appropriate to the present passages (it signifies suffodit, radicitus evertit from קוּר fodit) we cannot say that קָדְקֹד is the original reading, although it seems to suit the passage in Numbers better, and is really the rending of Cod. Samarit. Jeremiah, dealing very freely after his manner with the text of his sources, may have substituted a word of similar form, שׁאוֹן is of like meaning with שֵׁת, as the latter stands for שֵׂאת, Lam. 3:47 (as שֵׂת Job 41:16 for שֵׂאת, שְׂאֵת 13:11) and this for שֶׁאֶת. Comp. OLSH., § 153.

[45]Jer 48:46.—The form שִׁבְיָה is found in Jeremiah here only. Since he uses שְׁבִית (שְׁבוּת) only in the connection of שׁוּבּ שׁ׳ he was obliged, in order to have a corresponding word to שְׁבִי, to choose either שִׁבְיָה or שִׁבִיָּה, which latter occurs more rarely than the former, since it is found only in Isa. 52:2.

Lange, John Peter - Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

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