Matthew Poole's Commentary
The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence;The destruction of Moab.
The burden of Moab; a prophecy of the destruction of the Moabites, the inveterate and implacable enemies of the Jews, begun by the Assyrian, and finished by the Babylonian emperors.
In the night; or, in a night; suddenly and unexpectedly; for men sleep securely in the night, and therefore the evils which then overtake them are most terrible to them.
Ar; the chief city of Moab, Numbers 21:28 Deu 2:9.
Brought to silence; or rather, is cut off, as the word oft signifies, as Jeremiah 47:5 Hosea 10:7,15, and elsewhere. Kir; another eminent city of Moab, called more largely and fully Kir-heres, and Kir-hareseth, Isaiah 16:7,11 Jer 48:31,36.
He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba: on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off.Bajith signifies a house. It is supposed to be the name of a place, so called from some eminent house or temple of their idols which was in it. It is called more fully Bethbaal-meon, that is, The house of Baal’s habitation, Joshua 13:17.
Dibon; another city of Moab, as is manifest from Jeremiah 48:18,22, where also was their other eminent high place. To these two places they used to resort in case of great difficulties and troubles.
To weep; to offer their supplications with tears to their idols for help.
Over Nebo and over Medeba; two considerable cities, anciently belonging to the Moabites, from whom they were taken by the Amorites, and from them by the Israelites, and possessed by the Reubenites, Numbers 21:30 32:3,38; but were, as it seems, recovered by the Moabites, in whose hands they now were, as is evident, for Nebo, Jeremiah 48:1,22, and for Medeba, from this text.
On all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off; the hair of their heads and beards (which was their ornament) was shaved, as was usual in great mournings, as hath been oft observed upon divers preceding texts. See on Leviticus 19:27,28 21:5.
In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly.Shall gird themselves with sackcloth: this was another practice of mourners.
The tops of their houses, which were made flat, Deu 22:8; to which men used to go up, either to walk, or to cry to God in heaven or to men for help.
In their streets; publicly, without shame; whereas in ordinary sorrows men are wont to seek secret places for their mourning.
And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz: therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him.Heshbon and Elealeh; two other Moabitish cities; of which see Numbers 21:25,26 32:3,37.
Jahaz another city in the utmost borders of Moab, Numbers 21:23, called also Jahazah, Joshua 21:36.
The armed soldiers, who should be, and use to be, the most courageous.
His life shall be grievous unto him; the Moabites shall generally long for death, to free themselves from those dreadful calamities which they perceive unavoidably coming upon them.
My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old: for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction.My heart shall cry out for Moab; their destruction approaching is so dreadful, that although they are a most vile nation, and by their implacable enmity against God and his people do abundantly deserve it, yet the respect which I have to human nature fills me with horror at the very thoughts of it. Compare Isaiah 16:11.
His fugitives; or, his bars, as others render it, and as this word is frequently taken, as Exodus 26:26,27 Psa 107:16, &c.; whereby we may understand their valiant men, or their princes and rulers, who as they are called the shields of the earth, Psalm 47:9, because, like shields, they do or should defend their people; so for the same reason they may be called bars, because bars are the strength of the gates of cities or castles, and therefore are mentioned as such, Psalm 147:13 Proverbs 18:19 Jeremiah 51:30.
Shall flee unto Zoar; or, shall cry unto Zoar; either shall cry as they go along the way, even till they come to Zoar; or shall cry so as they may be heard to Zoar; which may easily be understood out of the foregoing verse. Zoar was a town bordering upon Moab; of which see Genesis 19:20-22 Deu 34:3.
An heifer of three years old; which some understand of the city of Zoar, so called for her strength and wantonness. But such a description of Zoar seems very improper and impertinent in this place. The words therefore are to be translated here, as they are by our translators, Jeremiah 48:34 as
an heifer of three years old; and so they belong to their cry, and signify that it is strong and loud, like that of such an heifer.
In the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry; he signifies that the cry should be universal, in all places where they come, and reaching from one side of the country to another. Of Luhith, see Jeremiah 48:4,5.
Of destruction; such a cry as men send forth when they are just falling into the pit of destruction.
For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.The waters; either,
1. Properly, they shall be dried up; or,
2. Figuratively, the waterish grounds, as waters seem to be taken, Ecclesiastes 11:1 Isaiah 32:20. These being very fruitful, are commonly most inhabited and cultivated; but now they also, and much more the dry and barren grounds, shall be desolate, and without inhabitant.
There is no green thing, by the just and special judgment of God. Thus God and man conspire together to destroy them.
Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows.Shall they, to wit, their enemies, which is plainly implied,
carry away to the brook of the willows; unto some brook or river having great numbers of willows growing by it, by which they might convey them to some eminent and strong city built upon the same river. Possibly he means some such river which ran into Euphrates, and so gave them opportunity of carrying their spoils by water unto Babylon. Though the words may be rendered, into the valley of the Arabians; whither the spoils might be first carried, in order to their transportation into Assyria or Chaldea; for part of Arabia lay between Moab and those countries. But the former translation seems better, because these very words are so rendered, Leviticus 23:40.
For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab; the howling thereof unto Eglaim, and the howling thereof unto Beerelim.Their cry fills all the parts of the country.
For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land.Dimon: this seems to be the same place with Dibon, mentioned Isaiah 15:2, here called Dimon for the great bloodshed in it, as it here follows; such changes of a letter being not unusual in proper names, as in Merodach for Berodach, Isaiah 39:1. More; either,
1. More than upon other parts of the country, that being one of their high places, Isaiah 15:2; or rather,
2. More than hath been already mentioned.
Lions upon him that escapeth of Moab; God shall send lions to find out those that escape the fury of men.