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.
Verses 1-8. - The prophet foresees the calamity of Moab, and the attendant confusion and dismay. Yes; flee, save your lives, if ye can; for your confidences have proved untrustworthy; there is no hope left. Verse 1. - Against Moab; rather, concerning Moab. Nebo! Not, of course, the mountain range referred to in Deuteronomy 32:49 and 34. I as that from which Hoses viewed the land destined for Israel, but a town in the neighbourhood, deriving its name, not from the mountain,but from the same old Semitic (and not merely Babylonian) deity. Kiriathaim. "The double city." A place of uncertain situation, but probably in the same district as Nebo; mentioned in Genesis 14:5, as the abode of the "terrible" aboriginal tribe called the Emim. Is confounded; rather, is brought to shame (as Jeremiah 46:24). Misgab; rather, the fortress. The connection shows that some definite fortress is intended, but it is difficult to say which. Graf thinks of Kir-heres (vers. 31, 36) or Kir-hareseth (another form of the same name; comp. Isaiah 16:7; 2 Kings 3:25), generally identified with Kir-Moab, the chief fortified town of the Moabites.
There shall be no more praise of Moab: in Heshbon they have devised evil against it; come, and let us cut it off from being a nation. Also thou shalt be cut down, O Madmen; the sword shall pursue thee.
Verse 2. - There shall be no more praise of Moab; rather, Moab's glory (or, glorying) is no more (comp. ver. 29). In Heshbon they have devised evil, etc. There is a word play in the Hebrew, which may be reproduced thus: "In Plot-house they plot evil against it" (so J. F. Smith's Ewald). Against it (literally, her) means "against Moab." Heshbon was at the time an Ammonitish town (it had in days gone by been Amoritish, Numbers 21:26); see Jeremiah 49:3; but was on the border of Moab. O Madmen. There seems to be again a word play, which has been to some extent reproduced thus: "Thou shalt become still, O Still house." The name Madmen does not occur again, though an allusion to it has been fancied in Isaiah 25:10, where the Hebrew for "dunghill" is madmenah.
A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim, spoiling and great destruction.
Verse 3. - Horonaim. This Moabite town was probably on the borders of Edom; hence, perhaps, "Sanballat the Horonite."
Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard.
Verse 4. - Moab is destroyed. The mention of Moab in the midst of towns is certainly surprising. We should expect Ar-Moab. Her little ones. The received text, as it stands, is untranslatable, and our choice lies between the correction suggested by the vowel points, and the reading of the Septuagint and a few of the extant Hebrew manuscripts, "unto Zoar." In favour of the latter, which is adopted by Ewald and Graf, it may he urged that Zoar and Horenaim are mentioned together, not only in ver. 34, but also in Isaiah 15:5, which has evidently been imitated in the following verse. It is not quite clear what "her little ones" in the first mentioned correction mean. Some think, the children; others, the poor; Hitzig prefers the small towns of Moab. On the site of "Zoar," see Smith's 'Dictionary of the Bible,' but compare Canon Tristram in 'The Land of Moab.'
For in the going up of Luhith continual weeping shall go up; for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction.
Verse 5. - For in the going up of Luhith, etc. The verse is substantially taken from Isaiah (Isaiah 15:5), but with variations peculiar to this chapter. The most peculiar of these is that in the first verse half, which is literally, weeping goeth up (not, shall go up) with weeping, which is explained by Dr. Payne Smith to mean "one set of weeping fugitives pressing close upon another." To the present commentator (as also to Delitzsch - see his note on Isaiah 15:5) there seems no reasonable doubt that b'ki, the word rendered "weeping," should rather be bo, "upon it," so that the passage will run, as in Isaiah, "for the going up of Luhith with weeping doth one go up if," Hitzig (whom for once we find agreeing with Delitzsch) remarks that the miswriting b'ki for bo may be easily accounted for by the fact that ki, "for," is the word which follows next. We have no right to ascribe to Jeremiah such an artificial and un-Hebraic an expression as that of the received text. Small as the matter may be in itself, it is not unimportant as suggesting to the Old Testament student a caution against the too unreserved adoption of the canon Lectioni faciliori praestat ardua. In the going down of Horonaim. An interesting variation from Isaiah. The older poet, less attentive to minutiae, had said vaguely, "in the road to Horonaim;" by a slight change of expression, the younger and more reflective writer produces a striking antithesis between the ascent to the hill-town, and the descent to the hollow in which Horonaim ("double cavern") appears to have been situated. It is possible, however, that Jeremiah has preserved the original reading, and that "the road" in Isaiah, l.c., is due to the carelessness of a scribe. The enemies have heard a cry of destruction. But why this reference to the enemies? The rendering, however, is ungrammatical. The text is, literally, the enemies of the cry of destruction have they heard. The prophecy in Isaiah omits "the enemies of," and has a different verb for "have they heard." Can the inserted words be an intrusion from the margin? The later scribes were accustomed to insert glosses in the margin on occasions where we should have thought them entirely unnecessary for the purpose of explanation. But then why "the enemies of"? It is an insoluble enigma.
Flee, save your lives, and be like the heath in the wilderness.
Verse 6. - Flee, save your lives; literally, your souls. The prophet's human feeling prompts him to this counsel; but he knows full well that a life of abject misery is the utmost that can be hoped for. And be like the heath in the wilderness; literally, and (your souls) shall be like destitute ones in the wilderness. Imagine the case of one who has been robbed of everything, and left alone in the desert; not less miserable is that of the Moabite fugitives. The word rendered "the heath" (aro'er) is either miswritten for ar'ar, which occurs in the sense of "destitute" in Jeremiah 17:6 (see note), or also a rare plural form of the same word. The sense remains the same. It is tempting to see an allusion to one of the towns called Aroer (as in Isaiah 17:2). But the only Aroer the prophet could be thinking of is that on the Amen (Deuteronomy 2:36), which could not be described as "in the wilderness."
For because thou hast trusted in thy works and in thy treasures, thou shalt also be taken: and Chemosh shall go forth into captivity with his priests and his princes together.
Verse 7. - In thy works; i.e. either "in thy evil deeds" (comp. Isaiah 28:15) or "in thy idols" (frequently called "the work of men's hands," e.g. Deuteronomy 4:28, and sometimes simply "works," e.g. Isaiah 41:29; Isaiah 57:12; comp. Isaiah L 31). Chemoah. In Numbers 21:29 Moab is called "people of Chemosh," the patron-god being the king and lord of his people. In accordance with the strictly localizing theory of the nature of deity, current among primitive nations, Chemosh is said to go into captivity together with his worshippers (comp. Jeremiah 49:3; Amos 1:15). This helps us to understand the idolatry into which the Jews fell during the Exile (Isaiah 42:17); they imagined that Jehovah himself was "in captivity," and restrained from putting forth his power on behalf of his worshippers. The text reading is not Chemosh, but Chemish; the latter form does not occur elsewhere, but has been thought to illustrate the name of the Hittite city Carchemish (the Hittites or their predecessors may have been worshippers of this deity), i.e. "castle of Chemosh."
And the spoiler shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape: the valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the LORD hath spoken.
Verse 8. - The valley... the plain. The latter (Hebrew, mishor) is the upland region which extends from the Jordan eastward of Jericho into the Arabian desert; in Numbers 21:20 it is called the "field" (i.e. "open country") of Moab. The former means that part of the Jordan valley which borders on this upland "plain" towards the west.
Give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein.
Verses 9-16. - So sudden is the blow that Moab stands in need of wings to make good his escape. Were the human instrument to delay, the curse meant for Moab would come upon himself. Is a reason demanded? It is that Moab has long been in a state of morally perilous security, and requires to be thoroughly shaken and aroused, in order that he may discover the inability of Chemosh to help his worshippers. Verse 9. - Give wings, etc. Comp. ver. 28; also Isaiah 16:2, where the fugitive Moabites are likened to "wandering birds."
Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.
Verse 10. - Deceitfully; rather, slackly, negligently.
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.
Verse 11. - Moab hath been at ease from his youth. The "youth" of Moab dates from its subjugation of the aboriginal Emim (Deuteronomy 2:10)' Since that event, though often at war, sometimes tributary and sometimes expelled from a part of the territory claimed by them (see the inscription on the Moabite Stone), yet they had never been disturbed in their ancestral homes to the south of the river Amen. He hath settled on his less. It was the custom to leave wine for a time on its lees or sediment, in order to heighten its strength and flavour (comp. Isaiah 25:6). Emptied from vessel to vessel. Thevenot, an old traveller in Persia, remarks of the Shiraz wine that, after it is separated from the lees, it is apt to grow sour. "The wine is put into large earthen jars, each holding from ten or twelve to fourteen carabas; but when a jar has been opened, it must be emptied as soon as possible, and the wine put into bottles or carabas, otherwise it spoils and becomes sour" ('Voyages,' 2:245, quoted by Lowth on Isaiah 25:6). In the application of the figure, the "taste" of Moab means obviously the national character.
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will send unto him wanderers, that shall cause him to wander, and shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles.
Verse 12. - Wanderers, that shall cause him to wander; rather, taters, and they shall tilt him. The earthen jars of which Thevenot speaks were doubtless similar to those of the Israelites. They would be tilted on one side, that the wine might run off clear from the dregs. Their bottles; rather, flagons or pitchers (of earthenware). The confusion of numbers and pronouns is remarkable. First, Moab collectively is spoken of as a wine jar; then the Moabites individually as Moab's jars; last of all, the Moabites are spoken of as possessing "jars" (i.e. all the institutions, public and private, of the state and of society).
And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel their confidence.
Verse 13. - Ashamed of Bethel; i.e. of the golden calf or bull at Bethel, set up by Jeroboam I. as a symbol of the strong God, Jehovah. This idolatry was odious to the prophetic teachers of a nobler and more spiritual form of religion. They saw that the deity and the symbol were too much confounded, and that such a religion would not save its adherents from captivity and ruin (comp. Hosea 10:15; Amos 3:14; Amos 5:5, 6).
How say ye, We are mighty and strong men for the war?
Verse 14. - We are mighty; rather, we are heroes. The Hebrew is gibborim, the name of David's select warriors (2 Samuel 23:8). The exclamation is designed to represent vividly to the mind the sinful vain glory specially characteristic of Moab.
Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts.
Verse 15. - Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities. The latter part of this clause in the Hebrew is extremely difficult; the Authorized Version is indefensible. It is even doubtful whether it can be translated at all consistently with grammar, though Hitzig, a good grammarian, has adopted the suggestion of Grotius, rendering, "and her cities have gone up," viz. in smoke, i.e. they have been burnt; comp. Judges 20:40, the end of which verso ought to run thus: "The whole city went up to heaven." But even if the verb in third masc. sing. be allowable after the plural noun, it is very harsh to give it such an interpretation, when the context says nothing about fire or smoke. J.D. Michaelis and Ewald, therefore, propose to change the vowel points of the first word, rendering, "The spoiler of Moab and of her cities is gone up;" and Dr. Payne Smith inclines to follow them. We thus obtain a striking antithesis; the enemy has "gone up," and Moab's young men are gone down, i.e. are felled by murderous hands (comp. Isaiah 34:71
The calamity of Moab is near to come, and his affliction hasteth fast.
Verse 16. - The calamity of Moab, etc. The form of the verse reminds us of Deuteronomy 32:35; Isaiah 13:22.
All ye that are about him, bemoan him; and all ye that know his name, say, How is the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod!
Verses 17-25. - How lamentable that such a glorious sceptre should be broken! But there is no remedy. Even Dibon, that highly honoured town, is disgraced. There is no hiding the sad fate of the Moabites; the crowds of fugitives sufficiently proclaim it. Judgment has been passed upon all the cities of Moab, a long roll of whose names is recited. Verse 17. - All ye that are about him; i.e. the neighbouring nations (setup. on Jeremiah 46:14). The invitation to condolence is not ironical, but in the deepest spirit of human sympathy, as in the parallel prophecy in Isaiah (see on Isaiah 15:5). The strong staff; i.e. the sceptre as an image of royal authority (comp. Ezekiel 19:11-14). Rod; as in Psalm 110:2.
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.
Verse 18. - Dibon; now Diban, one of the chief towns of Moab, on two adjacent hills, now covered with ruins (Tristram), in the plain of Medeba (Joshua 13:9), north of Aroer and the Amen. Here the famous Moabite Stone (on which see Dr. Ginsburg's exhaustive monograph), with the inscription of King Mesha (2 Kings 3:4), was found, which, after having been broke up and pieced together, has now found a resting place in the Louvre. It is difficult to say to which Israelitish tribe Dibon was, strictly speaking, attached; for while in Joshua 13:17 it is given to Reuben, in Numbers 32:34 and in the Moabite Stone (line 10) it is assigned to Gad, Apparently the Israelitish population fluctuated. Sometimes Gad was the most adventurous in Occupying Moabitish territory, sometimes Reuben. On the phrase, the daughter, etc., see note on Jeremiah 46:19. The form of the first verse haft is modelled on Isaiah 47:1. Sit in thirst. The expression is unexampled, and it is possible that we should alter one of the vowel points (which constitute no part of the Massoretic text), rendering, "sit in thirsty (ground)," i.e. the dust (comp. the parallel passage; Isaiah 47:1). Or there may be a less used collateral form of the Hebrew for "thirsty" (came). Canon Tristram speaks of the "waterless plain" of Diban ('Land of Moab,' p. 132). Thy strongholds. It appears from the Moabite Stone that Diben was the centre of a district which was reckoned as belonging to it; so at least we may account for the phrase, "all Dibon was submissive" (line 28). Compare the phrase in Numbers 21:25, "Heshbon, and all the villages thereof" (comp. on Jeremiah 49:2).
O inhabitant of Aroer, stand by the way, and espy; ask him that fleeth, and her that escapeth, and say, What is done?
Verse 19. - The inhabitants of Aroer will come out in eager expectation to meet the fugitives, and ask, What hath happened? (so the question should be rendered). There were several Aroers (one belonged to the Ammonites, Joshua 13:25), but as the enemy is driving the Moabites southward, the Aroer here intended can only be the town by the Arnon, which separated Moab proper first of all from the kingdom of the Amorites (Deuteronomy 4:48; Joshua 12:2), and afterwards from the territory of the Israelites (Deuteronomy 2:36; Deuteronomy 3:12). The picture drawn in this verse is singularly appropriate to the site of Arnon, "just by the edge of the arterial highway of Moab," and commanding a complete view of the pass of the Arnon (Tristram, 'Land of Moab,' p. 132). There is the same variety of statement as to the Israetitish tribe to which Aroer belonged as in the case of Dibon (see ver. 18). Joshua 13:16 speaks in favour of Reuben; Numbers 32:34 in favour of Gad.
Moab is confounded; for it is broken down: howl and cry; tell ye it in Arnon, that Moab is spoiled,
Verse 20. - The answer of the fugitives begins in the latter part of this verse, and, continues to ver. 24. Confounded ought, as usual, to be brought to shame. The address, howl and cry, which is in the feminine, refers to Moab, which has just before been spoken of in the feminine ("It is broken down," or rather, "she is dismayed," refers to Moab, not to Dibon). In Arnon; i.e. in the region of the Amen; better, beside Arnon (comp. Jeremiah 13:5, "by Euphrates").
And judgment is come upon the plain country; upon Holon, and upon Jahazah, and upon Mephaath,
Verse 21. - The plain country. The mishor (see on ver. 8). Holon is not known from other sources. Jahazah (called Jahaz in ver. 34), according to Eusebius, still existed in his days, and lay between Medeba and Dibon. Like Heshbon and Dibon, it was claimed by the Reubenites (Joshua 13:18), and Mesha, in the famous inscription, states that the then King of Israel (Jehoram) "fortified Jahaz and dwelt in it, when he fought against me" (lines 18, 19). This was a great but only a temporary success, for Mesha adds that "Chemosh drove him out before me" (line 19). Mephaath was apparently near Jahaz, since it is always mentioned with that town (Joshua 13:18; Joshua 21:37; 1 Chronicles 6:79).
And upon Dibon, and upon Nebo, and upon Bethdiblathaim,
Verse 22. - Dibon (see on ver. 18). Nebo (see on ver. 1). Beth-diblathaim. Mentioned here only. There is an Almondiblathaim in Numbers 33:46, mentioned in connection with Dibon.
And upon Kiriathaim, and upon Bethgamul, and upon Bethmeon,
Verse 23. - Kiriathaim (see on ver. 1). Beth-gamul. Nowhere else mentioned. Beth-meon. Called Baal-meon, Numbers 32:38; Beth-baal-meon, Joshua 13:17. The extensive ruins of Ma'in are a short distance south of Heshbon.
And upon Kerioth, and upon Bozrah, and upon all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near.
Verse 24. - Kerioth. Perhaps a synonym of Ar, the old capital of Moab (Isaiah 15:1). Hence in Amos 2:2, "I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kerioth." Bozrah. The capital at one time of the Edomites (see Jeremiah 49:13). The ownership of particular cities varied from. time to time in this contested region. Far or near; i.e. towards the frontier or inland.
The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken, saith the LORD.
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.
Verses 26-35. - And what is Moab's crime? At an earlier point the prophet said that it was the callousness produced by long prosperity (ver. 11); but here another sin is mentioned - Moab's haughty contempt of Jehovah. "For this it deserves that its contempt should be thrown back upon itself, by its being made, like a drunken man, the scorn of all" (Ewald). The figure is, no doubt, a coarse one, but not unnatural in the oratory (we must put aside inspiration, which leaves the forms of speech untouched) of a rude people like the Jews. It occurs not unfrequently elsewhere; see especially Isaiah 19:14; Habakkuk 2:15, 16; and, for milder examples of the figure, Jeremiah 13:13 and 25. Verse 26. - Make ye him drunken. The command is issued to the agents of the Divine wrath (comp. vers. 10, 21). He magnified himself against the Lord. Offences against Israel being also offences against Israel's God (see Jephthah's striking words in Judges 11:23, 24). Shall wallow; rather, shall fall heavily (literally, shall clap - a pregnant expression).
For was not Israel a derision unto thee? was he found among thieves? for since thou spakest of him, thou skippedst for joy.
Verse 27. - Was he found among thieves? for, etc.; rather,... that, as often as thou speakest of him, thou waggest thy head. What giveth thee the right to show such scorn and insolent triumph towards Israel, as if he were one who had been arrested in the very act of robbery (comp. Jeremiah 2:26)?
O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole's mouth.
Verse 28. - Dwell in the rook. Jeremiah probably thinks of the rocky defiles of the Amen, so splendidly adapted for fugitives (see Consul Wetzstein's excursus to the third edition of Delitzsch's 'Jesaja;' he speaks of perpendicular walls of rock). Like the dove (i.e. the wild dove); comp. 'Iliad,' 21:493; 'AEneid,' 5:213.
We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.
Verses 29, 30. - These verses are an expansion of Isaiah 16:6. The boastfulness of Moab seems to have much impressed its Israelitish neighbours (comp. vers. 14, 27). It has been thought to be illustrated by the inscription on the Moabite Stone; but we must remember that all national monuments of this sort have a tendency to exaggeration. Verse 29. - We have heard; viz. the prophet and his countrymen.
I know his wrath, saith the LORD; but it shall not be so; his lies shall not so effect it.
Verse 30. - But it shall not be so, etc. This is a case in which the accentuation must most decidedly be deviated from; it implies a faulty view of the word rendered in the Authorized Version, "his lies." But the rendering of our version is neither in itself tenable nor is it that intended by the accentuation. The rendering suggested by the latter is "his praters" (i.e. soothsayers), as the word, no doubt, must be taken in Jeremiah 1:36; Isaiah 44:25. But it is much more natural to render thus: "And the untruth of his pratings [i.e. of his boastings]; the untruth that they have wrought." In his words and in his works (and a word is equal to a work before the Divine Judge) Mesh was essentially "untrue." Truth, in the Biblical sense, is to know and serve the true God.
Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres.
Verse 31. - Based upon Isaiah 16:7. Therefore. Moab cannot escape the catastrophe, for his moral basis is utterly insecure. "Therefore," etc. Will I howl. It is at first sight strange that the prophet should speak thus sympathetically after the strong language in ver. 26. But the fact is that an inspired prophet has, as it were, a double personality. Sometimes his human feelings seem quite lost in the consciousness of his message; sometimes (and especially in Jeremiah) the natural, emotional life refuses to be thus restrained, and will have itself expressed. All Moab; i.e. Moab in all its districts, both north and south of the Amen, or, at any rate, the fugitive populations. Mine heart shall mourn. The Authorized Version effaces one of the points of difference between Jeremiah and his original. The former leaves the subject indefinite - one shall mourn. For the men of Kir-heres. Isaiah 16:7 has "for the raisin cakes of Kir-heres" (i.e. for the cakes of pressed grapes, for which Kir-heres was specially famous) - a much more expressive phrase. Jeremiah, or his scribe, has changed ashishe into anshe, and the Targum and Septuagint have adopted this weak reading in Isaiah, l.c.
O vine of Sibmah, I will weep for thee with the weeping of Jazer: thy plants are gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer: the spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits and upon thy vintage.
Verse 32. - Shortened from Isaiah 16:8, 9. With the weeping of Jaser; rather, more than the weeping of Jazer. This may mean either "more than I weep for Jazer" (which is favoured by the insertion of "for thee") or more than Jazer weeps" (for the devastated vineyards of Sibmah); comp. Isaiah, l.c. The site of Jazer is placed by Seetzen between Ramoth (Salt) and Heshbon, where some ruins called Sir are now found. "Sibmah," according to St. Jerome, was not more than half a mile from Heshbon. King Mesha is thought to refer to it under the form Seran, miswritten for Seban (Sebam - so the form should be read - is an Old Testament version of the name; see Numbers 32:3); see inscription on Moabite Stone, line 13. It appears to have been famous for its vineyards; and Seetzen tolls us that grapes and raisins of specially good quality are still carried from the neighbouring Salt to Jerusalem. Thy plants are gone over the sea; rather, thy shoots passed over the sea. The prophet here describes the extensive range of these vines. The northern limit of their culture was Jazer, its southern or western file further shore of "the sea," i.e. the Dead Sea. By a touch of poetic hyperbole the prophet traces the excellence of vines such as those of En-gedi (on the western bank of the Dead Sea) to a Moabitish origin. The reference to the sea of Jazer throws the whole passage into confusion. There is no lake or large pool at present to be found at Jazer, and the simplest explanation is that a scribe repeated the word "sea" by mistake. The true text will then be simply," they reached unto Jazer." The spoiler. Isaiah 16:9 has the more picturesque expression, "the shouting," i.e. the wild battlecry.
And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.
Verse 33. - Nearly identical with Isaiah 16:10. The plentiful field; rather, the garden land; i.e. land planted with "noble" plants, especially vines and olives. Wine. Here clearly sweet and unfermented wine (comp. Amos 9:13, 14). None shall tread with shouting. This involves a very harsh construction of the Hebrew, and it is better (considering the numerous other errors of the same kind in the received text) to correct in accordance with Isaiah 16:10," the treader shall not tread." Their shouting shall be no shouting. "Shouting" (Hebrew, hedad) may be taken in two senses:
(1) the cheerful, musical cry with which "the treaders" pressed out the juice of the grapes (comp. Jeremiah 25:30);
(2) the wild cry (Jeremiah 51:14) with which the enemy "fell upon the summer fruits and upon the vintage" (ver. 32), reducing the inhabitants to abject misery. In Isaiah 16:9, 10 an allusion is made to this double meaning, and so, perhaps, it may be here ("There shall be shouting, but not that of the peaceful vintagers at their work"). Or, as others, we may explain "no shouting" as equivalent to "the opposite of shouting," i.e. either silence or lamentation (comp. Isaiah 10:15, "not wood" equivalent to "that which is specifically different from wood;" and Isaiah 31:3, "not God," equivalent to "the very opposite of Divine").
From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, and even unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even unto Horonaim, as an heifer of three years old: for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate.
Verse 34. - Based on Isaiah 15:4-6. The cry of one town echoes to another, and is taken up afresh by its terrified inhabitants. Heshbon and Elealeh lay on eminences but a short distance apart, so that the shrill cry of lamentation would be heard far away in the southeast at Jahaz. Zoar and Horonaim both lay in the southern half of Moah (see on vers. 3, 4). An heifer of three years old. If this is the right rendering, the phrase is descriptive of Horonaim, which may, in the time of Jeremiah, have been a "virgin fortress." But the phrase, thus understood, comes in very oddly, and in the parallel passage in Isaiah it stands, not after Horonaim, but after Zoar; it hardly seems likely that there were two Gibraltars in Moab. Another rendering (Ewald, Keil) is, "(to) the third Eglath." This involves an allusion to the fact that there were other places in Moab called Egiath or Eglah, which has been rendered highly probable by Gesenius. The waters also of Nimrhn. Canon Tristram speaks of the "plenteous brooks gushing from the lofty hills into the Ghor-en-Numeira." Consul Wetzstein, however, says that nature appears there under so unspeakably gloomy an aspect, that the identification is impossible. He proposes a site in the Wady So'eb, about fourteen miles east of the Jordan, which with its luxuriant meadows, covered with the flocks of the Bedouin, is probably suitable to the passages in Isaiah and Jeremiah (Excursus it. in Delitzsch's 'Jesaja,' 4th edit., pp. 572, 573). So also Seetzen, who remarks that the lower part of this wady is still called Nahr Nimrin. In Joshua 13:27 a place called Beth - nimrah is mentioned as situated in the valley (i.e. the Jordan valley); no doubt this was in the wady referred to by the prophets. "The valley" seems to have been sometimes used in a wider signification, so as to include lateral valleys like that of Nimrim. The antiquity of the name is shown by its occurrence in the Annals of Thothmos III., who penetrated into the heart of Palestine, and, in the temple of Karnak, enumerates the cities which he conquered. From before B.C. 1600 to nearly A.D. this secluded valley has borne precisely the same name!
Moreover I will cause to cease in Moab, saith the LORD, him that offereth in the high places, and him that burneth incense to his gods.
Verse 35. - Him that offereth in the high places; rather, him that goeth up to a high place. Apparently a reminiscence of Isaiah 15:2 and Isaiah 16:12. As Dr. Payne Smith well remarks, "The last stage of natural ruin is reached, when thus the rites of religion entirely cease."
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.
Verse 36-42. - The description of Moab's lamentations continued. Verse 36. - Based on Isaiah 16:11; Isaiah 15:7. Like pipes. Isaiah has, "like the harp [or, 'lute']." The pipe, or flute, was specially used at funeral ceremonies (Matthew 9:23; Luke 7:32), and therefore, perhaps, seemed to Jeremiah more appropriate. Because the riches, etc. This is, no doubt, what we should have expected, but this is not what Jeremiah wrote; "because" should rather be therefore. Jeremiah simply transferred a clause (substantially at least) from his original, Isaiah 15:7, but into a context where it stands rather less naturally. The meaning of the words in Isaiah is that, the desolation being so great, the Moabites shall carry away as much of their goods as they can. In this new context, however, we can only explain this unexpected "therefore" by referring to a habit of the Israelitish mind by which that which contributed to a result was regarded as worked purposely for that result. Good instances of this habit are Genesis 18:5; Psalm 45:3; Psalm 51:6; comp. Winer's 'New Testament Grammar' (Clark), pp. 573, 574, especially note 1 on p. 574, though the idiom also occurs in Old Testament passages in which the religious view of life is hardly traceable.
For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth.
Verses 37, 38 (first part). - Based on Isaiah 15:2 (latter part), 3 (first part). On the primitive Arabic, Egyptian, and Hebrew custom of cutting off the hair, see on Jeremiah 16:6, and comp. Herod., 2:36. Clipped. The difference from the word in Isaiah is so slight that it may easily have arisen from a copyist. The meaning is virtually the same. Cuttings. So of Philistia (Jeremiah 47:5); see on Jeremiah 16:6.
There shall be lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the LORD.
Verse 38. - Lamentation generally; literally, all of it is lamentation; i.e. nothing else is to be heard. Like a vessel, etc. For this figure, see on ch. 22:28 (Jeremiah repeats himself).
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.
Verse 39. - They shall howl, saying etc.; rather, How is it dismayed! (how) they wail! How hath Moab turned the back ashamed! Yea, Moab becometh, etc.
For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.
Verses 40, 41. - The Septuagint has a shorter form (see introduction to chapter). Verse 40. - He shall fly as an eagle; rather, he shall swoop (same word and figure in Deuteronomy 28:49). The subject is not named, but (as in ch. 46:18) is Nebuchadnezzar.
Kerioth is taken, and the strong holds are surprised, and the mighty men's hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
Verse 41. - Kerioth is taken. Kerioth has been already mentioned in ver. 24 (see note). Another possible rendering is, The cities are taken, and this certainly agrees better with the parallel line. But a plural of kiryah, a city, does not occur elsewhere. If the identification of Kerioth with Ar-moab, the capital of Moab, be accepted (see on ver. 24), the equalization of Kerioth and "the strongholds" seems to be a stumbling block. Strongholds; or, mountain fastnesses (Jeremiah 51:30).
And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the LORD.
Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the LORD.
Verses 43-47. - Hence, as the final result, escape is absolutely impossible, for one can get succeeds another in an endless series The last and greatest danger besots those who seek refuge behind the strong fortifications of Heshbon, It is from this very city that the hottest fire of the enemy breaks forth. Chemosh has not saved his people; and yet there is hope for Moab in the future. Verse 43. - Fear, and the pit, and the snare. An alliteration in the Hebrew, which occurs again in Isaiah 24:17. In German it can be represented better than in English - e.g. by Hitzig's "grauen, graben, garn." All primitive poetry delights in such alliterations.
He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the LORD.
They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon because of the force: but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones.
Verse 45. - Apparently quoted from memory from Numbers 21:28; Numbers 24:17, except the first clause; the application, however, is peculiar to this passage. They that fled, etc.; rather, The fugitives stand without strength in the shadow of Heshbon. There is a difficulty here, for, according to ver. 2, the hostile raid into Moab started from Heshbon. Surely the fugitives would not think of escaping northwards, much less would they be able to elude the vigilance of the foe and reach Heshbon. But it is not surprising that the author of so long a poem should now and then make a slip; the author of the Book of Job is sometimes inconsistent with the Prologue, and ver. 2 is as far away from the passage before us as the Prologue of Job is from Job 19:18. Nor can we be absolutely certain that our prophecy is exactly as Jeremiah wrote it. Shall come forth; rather, hath come forth (or, cometh forth). From the midst of Sihon. Sihon being, perhaps, regarded as the leader and representative of his warriors. The corner of Moab; rather, the sides (literally, side, used collectively) of Moab. The tumultuous ones; literally, sons of tumult, a poetical phrase for warriors. The prophet has substituted the more common word shaon for its synonym sheth.
Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives, and thy daughters captives.
Verse 46. - Based on Numbers 21:29. The chief difference is in the second half of the verse, in which the bold expression of Chemosh "giving his sons and his daughters into captivity" is changed for a mere ordinary and prosaic phrase.
Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.
Verse 47. - On the phraseology of this verse (omitted in the Septuagint), see on Jeremiah 29:14; 23:20, and on the brighter prospect held out for Moab, see the analogies given in note on Jeremiah 46:26. Thus far is the judgment of Moab is clearly an editor's note (comp. Jeremiah 51:64). "Judgment" as in ver. 21.