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Misgab is confounded and dismayed.
In Heshbon they have devised evil against it;
3 A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim,
4 Moab is destroyed;
Her little ones have caused a cry to be heard.
Heshbon, or Kureiyat. This latter however is less likely as being in the territory belonging to Gad not Reuben.
Misgab] rather, the height, or, the citadel, meaning probably some particular fortress called by this name, and not, as it has also been taken to mean, the high lands in general.
dismayed] literally, broken, crushed. The same Heb. root (chdthath) is rendered "broken down" in verses 20, 39. It has been conjectured that Ghetto, the word for the quarter at Rome in which the Jews used to be confined and often barbarously treated, is a derivative from it.
2. There shall be no more praise of Moab] The glory of Moab is no more.
in Heshbon they have devised] There is a play on the two Heb. words thus rendered (b'Cheshbon hash'vu) which cannot be reproduced in English. Heshbon was a border town between Reuben and Gad, given up to the latter tribe and made a Levitical city (Josh. xxi. 39). It was seized by the Ammonites in Jeremiah's time (see xlix. 3 with note), and was on the border of Moab. Hence it was the place where the Chaldaean enemy would lay their final plans for the attack upon the latter nation.
be cut down] or, as the Eng. margin, be brought to silence.
O Madmen] a town not mentioned elsewhere, but obviously distinct from Madmenah in Benjamin (Is. x. 31), Madmannah in Judah (Josh. xv. 31), and Dimnah in Zebulon (Josh. xxi. 35). Here again there is a play on the sound in the Heb. which is, Madmin, tidddmi.
3. shall be from Horonaim] 'shall be' should be omitted, and the following words 'spoiling and great destruction' taken as themselves the cry that is raised.
4. Moab] Some would explain this not of the country at large but of the city called Ar of Moab (Numb. xxi. 28; Is. xv. 1) and simply Ar (Numb. xxi. 15; Deut. ii. 9) in the valley of the Arnon. But this is unlikely.
her little ones] See xiv. 3. Here however, though the meaning is not children, the sense is slightly different from that passage, and is her abject ones, those reduced to an extremity of distress. There is 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.
Flee, save your lives,
And be like the heath 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.
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.
but little to be said for the Septuagint rendering, Declare ye unto Zoar, except that Zoar occurs in Isaiah (xv. 5) in the same connexion.
5. the going up of Luhith...the going down of Horonaim] We thus gather that the one was situated on a hill, the other on low ground. Yor Luhith there is another reading luhoth, planks. The sense, if this (less likely) reading is adopted, will be that weeping mounts up upon weeping, as boards are placed one upon another in a house.
continual weeping shall go up] literally, with weeping shall go up -weeping, i.e. there shall be successive bands of weeping fugitives.
the enemies have heard a cry of destruction] The construction in the Heb. is difficult. The most probable rendering however is, the distress (literally, distresses) of the cry of destruction (literally, breaking) they have heard.
6. the heath] the destitute man. See note on xvii. 6. The word here however is not precisely the same as in that passage, but similar to it, and identical, as it happens, with the proper name of a city Aroer, of which there were several in Palestine. See note on ver. 19. It is possible therefore that a play on this name may be meant as well as the literal meaning which is given above.
7. works] perhaps meaning results of work, gains. This is suggested by the word 'treasures' which follows. Compare chap. xx. 5, where however the Heb. (translated "labours") is not the same.
Chemosh] the object of Moab's national worship. The oldest Heb. form of the word in this passage seems to be Chemish, and although it is not elsewhere found, yet probability is given to it9 existence by such compounds as Car-chemish (see note on xlvi. 2). If the god is powerless to prevent his own captivity, what chance is there for the people?
8. the valley] the valley of Jordan which bounded part of Moab on 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.
Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully,
And cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.
11—2 5. Continuance of threatening and further detail.
Moab hath been at ease from his youth,
the plain] the level country which stretched from the Anion in the south to Rabbath Ammon.
9. wings] The word elsewhere in pure Heb. means a flower but in later Heb. and in Chaldee has frequently the sense which it here bears. The sense is that nothing short of wings would enable the Moabites to escape before their enemies.
10. deceitfully] negligently. The commission to Moab's foe comes from the Lord, and consequently he must not be slack in executing His command.
11—25. Continuance Of Threatening And Further Detail.
11. Moab hath been at ease from his youth] He hath not been driven from his land hitherto. We gather from the inscription on the '' Moabite stone" that the Moabites were by no means driven out of Reuben's lot, but maintained their position there more or less successfully alongside the Jewish inhabitants. The feeling of horror at suffering expatriation, as compared with the consequences of a more ordinary defeat in battle such as the nation had often suffered in past time, is well exhibited by these verses.
settled on his lees] Wine improved by being allowed to rest upon its sediment (Is. xxv. 6). If emptied from vessel to vessel it would become vapid, without fragrance and tasteless. Something like this was now to happen to the nation by being taken captives.
12. wanderers] literally, lifters. The figure of earthenware jars of wine is continued. They are emptied by being tilted on one side,
And shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles.
How say ye, We are mighty and strong men for the war?
Saith the King, whose name is the Lord of hosts.
The calamity of Moab is near to come,
And his affliction hasteth fast.
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!
Thou daughter that dost inhabit Dibon,
an operation which was performed slowly and carefully, that the jars might be safe and the wine run off clear while the sediment was left. This work however in the case of Moab shall be done roughly. shall cause him to wander] shall lift him.
bottles] literally, skins, but used elsewhere also for earthenware bottles.
13. shall be ashamed of Chemosh] because he could not help them.
•was ashamed of Beth-el their confidence] Bethel was the southern seat of Jeroboam's idolatrous worship. But they found their confidence in the worship there misplaced, when Shalmaneser carried them away.
15. and gone up out of her cities] The Heb. is difficult. The sense is either (i) people (i.e. the enemy) have gone up to her cities; or (ii) her cities have gone up (in smoke and fame). The latter way of rendering is the best. The difficulty which it presents in the original is that the verb is singular, but this is not in the Heb. an insuperable difficulty, and may here be caused by the prophet's mind dwelling upon the image of the cities all vanishing in smoke. By a change in the vowels of one word we might read, The waster of Moab and of her towns is coming up (to the attack), which gives an easy sense, and is held to be the right meaning by Ewald.
16. The language of this verse is based upon Deut. xxxii. 35.
17. All ye that are about him...allye that know his name] the near and more remote nations respectively.
the strong staff ...the beautiful rod] For these expressions, as implying national glory and power over others, compare Ps. ex. 1; Is. xiv. 29; Ezek. xix. 11, 12, 14.
18. Thou daughter that dost inhabit Dibon] literally, Thou inhabitress daughter of Dibon, a longer way of saying, Inhabitants of Dibon.
Come down from thy glory, and sit in thirst;
19 O inhabitant of Aroer,
Ask him that fleeth, and her that escapeth,
20 Moab is confounded; for it is broken down:
Tell ye it in Arnon, that Moab is spoiled, 21 And judgment is come upon the plain country;
Upon Holon, and upon Jahazah, and upon Mephaath,
Dibon] now Dhiban (the "Moabite stone" was found there) stands on two hills. Hence the expression 'come down' in the text. The language here is intensified in both clauses from the corresponding passage relating to the daughter of Babylon in Is. xlvii. 1. For "come down" we have come down from thy glory, and for "sit in the dust" sit in thirst. The picture is of the inhabitants driven forth from the city and about to be led away, but obliged meanwhile to sit on the ground hungry and thirsty and await their captors' pleasure.
thy strong holds] the fortifications of the place are said to be still visible.
19. inhabitant] used collectively, as so constantly.
Aroer] not to be confounded with the Aroer of Numb, xxxii. 34, a Gadite city, or with an Aroer belonging to Judah (1 Sam. xxx. 28). This was the southernmost city in the tribe of Reuben, and hence was that which would be mentioned next after Dibon in tracing the progress of the Chaldaean enemy from north to south. Mesha records on the "Moabite stone" that he "built (i.e. restored) the city and made the road over the Arnon." The city stood on the north side of the river.
20. Moab is confounded; for it is broken down] In the original the first verb is mas. the second fem. The probable sense is, Moab is ashamed, for it (Dibon) is overthrown.
in Arnon] rather, on Arnon, i.e. in Aroer on its banks.
21. the plain country] the word rendered "the plain" in ver. 8, where see note. Then follows an enumeration of the several towns involved in the overthrow, in order that by particularizing these the coming disaster might be the more thoroughly realized. They were mostly towns enumerated in Joshua as within the portion allotted to the tribe of Reuben and were afterwards reconquered by the Moabites.
Jahazah] one of the Levitical cities (Josh. xxi. 36). There Moses defeated Sihon (Numb. xxi. 23, 24).
Mephaath] also a Levitical city (josh. xxi. 37). It was afterwards a Roman military post established to keep in check the desert tribes, and hence we learn that it must have been in the eastern part of the country.