Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
It had taken part with the Chaldeans against Judea
Fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar five years after the destruction of
Jerusalem, when also he attacked Egypt
[JOSEPHUS, Antiquities, 10:9,7]. Jeremiah
in this prophecy uses that of
amplifying and adapting it to his purpose under inspiration, at the
same time confirming its divine authority. Isaiah, however, in his
prophecy refers to the devastation of Moab by the Assyrian king,
Shalmaneser; Jeremiah refers to that by
1. Nebo--a mountain and town of Moab; its meaning is "that which
Kiriathaim--a city of Moab, consisting of two cities, as the
word signifies; originally held by the Emim
Misgab--meaning "elevation." It lay on an elevation.
2. no more praise--
in Heshbon--The foe having taken Heshbon, the chief city of Moab
in it devise evil against Moab ("it") saying, Come, &c.
Heshbon was midway between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; it was the
residence of Sihon, king of the Amorites, and afterwards a Levitical
city in Gad
There is a play on words in the Hebrew, "Heshbon,
Hashbu." Heshbon means a place of devising or
counsel. The city, heretofore called the seat of counsel,
shall find other counsellors, namely, those who devise its
thou shall be cut down . . . Madmen--rather, by a play
on words on the meaning of madmen ("silence"), Thou shalt be
brought to silence, so as well to deserve thy name
Thou shalt not dare to utter a sound.
3. Horonaim--the same as the city Avara, mentioned by
word means "double caves"
4. little ones . . . cry--heightening the distress of the scene. The
foe does not spare even infants.
5. going up of Luhith . . . going down of Horonaim--Horonaim lay in
a plain, Luhith on a height. To the latter, therefore, the Moabites
would flee with "continual weeping," as a place of safety from the
Chaldeans. Literally, "Weeping shall go up upon weeping."
6. They exhort one another to flee.
heath--or the juniper (see on
MAURER translates, "Be like one naked in
the wilderness." But the sense is, Live in the wilderness like the
heath, or juniper; do not "trust in" walls
7. thy works--namely, fortifications built by thy work. Moab was
famous for its fortresses
The antithesis is to
"Be . . . in the wilderness," where there are no fortified
thou . . . also--like the rest of the surrounding peoples, Judah, &c.
Chemosh--the tutelary god of Moab
When a people were vanquished, their gods also were taken away by the
8. the valley . . . shall perish--that is, those dwelling in the
9. Give wings, &c.--
Unless it get wings, it cannot escape the foe. "Wings," the
Hebrew root meaning is a "flower"
so the flower-like plumage of a bird.
10. work of . . . Lord--the divinely appointed utter
devastation of Moab. To represent how entirely this is God's will, a
curse is pronounced on the Chaldeans, the instrument, if they do it
negligently (Margin) or by halves
compare Saul's sin as to Amalek
(1Sa 15:3, 9),
and Ahab's as to Syria
11. settled on . . . lees--(See on
As wine left to settle on its own lees retains its flavor and strength
(which it would lose by being poured from one vessel into another), so
Moab, owing to its never having been dislodged from its settlements,
retains its pride of strength unimpaired.
emptied from vessel, &c.--To make it fit for use, it used to be
filtered from vessel to vessel.
scent--retaining the image: the bouquet or perfume of the wine.
12. wanderers--rather, "pourers out," retaining the image of
that is, the Chaldeans who shall remove Moab from his settlements, as
men pour wine from off the lees into other vessels. "His vessels" are
the cities of Moab; the broken "bottles" the men slain [GROTIUS]. The Hebrew and the kindred Arabic
word means, "to turn on one side," so as to empty a vessel [MAURER].
13. ashamed--have the shame of disappointment as to the hopes they
entertained of aid from Chemosh, their idol.
(1Ki 12:27, 29)
--that is, the golden calf set up there by Jeroboam.
15. gone up . . . gone down--in antithesis.
out of her cities--Rather, "Moab . . . and her cities are gone up,"
namely, pass away in the ascending smoke of their conflagration
(Jos 8:20, 21;
When this took place, the young warriors would go down from the
burning citadels only to meet their own slaughter [GROTIUS]. English Version is somewhat favored by
the fact that "gone out" is singular, and "cities"
plural. The antithesis favors GROTIUS.
16. near--to the prophet's eye, though probably twenty-three years
elapsed between the utterance of the prophecy in the fourth year of
and its fulfilment in the fifth year of Nebuchadnezzar.
17. bemoan--Not that Moab deserves pity, but this mode of expression
pictures more vividly the grievousness of Moab's calamities.
all ye that know his name--those at a greater distance whom the fame
of Moab's "name" had reached, as distinguished from those "about him,"
that is, near.
strong staff . . . rod--Moab is so called as striking terror into and
oppressing other peoples
(Isa 9:4; 14:4, 5);
also because of its dignity and power
dost inhabit--now so securely settled as if in a lasting habitation.
thirst--Dibon, being situated on the Arnon, abounded in water
In sad contrast with this, and with her "glory" in general, she shall
be reduced not only to shame, but to the want of the commonest
necessaries ("thirst") in the arid wilderness
19. Aroer--on the north bank of the Arnon, a city of Ammon
(De 2:36; 3:12).
As it was on "the way" of the Moabites who fled into the desert,
its inhabitants "ask" what is the occasion of Moab's flight, and so
learn the lot that awaits themselves (compare
1Sa 4:13, 16).
20. Answer of the fleeing Moabites to the Ammonite inquirers
He enumerates the Moabite cities at length, as it seemed so incredible
that all should be so utterly ruined. Many of them were assigned to the
Levites, while Israel stood.
in Arnon--the north boundary between Moab and Ammon
Not only the mountainous regions, but also the plain, shall be wasted.
(Jos 13:18; 21:37).
22. Beth-diblathaim--"the house of Diblathaim": Almon-diblathaim
not far from Mount Nebo
(Nu 33:46, 47).
23. Beth-gamul--meaning "the city of camels."
Beth-meon--"the house of habitation": Beth-baalmeon
Now its ruins are called Miun.
at one time under the dominion of Edom, though belonging originally to
Others think the Bozrah in Edom distinct from that of Moab. "Bezer"
25. horn--the emblem of strength and sovereignty: it is the horned
animal's means of offense and defense
(Ps 75:5, 10;
26. drunken--(see on
Intoxicated with the cup of divine wrath, so as to be in helpless
magnified . . . against . . . Lord--boasted arrogantly against
God's people, that whereas Israel was fallen, Moab remained
wallow in . . . vomit--following up the image of a drunken man, that
is, shall be so afflicted by God's wrath as to disgorge all his past
pride, riches, and vainglory, and fall in his shameful abasement.
he also . . . derision--He in his disaster shall be an object of
derision to us, as we in ours have been to him
Retribution in kind.
a derision--The Hebrew has the article: referring to
"Was not Israel (the whole nation) the object of derision
to thee?" Therefore, Moab is to suffer as formerly for its exultation
over the calamity
of the ten tribes under the Assyrian Shalmaneser
so now for its exultation over the fall of Judah, under the Chaldean
Nebuchadnezzar. God takes up His people's cause as His own
was he . . . among thieves--
Proverbial. What did Israel do to deserve such derision? Was he
detected in theft, that thou didst so exult over him in
speaking of him? Though guilty before God, Israel was guiltless
since--"since ever" thou didst begin speaking of him.
skippedst for joy--at Israel's calamity
[CALVIN]; or, "thou didst
shake thy head" in "derision"
28. Doves often have their nests in the "sides" of caverns. No longer
shalt thou have cities to shelter thee: thou shalt have to flee for
shelter to caves and deserts
(Ps 55:6, 8;
(Isa 16:6, 7).
Moab was the trumpeter of his own fame. Jeremiah adds "loftiness and
arrogancy" to Isaiah's picture, so that Moab had not only not been
bettered by the chastisement previously endured as foretold by Isaiah,
but had even become worse; so that his guilt, and therefore his
sentence of punishment, are increased now. Six times Moab's pride (or
the synonyms) are mentioned, to show the exceeding hatefulness of his
30. I know--Moab's "proud arrogancy"
or "wrath," against My people, is not unknown to Me.
it shall not be so--The result shall not be so as he thinks:
his lies shall not so effect what he aims at by them.
translates, "his lies are not right (that is, his vauntings are vain
because God will not give them effect); they shall not do so" as they
project in their minds, for God will set at naught their plans.
31. I will cry . . . for . . . Moab--Not that it deserves pity, but
the prophet's "crying" for it vividly represents the greatness of the
It means "the city of potters," or else "the city of the sun" [GROTIUS]. Here "the men of Kir-heres" are
substituted for "the foundations of Kir-hareseth," in
The change answers probably to the different bearing of the disaster
under Nebuchadnezzar, as compared with that former one under
32. with the weeping--with the same weeping as Jazer, now
vanquished, wept with for the destruction of its vines. The same
calamity shall befall thee, Sibmah, as befell Jazer. The Hebrew
preposition here is different from that in
for which reason MAURER translates, "with more
than the weeping of Jazer." English Version understands it
of the continuation of the weeping; after they have wept for
Jazer, fresh subject of lamentation will present itself for the wasting
of the vine-abounding Sibmah.
plants . . . gone over . . . sea of Jazer--As the Septuagint reads
"cities of Jazer," and as no traces of a lake near Jazer are found,
the reading of English Version is doubtful. Retaining the present
reading, we avoid the difficulty by translating
[GROTIUS], "Thy plants
(that is, citizens: alluding to the 'vine') are gone over the sea
(that is, shall be transported beyond the sea to Cyprus, and such
distant lands subject to Babylon; and this, too, in summertime), whereas
Jazer (that is, the men of Jazer) reached the sea"
(shore only, but are not transported beyond the sea); so that worse
shall befall thee than befalls Jazer.
33. the plentiful field--rather, "Carmel": as the parallel "land of
Moab" requires, though in
it is "the plentiful field." Joy is taken away as from the nearer
regions (Canaan and Palestine), so from the farther "land of Moab";
what has happened to Judah shall befall Moab, too
(Jer 48:26, 27)
[MAURER]. However, Moab alone seems to be spoken
of here; nor does the parallelism forbid "plentiful field" answering to
"Moab." English Version is therefore better.
shouting--repeated; as at the conclusion of the vintage, men sing over
and over again the same cry of joy. A shouting shall be heard, but not
the joyous shouting of laborers treading the grapes, but the terrible
battle cry of the foe.
34. From the cry of Heshbon, &c.--Those who fly from Heshbon on its
capture shall continue the cry even as far as Elealeh . . . . There will
be continued cries in all quarters, from one end to the other,
everywhere slaughter and wasting.
as an heifer of three years old--Moab heretofore not having known
foreign yoke, and in its full strength, is compared to an heifer of
three years old, never yet yoked, nor as yet worn out with many
birth-givings (compare Note,
waters . . . of Nimrim--that is, the well-watered and therefore
luxuriant pastures of Nimrim.
desolate--The Hebrew is stronger: not merely shall be "desolate,"
but desolation itself multiplied: plural, "desolations." The
most fertile tracts shall be dried up.
35. him that offereth--namely, whole burnt offerings as the
[GROTIUS]. Compare the awful burnt offering of the
king of Moab
36. (See on
like pipes--a plaintive instrument, therefore used at funerals and
in general mourning.
riches . . . gotten--literally,
the abundance . . . that which is over and above the necessaries of
life. GROTIUS translates, "They who have been left remaining shall
perish"; they who have not been slain by the enemy shall perish by
disease and famine.
37. (See on
Isa 15:2, 3).
upon all . . . hands--that is, arms, in which such cuttings used to
be made in token of grief (compare
38. vessel . . . no pleasure--(See on
a vessel cast aside by the potter as refuse, not answering his
How . . . how--prodigious, yet sure to happen.
turned the back--not daring to show her face.
derision . . . dismaying to all--a derision to some; a dismaying to
others in beholding such a judgment of God, fearing a like fate for
40. he--Nebuzara-dan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar.
as . . . eagle--not to bear them "on eagles' wings"
De 32:11, 12),
as God does His people, but to pounce on them as a prey
41. as . . . woman in . . . pangs--
42. (See on
43, 44. (See on
Isa 24:17, 18).
44. When thou thinkest thou hast escaped one kind of danger, a fresh
one will start up.
45. under . . . shadow of Heshbon--They thought that they would be safe
because of the force--that is, "they that fled because of the
force" of the enemy: they that fled from it. GLASSIUS translates, "through want of strength." So the
Hebrew particle is translated
"faileth of fatness," that is, "faileth through want of
but a fire, &c.--copied in part from Sihon's hymn of victory
(Nu 21:27, 28).
The old "proverb" shall hold good again. As in ancient times Sihon,
king of the Amorites, issued forth from his city, Heshbon, as a
devouring "flame" and consumed Moab, so now the Chaldeans, making
Heshbon their starting-point, shall advance to the destruction of Moab.
midst of Sihon--that is, the city of Sihon.
corner of Moab--that is, Moab from one corner to the other.
crown of . . . head--the most elevated points of Moab. Making some
alterations, he here copies Balaam's prophecy
Margin there translates "princes" for corners; if so, "crown of
. . . head" here refers to the nobles.
tumultuous ones--sons of tumult; those who have tumultuously
revolted from Babylon. Heshbon passed from the Amorite to the Israelite
sway. Moab had wrested it from Israel and helped the Chaldeans against
the Jews; but revolting from Babylon, they brought ruin on themselves in
46. Copied from
47. Restoration promised to Moab, for the sake of righteous Lot, their
Compare as to Egypt,
Gospel blessings, temporal and spiritual, to the Gentiles in the last
days, are intended.