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the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 48

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-47

Chapter 48

In forty-eight, he now directs his attention to Moab. Moab was across the Jordan on the east side of the Jordan River and of the Jordan rift.

Against Moab thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Woe unto Nebo! for it is spoiled ( Jeremiah 48:1 ):

Now, this is not mount Nebo but the city of Nebo in Moab at that time.

Kiriathaim is confounded and taken: Misgab is confounded and dismayed ( Jeremiah 48:1 ).

A couple of the cities.

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. A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim, spoiling and great destruction. Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard. For in the going up of Luhith continual weeping shall go up; for in the going down to 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 be taken ( Jeremiah 48:2-7 ):

Trusting in their work and in their riches. These are the things that people commonly trust in. How many people today are trusting in their works for their standing before God. How many people are trusting in their riches for their security. But in the day of God's judgment, neither of these have any value.

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. 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 ( Jeremiah 48:8-10 ),

Mark that one if it isn't already underlined in your Bible. God declares that curse against any man who would do the work of the Lord deceitfully.

and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood. 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 ( Jeremiah 48:10-11 ).

So as God speaks of the destruction that is coming upon Moab, now He gives us the reason for the destruction that is coming. "For Moab has been at ease from his youth." Moab has not had any problems. Moab has been sheltered and protected, and because of it being sheltered and protected, it has become weak. And it is ready now to fall.

And then he turns to an illustration of winemaking processes and uses that as an illustration of Moab. "Having settled in her lees." In the making of wine they would pour the juice of the grape into a large container and then they would allow it to just set there until it fermented. And after the fermentation, these lees or dregs would begin to settle to the bottom of the vessel. And as these dregs had settled in the bottom of the vessel, then they would pour off the top into another vessel. Allow the settling process to go on again and then pour it off into the next vessel, back and forth from vessel to vessel. Letting the dregs settle down and developing the clarity and purity of the wine. Now, when these dregs begin to settle, if you did not pour the wine off of the dregs, then the dregs turn sour and they begin to smell. And he said, "This is the problem with Moab. It's been at ease. Never had any problem. Never been disturbed. Never poured from vessel to vessel. It is settled down on the lees which have turned sour. And thus the scent remains. The taste is in the wine of the sourness of the lees. Thus Moab is to be destroyed."

It is interesting how that we often complain at the processes of God in our lives as He pours us from vessel to vessel. We have sort of a nesting instinct. We like to get comfortable. We like to relax and kick back and think, "Well, we've got it made." And it's so easy for us to get in a rut. But the great danger of this is forgetting God and leaving God out of our lives. "Oh, God has a place. Yes, I've got a neat, little compartment over here, God, and You're welcome. Feel free. Come and visit anytime You want. Always glad to see You. Providing You don't come next weekend, because we plan to be gone next weekend. But anytime, Lord. But couple weeks from now we're going again so, but anytime, Lord. We're always glad to see You." Amazing how we sort of begin to leave God out of our lives as we begin to just settle in our lees in this life of the flesh and after the flesh. It is so easy, so easy to just sort of drift away from that commitment to God.

In Hebrews we are told, "Let us take the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should drift away from them" ( Hebrews 2:1 ). There are those times when God pours us from a vessel to another and we say, "God, what's going on?" And suddenly God has our attention. He begins to deal with us. We renew our commitment and we say, "Oh, Lord, I'm sorry. I'm sorry, Lord." And genuinely we are. We meant the vows when we made them to God. And we are genuinely sorry for our failures and for our drifting away from God. And God disturbs our lives. He brings in disturbing issues and He can disturb our lives in so many ways--by sickness, by accident, by the loss of a job. So many ways God can just bring a disturbance into our lives. And God does bring them for that purpose of purifying us. We've got too much flesh. We're beginning to settle in a life of the flesh. And God says, "It stinks. It's beginning to permeate your whole life. You're beginning to smell of the flesh." And so God pours you into another vessel. Disrupts, disturbs in order that He might refine. But that didn't happen to Moab. And because it didn't happen, now Moab is to be destroyed.

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. And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh ( Jeremiah 48:12-13 ),

Now that was the Moabites' god.

as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel their confidence ( Jeremiah 48:13 ).

So the place of worship for Israel was in Bethel, but at its destruction they became ashamed. So the place of worship, Chemosh, for the Moabites was going to become the same as Bethel.

How say ye, We are mighty and strong men for the war? 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. The calamity of Moab is near to come, and his affliction is hastening 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, come down from thy glory, and sit in thirst; for the spoiler of Moab shall come upon thee, and he shall destroy thy strongholds. O inhabitant of Aroer, stand by the way, and spy; ask him that is fleeing, and her that is escaped, and say, What is happened? Moab is confounded; for it is broken down: howl and cry; tell it in Arnon, that Moab is spoiled, And judgment is come upon the plain country ( Jeremiah 48:14-21 );

And it begins to name these cities of Moab that have been destroyed.

all the cities of the land of Moab, both far and near. 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 shall be in derision. For was not Israel a derision unto thee? ( Jeremiah 48:24-27 )

And, of course, when Israel was destroyed Moab also attacked Israel and so now Moab is to receive like in being a derision.

for since you spake of him, you have skipped for joy ( Jeremiah 48:27 ).

They were happy at the destruction of Israel.

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. We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud), his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart. I know his wrath, saith the LORD; but it shall not be so; his lies shall not so effect it. Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres. 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. 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. From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, and even unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even unto Horonaim, as the heifer of three years old: for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate. Moreover I will cause to cease in Moab, saith the LORD, him that offereth in the high places, and him that burneth incense to their gods. 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 has gotten are perished. For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth ( Jeremiah 48:28-37 ).

These were the pagan ways of expressing their mourning in the shaving of their heads, the cutting of their beards and the cutting of their bodies and putting on of sackcloth. It's the typical sign of mourning. And thus Moab will be in mourning.

There shall be lamentations generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the LORD ( Jeremiah 48:38 ).

Very graphic.

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. For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab. Kerioth is taken, and the strongholds are surprised, and the mighty men's hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her travail. And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the LORD ( Jeremiah 48:39-42 ).

Met any Moabites lately? God said they'd be destroyed from being a people.

Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab. He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that gets 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. Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives, and thy daughters captives. Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab ( Jeremiah 48:43-47 ).

And so Moab's in trouble. And surely God did fulfill these prophecies that were declared against Moab.


Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Jeremiah 48". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/jeremiah-48.html. 2014.
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