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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 16

Verses 1-14


Moab’s Calamity and the Way of Escape

This section consists of two parts: (a) Isaiah 15:1;—Isaiah 16:12, a prophecy announcing that a great disaster is about to fall upon Moab, and (b) Isaiah 16:13-14, a short appendix in which Isaiah affirms the speedy fulfilment of the foregoing prophecy. The first part is not necessarily by Isaiah, and may have been uttered earlier than his time; much of it is also quoted by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 48:1-47). Cp. Isaiah 2:2-4, where there is reason to suppose that an earlier prophecy has been used by both Isaiah and Micah. The Moabites inhabited the elevated land E. of the Dead Sea, and though a people. related by blood to Israel, the mutual relations of the two nations were hostile from the time of Saul onwards. Saul fought against them (1 Samuel 14:47), and David overcame them (2 Samuel 8:2). Ahab oppressed them and exacted tribute (2 Kings 3:4, confirmed by king Mesha of Moab in the inscription known as the Moabite Stone); but after his death the Moabites threw off the Israelite yoke (2 Kings 1:1; 2 Kings 3:5, Moabite Stone), and Jehoram’s efforts to maintain his authority over them were ineffectual (2 Kings 3:6-27). The exact date of the prophecy is uncertain, but the enemy who will inflict the coming calamity upon Moab is the Assyrian king, either Sargon or Sennacherib, referred to, perhaps, in Isaiah 15:9 under the figure of a lion.

Isaiah 15:1-9. Calamity is imminent for Moab; the terror and flight of her people.

Isaiah 16:1-5. A condition of safety indicated. Let Moab acknowledge the suzerainty of Judah (Isaiah 15:1-3); Zion will shelter her fugitives (4), for to Zion the promise of the Messianic king has been given (5).

6-12. Moab’s proud spirit prevents her from accepting the condition. Desolation therefore awaits her land.

13, 14. The above prophecy had been delivered at an earlier period. Isaiah affirms that it shall speedily be fulfilled.

Verses 1-14

1. RV ’Send ye the lambs for the ruler of the land from Sela which is toward the wilderness,’ etc. Mesha, king of Moab, had rendered to Israel tribute of lambs and rams (2 Kings 3:4). The prophet here bids the Moabites send tribute to Judah and thus secure protection by renewing their allegiance to God’s people; or perhaps in this v. the Moabite chiefs are pictured as exhorting one another to this step. From Sela] in Edom, where the fugitive Moabites have taken refuge.

2. Timid and not knowing which way to take, the people are gathered at the Arnon preparatory to migrating.

3. An appeal from the Moabites to Zion that she will interpose and shelter the fugitives. Take counsel] ’bringcounsel,’i.e. give us advice. Execute judgment] ’make a decision,’ by interposing between us and our oppressors.

4. The appeal to Zion continued. Read, ’Let mine outcasts dwell with thee (Zion); as for Moab, be thou (Judah) a covert,’ etc. The reason follows why safety may be sought at Zion—because of the peace to be enjoyed there under the rule of the Messianic king (Isaiah 16:5), the establishment of whose kingdom is, in the prophet’s view, to follow upon the destruction of the Assyrians.

5. Hasting righteousness] RV ’swift to do righteousness’: cp. Isaiah 11:4, Isaiah 11:5.

6. The pride] which prevented Moab from accepting conditions: the same national failing is alluded to Isaiah 25:11 (cp. Zephaniah 2:8). But his lies, etc.] RV ’his boastings are nought.’

7. Foundations] RV ’raisin-cakes’: cp. Hosea 3:1. The trade in these would cease through the desolation of the vineyards.

Kirhareseth] named in 2 Kings 3:25 as a strong fortress.

8. The lords, etc.] RM ’her choice plants did break down the lords of nations,’ alluding to the strength of the wine of Sibmah.

Principal] RV ’choice.’ Are come.. through.. are stretched out, they are gone over] RV ’reached.. into.. were spread abroad, they passed.’ The words describe the area over which the cultivation of the vine extended in Moab, but which is now desolate; or perhaps the language used in this v. may be used figuratively to express the wide extent of Moabite influence: cp. Psalms 80:8, etc.

9. With the weeping of Jazer] i.e. with sorrow as genuine as that of the Moabites themselves. For the shouting, etc.] RV ’for upon thy summer fruits and upon thy harvest the battle shout is fallen.’

11. My bowels] regarded as the seat of the emotions (Jeremiah 31:20). The speaker is probably Jehovah, as in Isaiah 16:10 (Isaiah 63:15).

12. RV ’And it shall come to pass, when Moab presenteth himself, when he wearieth himself upon the high place, and shall come to his sanctuary to pray, that he shall not prevail.’ The allusion is to the worship of the national deity, Chemosh.

13. Since that time] RV ’in time past.’ The expression may denote a previous time in the speaker’s life (2 Samuel 15:34), or a more distant past (Isaiah 44:8).

14. The years of an hireling] i.e. definitely reckoned, with no grace allowed. Feeble] RV ’of no account.’

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 16". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/dcb/isaiah-16.html. 1909.