Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 16

The Biblical IllustratorThe Biblical Illustrator

Verse 1

Isaiah 16:1

Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land

A message to Moab

The fugitives are supposed to have found a temporary home in Edom.

The verse may be spoken by the prophet, or (as Prof. Cheyne suggests) it may proceed from the Moabite chiefs themselves, exhorting one another to take this step. (Prof. S. R. Driver, D. D.)

Tribute demanded of Moab

A very terrible humiliation had already been inflicted on Moab in the reign of Jehoram, King of Israel (2 Kings 3:4; 2 Kings 3:25). During Ahab’s reign, Moab had been compelled to pay a very heavy annual tribute, even 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams. Refusal to pay led to war from time to time; war resulting, however, invariably in the defeat of the Moabites. In such circumstances the prophet urges upon Moab the wisdom of paying this tribute without trouble or demur. (Buchanan Blake, B. D.)

Gospel submission

It is applicable to the great Gospel duty of submission to Christ, as the Ruler of the land and our Ruler.

1. Send Him the lamb, the best you have, yourselves a living sacrifice.

2. When you come to God, the great Ruler, come in the name of the Lamb, the Lamb of God.

3. Those that will not submit to Christ, nor be gathered unto the shadow of His wings, shall be as a bird that wanders from her nest (Isaiah 16:2), that shall either be snatched up by the next bird of prey, or shall wander endlessly in continual frights. Those that will not yield to the fear of God shall be made to yield to the fear of everything else. (M. Henry.)

Verse 2

Isaiah 16:2

As a wandering bird, cast out of the nest

The unrest of the sinner

The picture represents the distress and bewilderment of the wrong-doer.

He does not know whether to go back to the old door and knock at it in the hope that it may be opened to him again by some kindly hand, or to flee away into the land of darkness and silence. “There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.” (J. Parker, D. D.)

Verse 4

Isaiah 16:4

Let Mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab

God’s outcasts in Moab

An injunction is given to Moab to shelter the Jewish fugitives.

GOD OWNS HIS PEOPLE WHEN ALL THE WORLD FORSAKES OR OPPOSES THEM. No doubt Sennacherib thought the “outcasts” to be his victims, his prey; but God claims a personal interest in them, watches over them when they wander, supplies them in their need, and protects them by His guardian providence. They are His: His as the subjects of His government; His as the objects of His regard; His as the children of His grace.

GOD RAISES UP FRIENDS AND COMFORTERS FOR HIS CHURCH IN STRANGE AND UNEXPECTED QUARTERS. Here He provides for them a shelter before the storm comes on, and makes Moab, one of the most powerful of the Church’s enemies, a near and a present friend. God proves to Moab that it was their interest to do so, because the Jews would soon be in a condition to requite the favour, when their country should be invaded, and their daughters should wander without a home (Isaiah 16:2). The providence of God often makes the hostile feelings of bad men the occasion of good to the righteous.

GOD CAN OVERRULE CALAMITIES, WHICH THREATEN NOTHING BUT DISASTER TO HIS CHURCH, INTO THE MEANS OF CONFIRMING FAITH AND HOPE. God’s outcasts in Moab learned many a useful lesson there, and when they returned it was to uphold the government of Hezekiah, and to promote the welfare of the people with whom they had sojourned. “And the throne shall be established in mercy, and He shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David” (Isaiah 16:5). Sennacherib’s invasion, which scattered his subjects in exile, threatened the overthrow of Hezekiah, but it really tended to establish him, for never was his kingdom more secure than after the overthrow of the Assyrian army. The same thing obtains in the experience of the Christian. As the birds sing most sweetly after a tempest; as torches shine brighter for shaking; as the flowers shed forth their fragrance at the close of a troubled day, so the graces of a Christian, his faith, his patience, and his hope, are matured by the trials that threatened their utter extinction. In the kingdom of Christ, a kingdom which is established in mercy, you find perpetual progress amidst perpetual storm, and a noontide of brightness often succeeds the darkest night.

AMIDST ALL WANDERINGS GOD WOULD HAVE HIS PEOPLE REMEMBER THEIR DISTINCTIVE CHARACTER AND PREPARE FOR RETURN. They were to dwell in Moab, but only for a season, and always to bear the heart of a stranger. It is a great thing in days of worldly compliance and conformity, when everyone seems to live as if he were to live here always, to have in exercise a better hope, and for Christians to preserve the distinctness of their character. The Divine hand that created our frame and put life into it, has provided us with other resources than are found in feeble self, or in creatures feeble as ourselves. Besides this earth and these lower skies, there is an invisible world, and a kingdom of spirits. Let Christians seek to be in the world, but not of it. (Homiletic Magazine.)

Verse 5

Isaiah 16:5

In mercy shall the throne be established

The moral purpose of judgment

The moral purpose of judgment is never concealed in the Divine writings.

God is always seeking to bring about the time when in mercy His throne shall be established, and when there shall sit upon it in truth one who will represent the ideal judgment and blessing of God. The fifth verse might be rendered, “In mercy shall a throne be established, and One shall sit upon it in truth.” The prophet has constantly kept before his mind the image of an ideal king. The ideal was partially fulfilled in Hezekiah, yet only partially; the prophet was sure One was coming who would fulfil it in its utmost meaning, and he steadfastly kept his eye on the bright day when God’s throne should be established among the nations, and His sceptre should be extended over all. God does not exist merely to destroy, nor does He rule only in order that He may humble and crush; His purpose is one of equity, righteousness, blessing, cultivation. (J. Parker, D. D.)

Verse 12

Isaiah 16:12

He shall come to his sanctuary to pray

Fruitless supplications

This line in this dark picture reminds us of two fasts in the life of the men of our own time, who see clearly the folly of idolatry.



1. Many of the suppliants have little or no faith, and faith is the essential condition of blessing.

2. Many of the suppliants are not really in earnest, and lukewarmness is an offence to the Divine Being.

3. Many of the suppliants are not really penitent. (W. Manning.)


Bibliographical Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 16". The Biblical Illustrator. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/tbi/isaiah-16.html. 1905-1909. New York.
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