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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Isaiah 16



Verse 1

Isaiah 16:1-14. Continuation of the prophecy as to Moab.

lamb — advice of the prophet to the Moabites who had fled southwards to Idumea, to send to the king of Judah the tribute of lambs, which they had formerly paid to Israel, but which they had given up (2 Kings 3:4, 2 Kings 3:5). David probably imposed this tribute before the severance of Judah and Israel (2 Samuel 8:2). Therefore Moab is recommended to gain the favor and protection of Judah, by paying it to the Jewish king. Type of the need of submitting to Messiah (Psalm 2:10-12; Romans 12:1).

from Sela to — rather, “from Petra through (literally, ‹towards‘) the wilderness” [Maurer]. “Sela” means “a rock,” {Petra} in Greek; the capital of Idumea and Arabia-Petraea; the dwellings are mostly hewn out of the rock. The country around was a vast common (“wilderness”) or open pasturage, to which the Moabites had fled on the invasion from the west (Isaiah 15:7).

ruler of the land — namely, of Idumea, that is, the king of Judah; Amaziah had become master of Idumea and Sela (2 Kings 14:7).

Verse 2
nest — rather, “as a brood cast out” (in apposition with “a wandering bird,” or rather, wandering birds), namely, a brood just fledged and expelled from the nest in which they were hatched [Horsley]. Compare Isaiah 10:14; Deuteronomy 32:11.

daughters of Moab — that is, the inhabitants of Moab. So 2 Kings 19:21; Psalm 48:11; Jeremiah 46:11; Lamentations 4:22 [Maurer].

at the fords — trying to cross the boundary river of Moab, in order to escape out of the land. Ewald and Maurer make “fords” a poetical expression for “the dwellers on Arnon,” answering to the parallel clause of the same sense, “daughters of Moab.”

Verses 3-5

Gesenius, Maurer, etc., regard these verses as an address of the fugitive Moabites to the Jews for protection; they translate Isaiah 16:4, “Let mine outcasts of Moab dwell with thee, Judah”; the protection will be refused by the Jews, for the pride of Moab (Isaiah 16:6). Vitringa makes it an additional advice to Moab, besides paying tribute. Give shelter to the Jewish outcasts who take refuge in thy land (Isaiah 16:3, Isaiah 16:4); so “mercy” will be shown thee in turn by whatever king sits on the “throne” of “David” (Isaiah 16:5). Isaiah foresees that Moab will be too proud to pay the tribute, or conciliate Judah by sheltering its outcasts (Isaiah 16:6); therefore judgment shall be executed. However, as Moab just before is represented as itself an outcast in Idumea, it seems incongruous that it should be called on to shelter Jewish outcasts. So that it seems rather to foretell the ruined state of Moab when its people should beg the Jews for shelter, but be refused for their pride.

make … shadow as … night … in … noonday — emblem of a thick shelter from the glaring noonday heat (Isaiah 4:6; Isaiah 25:4; Isaiah 32:2).

bewray … wandereth — Betray not the fugitive to his pursuer.

Verse 4

Rather, “Let the outcasts of Moab dwell with thee” (Judah) [Horsley].

for the extortioner, etc. — The Assyrian oppressor probably.

is at an end — By the time that Moab begs Judah for shelter, Judah shall be in a condition to afford it, for the Assyrian oppressor shall have been “consumed out of the land.”

Verse 5

If Judah shelters the suppliant Moab, allowing him to remain in Idumea, a blessing will redound to Judah itself and its “throne.”

truth … judgment … righteousness — language so divinely framed as to apply to “the latter days” under King Messiah, when “the Lord shall bring again the captivity of Moab” (Psalm 72:2; Psalm 96:13; Psalm 98:9; Jeremiah 48:47; Romans 11:12).

hasting — “prompt in executing.”

Verse 6

We — Jews. We reject Moab‘s supplication for his pride.

lies — false boasts.

not be so — rather, “not right”; shall prove vain (Isaiah 25:10; Jeremiah 48:29, Jeremiah 48:30; Zephaniah 2:8). “It shall not be so; his lies shall not so effect it.”

Verse 7

Therefore — all hope of being allowed shelter by the Jews being cut off.

foundations — that is, “ruins”; because, when houses are pulled down, the “foundations” alone are left (Isaiah 58:12). Jeremiah, in the parallel place (Jeremiah 48:31), renders it “men,” who are the moral foundations or stay of a city.

Kirhareseth — literally, “a citadel of brick.”

surely they are stricken — rather, joined with “mourn”; “Ye shall mourn utterly stricken” [Maurer and Horsley].

Verse 8

fields — vine-fields (Deuteronomy 32:32).

vine of Sibmah — near Heshbon: namely, languishes.

lords of … heathen — The heathen princes, the Assyrians, etc., who invaded Moab, destroyed his vines. So Jeremiah in the parallel place (Jeremiah 48:32, Jeremiah 48:33). Maurer thinks the following words require rather the rendering, “Its (the vine of Sibmah) shoots (the wines got from them) overpowered (by its generous flavor and potency) the lords of the nations” (Genesis 49:11, Genesis 49:12, Genesis 49:22).

come … Jazer — They (the vine shoots) reached even to Jazer, fifteen miles from Heshbon.

wandered — They overran in wild luxuriance the wilderness of Arabia, encompassing Moab.

the sea — the Dead Sea; or else some lake near Jazer now dry; in Jeremiah 48:32 called “the sea of Jazer”; but see on Jeremiah 48:32 (Psalm 80:8-11).

Verse 9

I — will bewail for its desolation, though I belong to another nation (see on Isaiah 15:5).

with … weeping of Jazer — as Jazer weeps.

shouting for … fallen — rather, “Upon thy summer fruits and upon thy luxuriant vines the shouting (the battle shout, instead of the joyous shout of the grape-gatherers, usual at the vintage) is fallen” (Isaiah 16:10; Jeremiah 25:30; Jeremiah 51:14). In the parallel passage (Jeremiah 48:32) the words substantially express the same sense. “The spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits.”

Verse 10

gladness — such as is felt in gathering a rich harvest. There shall be no harvest or vintage owing to the desolation; therefore no “gladness.”

Verse 11

bowels — in Scripture the seat of yearning compassion. It means the inward seat of emotion, the heart, etc. (Isaiah 63:15; compare Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:36).

sound … harp — as its strings vibrate when beaten with the plectrum or hand.

Verse 12

when it is seen that — rather, “When Moab shall have appeared (before his gods; compare Exodus 23:15), when he is weary (that is, when he shall have fatigued himself with observing burdensome rites; 1 Kings 18:26, etc.), on the high place (compare Isaiah 15:2), and shall come to his sanctuary (of the idol Chemosh on Mount Nebo) to pray, he shall not prevail”; he shall effect nothing by his prayers [Maurer].

Verse 13

since that time — rather, “respecting that time” [Horsley]. Barnes translates it, “formerly” in contrast to “but now” (Isaiah 16:14): heretofore former prophecies (Exodus 15:15; Numbers 21:29) have been given as to Moab, of which Isaiah has given the substance: but now a definite and steady time also is fixed.

Verse 14
hireling — Just as a hireling has his fixed term of engagement, which neither he nor his master will allow to be added to or to be taken from, so the limit within which Moab is to fall is unalterably fixed (Isaiah 21:16). Fulfilled about the time when the Assyrians led Israel into captivity. The ruins of Elealeh, Heshbon, Medeba, Dibon, etc., still exist to confirm the inspiration of Scripture. The accurate particularity of specification of the places three thousand years ago, confirmed by modern research, is a strong testimony to the truth of prophecy.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 16:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

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