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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 15

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 15:1 The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, [and] brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, [and] brought to silence;

Ver. 1. The burden of Moab.] A "burden," saith Jerome, ever betokeneth sad things to follow. A "vision" doth joyful, at last howsoever. The Chaldee paraphraseth thus: The burden of a cup of cursing for Moab to drink off. Moab was the brat of an incestuous birth, as his name also, De Patre, declareth. There is now no such nation; their very name is rooted out, ever since they were destroyed, first by Shalmaneser, as is here forethreatened, and then by Nebuchadnezzar {as Jeremiah 48:1-47} - where we meet with many like passages as here - so that they live but by fame only, as they are mentioned in Holy Scripture, but never for any good. Their destruction is foretold for a comfort to the poor afflicted Jews, to whom they were near allied, but very ill-affected.

Because in the night.] Nocte intempesta, (a) the night is dark and dreadful; or in the night, i.e., subito, derepente, praeter opinionem, suddenly, unexpectedly. These Moabites dwelt in a fruitful country, near to those five cities of the plain, and giving themselves up to loose and luxurious living, saith Jerome, they worshipped Chemosh or Bacchus; (b) as they had been incestuously begotten by Lot in his drink, so they proved accordingly. Ebrius te Pater genuit, said one to a desperate drunkard. Some think they are threatened with wasting in the night, in allusion to that dismal night work, and that deed of darkness, the begetting of their father and founder Moab. [Genesis 19:36-37] Whence other nations were wont to reproach the Moabites as children of the night, saith Jerome.


Verse 2

Isaiah 15:2 He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba: on all their heads [shall be] baldness, [and] every beard cut off.

Ver. 2. He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon.] Two chief places of their idolatrous service, whereunto they ran in their distress; but all in vain. The like at this day do the Papists to their Ladies of Loretto, Sichem, &c., and the Turks to their Mohammed at Mecca (situated in the same country as once Moab, and perhaps in the same place with one of these idol temples) by troops and caravans; but they do worse than lose their devotion.

To weep.] And to pray too, [Isaiah 16:12] but to no good purpose, for want of a right object, principle, motive, end. So afterwards the Romans, in a like exigent, cum coniugibus ac liberis iussi sunt a senatu supplicatum ire, pacemque exposcere Deum, omnia delubra implent, (a) &c.; they were by the senate commanded to go with their wives and children into the temples of their gods, and there to pray, make their peace, and to seek for aid.

Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba.] Cities surprised and sacked by the enemy. But this chapter is so much the more obscure to us, because the cities here mentioned are long since destroyed, and the Scripture setteth not forth the manner of their location or downfall.

On all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off.] This was commonly done in those eastern parts, in times and in token of lamentation. [Job 1:20 Ezra 9:3 Ezekiel 7:18] Alexander, mourning for the death of his friend Hephaestion, not only tore off his own hair, but clipped his horses’ and mules’ hair; yea, he plucked down also the battlements of the walls of the city, as Plutarch (b) writeth. Pudeat nos lachrymis delicta non abstergere, et spiritualia damna non deplorare, saith Oecolampadius. What a shame is it then for us Christians not to weep over our sins, and to bewail our spiritual wounds and wants!


Verse 3

Isaiah 15:3 In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly.

Ver. 3. In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth.] Saccum et silicium non curat Deus. God careth not for these externals where there is not a heart sprinkled with the blood of his Son. "The sacrifice of the wicked is abomination; how much more when he bringeth it with a wicked mind?" [Proverbs 21:27]

On the tops of their houses.] Thence, as it were, to require help from heaven.

Weeping abundantly.] Heb., Descending with weeping, like as with weeping they ascended; (a) they get nothing of their gods, though they cried to them. But he that goeth to the true God with an honest heart and lawful petitions is sure to speed. See Isaiah 45:19.


Verse 4

Isaiah 15:4 And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be heard [even] unto Jahaz: therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him.

Ver. 4. And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh.] See on Isaiah 15:2.

The armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out.] As being faint hearted and unwilling to fight, because to no purpose.

His life shall be grievous to him.] Heb., His soul shall be ill-affected to him, or, for himself; that is, say some, all his care shall be for himself; let others shift as they can.


Verse 5

Isaiah 15:5 My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives [shall flee] unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old: for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction.

Ver. 5. My heart shall cry out for Moab.] Let others do as they will, saith the prophet here, I can do no less than bewail the woeful condition of Moab, bad though they be. (a)

Tu quibus ista legis incertum est, Lector, ocellls:

Ipse quidem siccis scribere non potui ”

His fugitives shall flee unto Zoar.] Whither once their father Lot fled for refuge; but it was too hot to hold him. Or, His fugitives shall cry to Zoar.

An heifer of three years old.] Which, being in her prime, loweth aloud, coelum mugitibus implens; so shall these fugitives set up their note, clamore fragoso boantes; as they pass through the countries they shall even break or rend themselves with crying.


Verse 6

Isaiah 15:6 For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.

Ver. 6. For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate.] What these waters of Nimrim were it doth not appear. Jerome saith that Nimrim is a town near the Dead Sea, where the waters are salt, and the country about it barren; so should the land of Moab now be forlorn and fruitless.


Verse 7

Isaiah 15:7 Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows.

Ver. 7. Therefore the abundance they have gotten.] Here the prophet seemeth to tax the covetousness of the Moabites, qui coacervandis thesauris operam dederint, who made it their work to hoard and heap up riches.

And that which they have laid up.] Heb., Their visitation; that is, their treasures, which they often looked upon.

Shall they carry away to the brook of the willows.] The Moabites shall cast it into the water, as hoping there to find it again when the enemy was gone. Or, Shall they (the Assyrians) carry away to the valley of the Arabians, who were their confederates, and for such good offices spared (as Herodotus saith, lib. iii.), that they might keep and convey home for them the spoils they had taken from other nations. (a)


Verse 8

Isaiah 15:8 For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab; the howling thereof unto Eglaim, and the howling thereof unto Beerelim.

Ver. 8. For the cry is gone round about, &c.] When the prophet thus describeth the mourning of the Moabites as excessive, and as a fruit of their unbelief, we must learn to moderate our mourning for outward losses and crosses, and that out of hope of God’s mercy promised to his penitent suppliants.

The howling thereof unto Eglaim.] See on Isaiah 15:2.


Verse 9

Isaiah 15:9 For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land.

Ver. 9. For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood.] Non tingentur solum, sed etiam inundabunt and the bloody enemy shall haply be heard to cry out, as once Hannibal did when he saw a pit full of man’s blood, O formosum spectaculum! O brave sight! The very name Dimon signifieth bloody, so called, as some think, on this occasion instead of Dibon, the old name. [Isaiah 15:2]

I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab.] Heb., I will put additions upon Dimon, (a) i.e., additions of evils, viz., lions, and other like fierce and cruel creatures, which shall prey upon the Moabites there. [Isaiah 35:9 2 Kings 17:25] Some say by lion is here meant Nebuchadnezzar, [Jeremiah 4:7] fitly compared to a lion for his strength and swiftness. Certain it is that God hath in store plenty of plagues for evildoers; and if they escape one mischief, they shall fall into another; their preservation is but a reservation, except they repent.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 15:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-15.html. 1865-1868.

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Sunday, June 16th, 2019
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