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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 16



Verse 1

Isaiah 16:1 Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.

Ver. 1. Send ye the lamb.] For prevention of those lions, [Isaiah 15:9] submit to Hezekiah, your right liege lord, a lamb, i.e., your appointed number of tribute lambs, in token of homage. [2 Samuel 8:2 2 Kings 3:4] But especially make your peace with God, the Ruler of the whole world, [1 Chronicles 29:12] by paying him homage and fealty, that there may be a lengthening of your tranquillity.

From Selo in the wilderness.] Otherwise called Petra (because beset with rocks), whence the country it stood in was called Arabia Petraea. (a) Some make it the head city of Moab, others of Edom, a place, it seemeth, that was full of cattle, and by king Amaziah, who took it, called Jokteel. [2 Kings 14:7]

Verse 2

Isaiah 16:2 For it shall be, [that], as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, [so] the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.

Ver. 2. For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird, &c.] Or, Otherwise it shall be that as, (a) &c., i.e., except ye do as I have advised you, [Isaiah 16:1] a double mischief shall befall you. (1.) Dissipation, as a wandering bird, &c.; (2.) Deportation, at the fords of Arnon, where ye shall be carried captive.

As a wandering bird.] See Proverbs 27:8. {See Trapp on "Proverbs 27:8"}

Verse 3

Isaiah 16:3 Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth.

Ver. 3. Take counsel, execute judgment.] Or, Make a decree, or deal equally and uprightly; shoew the like kindness to Abraham’s posterity as he once did to your progenitor Lot, whom he rescued; or as Lot did to the angels whom, as strangers, he entertained, fac, inquam, quod suggero, dum subdo.

Make thy shadow as the night in the midst of noonday,] i.e., Shelter and shade my persecuted people, este illis securum perfugium, et iucundum refrigerium, protect them, refresh them, do all kind offices for them, which your fathers did not, but the contrary. [Deuteronomy 23:3-4]

Verse 4

Isaiah 16:4 Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.

Ver. 4. Let mine outcasts.] Who are dear to me, [Jeremiah 30:17] though I may seem to have cast off the care of them. Outcasts they may be, but not castaways. See Isaiah 52:5-6; "Persecuted, but not forsaken." [2 Corinthians 4:9] "Bowels of mercy" must be "put on" towards godly exiles especially, who are Dei φυγαδες, and should therefore be dear to us.

For the extortioner is at an end.] Heb., Emunctor, the milker, or squeezer, or wringer out, [Proverbs 30:33] so the Assyrian tyrant is called; as also Vastator et proculcator, the spoiler or plunderer; and conculcator, the oppressor or treader down, is consumed out of the land; and it shall not be long ere I fetch home my banished; be content therefore to harbour them awhile; herein thou shalt do thyself no disservice at all.

Verse 5

Isaiah 16:5 And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.

Ver. 5. For in mercy (or piety) shall the throne be established.] Hezekiah’s throne shall, but especially Christ’s, from whom ye may once have occasion to borrow that mercy which now you are called upon to lend to those outcasts of Israel.

And he shall set upon it,] i.e., He shall make it his business to relieve and right his people.

And seeking judgment.] Making inquisition after wrongs of such as dare not complain. The Grand Signor, they say, shows himself on purpose weekly abroad, for the receiving the poor’s petitions and punishing the grandees of his court, by whom they are oppressed; whence also he styleth himself Awlem Penawh - i.e., the world’s refuge.

And hastening justice.] Despatching and dispeeding causes.

Verse 6

Isaiah 16:6 We have heard of the pride of Moab; [he is] very proud: [even] of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: [but] his lies [shall] not [be] so.

Ver. 6. We have heard of the pride of Moab.] His harsh and haughty carriage toward God’s poor people, though he were advised the contrary. [Isaiah 16:1; Isaiah 16:3-4] Good counsel is but cast away upon a proud person. Now the Moabites were as much noted then for their pride as now the Spaniards are; and their pride appeared by their brags and threats. But

His lies shall not be so.] Or, His indignation is more than his strength, as Jerome rendereth it. His boastings and blusters shall come to nothing; his pride shall be his bane and break his neck.

Verse 7

Isaiah 16:7 Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely [they are] stricken.

Ver. 7. Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab.] One Moabite to another, or each within himself, ut solent desperantes.

For the foundations of Kirhareseth.] Which shall be utterly razed and harassed. Kirhareseth is interpreted the "city of brick walls," as was Babylon, or rather the "city of the sun," as Bethshemesh and Heliopolis, because there the sun was in a special manner worshipped.

Shall ye mourn.] Or, Roar, or mutter, or muse.

Verse 8

Isaiah 16:8 For the fields of Heshbon languish, [and] the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come [even] unto Jazer, they wandered [through] the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea.

Ver. 8. For the fields of Heshbon languish.] As being decayed and destroyed; hence so great mourning in Moab. Their father and founder was begotten in wine, and themselves were likely great wine bibbers. Historians say that some of their cities were built by Bacchus. Fitly therefore are these drunken Moabites bereft of their vines, as those gluttonous Sodomites were of their victuals. [Genesis 14:11] The drunkard’s motto is, Take away my liquor, and take away my life.

The lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof.] The great Turk causeth all the vines to be cut down wherever he cometh, because he read in the Koran that in every grape there dwelleth a devil.

Verse 9

Isaiah 16:9 Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen.

Ver. 9. Therefore I will bewail with the weeping.] Defleo fletum (Paronomasia), that is, the misery of Jazer; or, I will with weeping bewail Jazer, and the vine of Sibmah.

For the shouting for thy summer fruits,] i.e., Thy joy and jollity over thy summer fruits, and over thine harvest, expressed by songs and shouts, do now fail and cease.

Verse 10

Isaiah 16:10 And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in [their] presses; I have made [their vintage] shouting to cease.

Ver. 10. And gladness is taken away.] Laetitia - i.e., quicquid laetificum erat, All matter of mirth is removed. Heb., Gathered up, or gathered in, as your harvest also is to your hand by the enemy.

Verse 11

Isaiah 16:11 Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh.

Ver. 11. Wherefore my bowels shall sound (a) like an harp for Moab.] The "elect of God, holy and beloved, have bowels of mercy, tenderness, and kindness" toward their very enemies also, [Colossians 3:12] whom they do oft pity more than they pity themselves, as Habakkuk did the Chaldeans’ calamity, [Isaiah 3:16] and as Daniel did Nebuchadnezzar’s downfall. [Daniel 4:19] Sicut cithara plectro tacta dat sonitum in funere funereum, As they have mournful music at funerals; [Jeremiah 9:17; Jeremiah 9:20 Matthew 9:23] or as the strings of a shawm sound heavily, so do my heart strings for miserable Moab. In a harp, if one string be touched, all the rest sound; so it should be with us in regard of fellow feeling. We should feel others’ hard cords through our soft beds.

Verse 12

Isaiah 16:12 And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray; but he shall not prevail.

Ver. 12. That Moab is weary on the high place.] Tired out in his superstitious services, by all which he is not a button the better, but a great deal the worse.

But he shall not prevail.] This is every wicked man’s case and curse; for "we know that God heareth not sinners." [John 9:31] He will never accept of a good motion from a bad mouth. [Isaiah 1:1-31] The very heathen could say,

Oς κε Yεοις επιπειθηται, μαλα τεκλυον αυτου.”

Verse 13

Isaiah 16:13 This [is] the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning Moab since that time.

Ver. 13. This is the word that the Lord hath spoken.] And is therefore sure and certain; for the word of the Lord "cannot be broken" [John 10:35]

Since that time,] i.e., Since Balaam, hired by Balak (say the Hebrews), cursed not the Israelites as he would have done, but the Moabites, as he was made to do. Ex tunc.

Verse 14

Isaiah 16:14 But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant [shall be] very small [and] feeble.

Ver. 14. Within three years.] In which time the sins of the Moabites shall be full, and themselves ripe and ready for vengeance. Three years hence, therefore, sc., in the fourth year of King Hezekiah; for then came up Shalmaneser against Samaria, and it is probable that in his march thither he invaded and subdued these Moabites, that he might leave all safe behind him. A hundred years after which, or more, Nebuchadnezzar utterly ruined them, according to Jeremiah 48:1-47

As the years of an hireling,] i.e., Praecise, nec citius nec tardius, Three years precisely. This time Moab had to make his peace in; but he minded nothing less, and therefore deservedly perished. So, alas! shall all such infallibly as repent not within their three years’ space! which perhaps may not be three months, or three days, saith Oecolampadius; I may add, three minutes; and yet, Ex hoc momento pendet ceternitas, Upon this short inch of time dependeth eternity. Up, therefore, and be doing. Stat sua cuique dies, &c.


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 16:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.

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Friday, December 4th, 2020
the First Week of Advent
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