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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible
Isaiah 15

 

 

Introduction

Isaiah 15, 16. Oracle on Moab.—In Isaiah 16:13 f. we read that the preceding prophecy had been spoken in time past: now it is confirmed, and its fulfilment exactly dated. The natural meaning of this is that the main body of the oracle had been uttered some time previously. Very few accept the view that Isaiah himself wrote it. It is generally thought that he quotes the work of an older prophet and endorses it. This is suggested by the language of Isaiah 16:13 f., which does not favour the view that its author also wrote the main body of the prophecy. The style of the prophecy is archaic and tedious, and there are many peculiar forms in the language. The sympathetic tone has no parallel in Isaiah, and the minute knowledge of the topography of Moab is rather improbable in a city prophet. If this view is correct, it is still uncertain when the original prophecy was spoken. It must be later than the time of Ahab, since cities are represented as belonging to Moab which, as we know from the Moabite Stone, were recovered by Mesha. Many think the original occasion was a conquest of Moab by Jeroboam II, which, though not expressly mentioned, is implied in the history. Since Judah is supposed to be able to protect the fugitives of Moab, she must have been fairly strong at the time, and this would suit the reign of Uzziah, which was for the most part contemporary with that of Jeroboam II. Isaiah may have republished the oracle with the appendix shortly before Sargon's campaign against Ashdod in 711, when Moab was intriguing against Assyria with Egypt and Philistia, or he might have done so shortly before Sennacherib's invasion in 701. Several scholars believe that the original prophecy is post-exilic. Gray (ICC) analyses into an elegy consisting of Isaiah 15:1-9 a, Isaiah 16:1-11, and a prophetic interpolation containing Isaiah 15:9 b -Isaiah 16:5; Isaiah 16:12. The elegy he thinks has reference to the Nabatæan conquest of Moab in the fifth century. The oracle forms the basis of the much longer prophecy in Jeremiah 48.


Verses 1-9

Isaiah 15:1-9. The Overthrow of Moab.—A sudden catastrophe has overwhelmed Ar (Numbers 21:15*) and Kir in one night. The daughter (read bath for Bayith; cf. Jeremiah 48:18) of Dibon (Numbers 21:30*) has gone up to the high places to lament; everywhere are signs of mourning. The cry of distress is heard from Heshbon (Numbers 21:25*) and Elealeh (Numbers 32:37*) in Jahaz (Numbers 21:23*). The fugitives (mg.) flee to Zoar (Genesis 19:22*) and the third Eglath. They mount the ascent of Luhith (between Rabba and Zoar), and lament in the way of Horonaim. The waters of Nimrim have been stopped by the enemy, the pastures are parched. The Moabites carry their goods across the brook of the willows, apparently into Edom; from one end of the land to the other the howling of anguish is heard. All bloody are the waters of Dimon. A more terrible enemy (? Assyria) is to come on the remnant which has escaped.

Isaiah 15:1. Kir: probably Kerak, a very strong fortress about 17 miles S. of the Arnon.

Isaiah 15:2. Baldness and cutting off the beard are signs of mourning (p. 110).

Isaiah 15:5. Probably there were three places named Eglath, near together; the third would be intended here. The sense of mg. is that Moab (or Zoar) is a vigorous power hitherto unconquered, but now to be crushed into servitude.—Nimrim: probably not Bath-nimrah (Numbers 32:36*), which is too far N., but the Wadi Numeirah, S. of Kir.

Isaiah 15:8. Eglaim: probably at the S. extremity of Moab, Beer-elim (Numbers 21:16*), in the N.

Isaiah 15:9. Dimon: probably the same as Dibon, the change securing an assonance with the word for blood (dm).

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on Isaiah 15:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/isaiah-15.html. 1919.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, October 15th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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