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 (Jerusalem).”
The Amplified Bible
translates this, “You (Moabites, now fugitives in Edom which is ruled by the
king of Judah, win the king’s favor and protection by diverting your tribute
to him, as an acknowledgement of subjection), send lambs to the ruler of the
land from Selah or Petra through the desert and wilderness to the mountain
of the daughter of Zion - Jerusalem.”
The ruler of the land, the
king of Judah, is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ; with Zion (Jerusalem),
meaning parched place, being a figure or type of this present evil
Sela, meaning make
prominent, is another name for Petra, the former capital of Edom. It
was a city carved out of the red rock of a narrow defile in the mountains,
discovered relatively recently and standing virtually as it did when it was
a thriving metropolis over twenty-five hundred years ago.
The Moabite territory lay
east of the Dead Sea between the Arnon and Zered rivers, and at that time
was ruled by the king of Jerusalem, to whom the prophet commanded the people
to send lambs, as tribute in acknowledgement of their submission to his
authority. The spiritual lesson is that here in the wilderness of this
world we are to render unto the Lord the sacrifice of an obedient life, and
confess him fearlessly as Savior and Lord.
Since the king of
Jerusalem is a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, the spiritual lesson is that
all men are to acknowledge His lordship: sinners, by trusting Him as Savior;
and saints, by obeying Him.
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.”
The fleeing Moabites, in
their panic to get across the fords of the Arnon river, would be like
nestlings frantically and helplessly beating their wings upon being cast out
of the nest before being able to fly.
Similar consternation will
grip the hearts of multitudes in the Great Tribulation, as it will also all
those who in the first instant after death find themselves in hell.
counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the
noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray (betray) not him that wandereth.”
This was addressed to the
Moabites, who had found refuge in Sela (Petra), and who were in a position
to aid the Jewish refugees; “... take counsel” meaning to consider
carefully; and to “execute judgment” means to be fair and just in dealing
with these harassed fugitives fleeing from the Assyrians.
“... make thy shadow as
the night, etc., is a poetic way of saying that as the darkness of night
hides everything from view, so was Moab’s protection of the Jewish refugees
to be such that the enemy, the Assyrians, would be unable to find their
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 spoilers ceaseth, the
oppressors are consumed out of the land.”
This was God’s command to
the Moabites, who were in a position to afford shelter and protection to the
Jews fleeing from the spoiler, i.e., the Assyrians.
The end of the
extortioner, the extinction of the spoiler, and the consumption of the
oppressors, certainly relate to God’s destruction of Assyria; but in the
larger context they point to the blessedness of the Millennium when there
will be none of the evils mentioned here.
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
This points to a day that
was then still future: the glorious reign of David; but the ultimate
reference is to the glory and peace and blessedness of the Millennium when a
literal descendant of David will sit upon the throne in Jerusalem as the
regent of Christ, He Himself reigning over the world from the heavenly
That that prince will not
be Christ is made clear by what is written in Ezekiel 46:2, “And the prince
shall enter by the way of the porch of that gate without, and shall stand by
the post of the gate, and the priests shall prepare his burnt offering and
his peace offerings, and he shall worship at the threshold of the gate
....” Christ does not worship. As part of the Godhead He receives
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.”
The “we” is taken by some
to have been the surrounding nations which had had to listen to Moab’s proud
but groundless boastings, which God was going to bring to an end. Others
understand the reference to be to the Jews, and this seems the more likely.
It is instructive to note
that pride heads the list of those things which God hates, see Proverbs
6:16-17, “These six thing doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination
unto him: A proud look, etc.”
“... his lies shall not be
so” means that Moab’s proud boastings would prove to be lies: they would
never be fulfilled.
“Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the
foundations of Kir-hareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken.”
Moab’s proud boastings
were soon to give place to bitter wailing; as will also this present evil
world’s arrogant independence of God, when the whole magnificent edifice of
worldly wealth and power crumple into a heap of ruins in the terrible
judgments of the impending Great Tribulation.
“... the foundations of
Kir-hareseth” is literally raisin-cakes which they offered to their
idols in which they trusted, and whose aid they thus hoped to secure. Small
wonder that such hope should be disappointed!
Kir-hareseth means an
earthen wall, which, if it was the wall of the city, was a useless thing
in which to place trust for protection; but the earth’s great commercial
enterprises which bind together the fabric of society, are an equally
worthless defense against the judgment of an angry God.
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.”
Taylor has translated this
verse, “And for the abandoned farms of Heshbon and the vineyards at Sibmah,
the enemy warlords have cut down the best grape vines; their armies spread
out as far as Jazer in the deserts, and even down to the sea.” (The sea
here is generally taken to be the Dead Sea).
The devastation of Moab
foreshadows that which will affect the whole world in the coming Great
Tribulation, for the meaning of Heshbon: device, reason, may portray
the schemes and reasonings of men living in rebellion against God, and which
have brought the world to its present chaotic state.
Since the fruit of the
vine is associated with joy, its languishing foreshadows the grim reality of
the Great Tribulation when joy will have departed from the earth. Relative
to the meaning of Sibmah why hoary? there may be in this a veiled
reference to the fact that this world is growing old. It has already
existed for six millennia, the fast approaching Millennium completing its
present history, and the bringing in of a “new heavens and a new earth,
wherein dwelleth righteousness,” 2 Peter 3:13.
Jazer means let him
help, and the lesson of their coming unto Jazer foreshadows the truth
that in the Great Tribulation the believing remnant will be looking for
God’s intervention to deliver them out of the hand of the Beast.
The picture continues to
be not merely of the destruction that was soon to overtake ancient Moab; but
in the larger context, it is of that which will devastate this present evil
world in the impending Great Tribulation.
“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.”
Even though their
punishment was merited, Isaiah wept with the Moabites because of the
terrible retribution their sin would incur; and the lesson God would teach
us in this is that we are to be compassionate, not critical, in our attitude
towards the men of the world, our perfect example being the Lord Himself Who
prayed on behalf of those who had crucified Him, “Father, forgive them; for
they know not what they do,” Luke 23:34.
The shouting for the
summer fruits and for the harvest refers to the singing and dancing that
accompanied the ingathering of the fruits and grain; but those happy sounds
were to be replaced with the victorious shouts of the enemy reaping the
spoil, while the Moabites wailed and fled for their lives. The scene is
reenacted daily, but in far more terrible degree, by the multitudes who die
without having been born again, their last breath ushering them from the
enjoyment of earth’s fleeting pleasures into the eternal torment of hell and
the lake of fire.
the 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 (of grapes) shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made
their vintage shouting to cease.”
The Moabites’ dramatic
reversal of fortune foreshadows that which will befall all who die
unconverted, death projecting their eternally doomed souls into the Stygian
darkness and torment of hell, and ultimate consignment to the dreadful lake
of fire. Who can begin to imagine the horror of those who find themselves
snatched in a second from the enjoyment of some brief earthly pleasure into
the never-ending anguish of a lost eternity!
“Wherefore my bowels shall sound like a harp for Moab, and mine inward parts
“... my bowels shall sound
like a harp” means that his heart would quiver for Moab like plucked harp
Kir-haresh means the
wall is earthen, the spiritual significance being the same as
Kirharaseth, see comments on 16:7.
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.”
Moab, in the extremity of
distress, would go up to his hill-top shrines, and crowd into his idol
temples to supplicate his false gods, but to no avail: such gods can neither
see nor hear, nor render aid.
Apostate Christendom apes
Moab’s conduct, for every national disaster finds the churches crowded with
so-called worshipers who have the colossal effrontery to go through the
pretext of prayer and worship after having not just ignored God, but after
having defied Him to His face by their godless living - the last thought to
cross their minds being whether the calamity might be His expression of
anger provoked by their sin.
is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning Moab since that time.”
The calamity that had
befallen Moab had been foretold by God in His oft repeated warnings that sin
would bring judgment. Today’s world has been similarly cautioned, but the
warnings have gone not only unheeded, but mocked. The impending Great
Tribulation judgments have been clearly foretold in Scripture for at least
thirty centuries, and all the signs point to the imminence of their
now the Lord hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an
hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be condemned, with all that great
multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.”
As the hireling counts
carefully the number of days left for him to serve, so were those addressed
by the prophet to note with equal care the specified time of Moab’s ruin.
“Within three years, as the years of an hireling” specifies exactly the time
when Moab would be toppled from the acme of earthly glory to the depths of
degradation, and be reduced from a mighty multitude to a despised
insignificant remnant, the declared time confirming that the speaker was the
omniscient, omnipotent Jehovah.
Fulfilled prophecy is one
of the infallible proofs that God is the Author of Scripture, see 2 Peter
1:19-20, “We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well
that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the
day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: knowing this first, that no
prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.”
That same God has declared
that the man who dies unconverted will first enter hell, and ultimately the
dreadful lake of fire, to suffer eternal torment. The greatest of all fools
is he who scoffs at prophecy, for the greater part of what God has foretold
has already come to pass, that fulfillment guaranteeing to any reasonable
mind the accomplishment of the small fraction yet remaining.