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Bible Commentaries
Jeremiah 48

Barnes' Notes on the Whole BibleBarnes' Notes


This prophecy Jeremiah 48:0 is an amplification of Isa. 15–16, and also introduces two verses, Jeremiah 48:43-44, from Isaiah 24:17-18. Jeremiah’s introduction of passages from older writers being accepted, it would seem that the passages borrowed are so inwoven with that which is Jeremiah’s own, that they cannot be omitted as a later interpolation without destroying the whole. On the other hand in that which is the writer’s own, and even in many of the alterations of the borrowed passages, Jeremiah’s mode of expression is so clearly to be recognized that the whole must be acknowledged to be his.

From Isaiah 16:13 it has been conjectured that Isaiah had an ancient prophecy before him, and that Jeremiah drew from the same source. Bearing in mind the number of prophetic writings mentioned in the Books of Chronicles which have not come down to us, there is nothing unreasonable in such a supposition.

Verse 1

Against Moab - Concerning Moab.

Is confounded - Is brought to shame.

Misgab - The high fort; some special fortress, probably Kir-haraseth 2 Kings 3:25.

Verse 2

No more praise of Moab - literally, “The glory of Moab is no more,” i. e., Moab has no more cause for boasting.

Heshbon - This town now belonged to the Ammonites Jeremiah 49:3 but was on the border. The enemy encamped there arranges the plan of his campaign against Moab.

In the original there is a play of words upon the names Heshbon and Madmen.

Verse 3

Omit shall be. “Spoiling and great destruction,” literally breaking, is the cry heard from Horonaim Isaiah 15:5.

Verse 4

Moab - Probably the city elsewhere called Ar-Moab. See the Septuagint of this verse.

Verse 5

Luhith was situated upon an eminence, and Jeremiah describes one set of weeping fugitives as pressing close upon another.

In the going down of Horonaim ... - Rather, in the descent of Horonaim they have heard the distresses of the cry of breaking, i. e., the cry of distress occasioned by the ruin inflicted by the enemy. It was situated in a hollow, probably near the Dead Sea.

Verse 6

Like the heath - Or, Like a destitute man. See the marginal reference note.

Verse 7

Works - Possibly the products of labor. The versions render fortifications.

Chemosh - As the national god of Moab Numbers 21:29, he represents the whole land; and his being led into captivity implies the total ruin of those under his protection. His name here spelled Chemish is repeated in Car-chemish, i. e., the fortress of Chemish.

Verse 8

The valley - The lowlands on the east bank of the Jordan, and at the top of the Dead Sea.

The plain - An upland pasture; it answers very much to downs: so in Jeremiah 48:21.

Verse 10

Deceitfully - Better as in the margin.

Verse 11

Moab from the time it conquered the Emims Deuteronomy 2:9-10, and so became a nation, had retained quiet possession of its land, and enjoyed comparative prosperity. From the Moabite Stone we gather that King Mesha, after the death of Ahab threw off the yoke of Israel; nor except for a short time under Jeroboam II was Israel able to bring the Moabites back into subjection. They gradually drove the Reubenites back, and recovered most of the territory taken from the Amorites by Moses, and which originally had belonged to them.

He hath settled on his lees - Good wine was thought to be the better for being left to stand upon its sediment Isaiah 25:6, and in all cases its flavor was rendered thereby stronger (marginal reference). “By being emptied from vessel to vessel” it became vapid and tasteless. So a nation by going into captivity is rendered tame and feeble. By his taste is meant the flavor of the wine, and so Moab’s national character.

Verse 12

I will send - tilters “unto him and they shall” tilt “him, and they shall empty his vessels, and break their” pitchers “in pieces.” “Pitchers” originally meant “skins,” but the word came to signify small earthenware jars Isaiah 30:14 : thus the Chaldaeans shall destroy of Moab everything that has contained the wine of her political life both small and great.

Verse 13

Israel was ashamed of Beth-el - After Salmaneser had carried Israel away, they could trust no longer in the calf of Bethel established by Jeroboam.

Verse 14

Mighty - Heroes, veteran warriors.

Verse 15

Rather, “Moab is spoiled,” and her cities have gone up, i. e., in smoke, have been burned Joshua 8:20-21. Others render, “The waster of Moab and of her towns is coming up to the attack, and her chosen youths are gone down to the slaughter.”

Verse 16

Near to come - Twenty-three years elapsed between the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when this prophecy was spoken, and its accomplishment by the invasion of Moab five years after the capture of Jerusalem. So slowly does God’s justice move onward.

Verse 17

The lamentation over Moab uttered by those “round about him,” i. e., the neighboring nations, and those “that know his name,” nations more remote, who know little more than that, there is such a people, takes the form of an elegy. The metaphorical expressions, “staff of strength,” and “rod” or “scepter of beauty,” indicate the union of power and splendor in the Moabite kingdom.

Verse 18

Sit in thirst - Jeremiah draws a picture of the conquered inhabitants, collected outside the walls, waiting for their captors to march them away to the slave mart. The enemy occupied with plundering the houses of Dibon thinks little of the hunger and thirst of his prisoners.

Strong holds - The remains of the fortifications of Dibon are still visible.

Verse 19

Aroer - On the Arnon, due south of Dibon. If Dibon falls, the turn of Aroer will come next, and therefore its inhabitants are to be on the look out, asking for news.

Verse 20

Or, “Moab is ashamed, because she (Dibon) is broken” by her fortifications being battered down.

Verse 21

Holon - This place apparently took its name from caverns in its neighborhood.

Verse 22

Beth-diblathaim - i. e., “the house of the two cakes of figs,” perhaps so called from two hills in its neighborhood. Hosea 1:3 note.

Verse 23

Beth-meon - Meon is probably the Moabite Olympus, and thus Beth-Baal-Meon, the full name of this town Joshua 13:17, would signify the place where the heavenly Baal was worshipped.

Verse 24

Kerioth - A synonym of Ar, the old capital of Moab. It appears to have been a considerable place, and has been identified with El-Korriat, situated on the long ridge of Mount Attarus.

Bozrah - Probably the Bosora mentioned in 1 Macc. 5:26 in company with Bosor, i. e., Bezer. Since the word means sheepfolds, it was no doubt a common name for places in this upland region, fit only for pasturage.

Verse 25

The horn - i. e., his pride (marginal reference); his arm, i. e., his strength Jeremiah 17:5.

Verse 26

Make ye him drunken - With the wine-cup of God’s fury, until terror deprive him of his senses.

Verse 27

Was he found ... - Or, “was he found among thieves that so often as thou speakest of him” thou waggest thy head? - in contempt for a fallen enemy.

Verse 28

Dwell in the rock - See Jeremiah 4:29. The sole chance of escape is refuge in inaccessible fastnesses.

In the sides ... - On the further side “of the mouth of the pit.” The wild rock pigeon invariably selects deep ravines for its nesting and roosting.

Verse 30

But it shall not be so - Most commentators translate, “I know, saith Jehovah, his arrogancy, and the emptiness of his boastings; they have worked emptiness.”

Verse 31

Mine heart ... - Rather, “there shall be mourning for” etc.

Verse 32

Or, “More than the weeping of Jazer” over its ruined vineyards “will I weep for thee, O vine of Sibmah.” Compare the marginal reference. Jazer lies in an upland valley about 15 miles north of Heshbon.

Thy plants ... - “Thy branches are gone over the sea, i. e.” the power of Moab is felt even on the western side of the Dead Sea; “they reached etc.”

Verse 33

Winepresses - Rather, “wine-vats,” into which the wine runs from the presses.

Their shouting shall be no shouting - The vintage shout is - silence. For the vines have been destroyed, and desolation reigns where once was the joyful cry of those who tread the grapes.

Verse 34

The meaning is that, taking up the lamentation of Heshbon, the Moabites break forth into a wail, heard as far as Elealeh, scarcely two miles distant Numbers 32:37, but thence spreading over the land to towns on the southern and southwestern borders of the land.

An heifer of three years old - Applied in Isaiah 15:5 to Zoar, but here to Horonaim. Some take “an heifer” as a proper name, and render it: “Eglah for the third part” (compare Isaiah 19:24). Zoar, Horonaim, and Eglah formed a tripolis, or confederacy of three towns, and Eglah might therefore be put after either one or the other.

Nimrim - Probably the Wady-en-Nemeirah at the southeastern end of the Dead Sea.

Verse 36

Like pipes - A wind instrument, used at funerals Matthew 9:23.

The riches that he hath gotten - literally, “that which remains over, a superfluity.”

Verse 37

Cuttings - Compare Jeremiah 16:6, and marginal references.

Verse 38

Generally - Rather, entirely.

Verse 39

Literally, “How is it broken down! they wail! How hath Moab tutored the back in shame! Yea, Moab is become a laughter and a terror Jeremiah 17:17 to all who are round about him.”

Verse 40

The rapid and irresistible attack of Nebuchadnezzar is compared to the impetuous dash of the eagle on its prey Deuteronomy 28:49.

Verse 41

Surprised - captured by force.

Verse 45

Because of the force - Rather, without force. Translate it: “The fugitives have stood, (i. e., halted) powerless in the shadow of Heshbon.” As Heshbon was the capital of the Ammonites, the sense is that the defeated Moabites looked to Ammon for protection.

But afire ... - Not only will Ammon refuse aid to Moab, but her ruin is to come forth from Heshbon. To show this Jeremiah has recourse to the old triumphal poetry of the Mosaic age (marginal reference).

The corner - i. e., of the beard ...”the crown of the head.” The fire of war consumes both far and near, both hair and beard, i. e., everything that it can singe and destroy.

The tumultuous ones - literally, “sons of the battle-shout,” the brave Moabite warriors.

Verse 47

Bring again the captivity - (Or, “restore the prosperity.”) A similar promise is given to Egypt, Ammon, and Elam Jeremiah 46:26; Jeremiah 49:6.

Thus far ... Moab - An editorial note by the same hand as the last words of Jeremiah 51:64.

Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Jeremiah 48". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bnb/jeremiah-48.html. 1870.
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