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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 15

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - UnabridgedCommentary Critical Unabridged

Verse 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;

Lowth thinks it was delivered in the first years of Hezekiah's reign, and fulfilled in the fourth, when Shalmaneser, on his way to invade Israel, may have seized on the strongholds of Moab. Moab probably had made common cause with Israel and Syria, in a league against Assyria. Hence, it incurred the vengeance of Assyria. Jeremiah has introduced much of this prophecy into his 48th chapter.

Because, [ kiy (H3588)] - rather, 'To wit.' 'The burden of Moab-to wit, that Moab is (to be) laid waste.' 'I say that Moab shall be laid waste' (Grotius).

In the night - the time best suited for an hostile incursion (Isaiah 21:4; Jeremiah 39:4).

Ar - meaning in Hebrew the city; the metropolis of Moab, on the south of the river Arnon.

Kir - literally, a citadel, not far from Ar, toward the south.

Verse 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.

He - Moab personified.

Is gone up to Bajith - rather, 'to the temple' (Maurer): answering to the "sanctuary" (Isaiah 16:12) in a similar context.

To Dibon - rather, as Dibon was in a plain north of the Arnon, 'Dibon (is gone up) to the high places,' the usual places of sacrifice in the East. Same town as Dimon, Isaiah 15:9. Bajith and Dimon were perhaps to Moab what Dan and Bethel were to Israel.

To weep - at the sudden calamity;

Moab shall howl over Nebo - `in,' or 'at Nebo;' not on account of Nebo (cf. 5:3) (Maurer). The "over" [ `al (H5921)] expresses that Nebo and Medeba were upon a hill-side. The town Nebo was adjacent to the mountain, not far from the northern shore of the Dead Sea. There it was that Chemosh, the idol of Moab, was worshipped (cf. Deuteronomy 34:1).

Medeba - south of Heshbon, on a hill east of Jordan.

Baldness, (and) every beard cut off. The Orientals regarded the beard with special veneration. To cut one's beard off is the greatest mark of sorrow and mortification (cf. Jeremiah 48:37).

Verse 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.

On the tops of their houses - which were flat: places of resort for prayer, etc., in the East (Acts 10:9).

And in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly - `melting away in tears.' Horsley prefers, 'descending to weep.' Thus, there is a 'parallelism by alternate construction' (Lowth); or chiasmus: "howl" refers to "the tops of their houses." 'Descending to weep' to "streets" or squares, where they descend from the housetops.

Verse 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.

Heshbon - an Amorite city, 20 miles east of Jordan; taken by Moab, after the carrying away of Israel, (cf. Jer


Elealeh - near Heshbon, in Reuben.

Jahaz - east of Jordan, in Reuben. Near it Moses defeated Sihon.

Therefore - because of the sudden overthrow of their cities.

The armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out - even the armed men, instead of fighting in defense of their land, shall join in the general cry.

His life shall be grievous unto him - rather, 'his soul is grieved' (1 Samuel 1:8) (Maurer). Compare with the English version, Revelation 9:6.

Verse 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.

My heart shall cry out for Moab. The prophet himself is moved with pity for Moab. Ministers, in denouncing the wrath of God against sinners, should do it with tender sorrow, not with exultation.

His fugitives (shall flee) unto Zoar - fleeing from Moab, wander as far as to Zoar, on the extreme boundary south of the Dead Sea. Horsley translates, her nobility, or "rulers" (Hosea 4:18).

An heifer of three years old - i:e., raising their voices, 'like a heifer' (cf. Jeremiah 48:34; Jeremiah 48:36). The expression, "three years old," implies one at its full vigour (Genesis 15:9), as yet not bright under the yoke: as Moab, heretofore unsubdued, but now about to be broken. So Jeremiah 31:18; Hosea 4:16. Maurer translates, 'Eglath (in the English version "a heifer" ) Shelishijah' (i:e., the third, to distinguish it from two others of the same name). I prefer the English version.

By the mounting up - up the ascent. Of Luhith - a mountain in Moab.

For in the way of Horonaim - a town of Moab not far from Zoar (Jeremiah 48:5). It means the two holes, being near caves.

They shall raise up a cry of destruction - a cry appropriate to the destruction which visits their country.

Verse 6

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

For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate ... there is no green thing - the cause of their flight southwards (2 Kings 3:18-19; 2 Kings 3:25). For the northern regions, and even the city Nimrim (the very name of which means limped waters), in Gilead, near Jordan, are without water or herbage.

Verse 7

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

Therefore - Because of the devastation of the land.

The abundance they have gotten - Hebrew, yitraah (H3502), 'left;' i:e., that which is over and above the necessaries of life.

Shall they carry away to the brook of the willows. The fugitives flee from Nimrim, where the waters have failed, to places better watered. Hebrew, nachal ha'arabim: margin, 'valley of the Arabians' - i:e. to the valley on the boundary between them and Arabia Petrea; now Wady-el-Arabah. Arabia means a desert.

Verse 8

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

Eglaim (Ezekiel 47:10) - Eneglaim Not the Agallim of Eusebius 8 miles from Areopolis toward the south The Eglaim (Ezekiel 47:10) - Eneglaim. Not the Agallim of Eusebius, 8 miles from Areopolis toward the south. The context requires a town on the very borders of Moab or beyond them.

Beer-elim - literally, The well of the princes (so Numbers 21:16-18), beyond the eastern borders of Moab.

Verse 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.

The waters of Dimon. Same as Dibon, Isaiah 15:2. Its waters are the Arnon.

Shall be full of blood - the slain of Moab shall be so many.

For I will bring more upon Dimon - fresh calamities; namely,

Lions upon him that escapeth of Moab - (2 Kings 17:25; Jeremiah 5:6; Jeremiah 15:3.) Vitringa understands Nebuchadnezzar as meant by 'the lion;' but it is plural, "lions." The "more," or in Hebrew additions, he explains of the addition made to the waters of Dimon by the streams of blood of the slain.

Remarks: All the enemies of God's people, who now taunt and oppress them, as Moab did Israel, shall, like Moab, at last be "brought to silence." Neither fortresses nor "armed soldiers" can avail aught to ward off the doom that is from the Lord. How infinitely wiser it would be for sinners to weep in repentance for their sins now, than to have to "weep" and "howl" for their justly-incurred sufferings hereafter! The minister of the Lord ought so to announce the terrors of the Lord as if he had no pleasure in denunciation, but rather wept at heart for the infatuation of the self-destroyers.

Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 15". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jfu/isaiah-15.html. 1871-8.
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