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Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged Commentary Critical Unabridged
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 48". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/
commentaries/ eng/ jfu/ jeremiah-48.html. 1871-8.
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Jeremiah 48". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://studylight.org/
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Against Moab thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Woe unto Nebo! for it is spoiled: Kiriathaim is confounded and taken: Misgab is confounded and dismayed.
It had taken part with the Chaldeans against Judea (2 Kings 24:2). Fulfilled by Nebuchadnezzar five years after the destruction of Jerusalem, when also he attacked Egypt (Jeremiah 43:8-13) and Ammon (Jeremiah 49:1-6). (Josephus, 'Antiquities,' 10: 9, 7.) Jeremiah, in this prophecy, uses that of Isa. 15:16 , amplifying and adapting it to his purpose, under inspiration, at the same time confirming its divine authority. Isaiah, however in his prophecy, refers to the devastation of Moab by the Assyrian king, Shalmaneser; Jeremiah refers to that by Neubuchadnezzar.
Nebo - a mountain and town of Moab; its meaning is, 'that which fructifies.'
Kiriathaim - a city of Moab, consisting of two cities, as the word means, originally held by the Emim (Genesis 14:5).
Misgab - meaning elevation. It lay on an elevation.
There shall be no more praise of Moab: in Heshbon they have devised evil against it; come, and let us cut it off from being a nation. Also thou shalt be cut down, O Madmen; the sword shall pursue thee.
There shall be no more praise of Moab - - (Isaiah 16:14, "The glory of Moab shall be contemned").
In Heshbon. The foe having taken Heshbon, the chief city of Moab, in it "devised evil" against Moab ("it"), saying, "Come, and let us cut it off." (Compare Jeremiah 48:45, "a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour ... Moab"). Heshbon was midway between the rivers Arnon and Jabbok; it was the residence of Sihon king of the Amorites, and afterward a Levitical city in Gad (Numbers 21:26). There is a play of words in the Hebrew, 'Heshbon, hashbu' [ chaashªbuw (H2803)]. Heshbon means a place of devising or counsel. The city, heretofore called the seat of counsel, shall find other counselors-namely, those who devise its destruction.
Thou shalt be cut down ... madmen - rather, by a play of words on the meaning of [ madmeen (H4086), from daamam (H1826)], to be silent, silence. Thou shalt be brought to silence, so as well to deserve thy name (Isaiah 15:1).
A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim, spoiling and great destruction.
Horonaim - the same as the city Avara, mentioned by Ptolemy. The word means the double caves (Sanballat, the opponent of the re-building of the temple, was a "Horonite" - i:e., a Moabite of Horonaim, Nehemiah 2:10; Isaiah 15:5).
Moab is destroyed; her little ones have caused a cry to be heard.
Her little ones have caused a cry - heightening the distress of the scene. The foe do not spare even infants.
For in the going up of Luhith continual weeping shall go up; for in the going down of Horonaim the enemies have heard a cry of destruction.
In the going up of Luhith ... going down of Horonaim - Horonaim lay in a plain, Luhith on a height. To the latter, therefore, the Moabites would flee, with "continual weeping," as a place of safety from the Chaldeans.
Continual weeping shall go up - literally, weeping shall go up upon weeping.
Flee, save your lives, and be like the heath in the wilderness.
Flee, save your lives. They exhort one another to flee.
Be like the heath - or the juniper (see note, Jeremiah 17:6). Maurer translates, 'be like one naked in the wilderness.' But the sense is, Live in the wilderness like heath, or juniper; do not 'trust in' walls (Jeremiah 48:7). (Grotius) (Compare Matthew 24:16-18.)
For because thou hast trusted in thy works and in thy treasures, thou shalt also be taken: and Chemosh shall go forth into captivity with his priests and his princes together.
Because thou hast trusted in thy works namely, fortifications built by thy work. Moab was famous for its fortresses and "strong holds" (Jeremiah 48:18). The antithesis is to Jeremiah 48:6, "Be ... in the wilderness," where there are no fortified cities.
Thou ... also - like the rest of the surrounding peoples, Judah, etc., "shalt be taken."
Chemosh - the tutelary god of Moab (Numbers 21:29; Judges 11:24; 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13).
Shall go forth into captivity. When a people was vanquished, their gods also were taken away by the victors (Jeremiah 43:12).
And the spoiler shall come upon every city, and no city shall escape: the valley also shall perish, and the plain shall be destroyed, as the LORD hath spoken.
The valley ... shall perish - i:e., those dwelling in the valley.
Give wings unto Moab, that it may flee and get away: for the cities thereof shall be desolate, without any to dwell therein.
Give wines ... - (Psalms 55:6). Unless it gets wings, it cannot escape the foe. "Wing" [ tsiyts (H6731)], the Hebrew root, meaning is a flower (Job 14:2), so the flower-like plumage a bird.
Cursed be he that doeth the work of the LORD deceitfully, and cursed be he that keepeth back his sword from blood.
Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord - the divinely appointed utter devastation of Moab.
Negligently. To represent how entirely this is God's will, a curse is pronounced on the Chaldeans, the instrument, if they do it negligently (margin), or by halves (Judges 5:23): cf. Saul's sin as to Amalek (1 Samuel 15:3; 1 Samuel 15:9), and Ahab's as to Syria (1 Kings 20:42).
Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.
Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees - (note, Isaiah 25:6; Zephaniah 1:12). As wine left to settle on its own lees retains its flavour and strength, which it would lose by being poured from one vessel into another, so Moab, owing to its never having been dislodged from its settlements, retains its pride of strongth unimpaired.
Hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel. To make it fit for use, it used to be filtered from vessel to vessel.
His scent - retaining the image. 'The bouquet (or perfume) of the wine is not changed.'
Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will send unto him wanderers, that shall cause him to wander, and shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles.
I will send unto him wanderers, that shall cause him to wander - rather, 'pourers out that shall pour him out' [ tso`iym (H6808) wªtsee`uhuw (H6808)], retaining the image of Jeremiah 48:11; - i:e., the Chaldeans, who shall remove Moab from his settlements, as men pour wine from off the lees into other vessels.
Shall empty his vessels, and break their bottles. "His vessels" are the cities of Moab; the broken "bottles" the men slain. "Their bottles" are the men in the cities (Grotius). The Hebrew and the kindred Arab word means to turn on one side, so as to pour out and empty a vessel (Maurer).
And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel their confidence.
Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh - i:e., shall have the shame of disappointment as to the hopes she entertained of aid from Chemosh, her idol.
As ... Israel was ashamed of Bethel their confidence - (1 Kings 12:27; 1 Kings 12:29) - i:e., just as Israel was disappointed with shame as to the "confidence" which her sons reposed in the golden calf set up there by Jeroboam.
How say ye, We are mighty and strong men for the war?
No JFB commentary on this verse.
Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts. Moab is ... gone up ... his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter - in antithesis.
Out of her cities - rather, 'Moab ... and her cities are gone up'-namely, pass away in the ascending smoke of their conflagration (Joshua 8:20-21; Judges 20:40). When this took place, the young warriors would go down from the burning citadels only to meet their own slaughter (Grotius). The English version is somewhat favoured by the fact that "gone out" is singular, and cities plural, which seems to imply that "Moab" alone is nominative to it, and not also "her cities." Maurer thinks the singular is used in reference to the thing signified-namely, not that her cities are gone up, but the smoke of them is gone up. The antithesis favours Grotius.
The calamity of Moab is near to come, and his affliction hasteth fast.
The calamity of Moab is near - to the prophet's eye, though probably 23 years elapsed between the utterance of the prophecy, in the 4th year of Jehoiakim (2 Kings 24:1-2), and its fulfillment in the 5th year of Nebuchadnezzar.
All ye that are about him, bemoan him; and all ye that know his name, say, How is the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod!
All ye that are about him, bemoan him - not that Moab deserves pity, but this mode of expression pictures more vividly the grievousness of Moab's calamities.
All ye that know his name - those at a greater distance, whom the fame of Moab's "name" had reached, as distinguished from those about "him" - i:e., near.
Say, How is the strong staff broken, and the beautiful rod! - Moab is so called as striking terror into, and oppressing other peoples (Isaiah 9:4; Isaiah 14:4-5); also, because of dignity and power (Psalms 110:2; Zechariah 11:7).
Thou daughter that dost inhabit Dibon, come down from thy glory, and sit in thirst; for the spoiler of Moab shall come upon thee, and he shall destroy thy strong holds. Thou daughter - (Isaiah 47:1, "O virgin daughter of Babylon").
That dost inhabit - now so securely settled, as if in a lasting habitation.
Sit in thirst - Dibon, being situated on the Arnon, abounded in water (Isaiah 15:9). In sad contrast with this, and with her "glory" in general, she shall be reduced not only to shame, but to the want of the commonest necessaries ("thirst") in the arid wilderness (Jeremiah 48:6).
He shall destroy thy strongholds. There are found by travelers now relics of gigantic masonry, without cement, in the hilly parts of the Moabite, region, such as look like rude fastnesses and "strongholds" of giants. There were before the Israelite occupation of the country many giants in Canaan.
O inhabitant of Aroer, stand by the way, and espy; ask him that fleeth, and her that escapeth, and say, What is done?
Aroer - on the north bank of the Arnon, a city of Ammon (Deuteronomy 2:36; Deuteronomy 3:12).
O inhabitant of Aroer, stand by the way, and espy; ask him that fleeth ... What is done? As it was on "the way" of the Moabites who fled into the desert, its inhabitants "ask" what is the occasion of Moab's flight, and so learn the lot that awaits themselves (cf. 1 Samuel 4:3; 1 Samuel 4:16).
Moab is confounded; for it is broken down: howl and cry; tell ye it in Arnon, that Moab is spoiled,
Moab is confounded - answer of the flying Moabites to the Ammonite inquirers (Jeremiah 48:19; Isaiah 16:2). He enumerates the Moabite cities at length, as it seemed so incredible that all should be so utterly ruined. Many of them were assigned to the Levites, while Israel stood.
Tell ye it in Arnon - the northern boundary between Moab and Ammon (Jeremiah 48:19; Numbers 21:13).
And judgment is come upon the plain country; upon Holon, and upon Jahazah, and upon Mephaath,
Judgment is come upon the plain (Jeremiah 48:8). Not only the mountainous regions, but also the plain shall be wasted.
Holon - (cf. Joshua 15:51).
Jahazah - where Sihon fought against Israel (Numbers 21:23; Isaiah 15:4).
Mephaath - (Joshua 13:18; Joshua 21:37).
And upon Dibon, and upon Nebo, and upon Beth-diblatha'im,
Bethdiblathaim - the house of Diblathaim ("Almon-diblathaim," Numbers 33:46; "Diblath," Ezek. 6:24 ). Not far from mount Nebo (Numbers 33:46-47).
And upon Kiriathaim, and upon Bethgamul, and upon Bethmeon,
Beth-gamul - meaning the city of camels.
Beth-meon - the house of habitation. Beth-baal-meon (Joshua 13:17). Now its ruins are called Miun.
And upon Kerioth, and upon Bozrah, and upon all the cities of the land of Moab, far or near.
Kerioth - (Joshua 15:25; Amos 2:2).
Bozrah - see note, Isaiah 34:6. At one time under the dominion of Edom, though belonging originally to Moab Bozrah - see note, Isaiah 34:6. At one time under the dominion of Edom, though belonging originally to Moab (Genesis 36:31; Genesis 36:33; Isaiah 63:1). Others think the Bozrah in Edom distinct from that of Moab, "Bezer" (Joshua 21:36).
The horn of Moab is cut off, and his arm is broken, saith the LORD.
The horn of Moab is cut off. The horn is the emblem of strength and sovereignty: it is the horned animal's means of offence and defense (Psalms 75:5; Psalms 75:10; Lamentations 2:3).
Make ye him drunken: for he magnified himself against the LORD: Moab also shall wallow in his vomit, and he also shall be in derision.
Make ye him drunken - (note, Jeremiah 13:12; Jeremiah 25:17). Intoxicate him with the cup of divine wrath, so as to be in helpless distraction.
For he magnified himself against the Lord - he boasted arrogantly against God's people, that whereas Israel was fallen Moab remained flourishing.
Moab ... shall wallow in his vomit - following up the image, of a drunken Man 1:-1 :e., shall be so afflicted by God's wrath as to disgorge all his past pride, riches, and vain-glory, and fall in his shameful abasement.
He also shall be in derision - he in disaster shall be an object of "derision" to us, as we in ours have been to him (Jeremiah 48:27). Retribution in kind.
For was not Israel a derision unto thee? was he found among thieves? for since thou spakest of him, thou skippedst for joy.
(Zephaniah 2:8, "I have heard the reproach of Moab, and the revilings of the children of Ammon, whereby they have reproached my people").
A derision. The Hebrew has the article: referring to Jeremiah 48:26 "Was not Israel (the whole nation) the object A derision. The Hebrew has the article: referring to Jeremiah 48:26, "Was not Israel (the whole nation) the object of derision to thee?" Therefore, as formerly, for its exultation over the calamity (2 Kings 17:6) of the ten tribes under the Assyrian Shalmaneser (Isaiah 15:1-9 and Isaiah 16:1-14), so now, for its exultation over the fall of Judah under the Chaldean Nebuchadnezzar, Moab is to "be in derision" herself. God takes up His people's cause as His own (Obadiah 1:10-13).
Was he found among thieves - (Jeremiah 2:26). Proverbial. What did Israel do to deserve such derision. Was he detected in theft, that thou didst so exult over him in speaking of him? Though guilty before God, Israel was guiltless toward thee.
Since - since ever thou didst begin speaking of him.
Thou skippedst for joy - at Israel's calamity (Calvin); or 'thou didst shake thy head' in 'derision' (Maurer).
O ye that dwell in Moab, leave the cities, and dwell in the rock, and be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole's mouth.
Be like the dove that maketh her nest in the sides of the hole's mouth. Doves often have their nests in "the sides" of caverns. No longer shalt thou have cities to shelter thee: thou shalt have to flee for shelter to caves and deserts (Psalms 55:6-8; Song of Solomon 2:14).
We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.
The pride of Moab - (Isaiah 16:6-7). Moab was the trumpeter of his own fame. Jeremiah adds "loftiness and arrogancy" to Isaiah's picture ("We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud: even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath"), so that Moab had not only not been bettered by the chastisement previously endured, as foretold by Isaiah, but had even become worse; so that his guilt, and therefore his sentence of punishment, is increased now. Six times Moab's "pride" (or the synonyms) are mentioned, to show the exceeding hatefulness of this sin.
I know his wrath, saith the LORD; but it shall not be so; his lies shall not so effect it.
I know his wrath - Moab's "proud arrogancy" (Jeremiah 48:29), or "wrath" against my people, is not unknown to me.
But it shall not be so - the result shall not be so as he thinks: his lies shall not so effect what he aims at by them. Calvin translates, 'his lies are not right (i:e., his vauntings are vain, because God will not give them effect): they shall not do so,' as they project in their minds, for God will set at nought their plans.
Therefore will I howl for Moab, and I will cry out for all Moab; mine heart shall mourn for the men of Kirheres.
I will cry out for ... Moab - not that it deserves pity, but the prophet's "crying" for it vividly represents the greatness of the calamity.
Kir-heres - Kir-hareseth, in Isaiah 16:7, see note there. It means the city of potters, or else the city of the sun (Grotius). Here "the men of Kir-heres" are substituted for "the foundations of Kir-hareseth" in Isaiah 16:7. The change answers probably to the different bearing of the disaster under Nebuchadnezzar, as compared with that former one spoken of in Isaiah under Shalmaneser.
O vine of Sibmah, I will weep for thee with the weeping of Jazer: thy plants are gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer: the spoiler is fallen upon thy summer fruits and upon thy vintage.
I will weep for thee with the weeping of Jazer - with the same weeping as Jazer, now vanquished, wept far the destruction of its vines. The same calamity shall befall thee, Sibmah, as befell Jazer. The Hebrew preposition here [mi-] is different from that in Isaiah 16:9 [bª-], for which reason Maurer translates, 'with more than the weeping of Jazer.' The English version understands it of the continuation of the weeping: after they have wept for Jazer, fresh subject of lamentation will present itself for the wasting of the vine-abounding Sibmah. [Min is somewhat similarly used in Deuteronomy 33:13-14 ].
Thy plants are gone over the sea, they reach even to the sea of Jazer. As the Septuagint read 'cities of Jazer,' and as no traces of a lake near Jazer are found, the reading of the English version is doubtful. Retaining the present reading, we avoid the difficulty by translation (Grotius) "Thy plants (i:e., citizens: alluding to the 'vine') are gone over the sea" - i:e., shall be transported beyond sea to Cyprus, and such distant lands subject to Babylon; and this, too, in summer time; whereas 'Jazer (i:e., the men of Jazer) reached the sea' (shore only, but are not transported beyond sea); so that worse shall befall thee than befalls Jazer.
The spoiler - Nebuzaradan.
And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.
Gladness is taken from the plentiful field - rather, 'is taken from Carmel;' as the parallel "land of Moab" requires, though in Isaiah 16:10 it is "gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field." Joy is taken away, as from the nearer regions (Canaan and Palestine, represented here by "Carmel"), so, from the further "land of Moab," what has happened Judah shall befall Moab too (Jeremiah 48:26-27). (Maurer.) However, Moab alone seems to be spoken of here; nor does the parallelism forbid plentiful field" answering to "Moab." The English version is therefore better.
None shall tread with shouting - repeated, as at the conclusion of the vintage men sing over and over again the same cry of joy.
Their shouting shall be no shouting - a shouting shall be heard, but not the joyous shouting of labourers treading the grapes, but the terrible battle-cry of the foe.
From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, and even unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even unto Horonaim, as an heifer of three years old: for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate.
From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh. Those who fly from Heshbon, on its capture, shall continue the cry even as far as Elealeh, etc. There will be continued cries in all quarters, from one end to the other, everywhere slaughter and wasting.
As an heifer of three years old. Moab heretofore not having known foreign yoke, and in its full strength, is compared to an heifer of three years old, never yet yoked, nor as yet worn out with many birth-givings (cf. note, Isaiah 15:5).
The waters ... of Nimrim - i:e., the well-watered and therefore luxuriant pastures of Nimrim.
Desolate. The Hebrew is stronger: not merely shall be "desolate," but desolation itself multiplied; plural, desolations. The most fertile tracts shall be dried up.
Moreover I will cause to cease in Moab, saith the LORD, him that offereth in the high places, and him that burneth incense to his gods.
I will cause to cease ... him that offereth - namely, whole burnt offerings, as the Hebrew requires (Grotius). (Compare the awful burnt offering of his oldest son, and heir to the throne, by the king of Moab, 2 Kings 3:27.
In the high places - (Isaiah 16:12).
Therefore mine heart shall sound for Moab like pipes, and mine heart shall sound like pipes for the men of Kirheres: because the riches that he hath gotten are perished.
My heart shall sound for Moab - (notes, Isaiah 15:7; Isaiah 16:11).
Like pipes - a plaintive instrument, therefore used at funerals and in general mourning.
The riches that he hath gotten are perished - literally, the abundance ... that which is over and above the necessaries of life [superabundance, yitrat]. Grotius translates, 'They who have been left remaining shall perish;' they who have not been slain by the enemy shall perish by disease and famine.
For every head shall be bald, and every beard clipped: upon all the hands shall be cuttings, and upon the loins sackcloth.
Every head shall be bald - (note, Jeremiah 47:5, "Baldness is come upon Gaza;" Isaiah 15:2-3).
Upon all the hands shall be cuttings - i:e., upon all the arms, in which such cuttings used to be made in token of grief (cf. Zech. 31:6 ).
There shall be lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the LORD.
Like a vessel wherein is no pleasure - (note, Jeremiah 22:28). A vessel cast aside by the potter as refuse, not answering his design.
They shall howl, saying, How is it broken down! how hath Moab turned the back with shame! so shall Moab be a derision and a dismaying to all them about him.
How is it broken down. "It" - i:e., Moab.
How ... how - prodigious, yet sure to happen.
How hath Moab turned the back - not daring to show her face.
So shall Moab be a derision, and a dismaying to all - a derision to some, a dismaying to others, in beholding such a judgment of God, fearing a like fate for themselves.
For thus saith the LORD; Behold, he shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.
He shall fly as an eagle. "He" - i:e., Nebuzaradan, the captain of Nebuchadnezzar.
As an eagle - not to hear them "on eagles' wings" (Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11-12), as God does His people, but to pounce on them as a prey (Jeremiah 49:22; Deuteronomy 28:49; Habakkuk 1:8).
Kerioth is taken, and the strong holds are surprised, and the mighty men's hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.
The mighty men's hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs - (Isaiah 13:8).
And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the LORD.
Because he hath magnified himself against the Lord - (note, Jeremiah 48:26).
Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the LORD.
Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee - (note, Isaiah 24:17-18). "Fear" is the technical term for the cord with feathers of various colours which, when fluttered in the air, scare birds into the snare, and beasts into the pitfall.
Verse 44. He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit. When thou thinkest thou hast escaped one kind of danger a fresh one will start up.
They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon because of the force: but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones.
They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon. They thought that they would be safe in Heshbon.
Because of the force - i:e., "they that fled because of the force" of the enemy; they that fled from it. Glassius translates, 'through want of strength.' So the Hebrew preposition [min] is translated (Psalms 109:24), "Faileth of fatness" - i:e., 'Faileth through want of fatness;' also, Lamentations 4:9. But Maurer translates 'powerless' [ mikoach (H3581)]. But a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon ... - copied in part from Sihon's hymn of victory (Numbers 21:27-28). The old 'proverb' shall hold good again. As in ancient times Sihon king of the Amorites issued forth from his city Heshbon as a devouring "flame," and consumed Moab, so now the Chaldeans, making Heshbon their starting-point, shall advance to the destruction of Moab.
And a flame from the midst of Sihon - i:e., the city of Sihon.
Shall devour the corner of Moab - i:e., Moab from one corner to the other.
The crown of the head - the most elevated points of Moab. Making some alterations, he here copies Balaam's prophecy (Numbers 24:17). Margin there translates, 'the princes' for "the corners;" if so, "the crown of the head" here refers to the nobles.
The tumultuous ones - sons of tumult; those who have tumultuously revolted from Babylon. Heshbon passed from the Amorite to the Israelite sway. Moab had wrested it from Israel, and helped the Chaldeans against the Jews; but, revolting from Babylon, they brought ruin on themselves in turn.
Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives, and thy daughters captives.
Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth ... Copied from Numbers 21:29.
Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the LORD. Thus far is the judgment of Moab.
Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab - restoration promised to Moab for righteous Lot's sake, their progenitor (Genesis 19:37; Exodus 20:6; Psalms 89:30-33). Compare the same promise of restoration as to Egypt, Jeremiah 46:26; Ammon, Jeremiah 49:6; Elam, Jeremiah 49:39. Gospel blessings, temporal and spiritual, to the Gentiles in the last days are intended.
(1) When judgment had begun with Israel, the house of God, it was sure soon to visit Moab, the pagan enemy of God and His people (1 Peter 4:17). (2) Moab trusted in her "strongholds" (Jeremiah 48:18, note) and fastnesses of stupendous rocks as securing her safety; but, so far from these saving her, they were the occasion of her being given by God to destruction, because she "trusted in her works and in her treasures" (Jeremiah 48:7), instead of turning humbly to the God of Israel. All creature confidences provoke the jealousy of the Creator, the only true object of trust; and so far are they from saving the sinner, that they actually bring down upon him the judgments of God.
(3) Moab might save herself by flight out of her cities into the solitary wilderness (Jeremiah 48:6; Jeremiah 48:9); but where shall unpardoned sinners flee for safety from the divine vengeance in the day of judgment? No "wings" (Jeremiah 48:9) can waft them out of the reach of Him of whom David saith, "If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Thy hand lead me, and Thy right hand shall hold me" (Psalms 139:9-10).
(4) So complete is the vengeance to be executed on Moab, that a curse is pronounced (Jeremiah 48:10) on whatever agent employed by God should fail to do his work of punishing her thoroughly; just as Saul was deprived of his kingdom for not having fulfilled to the letter God's command to destroy utterly the Amalekites (1 Sam
15); and also as Ahab was condemned to judgment for having "let go out of his hand a man (the Syrian king) whom God appointed to utter destruction," his life being made by God the forfeit for the spared Syrian king's life, and Ahab's people for the people of the Syrian king (1 Kings 20:42). The same principle holds good generally of all who exercise sacred functions. "Cursed be he that doeth the work of the Lord deceitfully" or "negligently." The Lord will not be served by halves; He demands whole-hearted obedience. Like Caleb, whosoever would be His servant must follow Him "fully" (Numbers 14:24). He must spare no lust which God condemns in himself, or in those over whom he is set by the Providence of God. Above all, the faithful minister must "not handle the Word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth must commend himself to every man's conscience in the sight of God" (2 Corinthians 4:2).
(5) Moab's pride of her strength had been in a great measure due to the long course of ease and undisturbed prosperity which she had enjoyed. Just as wine left long in the same position, so as to settle on its own lees (Jeremiah 48:11), retains its full and delicate flavour, which it would lose by being poured from vessel to vessel, so carnality, sensuality, and pride are often fostered by unsanctified prosperity. The Psalmist has well said (Psalms 55:19), "Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God." Where there are no changes in the outward circumstances of the flourishing sinner, he is likely himself to remain inwardly unchanged. But changes, though sometimes slow in coming, are sure to come at last. God will sooner or later send His appointed instruments to "empty" all those who are full of themselves (Jeremiah 48:12; Luke 1:53). Earthly prosperity and enjoyments shall at last cover with the "shame" of disappointment those who have made them "their confidence" (Jeremiah 48:13). Then men's boasted "might" and "strength," like Moab's in her day of trial (Jeremiah 48:14), shall prove to be utter weakness.
(6) The sin in Moab which especially provoked God's displeasure was that "he magnified himself against the Lord" (Jeremiah 48:26; Jeremiah 48:42). God's great work in the moral government of the world is to glorify Himself in exalting the humble and abasing the "proud" (Jeremiah 48:29). He especially visits with retribution in kind those who make His people a "derision" (Jeremiah 48:27), and who exult over their calamities. It is a mark of a spirit estranged from God to take pleasure in the misfortunes of others, and particularly in those of the children of God. However guilty the latter be in respect to God, who therefore chastises them, the worldly have no reason to pride themselves on their downfall; for "if judgment begin at the house of God, what shall the end be of them who obey not the Gospel of God? and if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?" (1 Peter 4:18-19.) Men's pride, arrogancy, and haughtiness shall "not effect" the lofty aims which they contemplate (Jeremiah 48:30). Nay, on the contrary, their Babel tower of pride shall fall, and overwhelm its builders in its ruins. As they "derided" God's people, so "the Lord shall have them in everlasting derision" (Jeremiah 48:20; Jeremiah 48:27; Psalms 2:4). (7) How marvelous are the unsearchable riches of God's mercy, that, after such fearful threatenings of judgment on Moab, there should follow a promise of grace even to guilty Moab "in the latter days" (Jeremiah 48:47). Under Messiah, the "Light to lighten the Gentiles," even the descendants of doomed Moab, long after her national existence had ceased, are translated from the captivity of sin, darkness, and death, to the freedom of Gospel light, life, and holiness. For the sake of righteous Lot, God, who keeps mercy unto thousands of them that love Him (Exodus 20:6), has deliverance and peace in store for Moab in her latter end. Let us learn, from this prophetic announcement of God's dealings with Moab, to adore the infinite love of our covenant-keeping God, while we tremble at His judgments and fear His holy name! Let us seek not to be what Moab once was, "a vessel wherein is no pleasure" (Jeremiah 48:38), but "a vessel of mercy ... prepared unto glory!" (Romans 9:23.)