Bible Commentaries

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Isaiah 16

Verses 1-14

Isaiah 16:1 . Send ye the lamb from Sela to the wilderness, to the mount of the daughter of Zion. Send the tribute of the lambs from all the towns of Moab, and seek alliance with the house of David, with whom God has now renewed his promises. This is your best wisdom, and first duty. So it is intimated in the fifth verse, for the king of Judah shall sit upon the throne in the tabernacle of David. This tribute is fully explained in 2 Kings 3:4-5, where it is said that Mesha king of Moab refused to pay the tribute, and involved his country in great distress.

Isaiah 16:14 . But now the Lord hath spoken, saying, Within three years the glory of Moab, so great in population, in fortresses, in flocks and herds, shall be contemned and debased in all its multitude of people and cattle. It appears that the prophets had warned Moab prior to this final denunciation by Isaiah. And it might be that the prophet visited Moab, and gave them the warning; but if otherwise, they had it in writing.

The remnant shall be very small and feeble. Moab recovered from this visitation, but not to her former glory. She continued to encrease for a hundred and twenty years, when, five years after the fall of Jerusalem, and the burning of the temple, (at which she could not conceal her joy, Psalms 137:7) Nebuchadnezzar gave her a final overthrow, as the prophets had foretold. Amos 2:1-3. Jeremiah 48:0.


We have in these two chapters the warning voice, and subsequent elegy of our princely prophet. Grieved for the sins of Moab, he satirized her pride, but seeks at the same time to save her from ruin. And what could do it but opening her eyes to the impending storm, and pouring contempt on the helpless character of her gods.

The prophet displayed to Moab the tremendous army of the Chaldeans, overspreading the country; an army whose character was to despise every strong hold. The strokes of heaven awaken the power of conscience. The spoilers were coming against a spoiler. Their staining the waters of Dimon with blood, was to visit for the abundance of blood which Moab had shed, when she, both vile and weak, had joined Philistia and Amalek in their wars. Her pride, the proverb of nations, should be brought low. Ah, in vain, oh Moab, shalt thou go up to the house of Bajith; thy long- boasted temple of Baal-Meon. Thy gods shall be blind to thy misery, and deaf to thy cries. Thy king shall fly to the desert, thy counsellors shall be confused, thy soldiers without strength. Alas, alas, the joy of harvest and the shouts of the vintage shall he heard no more. Profit therefore by these warnings; hide thyself under Jehovah’s wings, and bow to the shadow of David’s throne.

But why does the illustrious prophet of the Hebrews talk in words so strange? Is there any thing in the tablets of universal history which can justify those sombrous discoveries? Nay; Is there any thing else in the tablets but slaughter, burning, and destruction? Are not all great conquerors like great rivers, which sometimes drown and ravage the country which they ought only to water and enrich.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 16". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. 1835.