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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 15

Benson's Commentary of the Old and New TestamentsBenson's Commentary


A.M. 3278. B.C. 726.

This and the next chapter contain a prophecy of some great desolation coming upon the country of the Moabites, which bordered upon Judea, and had often been injurious and vexatious to it. We have here great lamentation made by the Moabites, and by the prophet himself for them, Isaiah 15:1-5 . The great calamities which should occasion and justify that lamentation, Isaiah 15:6-9 .

Verse 1

Isaiah 15:1. The burden of Moab A prophecy of the destruction of the Moabites, the inveterate and implacable enemies of the Jews, begun by the Assyrian, and finished by the Babylonian monarchs. This prophecy, which occupies this and the next chapter, very improperly separated from each other, makes the third discourse of this second part. The time of the delivery, and consequently of the completion of it, (which was to be in three years after,) is uncertain, neither of them being marked in the prophecy, nor recorded in history. “But the most probable account is, that it was delivered soon after the foregoing, in the first year of Hezekiah; and that it was accomplished in his fourth year, when Shalmaneser invaded the kingdom of Israel. He might probably march through Moab; and, to secure every thing behind him, possess himself of the whole country, by taking the principal strong places, Ar and Kir-haresh. Jeremiah has introduced much of this prophecy of Isaiah into his own larger prophecy against the same people, (chap. 48.,) denouncing God’s judgments on Moab, subsequent to the calamity here foretold, to be executed by Nebuchadnezzar.” Bishop Lowth. In the night Or, in a night, suddenly and unexpectedly, Ar of Moab is laid waste The chief city of Moab, Numbers 21:28. Kir of Moab is laid waste Another eminent city of Moab, called more largely and fully, Kir-hareseth and Kir-haresh, Isaiah 16:7; Isaiah 16:11; Jeremiah 48:31; Jeremiah 48:36.

Verse 2

Isaiah 15:2. He is gone up to Bajith Which signifies a house. It is supposed to be the name of a place, so called from some eminent house or temple of their idols which was in it; and to Dibon Another city of Moab; to weep To offer their supplications with tears to their idols for help. Moab shall howl over Nebo and Medeba Two considerable cities anciently belonging to the Moabites, from whom they were taken by the Amorites, and from them by the Israelites; but were, it seems, recovered by the Moabites, in whose hands they now were. “The prophet so orders his discourse in this prophecy, as if, being placed on a high mountain, he beheld the army of the Assyrians, suddenly, and contrary to all expectation, directing their course toward Moab; and in this unforeseen attack, ravaging and plundering, rather than besieging, the principal cities and fortifications of this country; while the Moabites, astonished at the report of this event, burst forth into weeping and lamentation, hasten to the temples and altars of their god Chemosh, to implore his aid, making bare their heads, cutting off their hair, and filling all places with howling and lamentation, like desperate men; while some of them fall by the sword of the enemy, some of them flee toward Arabia, their goods, land, vineyards, &c., being left a spoil to the enemy.” See Vitringa.

Verse 4

Isaiah 15:4. And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh Two other Moabitish cities; of which see Numbers 21:25-26; Numbers 32:3; Numbers 32:37. Their voice shall be heard unto Jahaz Another city in the utmost borders of Moab. The armed soldiers shall cry out Even the warriors themselves, who should defend the state, shall lose all their spirit and courage, and join in the general lamentation and dismay: see Jeremiah 48:34; Jeremiah 48:41. His life shall be grievous unto him The Moabites shall generally long for death, to free them from those dreadful calamities which they perceive unavoidably coming upon them.

Verse 5

Isaiah 15:5. My heart shall cry out for Moab “Hitherto the prophet had set forth the lamentations of the Moabites, but, seeing these future evils, as it were, present to his own mind, he compassionates their griefs, and declares his own participation of their sorrows.” His fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, &c. The meaning of this clause is thought to be, His fugitives shall cry, so as they may be heard unto Zoar; or, shall wander and cry as they go along the way, even till they come to Zoar. A heifer Or, as a heifer; as the words are translated Jeremiah 48:34; that is, they shall send forth their cries, by weeping and lamenting, like a heifer. “Thre e years old, is mentioned only to denote a full-grown heifer, the lowing of which, naturalists have remarked, is deeper and more affecting than that of the male.” Zoar was a town bordering upon Moab. By the mounting up of Luhith It is not certain what place this was, but it is evident enough that it was some elevated tract, or ascent, in the extremity of Moab. Horonaim was also a city of Moab, situated probably in the descent from Luhith. They shall raise up a cry of destruction Such a cry as men send forth when they are just falling into the pit of destruction. He signifies that the cry should be universal in all places where they should come, and reaching from one side of the country to the other.

Verses 6-8

Isaiah 15:6-8. For the waters, &c. The prophet, in these verses, sets forth the causes of lamentation among the inhabitants of the southern part of Moab. The first is the desolation of their fruitful fields, Isaiah 15:6. The waters of Nimrim, or, the waterish, or well-watered grounds, shall be desolate Such grounds, being very fruitful, are commonly most inhabited and cultivated; but now they also, and much more the dry and barren grounds, should be desolate, and without inhabitant. That which they have laid up, &c. Here we have a second cause of their grief: the property which they had acquired and reserved for their future use, and that of their offspring, should be seized and carried away by the Assyrians their enemies. To the brook of the willows Or, rather, to the valley of the willows, as Bishop Lowth translates it, that is, to Babylon: see note on Psalms 137:2. The cry is gone round about the borders, &c. “The prophet, contemplating with the most lively imagination the consternation of all Moab, as if present to his view, scarcely satisfies himself in painting the scene. He repeats again the proposition, and supplies, by a general declaration, what he might seem not to have expressed with sufficient perfection before. He therefore declares, that this lamentation, of which he speaks, shall not be private, nor peculiar to one place, or to a few, but common to all: and that the tempest shall not break upon this or that part of the country only, but shall afflict all Moab, every corner and boundary of it, and take in the whole land from Eglaim to Beer-elim, two cities in the extremities of Moab.” Vitringa.

Verse 9

Isaiah 15:9. For the waters of Dimon This seems to be the same place with Dibon, mentioned Isaiah 15:2; shall be full of blood This is a third evil, and cause of lamentation; the great slaughter which the enemy should make of the people. For I will bring more upon Dimon Hebrew, I will place, or lay upon Dimon, נוכפות , accessions, or additions, that is, I will increase those waters by the torrents that shall flow into them from the blood of the slain. The expression is strong and elegant. Bishop Lowth, however, interprets the clause, “Yet will I bring more evils upon Dimon,” that is, though the waters are full of blood, yet will I bring upon them further and greater evils. Lions upon him that escapeth of Moab, &c. This is the fourth evil, the completion of all the rest, and the severest cause of their lamentation, that God would not even spare a remnant hereafter to restore and renew their fallen state; but would pursue them with his judgments to the last extremity, and send upon them, and on their desolate country, lions and other wild beasts, entirely to destroy all that remained. Vitringa, however, thinks that Nebuchadnezzar is pointed out in this clause; who, after the Moabites, reduced extremely low by the Assyrians, began to recruit themselves, should give the remnant of the nation to destruction, and complete the judgment which the Assyrian had begun: see Jeremiah 4:7; Jeremiah 5:6; Jeremiah 48:40. The Chaldee paraphrast must have so understood it, translating the word, which we render lion, by king: A king with his army to destroy the Moabites.

Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 15". Benson's Commentary. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rbc/isaiah-15.html. 1857.
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