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Book of Isaiah
This chapter continues the prophecy against Moab; in which the prophet gives good advice, but because of an arrogant neglect of it, which he foresaw, threatens with ruin, and fixes a time for it. He advises the Moabites to pay their tribute to the king of Judah, or otherwise they would be turned out of their land, as a bird out of its nest. They were to protect, and not betray the people of the Jews that would flee to them, because of the Assyrian army, and for this reason gives a great character of the king of Judah, and assures them of the stability of his kingdom. But for their pride, wrath and lying, they are threatened with destruction, and are represented as howling under it, because of the spoil of their cities, vineyards and fields, so that they have no harvest, nor vintage, nor gathering of summer fruits, or joy because of the harvests. Because of this, the prophet expresses great concern, and after having observed the submission of the Moabites to their gods without success, the chapter is closed with an assurance of the certain ruin of Moab, and of the time when it should be.
The Final Offer of Mercy Offered To Moab (16:1-5)
Chapter 16 opens with a last call to Moab to avail herself of the mercy of God which He has provided for her. Almighty God offers mercy to ALL people, but most turn their back on it.
Isaiah 16:1 Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. (KJV)
Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land . . . or tribute, as some interpret it. The Moabites, being conquered by David, paid tribute to him (2 Sam.8:2) and when the kingdom was divided in Rehoboam's time, the tribute was paid to the kings of Israel, which continued until the times of Ahab, when the Moabites rebelled, and refused to pay it (2 Ki.3:4), and this tribute, as appears from the Passage was paid in lambs and rams.
From Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount the daughter of Zion . . . according to some, Sela was the chief city of the kingdom of Moab. Sela means a rock; it means the same as Petra, the chief city of Arabia.
Isaiah 16:2 For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon. (KJV)
For it shall be . . . for or otherwise, as this word is sometimes used; if you do not follow my advice . . . or else it shall be if ye do not pay this tribute.
That as a wandering bird cast out of the nest . . . or as a bird that has forsaken its nest, and wanders about, and its young ones are turned out of the nest, unable to care for themselves, but flutter about here and there, trembling and frightened (Pro.26:2).
So the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon . . . the people will be turned out of their houses, wandering up and down, not knowing where to go; unable to help themselves, and in utmost fear and anxiety, fleeing to the very borders of their land, where the fords of Arnon were (Num.21:13).
Isaiah 16:3 Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. (KJV)
Take counsel . . . this refers either to what is said before, that they should take the counsel given, and do that which was just and right, by protecting and harboring the distressed Jews, who would flee to them, away from the enemy.
Execute judgment . . . do those things which are just and right, as should be to all men, and especially to God’s people, to whom they have been most unrighteous and unmerciful.
Make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday . . . as the night or as the shadow of the night, large and dark, as the shadow of the Earth is in the night season. The meaning is, conceal and protect God’s people in the time of their distress and danger, as this symbol is explained in the rest of this verse and in the following one.
Hide the outcasts . . . the people that were driven out of their land through the fury and persecution of the enemy, would be wise to receive and conceal, as Rahab did the spies (Josh.6:17, 25).
Bewray not him that wandereth . . . do not betray them that wander from their native place, as a bird being forced from its nest. Do not tell the enemy where they are, or betray them, and do not deliver them up into the hands of their enemy.
*****The Moabites are advised to make a shadow, as large and as strong as the dark night, to protect the Jews in their distress, and to refresh and comfort them under it.
Isaiah 16:4 Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land. (KJV)
Let mine outcasts dwell with thee . . . not whom God had cast out, but who were the Lord's people, and whom He owns as such, even though they were cast out by the enemy, or forced to flee, and leave their country. The Moabites were advised to let these outcasts be sojourners in their land, and let them stay there for a while, where they could live privately and peaceably. Mine outcasts . . . even though God had forsaken and really chastened the Jews, yet He still owned them as His people, and He will treat them with kindness for the injuries done to them.
Moab, be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler . . . the kingdom of Moab, was to be a place to hide and protect the Jews when they would flee to them for shelter, from the face of the spoiler of their land and their substance.
For the extortioner is at an end . . . or the one who oppressed them, and squeezed their property out of their hands; that drained them out of their substance, and even sucked their blood; meaning the Assyrian monarch, whose time was short, and an end was soon put to all his schemes and oppressions (2 Ki.19:36-37). The present tense is put for the future, as it is usually done in prophecies.
The spoiler ceaseth . . . out of the land, being obliged to depart out of it.
The oppressors are consumed out of the land . . . the Assyrian army, and its officers, who were all consumed in one night by an angel (2 Ki.19:35).
Isaiah 16:5 And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness. (KJV)
And in mercy shall the throne be established . . . meaning the throne of Hezekiah, and his government over Judah, which was more firmly settled and established after the overthrow of the Assyrian army, through the mercy of God given to him, because of the mercy he exercised among his subjects (Pro.20:28). Hezekiah was a type of Christ, and his throne was characteristic of His. The important thing about this prophecy may be the stability of the Kingdom of Christ . . . that His throne shall be established in goodness and in mercy. Although they have sinned, the Lord is now punishing their sins, yet He will deliver them for His own mercy's sake. http://www.godcannotlie.org/types_of_christ_in_OT.htm
And he shall sit upon it in truth . . . which does not so much mean the reality of Hezekiah sitting there, as much as his continuance there, indicated by sitting, and the constancy and stability of his reign, or his governing with the fullness of faith and truth.
In the tabernacle of David . . . meaning his palace, or house in Jerusalem, indicating that David was a shepherd before he was a king, or possibly referring to the unsettled state of David's house (Amos 9:11; Acts 15:15-16).
Judging and seeking judgment . . . searching out the truth of causes and things with care and diligence, which is the duty of a judge, and acting the part of a righteous, faithful and diligent judge; seeking to do justice to the poor and needy, and searching deep into the cause that comes before him, to find out, and take the right side of it.
And hasting righteousness . . . neither denying nor delaying justice. These good qualifications seem to be here mentioned, to teach the rulers of Moab their duty towards their own people, and the Israelites which were among them, and also dispatching the whole as quickly as may be. All these characteristics, though they may be found in Hezekiah, yet shall be much more highly found in Christ when He reigns (Rev.20:1-4).
The Fierce Pride of Moab (16:6)
Isaiah 16:6 We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud: even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: but his lies shall not be so. (KJV)
We have heard of the pride of Moab . . . these are the words of the prophet, either in the Name of the Lord, or from the Jews or of other nations who had heard very often, of the excessive pride of this people, and had many examples of it related to them, which foretold their ruin; for pride comes before a fall (Pro.16:18).
He is very proud . . . because the Moabites originally were so dishonorable and shameful; there is little reason to hope or expect that they would take the advice above given to them, or do good things for the Jews as they were urged to do. Their pride was such, that they would despise the counsel of God, and would never stoop to do any favor for His people.
Even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath . . . Moab’s arrogant contempt for the people of God, built up their revengeful wrath against them.
But his lies shall not be so . . . or his strength shall not be so. Moab shall not be able to do what in his pride and wrath he said he would do . . . and all his wicked thoughts and devices, all his proud and wrathful expressions, will mean nothing. They all will be of no effect (Isa.44:25), for God resisteth the proud (Jam.4:6). Jer. 48:30 I know his wrath, saith the LORD; but it shall not be so; his lies shall not so effect it. (KJV)
*****The prophet, having before spoken to the Moabites, telling them of their duty, now turns his words to God's people, whom God armed and comforted against their approaching misery. The idea and logic of the prophet in this verse is that he does not expect that his counsels (advice and warnings) will have any good effect on Moab, and that they will still continue to act brazenly and shamefully towards the Jews, and they promise themselves that they shall now fulfill what they have long desired . . . to satisfy their malice in the Jews total and final destruction . . . but they shall be greatly disappointed in their hopes. It was well known to Isaiah and all concerned that the Moabites were a proud, arrogant and furious people; and the prophet felt sure that they would scorn his advice.
Isaiah 16:7 Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken. (KJV)
Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab . . . one Moabite shall mourn for another; the living for the dead; one part of the country for another.
Everyone shall howl . . . every Moabite, the whole country of Moab shall howl and moan, since everywhere shall be desolate.
For the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn . . . Kirhareseth was an ancient and eminent city of Moab, called Kir (Isa.15:1), and Kirharesh (Isa.16:11), which means, the city of the sun, probably because there was there the temple of the sun; which city was partially preserved when their other cities were ruined, only in Kirharaseth left they the stones (2 Ki.3:25), and therefore the destruction of it was more lamented.
Surely they are stricken . . . stricken or broken, overthrown or destroyed.
Isaiah 16:8 For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come even unto Jazer, they wandered through the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea. (KJV)
For the fields of Heshbon languish . . . because of drought; or because of the enemy treading them down; or because there were no men left to till and care for them (Isa.15:4). Heshbon seems to have been a place famous for lush fields and pastures, and to have been a very fruitful and well-watered place; hence we read of the fish pools in Heshbon (Song 7:4), although some think the word means vines (Deut.32:32).
And the vine of Sibmah . . . called Shebam in (Num.32:3), and seems to have been famous for vines and vineyards. Some think the vine refers to the people.
The lords of the Heathen . . . the Assyrians or Chaldeans, the great rulers of the Eastern nations.
Have broken down the principal plants thereof . . . the principal plants means the choicest vines; under which some seem to think not only all other fruits and goods, but even their choicest people.
They are come even unto Jazer . . . meaning either the Chaldean army, or the Moabites, who had fled there; or maybe this is to be understood of the vines of Sibmah, stating the large spread of them, which reached even to Jazer, was about 15 miles from Heshbon, called Jaazer in (Num.21:32).
They wandered through the wilderness . . . the wilderness of Moab. The Moabites fled away for their lives, and wandered about in the wilderness of Moab (Num.21:11; Deut.2:8).
Her branches are stretched out . . . that is, the branches of the vine of Sibmah. Her people are called plants before, are spread abroad, are driven from their own homes, and dispersed into several countries.
They are gone over the sea . . . the Dead Sea, which was the border of Moab. They were forced to flee out of their own country to save their lives. The Dead Sea was called the Sea of Jazer (Jer.48:32).
Isaiah 16:9 Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen. (KJV)
Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah . . . bewail (grieve over) the one, as Isaiah had done in both places with the fruits about them being destroyed by the enemy. Isaiah here indicates the Moabites weeping for their vines more especially, they being a people addicted to drunkenness, in which their father was begotten (Gen.19:30-38). The Targum says: as I have brought armies against Jazer, so will I bring slayers against Sibmah.
I will water thee with my tears . . . shed an abundance of them (Ps.6:6).
O Heshbon, and Elealeh . . . this may be referring to fishponds (Song 7:4), because of all the tears (Isa.15:4).
For the shouting for thy summer fruits, and for thy harvest, is fallen . . . shouting for the harvest is stopped, not to be heard . . . meaning the singing and shouting made by laborers, while they were gathering the summer fruits, so their work went more pleasantly; or the great joy and shouting when the crop was harvested (Jer.48:32-33).
Isaiah 16:10 And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease. (KJV)
And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field . . . all reasons of joy and gladness was removed, because the plentiful fields were trampled flat and destroyed by the enemy, and left desolate.
And in the vineyards there shall be no singing . . . in those times there was always singing as the men that gathered the grapes, and trod the wine presses; but now there would be no men in the vineyards, because there were no grapes to gather or tread.
The treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses . . . in those times they would squeeze out the juice of their grapes by tramping on them with their feet in large containers.
I have made their vintage shouting to cease . . . by allowing the enemy to come in among them, which had destroyed their vintage, which prevented their shouting and singing.
Isaiah 16:11 Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh. (KJV)
Wherefore my bowels shall sound like a harp for Moab . . . making a sound as the harp, a very mournful one such as that, when used at funerals; which it makes when it is stricken or played causes a quivering of the strings, to which the inward trembling of the bowels is compared, and expresses the prophet's sympathy he felt for those he speaks to (Isa.63:15). Shall sound . . . through compassion to them (Isa.15:5). In excessive grief the bowels are sometimes rolled and tumbled together, so as to make an audible noise. Here, Isaiah indicates the magnitude of their approaching calamity, which being so grievous to him, would be intolerable to them.
And mine inward parts for Kirharesh . . . is the same with Kirhareseth (vs.7), which was a main city, and the destruction of it and the inhabitants, laid heavy on their hearts. The Targum says: and their heart shall grieve for the men of the city of their strength. Kirharesh was a strong city, in which they placed their confidence; but when destroyed, it was very affecting, to which agrees (Jer.48:31).
Isaiah 16:12 And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray; but he shall not prevail. (KJV)
And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place . . . with weeping there (Isa.15:2), or with numerous sacrifices, and going from one high place to another, as Balak king of Moab did. It seems that this was the way of the Moabites in their distress . . . to offer up a multitude of sacrifices in different places. It would be seen by others, and appear to themselves, that they did all this in vain, and all their cries and sacrifices were to no purpose, and were not heard by their gods.
That he shall come to his sanctuary to pray . . . to the temple of Moab’s great god, Chemosh (Num.21:29; 1 Ki.11:7; Jer.48:46), from whom they shall seek and expect relief.
But he shall not prevail . . . Moab’s prayers shall not be effective; his sacrifices will be fruitless, and without success. Moab’s idol cannot hear nor help him.
The Fulfillment of Judgment within Three Years (16:13-14)
This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning Moab since that time.
Isaiah 16:13 This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning Moab since that time. (KJV)
This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning Moab . . . this prophecy now delivered is what comes from the Lord. It is the Word of the Lord, NOT of man, and so shall certainly come to pass; when it was spoken.
Since that time . . . from eternity, and so refers to the decree of God, or from the time that Moab was in being, or a nation, as others; or from the time that Balak hired Balaam to curse Israel, or from the time that the Lord made known His mind and His will, concerning this matter, to the prophet Isaiah.
Since the beginning of God's revelation to Isaiah concerning Moab, and before; which explanation seems to be confirmed by the following words, but now.
Isaiah 16:14 But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble. (KJV)
But now the Lord hath spoken . . . has made this further discovery of His Mind to me. What follows is a separate prophecy from the previous one, and has a date fixed to it, as to when it would be fulfilled. The prior prophecy relates to the utter destruction of the Moabites by the Babylonians, in the times of Nebuchadnezzar; of which Jeremiah (Jer.38:1), speaks in very much the same language as Isaiah does; that the final destruction of Moab was by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar: but this was of a lesser nature, and to be accomplished in a short time, either by Shalmaneser, or by Sennacherib king of Assyria, or Esarhaddon his son.
Saying, within three years, as the year of an hireling . . . meaning precisely three years, not sooner not later! Some think this prophecy bears date with the former, concerning the Philistines, which was the year King Ahaz died (Isa.14:28), and so was fulfilled in the fourth year of Hezekiah, when Shalmaneser came up against Samaria, and took Moab in his way (2 Ki.18:9). Others say that it was given out in the fourth year of Hezekiah, when the Assyrian besieged Samaria, and after three years took it, and then returned and fell upon the Moabites . . . while still others say it was in the 11th year of Hezekiah, and suppose it to be fulfilled in his 14th year by Sennacherib, about the same time he came up and took the fenced cities of Judah, and besieged Jerusalem (2 Ki.18:13), and with this, agree the Jewish writers.
And the glory of Moab shall be contemned with all that great multitude . . . of cities and towns, of the inhabitants of them, and of wealth and riches, things in which Moab gloried, and were reckoned weighty and heavy things; these were accounted light by the king of Assyria, who spoiled them, or greatly diminished them.
And the remnant shall be very small and feeble . . . those that were not cut off by the Assyrian army would be but a few, and these weak and without strength, being dispossessed of their cities, and of their wealth . . . although in the process of time, between this, and the fulfilment of the former prophecy, and that of Jeremiah, they recovered themselves, and became very numerous and flourishing.
When God deals with the nations that have to do with Israel, He uses a calendar. He never uses a calendar with the church. Within three years the Moabites were to be destroyed, for it was the judgment of God upon them because of their pride.
Lucifer, the son of the morning, was also lifted up with pride. He wanted to lift his throne above the throne of God. He wanted to establish his own self-contained kingdom and be free of God. THAT will NEVER happen! All in all, this is the position of ALL liberal religions. Pride and arrogance is the main thing that cause people to reject God's Word and His Revelation. Most people want a do-it-yourself religion. They want to DO something to be saved, because it would build up their pride. But that is NOT how our God works! Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. (KJV) http://www.godcannotlie.org/eph_ch2.htm
Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (KJV)
God’s judgment came down hard on Moab. This out-of-the-way nation, is totally forgotten today . . . but, it has a message for us. Pay attention to what God says!
Those who refuse to be counselled, cannot be helped. More souls are ruined by pride than by any other sin. The proud and arrogant are usually very devoted to their cause. With lies many seek to gain the satisfaction of their pride and passion. Moab was famous for its lush fields and vineyards; but they shall be laid waste by the invading army. God can so easily turn laughter into mourning, and joy into heaviness. Let us always rejoice with trembling when the Holy and Almighty God blesses us, and when He chastens us (Heb.12:5-11; Rev.3:19).
Isaiah looks with compassionate concern on the desolations of such a pleasant country; it causes him inward grief. The false gods of Moab are unable to help them; and the God of Israel, the only TRUE God, can and will make good, of what He has spoken. Moab was to know her ruin was very near, and prepare for the disaster. Even those in the midst of the most awful declarations of God’s Holy wrath, can discover the way of escape . . . to those who heed His warning.
My friend, there is absolutely no escaping the lake of fire (Rev.20:15), except by submission to the Son of David (Jesus Christ), and devoting ourselves to Him. And when the appointed time comes in the future last days, all the glory, prosperity and multitude of the wicked shall perish. BEWARE!!!
Commentaries on Old Testament Books
Book of Isaiah . . Isaiah's Mini-Bible
Isaiah Ch.1 . . Isaiah Ch.2 . . Isaiah Ch.3 . . Isaiah Ch.4 . . Isaiah Ch.5 . . Isaiah Ch.6 . . Isaiah Ch.7 . . Isaiah Ch.8 . . Isaiah Ch.9 . . Isa.Ch.10 . . Isa.Ch.11 . . Isa.Ch12 . . Home Page
JUDGMENT ON THE NATIONS . . . . . Isaiah Ch.13 . . Isaiah Ch.14 . . Isaiah Ch.15 . . Isaiah Ch.16 . . Isaiah Ch.17 . . Isaiah Ch.18 . . Isaiah Ch.19 . . Isaiah Ch.20 . . Isaiah Ch.21 . . Isaiah Ch.22 . . Isaiah Ch.23 . . Home Page
ISAIAH’S APOCALYPSE . . . . . Isaiah Ch.24 . . Isaiah Ch.25 . . Isaiah Ch.26 . . Isaiah Ch.27 . . Home Page
ISAIAH'S SIX WOES . . . Isaiah Ch.28 . . Isaiah Ch.29 . . Isaiah Ch.30 . . Isaiah Ch.31 . . Isaiah Ch.32 . . Isaiah Ch.33 . . Isaiah Ch.34 . . Isaiah Ch.35 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Historic Part . . Isaiah Ch.36 . . Isaiah Ch.37 . . Isaiah Ch.38 . . Isaiah Ch.39 . . Home Page
Isaiah Speaks of Messiah's Incarnation. . Isaiah Ch.40 . . Isaiah Ch.41 . . Isaiah Ch.42 . . Isaiah Ch.43 . . Isaiah Ch.44 . . Isaiah Ch.45 . . Isaiah Ch.46 . . Isaiah Ch.47 . . Isaiah Ch.48 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Introduction to the Suffering Servant
Isaiah's Suffering Servant Prophecy. . . Isaiah 52:13-53:12
Isaiah's Redemption Through the Suffering Servant . . . Isaiah Ch.49 . . Isaiah Ch.50 . . Isaiah Ch.51 . . Isaiah Ch.52 . . Isaiah Ch.53 . . Isaiah Ch.54 . . Isaiah Ch.55 . . Isaiah Ch.56 . . Isaiah Ch.57 . . Home Page
Isaiah's Vision of the Dispersion . . . Isaiah Ch.58 . . Isaiah Ch59 . . Isaiah Ch.60 . . Isaiah Ch.61 . . Isaiah Ch.62 . . Isaiah Ch.63 . . Isaiah Ch.64 . . Isaiah Ch.65 . . Isaiah Ch.66 . . Home Page