from Sela in the desert 2
to the hill of Daughter Zion.
the Moabite women are like a bird
that flies about when forced from its nest. 4
Provide some shade in the middle of the day! 6
Hide the fugitives! Do not betray 7 the one who tries to escape!
Hide them 9 from the destroyer!”
the destroyer will come to an end,
those who trample will disappear 12 from the earth.
16:5 Then a trustworthy king will be established;
he will rule in a reliable manner,
this one from David’s family. 13
He will be sure to make just decisions
and will be experienced in executing justice. 14
16:6 We have heard about Moab’s pride,
their great arrogance,
their boasting, pride, and excess. 15
But their boastful claims are empty! 16
they all wail!
Completely devastated, they moan
about what has happened to the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth. 18
16:8 For the fields of Heshbon are dried up,
as well as the vines of Sibmah.
The rulers of the nations trample all over its vines,
which reach Jazer and spread to the desert;
their shoots spread out and cross the sea.
over the vines of Sibmah.
I will saturate you 20 with my tears, Heshbon and Elealeh,
for the conquering invaders shout triumphantly
over your fruit and crops. 21
16:10 Joy and happiness disappear from the orchards,
and in the vineyards no one rejoices or shouts;
no one treads out juice in the wine vats 22 –
I have brought the joyful shouts to an end. 23
and enter their temples to pray, their prayers will be ineffective! 28
16:13 This is the message the Lord previously announced about Moab. 16:14 Now the Lord makes this announcement: “Within exactly three years 29 Moab’s splendor will disappear, along with all her many people; there will be just a few, insignificant survivors left.” 30
17:1 Here is a message about Damascus:
“Look, Damascus is no longer a city,
it is a heap of ruins!
They will be used for herds,
which will lie down there in peace. 32
17:3 Fortified cities will disappear from Ephraim,
and Damascus will lose its kingdom. 33
The survivors in Syria
will end up like the splendor of the Israelites,”
says the Lord who commands armies.
Jacob’s splendor will be greatly diminished, 35
and he will become skin and bones. 36
17:5 It will be as when one gathers the grain harvest,
and his hand gleans the ear of grain.
It will be like one gathering the ears of grain
in the Valley of Rephaim.
17:6 There will be some left behind,
like when an olive tree is beaten –
two or three ripe olives remain toward the very top,
four or five on its fruitful branches,”
says the Lord God of Israel.
or depend on the Asherah poles and incense altars their fingers made. 42
like the abandoned summits of the Amorites, 44
which they abandoned because of the Israelites;
there will be desolation.
you pay no attention to your strong protector. 46
So this is what happens:
You cultivate beautiful plants
and plant exotic vines. 47
the morning you begin planting, you do what you can to make it sprout.
Yet the harvest will disappear 49 in the day of disease
and incurable pain.
those who make a commotion as loud as the roaring of the sea’s waves. 51
The people making such an uproar are as good as dead, 52
those who make an uproar as loud as the roaring of powerful waves. 53
when he shouts at 55 them, they will flee to a distant land,
driven before the wind like dead weeds on the hills,
or like dead thistles 56 before a strong gale.
by morning they vanish. 58
This is the fate of those who try to plunder us,
the destiny of those who try to loot us! 59
the one beyond the rivers of Cush,
18:2 that sends messengers by sea,
who glide over the water’s surface in boats made of papyrus.
Go, you swift messengers,
to a nation of tall, smooth-skinned people, 61
to a people that are feared far and wide, 62
to a nation strong and victorious, 63
whose land rivers divide. 64
18:3 All you who live in the world,
who reside on the earth,
you will see a signal flag raised on the mountains;
you will hear a trumpet being blown.
18:4 For this is what the Lord has told me:
“I will wait 65 and watch from my place,
like scorching heat produced by the sunlight, 66
18:5 For before the harvest, when the bud has sprouted,
and the ripening fruit appears, 70
he will cut off the unproductive shoots 71 with pruning knives;
he will prune the tendrils. 72
and the wild animals; 74
the birds will eat them during the summer,
and all the wild animals will eat them during the winter.
18:7 At that time
tribute will be brought to the Lord who commands armies,
by a people that are tall and smooth-skinned,
a people that are feared far and wide,
a nation strong and victorious,
whose land rivers divide. 75
1 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “Send [a plural imperatival form is used] a ram [to] the ruler of the land.” The term כַּר (kar, “ram”) should be emended to the plural כָּרִים (karim). The singular form in the text is probably the result of haplography; note that the next word begins with a mem (מ).
2 tn The Hebrew text has “toward [across?] the desert.”
4 tn Heb “like a bird fleeing, thrust away [from] a nest, the daughters of Moab are [at] the fords of Arnon.”
5 sn It is unclear who is being addressed in this verse. Perhaps the prophet, playing the role of a panic stricken Moabite refugee, requests the leaders of Judah (the imperatives are plural) to take pity on the fugitives.
6 tn Heb “Make your shade like night in the midst of noonday.” “Shade” here symbolizes shelter, while the heat of noonday represents the intense suffering of the Moabites. By comparing the desired shade to night, the speaker visualizes a huge dark shadow cast by a large tree that would provide relief from the sun’s heat.
7 tn Heb “disclose, uncover.”
8 tn That is, “live as resident foreigners.”
9 tn Heb “Be a hiding place for them.”
10 tn The present translation understands כִּי (ki) as asseverative, but one could take it as explanatory (“for,” KJV, NASB) or temporal (“when,” NAB, NRSV). In the latter case, v. 4b would be logically connected to v. 5.
11 tn A perfect verbal form is used here and in the next two lines for rhetorical effect; the demise of the oppressor(s) is described as if it had already occurred.
12 tc The Hebrew text has, “they will be finished, the one who tramples, from the earth.” The plural verb form תַּמּוּ, (tammu, “disappear”) could be emended to agree with the singular subject רֹמֵס (romes, “the one who tramples”) or the participle can be emended to a plural (רֹמֵסִם, romesim) to agree with the verb. The translation assumes the latter. Haplography of mem (ם) seems likely; note that the word after רֹמֵס begins with a mem.
13 tn Heb “and a throne will be established in faithfulness, and he will sit on it in reliability, in the tent of David.”
14 tn Heb “one who judges and seeks justice, and one experienced in fairness.” Many understand מְהִר (mÿhir) to mean “quick, prompt” (see BDB 555 s.v. מָהִיר), but HALOT 552 s.v. מָהִיר offers the meaning “skillful, experienced,” and translates the phrase in v. 5 “zealous for what is right.”
15 tn עֶבְרָה (’evrah) often means “anger, fury,” but here it appears to refer to boastful outbursts or excessive claims. See HALOT 782 s.v. עֶבְרָה.
16 tn Heb “not so his boasting.”
17 tn Heb “So Moab wails for Moab.”
18 tn The Hebrew text has, “for the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth you [masculine plural] moan, surely destroyed.” The “raisin cakes” could have cultic significance (see Hos 3:1), but the next verse focuses on agricultural disaster, so here the raisin cakes are mentioned as an example of the fine foods that are no longer available (see 2 Sam 6:19; Song 2:5) because the vines have been destroyed by the invader (see v. 8). Some prefer to take אֲשִׁישֵׁי (’ashishe, “raisin cakes of”) as “men of” (see HALOT 95 s.v. *אָשִׁישׁ; cf. NIV). The verb form תֶהְגּוּ (tehgu, “you moan”) is probably the result of dittography (note that the preceding word ends in tav [ת]) and should be emended to הגו (a perfect, third plural form), “they moan.”
20 tc The form אֲרַיָּוֶךְ (’arayyavekh) should be emended to אֲרַוָּיֶךְ (’aravvayekh; the vav [ו] and yod [י] have been accidentally transposed) from רָוָה (ravah, “be saturated”).
21 tn Heb “for over your fruit and over your harvest shouting has fallen.” The translation assumes that the shouting is that of the conqueror (Jer 51:14). Another possibility is that the shouting is that of the harvesters (see v. 10b, as well as Jer 25:30), in which case one might translate, “for the joyful shouting over the fruit and crops has fallen silent.”
22 tn Heb “wine in the vats the treader does not tread.”
24 tn Heb “so my intestines sigh for Moab like a harp.” The word מֵעַי (me’ay, “intestines”) is used here of the seat of the emotions. English idiom requires the word “heart.” The point of the comparison to a harp is not entirely clear. Perhaps his sighs of mourning resemble a harp in sound, or his constant sighing is like the repetitive strumming of a harp.
25 tn The verb is supplied in the translation; “sighs” in the preceding line does double duty in the parallel structure.
28 tn Heb “when he appears, when he grows tired, Moab on the high places, and enters his temple to pray, he will not prevail.” It is possible that “when he grows tired” is an explanatory gloss for the preceding “when he appears.”
29 tn Heb “in three years, like the years of a hired worker.” The three years must be reckoned exactly, just as a hired worker would carefully keep track of the time he had agreed to work for an employer in exchange for a predetermined wage.
30 tn Heb “and the splendor of Moab will be disgraced with all the great multitude, and a small little remnant will not be strong.”
31 tn Three cities are known by this name in the OT: (1) an Aroer located near the Arnon, (2) an Aroer in Ammon, and (3) an Aroer of Judah. (See BDB 792-93 s.v. עֲרֹעֵר, and HALOT 883 s.v. II עֲרוֹעֵר.) There is no mention of an Aroer in Syrian territory. For this reason some want to emend the text here to עֲזֻבוֹת עָרַיהָ עֲדֵי עַד (’azuvot ’arayha ’adey ’ad, “her cities are permanently abandoned”). However, Aroer near the Arnon was taken by Israel and later conquered by the Syrians. (See Josh 12:2; 13:9, 16; Judg 11:26; 2 Kgs 10:33). This oracle pertains to Israel as well as Syria (note v. 3), so it is possible that this is a reference to Israelite and/or Syrian losses in Transjordan.
32 tn Heb “and they lie down and there is no one scaring [them].”
33 tn Heb “and kingship from Damascus”; cf. NASB “And sovereignty from Damascus.”
35 tn Heb “will be tiny.”
36 tn Heb “and the fatness of his flesh will be made lean.”
37 tn Heb “in that day” (so ASV, NASB, NIV); KJV “At that day.”
38 tn Heb “man will gaze toward his maker.”
39 tn Heb “his eyes will look toward.”
41 tn Heb “he will not gaze toward.”
42 tn Heb “and that which his fingers made he will not see, the Asherah poles and the incense altars.”
43 tn Heb “in that day” (so KJV).
44 tn The Hebrew text reads literally, “like the abandonment of the wooded height and the top one.” The following relative clause appears to allude back to the Israelite conquest of the land, so it seems preferable to emend הַחֹרֶשׁ וְהָאָמִיר (hakhoresh vÿha’amir, “the wooded height and the top one”) to חֹרֵשֵׁי הָאֱמֹרִי (khoreshe ha’emori, “[like the abandonment] of the wooded heights of the Amorites”).
45 tn Heb “you have forgotten” (so NAB, NIV, NRSV).
46 tn Heb “and the rocky cliff of your strength you do not remember.”
47 tn Heb “a vine, a strange one.” The substantival adjective זָר (zar) functions here as an appositional genitive. It could refer to a cultic plant of some type, associated with a pagan rite. But it is more likely that it refers to an exotic, or imported, type of vine, one that is foreign (i.e., “strange”) to Israel.
48 tn Heb “in the day of your planting you [?].” The precise meaning of the verb תְּשַׂגְשֵׂגִי (tÿsagsegi) is unclear. It is sometimes derived from שׂוּג/סוּג (sug, “to fence in”; see BDB 691 s.v. II סוּג). In this case one could translate “you build a protective fence.” However, the parallelism is tighter if one derives the form from שָׂגָא/שָׂגָה (saga’/sagah, “to grow”); see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:351, n. 4. For this verb, see BDB 960 s.v. שָׂגָא.
49 tc The Hebrew text has, “a heap of harvest.” However, better sense is achieved if נֵד (ned, “heap”) is emended to a verb. Options include נַד (nad, Qal perfect third masculine singular from נָדַד [nadad, “flee, depart”]), נָדַד (Qal perfect third masculine singular from נָדַד), נֹדֵד (noded, Qal active participle from נָדַד), and נָד (nad, Qal perfect third masculine singular, or participle masculine singular, from נוּד [nud, “wander, flutter”]). See BDB 626 s.v. נוּד and HALOT 672 s.v. I נדד. One could translate literally: “[the harvest] departs,” or “[the harvest] flies away.”
50 tn Heb “Woe [to] the massing of the many nations.” The word הוֹי (hoy) could be translated as a simple interjection here (“ah!”), but since the following verses announce the demise of these nations, it is preferable to take הוֹי as a funeral cry. See the note on the first phrase of 1:4.
51 tn Heb “like the loud noise of the seas, they make a loud noise.”
52 tn Heb “the uproar of the peoples.” The term הוֹי (hoy, “woe, ah”) does double duty in the parallel structure of the verse; the words “are as good as dead” are supplied in the translation to reflect this.
53 tn Heb “like the uproar of mighty waters they are in an uproar.”
54 tn Heb “the peoples are in an uproar like the uproar of mighty waters.”
55 tn Or “rebukes.” The verb and related noun are used in theophanies of God’s battle cry which terrifies his enemies. See, for example, Pss 18:15; 76:7; 106:9; Isa 50:2; Nah 1:4, and A. Caquot, TDOT 3:49-53.
56 tn Or perhaps “tumbleweed” (NAB, NIV, CEV); KJV “like a rolling thing.”
57 tn Heb “at the time of evening, look, sudden terror.”
58 tn Heb “before morning he is not.”
59 tn Heb “this is the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who loot us.”
sn The significance of the qualifying phrase “buzzing wings” is uncertain. Some suggest that the designation points to Cush as a land with many insects. Another possibility is that it refers to the swiftness with which this land’s messengers travel (v. 2a); they move over the sea as swiftly as an insect flies through the air. For a discussion of the options, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:359-60.
61 tn The precise meaning of the qualifying terms is uncertain. מְמֻשָּׁךְ (mÿmushakh) appears to be a Pual participle from the verb מָשַׁךְ (mashakh, “to draw, extend”). Lexicographers theorize that it here refers to people who “stretch out,” as it were, or are tall. See BDB 604 s.v. מָשַׁךְ, and HALOT 645-46 s.v. משׁךְ. מוֹרָט (morat) is taken as a Pual participle from מָרַט (marat), which can mean “to pull out [hair],” in the Qal, “become bald” in the Niphal, and “be wiped clean” in the Pual. Lexicographers theorize that the word here refers to people with bare, or smooth, skin. See BDB 598-99 s.v. מָרַט, and HALOT 634-35 s.v. מרט. These proposed meanings, which are based on etymological speculation, must be regarded as tentative.
62 tn Heb “from it and onwards.” HALOT 245 s.v. הָלְאָה suggests the translation “far and wide.”
63 tn Once more the precise meaning of the qualifying terms is uncertain. The expression קַו־קָו (qav-qav) is sometimes related to a proposed Arabic cognate and taken to mean “strength” (see BDB 876 II קַו). Others, on the basis of Isa 28:10, 13, understand the form as gibberish (literally, “kav, kav”) and take it to be a reference to this nation’s strange, unknown language. The form מְבוּסָה (mÿvusah) appears to be derived from בּוּס (bus, “to trample”), so lexicographers suggest the meaning “trampling” or “subjugation,” i.e., a nation that subdues others. See BDB 101 s.v. בּוּס and HALOT 541 s.v. מְבוּסָה. These proposals, which are based on etymological speculation, must be regarded as tentative.
64 tn The precise meaning of the verb בָּזָא (baza’), which occurs only in this oracle (see also v. 7) in the OT, is uncertain. BDB 102 s.v. suggests “divide” on the basis of alleged Aramaic and Arabic cognates; HALOT 117 s.v., citing an alleged Arabic cognate, suggests “wash away.”
65 tn Or “be quiet, inactive”; NIV “will remain quiet.”
66 tn Heb “like the glowing heat because of light.” The precise meaning of the line is uncertain.
67 tn Heb “a cloud of dew,” or “a cloud of light rain.”
68 tc Some medieval Hebrew
69 sn It is unclear how the comparisons in v. 4b relate to the preceding statement. How is waiting and watching similar to heat or a cloud? For a discussion of interpretive options, see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:362.
70 tn Heb “and the unripe, ripening fruit is maturing.”
71 tn On the meaning of זַלְזַל (zalzal, “shoot [of the vine] without fruit buds”) see HALOT 272 s.v. *זַלְזַל.
72 tn Heb “the tendrils he will remove, he will cut off.”
73 tn Heb “they will be left together” (so NASB).
74 tn Heb “the beasts of the earth” (so KJV, NASB).
76 tn The words “the tribute” are repeated here in the translation for clarity.
77 tn Heb “to the place of the name of the Lord who commands armies [traditionally, the Lord of hosts], Mount Zion.”