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Isaiah 15:1--16:14

Context
The Lord Will Judge Moab

15:1 Here is a message about Moab:

Indeed, in a night it is devastated,

Ar of Moab is destroyed!

Indeed, in a night it is devastated,

Kir of Moab is destroyed!

15:2 They went up to the temple, 1 

the people of Dibon went up to the high places to lament. 2 

Because of what happened to Nebo and Medeba, 3  Moab wails.

Every head is shaved bare,

every beard is trimmed off. 4 

15:3 In their streets they wear sackcloth;

on their roofs and in their town squares

all of them wail,

they fall down weeping.

15:4 The people of 5  Heshbon and Elealeh cry out,

their voices are heard as far away as Jahaz.

For this reason Moab’s soldiers shout in distress;

their courage wavers. 6 

15:5 My heart cries out because of Moab’s plight, 7 

and for the fugitives 8  stretched out 9  as far as Zoar and Eglath Shelishiyah.

For they weep as they make their way up the ascent of Luhith;

they loudly lament their demise on the road to Horonaim. 10 

15:6 For the waters of Nimrim are gone; 11 

the grass is dried up,

the vegetation has disappeared,

and there are no plants.

15:7 For this reason what they have made and stored up,

they carry over the Stream of the Poplars.

15:8 Indeed, the cries of distress echo throughout Moabite territory;

their wailing can be heard in Eglaim and Beer Elim. 12 

15:9 Indeed, the waters of Dimon 13  are full of blood!

Indeed, I will heap even more trouble on Dimon. 14 

A lion will attack 15  the Moabite fugitives

and the people left in the land.

16:1 Send rams as tribute to the ruler of the land, 16 

from Sela in the desert 17 

to the hill of Daughter Zion.

16:2 At the fords of the Arnon 18 

the Moabite women are like a bird

that flies about when forced from its nest. 19 

16:3 “Bring a plan, make a decision! 20 

Provide some shade in the middle of the day! 21 

Hide the fugitives! Do not betray 22  the one who tries to escape!

16:4 Please let the Moabite fugitives live 23  among you.

Hide them 24  from the destroyer!”

Certainly 25  the one who applies pressure will cease, 26 

the destroyer will come to an end,

those who trample will disappear 27  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. 28 

He will be sure to make just decisions

and will be experienced in executing justice. 29 

16:6 We have heard about Moab’s pride,

their great arrogance,

their boasting, pride, and excess. 30 

But their boastful claims are empty! 31 

16:7 So Moab wails over its demise 32 

they all wail!

Completely devastated, they moan

about what has happened to the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth. 33 

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.

16:9 So I weep along with Jazer 34 

over the vines of Sibmah.

I will saturate you 35  with my tears, Heshbon and Elealeh,

for the conquering invaders shout triumphantly

over your fruit and crops. 36 

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 37 

I have brought the joyful shouts to an end. 38 

16:11 So my heart constantly sighs for Moab, like the strumming of a harp, 39 

my inner being sighs 40  for Kir Hareseth. 41 

16:12 When the Moabites plead with all their might at their high places, 42 

and enter their temples to pray, their prayers will be ineffective! 43 

16:13 This is the message the Lord previously announced about Moab. 16:14 Now the Lord makes this announcement: “Within exactly three years 44  Moab’s splendor will disappear, along with all her many people; there will be just a few, insignificant survivors left.” 45 

1 tn Heb “house.”

2 tn Heb “even Dibon [to] the high places to weep.” The verb “went up” does double duty in the parallel structure.

3 tn Heb “over [or “for”] Nebo and over [or “for”] Medeba.”

4 sn Shaving the head and beard were outward signs of mourning and grief.

5 tn The words “the people of” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

6 tc The Hebrew text has, “For this reason the soldiers of Moab shout, his inner being quivers for him.” To achieve tighter parallelism, some emend the first line, changing חֲלֻצֵי (khalutse, “soldiers”) to חַלְצֵי (khaltse, “loins”) and יָרִיעוּ (yariu, “they shout,” from רוּעַ, rua’) to יָרְעוּ (yoru, “they quiver”), a verb from יָרַע (yara’), which also appears in the next line. One can then translate v. 4b as “For this reason the insides of the Moabites quiver, their whole body shakes” (cf. NAB, NRSV).

7 tn Heb “for Moab.” For rhetorical purposes the speaker (the Lord?, see v. 9) plays the role of a mourner.

8 tn The vocalization of the Hebrew text suggests “the bars of her gates,” but the form should be repointed to yield, “her fugitives.” See HALOT 156-57 s.v. בָּרִחַ, and BDB 138 s.v. בָּרִיהַ.

9 tn The words “are stretched out” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.

10 tn Heb “For the ascent of Luhith, with weeping they go up it; for [on] the road to Horonaim an outcry over shattering they raise up.”

11 tn Heb “are waste places”; cf. NRSV “are a desolation.”

12 tn Heb “to Eglaim [is] her wailing, and [to] Beer Elim [is] her wailing.”

13 tc The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa reads “Dibon” instead of “Dimon” in this verse.

14 tn Heb “Indeed I will place on Dimon added things.” Apparently the Lord is speaking.

15 tn The words “will attack” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

16 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).

17 tn The Hebrew text has “toward [across?] the desert.”

18 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

19 tn Heb “like a bird fleeing, thrust away [from] a nest, the daughters of Moab are [at] the fords of Arnon.”

20 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.

21 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.

22 tn Heb “disclose, uncover.”

23 tn That is, “live as resident foreigners.”

24 tn Heb “Be a hiding place for them.”

25 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.

26 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.

27 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.

28 tn Heb “and a throne will be established in faithfulness, and he will sit on it in reliability, in the tent of David.”

29 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.”

30 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.

31 tn Heb “not so his boasting.”

32 tn Heb “So Moab wails for Moab.”

33 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.”

34 tn Heb “So I weep with the weeping of Jazer.” Once more the speaker (the Lord? – see v. 10b) plays the role of a mourner (see 15:5).

35 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”).

36 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.”

37 tn Heb “wine in the vats the treader does not tread.”

38 sn The Lord appears to be the speaker here. See 15:9.

39 tn Heb “so my intestines sigh for Moab like a harp.” The word מֵעַי (meay, “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.

40 tn The verb is supplied in the translation; “sighs” in the preceding line does double duty in the parallel structure.

41 tn Heb “Kir Heres” (so ASV, NRSV, TEV, CEV), a variant name for “Kir Hareseth” (see v. 7).

42 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

43 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.”

44 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.

45 tn Heb “and the splendor of Moab will be disgraced with all the great multitude, and a small little remnant will not be strong.”



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