1 sn Heshbon was originally a Moabite city but was captured by Sihon king of Og and made his capital (Num 21:26-30). It was captured from Sihon and originally assigned to the tribe of Reuben (Num 32:37; Josh 13:17). Later it was made a Levitical city and was assigned to the tribe of Gad (Josh 21:39). It formed the northern limits of Moab. It was located about eighteen miles east of the northern tip of the Dead Sea.
2 sn There is a wordplay in Hebrew on the word “Heshbon” and the word “plot” (חָשְׁבוּ, khoshvu).
3 tn Heb “In Heshbon they plot evil against her [i.e., Moab].” The “they” is undefined, but it would scarcely be Moabites living in Heshbon. Hence TEV and CEV are probably correct in seeing a reference to the enemy which would imply the conquest of this city which lay on the northern border of Moab.
4 tn The meaning of this line is somewhat uncertain. The translation here follows all the modern English versions and commentaries in reading the place name “Madmen” even though the place is otherwise unknown and the Greek, Syriac, and Latin version all read this word as an emphasizing infinitive absolute of the following verb “will be destroyed,” i.e. דָּמוֹם יִדֹּמּוּ (damom yiddommu). Some see this word as a variant of the name Dimon in Isa 15:9 which in turn is a playful variant of the place name Dibon. There is once again a wordplay on the word “Madmen” and “will be destroyed”: מַדְמֵן (madmen) and יִדֹּמּוּ (yiddommu). For the meaning of the verb = “perish” or “be destroyed” see Jer 8:14; Ps 31:18.
5 tn Heb “A sword will follow after you.” The sword is again figurative of destructive forces, here the army of the Babylonians.