Isaiah 15:1-9 . THE FIFTEENTH AND SIXTEENTH CHAPTERS FORM ONE PROPHECY ON MOAB.
LOWTH thinks it was delivered in the first years of Hezekiah's reign and fulfilled in the fourth when Shalmaneser, on his way to invade Israel, may have seized on the strongholds of Moab. Moab probably had made common cause with Israel and Syria in a league against Assyria. Hence it incurred the vengeance of Assyria. Jeremiah has introduced much of this prophecy into his forty-eighth chapter.
1. Because--rather, "Surely"; literally, "(I affirm) that" [MAURER].
night--the time best suited for a hostile incursion ( Isaiah 21:4 , Jeremiah 39:4 ).
Ar--meaning in Hebrew, "the city"; the metropolis of Moab, on the south of the river Arnon.
Kir--literally "a citadel"; not far from Ar, towards the south.
Bajith--rather, "to the temple" [MAURER]; answering to the "sanctuary" ( Isaiah 16:12 ), in a similar context.
to Dibon--Rather, as Dibon was in a plain north of the Arnon, "Dibon (is gone up) to the high places," the usual places of sacrifice in the East. Same town as Dimon ( Isaiah 15:9 ).
to weep--at the sudden calamity.
over Nebo--rather "in Nebo"; not "on account of" Nebo (compare Isaiah 15:3 ) [MAURER]. The town Nebo was adjacent to the mountain, not far from the northern shore of the Dead Sea. There it was that Chemosh, the idol of Moab, was worshipped (compare Deuteronomy 34:1 ).
Medeba--south of Heshbon, on a hill east of Jordan.
baldness . . . beard cut off--The Orientals regarded the beard with peculiar veneration. To cut one's beard off is the greatest mark of sorrow and mortification (compare Jeremiah 48:37 ).
3. tops of . . . houses--flat; places of resort for prayer, &c., in the East ( Acts 10:9 ).
weeping abundantly--"melting away in tears." HORSLEY prefers "descending to weep." Thus there is a "parallelism by alternate construction" [LOWTH], or chiasmus; "howl" refers to "tops of houses." "Descending to weep" to "streets" or squares, whither they descend from the housetops.
4. Heshbon--an Amorite city, twenty miles east of Jordan; taken by Moab after the carrying away of Israel (compare Jeremiah 48:1-47 ).
Elealeh--near Heshbon, in Reuben.
Jahaz--east of Jordan, in Reuben. Near it Moses defeated Sihon.
therefore--because of the sudden overthrow of their cities. Even the armed men, instead of fighting in defense of their land, shall join in the general cry.
life, &c.--rather, "his soul is grieved" ( 1 Samuel 1:8 ) [MAURER].
5. My--The prophet himself is moved with pity for Moab. Ministers, in denouncing the wrath of God against sinners, should do it with tender sorrow, not with exultation.
fugitives--fleeing from Moab, wander as far as to Zoar, on the extreme boundary south of the Dead Sea. HORSLEY translates, "her nobility," ( Hosea 4:18 ).
heifer, &c.--that is, raising their voices "like a heifer" (compare Jeremiah 48:34 Jeremiah 48:36 ). The expression "three years old," implies one at its full vigor ( Genesis 15:9 ), as yet not brought under the yoke; as Moab heretofore unsubdued, but now about to be broken. So Jeremiah 31:18 , Hosea 4:13 . MAURER translates, "Eglath" (in English Version, "a heifer") Shelishijah (that is, the third, to distinguish it from two others of the same name).
by the mounting up--up the ascent.
Luhith--a mountain in Moab.
Horonaim--a town of Moab not far from Zoar ( Jeremiah 48:5 ). It means "the two poles," being near caves.
cry of destruction--a cry appropriate to the destruction which visits their country.
6. For--the cause of their flight southwards ( 2 Kings 3:19 2 Kings 3:25 ). "For" the northern regions and even the city Nimrim (the very name of which means "limpid waters," in Gilead near Jordan) are without water or herbage.
7. Therefore--because of the devastation of the land.
abundance--literally, "that which is over and above" the necessaries of life.
brook of . . . willows--The fugitives flee from Nimrim, where the waters have failed, to places better watered. Margin has "valley of Arabians"; that is, to the valley on the boundary between them and Arabia-Petræa; now Wady-el Arabah. "Arabia" means a "desert."
8. Eglaim--( Ezekiel 47:10 ), En-eglaim. Not the Agalum of EUSEBIUS, eight miles from Areopolis towards the south; the context requires a town on the very borders of Moab or beyond them.
Beer-elim--literally, "the well of the Princes"--(so Numbers 21:16-18 ). Beyond the east borders of Moab.
9. Dimon--same as Dibon ( Isaiah 15:2 ). Its waters are the Arnon.
full of blood--The slain of Moab shall be so many.
bring more--fresh calamities, namely, the "lions" afterwards mentioned ( 2 Kings 17:25 , Jeremiah 5:6 , 15:3 ). VITRINGA understands Nebuchadnezzar as meant by "the lion"; but it is plural, "lions." The "more," or in Hebrew, "additions," he explains of the addition made to the waters of Dimon by the streams of blood of the slain.