Jeremiah 48

Prophecy against Moab

1 Concerning Moab: The LORD of heavenly forces, the God of Israel, proclaims: How awful for Nebo; it lies in ruins. Kirathaim is captured and shamed; the fortress is disgraced, reduced to rubble.
2 No one sings Moab's praise any longer! In Heshbon they are hatching a plot against her: "Come, let's bring down the nation!" You too, madmen, will be silenced; the sword will pursue you.
3 Listen to the cries for help from Horonaim: "Destruction and massive devastation!"
4 Moab is shattered; its young cry for help.
5 On the way up to Luhith, there is uncontrollable weeping. On the way down to Horonaim, they hear sobs of anguish.
6 Run for your lives! Be like Aroer in the desert.
7 Because you have relied on your own strength and treasures, you also will be captured. Chemosh will go into exile, together with his priests and officials.
8 The destroyer will sweep through every town; no town will escape. The valleys will be ravaged; the plateaus will be destroyed, because the LORD has declared it so.
9 Give wings to Moab, and it would fly away because its towns lie in ruins, with no one left in them.
10 Cursed is the one who is halfhearted in doing the LORD's work. Cursed is the one who restrains the sword from bloodshed.
11 From early on Moab has been at ease, like wine left to settle on its sediment. It hasn't been poured into jars; nor has Moab been taken into exile. Therefore, its taste is still pleasant, and its aroma is the same.
12 But the time is coming, declares the LORD, when I will send to him someone to spill it—to pour out his wine and to smash his jars.
13 And Moab will be put to shame on account of Chemosh, just as the people of Israel were put to shame on account of Bethel, in which they trusted.
14 How can you claim, "We're soldiers; we're war heroes"?
15 Moab is doomed; its towns will surrender; its elite forces will go down in defeat, declares the king whose name is the LORD of heavenly forces.
16 Moab's destruction is near; its downfall approaches rapidly.
17 Grieve for this nation, you neighbors of Moab, all you who know his name. Proclaim how its mighty scepter and magnificent staff are shattered!
18 Come down from your lofty place and sit in the dust, you inhabitants of Daughter Dibon; because Moab's destroyer has arrived to level your fortresses.
19 Stand by the roads and watch, you inhabitants of Aroer. Ask the men who flee and the women who run off, "What's happened?"
20 Moab is shamed and shocked; weep and wail! Tell it by the Arnon River: Moab's been destroyed!
21 Judgment has come to the towns of the plateau— to Holon, Jahzah, and Mephaath,
22 to Dibon, Nebo, and Beth-diblathaim,
23 to Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul, and Beth-meon,
24 to Kerioth and Bozrah, to all the towns of Moab, far and near.
25 Moab's horn is cut off; its arm is broken, declares the LORD.
26 Get Moab drunk, because it has exalted itself above the LORD. Moab will collapse in its vomit and become the butt of every joke.
27 Wasn't Israel the butt of your jokes? Didn't you shake your head as if they were thieves caught in the act?
28 Leave your towns, head for the cliffs, you people of Moab. Hide like a dove that nests in the mouth of a cave.
29 We have heard of Moab's pride: arrogant, puffed up, exalted, high and mighty, boastful!
30 I myself know about its arrogance, declares the LORD, the idle talk, the empty deeds.
31 But I'll still wail for Moab; I'll cry out for all Moab; I'll sob for the people of Kir-heres.
32 I'll weep for you, vine of Sibmah, more than I would for Jazer. Though your branches extended to the sea and reached the coast of Jazer, now the destroyer has come to harvest your grapes and summer fruits.
33 Joy and gladness have been taken from the orchards and farms of Moab. I have stopped making wine in the presses. No one shouts with joy while treading the grapes. Though there are shouts, they are not shouts of joy!
34 Screams are heard from Heshbon to Elealeh and Jahaz; their cries resound from Zoar to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah. Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up.
35 I'll put an end to Moab, declares the LORD, for making offerings on the shrines, and worshipping their gods.
36 Therefore, my heart wails for Moab like a mournful flute that plays the dirge; my heart wails for the people of Kir-heres, like a mournful flute. Their abundance is now gone.
37 Every head is shaved, every beard is cut off, every hand is slashed, and everyone wears mourning clothes.
38 On every housetop of Moab and in all its streets, there's nothing but mourning. I have shattered Moab like a pottery vessel no one wants, declares the LORD.
39 How it's shattered! Go wail! How Moab turns away! What shame! Moab has become the butt of every joke, horrific to all its neighbors.
40 The LORD proclaims: Look! One who soars like an eagle and spreads its wings over Moab.
41 The towns will be captured; the strongholds will be seized. On that day, the heart of every soldier from Moab will be like that of a woman in the throes of labor.
42 Moab will be destroyed once and for all because it has exalted itself above the LORD.
43 Terror, traps, and trackers are upon you, people of Moab, declares the LORD.
44 Those who flee from terror will fall into a pit; those who escape the pit will be captured by the trap. I will bring upon Moab the year of its punishment, declares the LORD.
45 In Heshbon tired refugees seek shelter. But fire is raging in Heshbon, flames from the house of Sihon. It has burned up part of Moab, including the leader of this rebellious nation.
46 How terrible for you, Moab; the people of Chemosh have perished. Your sons have been carried off; your daughters have been taken captive.
47 But in the days to come I'll bring back Moab from captivity, declares the LORD. Such is the judgment on Moab.

Jeremiah 48 Commentary

Chapter 48

Prophecies against Moab for pride and security. (1-13) For carnal confidence and contempt of God. (14-47)

1-13. The Chaldeans are to destroy the Moabites. We should be thankful that we are required to seek the salvation of men's lives, and the salvation of their souls, not to shed their blood; but we shall be the more without excuse if we do this pleasant work deceitfully. The cities shall be laid in ruins, and the country shall be wasted. There will be great sorrow. There will be great hurry. If any could give wings to sinners, still they could not fly out of the reach of Divine indignation. There are many who persist in unrepented iniquity, yet long enjoy outward prosperity. They had been long corrupt and unreformed, secure and sensual in prosperity. They have no changes of their peace and prosperity, therefore their hearts and lives are unchanged, ( Psalms 55:19 ) .

14-47. The destruction of Moab is further prophesied, to awaken them by national repentance and reformation to prevent the trouble, or by a personal repentance and reformation to prepare for it. In reading this long roll of threatenings, and mediating on the terror, it will be of more use to us to keep in view the power of God's anger and the terror of his judgments, and to have our hearts possessed with a holy awe of God and of his wrath, than to search into all the figures and expressions here used. Yet it is not perpetual destruction. The chapter ends with a promise of their return out of captivity in the latter days. Even with Moabites God will not contend for ever, nor be always wroth. The Jews refer it to the days of the Messiah; then the captives of the Gentiles, under the yoke of sin and Satan, shall be brought back by Divine grace, which shall make them free indeed.

Footnotes 13

  • [a]. Heb uncertain
  • [b]. Heb uncertain
  • [c]. Heb lacks like wine.
  • [d]. Or And Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh just as the people of Israel were ashamed of Bethel, in which they trusted.
  • [e]. Heb uncertain
  • [f]. Or thirst
  • [g]. Heb uncertain, or residing Daughter Dibon
  • [h]. Or He
  • [i]. Heb uncertain
  • [j]. Heb lacks mournful.
  • [k]. Or terror, pit, and trap
  • [l]. Heb manuscripts; MT from among
  • [m]. Heb uncertain

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a prophecy of the destruction of Moab, and of the mourning that should be for it; and not only its destruction in general is predicted, but particular places are mentioned, on which it should fall, Jer 48:1-5; the causes of which were their confidence in their works and riches, their carnal ease and security, and their idolatry, they should now be ashamed of, Jer 48:6-13; and this destruction is represented both as certain and as near, notwithstanding their mighty warriors and choice young men, Jer 48:14-17; and then other cities are particularly named, that should share in the calamity, Jer 48:18-25; and all this because of their insolence to the Lord; their contempt of his people; their pride, arrogance, and haughtiness; their wrath, and their lies, Jer 48:26-30; and this destruction is further exaggerated by the lamentation of the prophet over Moab in general, and over several particular cities; and by the lamentation of the inhabitants of them, because of the spoiling of their vines, their fruits, and their riches, Jer 48:31-39; and this is confirmed by the Lord, as to the swiftness of the enemy that should destroy them; the consternation and fear that should seize them; the flight they should be put to; and the consumption and captivity of them, Jer 48:40-46; and the chapter is concluded with a promise of the return of their captivity in the latter day, Jer 48:47.

Jeremiah 48 Commentaries

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