Isaiah 16

Listen to Isaiah 16
1 1Send the lamb to the ruler of the land, from 2Sela, by way of the desert, to the mount of the daughter of Zion.
2 Like fleeing birds, like a scattered nest, so are the daughters of Moab at 3the fords of the Arnon.
3 "Give counsel; grant justice; 4make your shade like night at the height of noon; shelter the outcasts; do not reveal the fugitive;
4 let 5the outcasts of Moab sojourn among you; be a shelter to them[a] from the destroyer. When the oppressor is no more, and destruction has ceased, and he who tramples underfoot has vanished from the land,
5 6then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness."
6 7We have heard of the pride of Moab-- how proud he is!-- 8of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence; in his idle boasting he is not right.
7 Therefore let Moab wail for Moab, 9let everyone wail. Mourn, utterly stricken, for the 10raisin cakes of 11Kir-hareseth.
8 For the fields of Heshbon languish, and 12the vine of Sibmah; the lords of the nations have struck down its branches, which reached to Jazer and strayed to the desert; its shoots spread abroad and passed over the sea.
9 Therefore 13I weep with 14the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah; I drench you with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh; for over 15your summer fruit and your harvest the shout has ceased.
10 16And joy and gladness are taken away from 17the fruitful field, and in the vineyards no 18songs are sung, no cheers are raised; no 19treader treads out wine 20in the presses; I have put an end to the shouting.
11 Therefore 21my inner parts moan like a lyre for Moab, and my inmost self for Kir-hareseth.
12 And when Moab presents himself, when 22he wearies himself on 23the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail.
13 This is the word that the LORD spoke concerning Moab 24in the past.
14 But now the LORD has spoken, saying, "In three years, 25like the years of a hired worker, the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt, in spite of all his great multitude, and those who remain will be 26very few and feeble."

Isaiah 16 Commentary

Chapter 16

Moab is exhorted to yield obedience. (1-5) The pride and the judgments of Moab. (6-14)

Verses 1-5 God tells sinners what they may do to prevent ruin; so he does to Moab. Let them send the tribute they formerly engaged to pay to Judah. Take it as good advice. Break off thy sins by righteousness, it may lengthen thy quiet. And this may be applied to the great gospel duty of submission to Christ. Send him the lamb, the best you have, yourselves a living sacrifice. When you come to God, the great Ruler, come in the name of the Lamb, the Lamb of God. Those who will not submit to Christ, shall be as a bird that wanders from her nest, which shall be snatched up by the next bird of prey. Those who will not yield to the fear of God, shall be made to yield to the fear of every thing else. He advises them to be kind to the seed of Israel. Those that expect to find favour when in trouble themselves, must show favour to those in trouble. What is here said concerning the throne of Hezekiah, also belongs, in a much higher sense, to the kingdom of Jesus Christ. Though by subjection to Him we may not enjoy worldly riches or honours, but may be exposed to poverty and contempt, we shall have peace of conscience and eternal life.

Verses 6-14 Those who will not be counselled, cannot be helped. More souls are ruined by pride than by any other sin whatever. Also, the very proud are commonly very passionate. With lies many seek to gain the gratification of pride and passion, but they shall not compass proud and angry projects. Moab was famous for fields and vineyards; but they shall be laid waste by the invading army. God can soon turn laughter into mourning, and joy into heaviness. In God let us always rejoice with holy triumph; in earthly things let us always rejoice with holy trembling. The prophet looks with concern on the desolations of such a pleasant country; it causes inward grief. The false gods of Moab are unable to help; and the God of Israel, the only true God, can and will make good what he has spoken. Let Moab know her ruin is very near, and prepare. The most awful declarations of Divine wrath, discover the way of escape to those who take warning. There is no escape, but by submission to the Son of David, and devoting ourselves to him. And, at length, when the appointed time comes, all the glory, prosperity, and multitude of the wicked shall perish.

Cross References 26

  • 1. 2 Kings 3:4
  • 2. Isaiah 42:11; 2 Kings 14:7
  • 3. Judges 11:18
  • 4. [1 Kings 18:4]
  • 5. 1 Samuel 22:3
  • 6. Isaiah 32:1, 2; Daniel 7:14, 27; Micah 4:7; Luke 1:33
  • 7. Jeremiah 48:29; Zephaniah 2:10
  • 8. Judges 3:14; 2 Kings 13:20; [2 Chronicles 20:1]
  • 9. Isaiah 15:3
  • 10. 2 Samuel 6:19; [ver. 9]
  • 11. 2 Kings 3:25; [Isaiah 15:1]
  • 12. Jeremiah 48:32
  • 13. [Isaiah 15:5]
  • 14. [See ver. 8 above]
  • 15. [ver. 7]
  • 16. Jeremiah 48:33
  • 17. [Isaiah 9:3]
  • 18. [Judges 9:27]
  • 19. Isaiah 63:3; Jeremiah 25:30
  • 20. Isaiah 5:2
  • 21. Isaiah 15:5; Jeremiah 48:36
  • 22. [1 Kings 18:29]
  • 23. Isaiah 15:2; [Numbers 22:41; Numbers 23:14, 28]
  • 24. See Amos 2:1-3
  • 25. Isaiah 21:16
  • 26. [Isaiah 10:22]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Some Hebrew manuscripts, Septuagint, Syriac; Masoretic Text let my outcasts sojourn among you; as for Moab, be a shelter to them

Chapter Summary


This chapter is a continuation of the prophecy against Moab; in which the prophet gives good advice, but in case of a haughty neglect of it, which he foresaw, threatens with ruin, and fixes a time for it. He advises the Moabites to pay their tribute to the king of Judah, or otherwise they should be turned out of their land, as a bird out of its nest, Isa 16:1,2 to protect, and not betray the people of the Jews that should flee to them, because of the Assyrian army, Isa 16:3,4 and for this end gives a great character of the king of Judah, and assures them of the stability of his kingdom, Isa 16:5 but for their pride, wrath, and lying, they are threatened with destruction, and are represented as howling under it, Isa 16:6,7 because of the spoil of their cities, vineyards, and fields, so that they have no harvest, nor vintage, nor gathering of summer fruits, or joy on these accounts, Isa 16:8-10 for which even the prophet expresses a concern, Isa 16:11 and after having observed the application of the Moabites to their gods without success, Isa 16:12 the chapter is closed with an assurance of the certain ruin of Moab, and of the time when it should be, Isa 16:13,14.

Isaiah 16 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.