Isaiah 16:14

14 But now the LORD says: “Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab’s splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble.”

Isaiah 16:14 in Other Translations

14 But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.
14 But now the LORD has spoken, saying, "In three years, like 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 very few and feeble."
14 But now the LORD says, “Within three years, counting each day, the glory of Moab will be ended. From its great population, only a feeble few will be left alive.”
14 God's updated Message is, "In three years, no longer than the term of an enlisted soldier, Moab's impressive presence will be gone, that splendid hot-air balloon will be punctured, and instead of a vigorous population, just a few shuffling bums cadging handouts."
14 And now the Lord says, "In three years, as a hired worker counts years, Moab's splendor will become an object of contempt, in spite of a very large population. And those who are left will be few and weak."

Isaiah 16:14 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 16:14

But now the Lord hath spoken
Something else. What follows is a distinct prophecy from the former, and has a date annexed to it, when it should be fulfilled: the former prophecy relates to the utter destruction of the Moabites by the Babylonians, in the times of Nebuchadnezzar; of which Jeremiah, ( Jeremiah 48:1-47 ) prophesies, in much the same language as Isaiah; and so Jarchi observes, that the final destruction of Moab was by the hand of Nebuchadnezzar: but this was of a lesser nature, and to be accomplished in a short time, either by Shalmaneser, or by Sennacherib king of Assyria, or Esarhaddon his son: saying, within three years, as the year of an hireling;
that is, precisely and exactly three years, neither more nor fewer, neither sooner nor later; as whatever time is agreed upon by an hireling, as soon as ever it is out, which he often thinks of, and counts exactly, he demands his wages, and his freedom. Some think this prophecy bears date with the former, concerning the Philistines, which was the year King Ahaz died, ( Isaiah 14:28 ) and so had its accomplishment in the fourth year of Hezekiah, when Shalmaneser came up against Samaria F11, and took Moab in his way, ( 2 Kings 18:9 ) others, that it was given out in the fourth year of Hezekiah, when the Assyrian besieged Samaria, and after three years took it, and then returned and fell upon the Moabites; others place it in the eleventh year of Hezekiah, and suppose it to be fulfilled in his fourteenth by Sennacherib, about the same time he came up and took the fenced cities of Judah, and besieged Jerusalem, ( 2 Kings 18:13 ) and with this agree the Jewish writers {l}, whose words are these,

``after those things, and the establishment thereof, Sennacherib king of Assyria came into Judah, ( 2 Chronicles 32:1 ) and at the same time sent Tartan to Ashdod, ( Isaiah 20:1 ) who overran the Ammonites and Moabites, who helped him when he besieged Samaria three years, that it might be fulfilled what is said, ( Isaiah 16:14 ) at the same time the king of Assyria sent Rabshakeh from Lachish to Jerusalem.''
Upon which Kimchi observes, as an interpretation of the phrase, "as the years of an hireling",
``it is as if it was said, because they helped the king of Assyria three years against Samaria, it was as if they had been hired; therefore they fell by his hand, and the glory of Moab was light in the hand of the king of Assyria.''
But others make it to be three years after this time; but very likely it might be later still, about the eighteenth or nineteenth year of Hezekiah, as Gataker thinks, who, in his notes on this place, has collected all these senses, and made his observations on them; and so had its accomplishment in some expedition of Esarhaddon, who greatly weakened and impoverished the country of Moab, though he did not destroy it, and which was an earnest and pledge of the utter destruction of it before prophesied of. Noldius renders it, "after three years"; and so Grotius: it was in the first year of Hezekiah, as Noldius observes, that this was said; and in the fourth year of his reign, Shalmaneser came against Samaria, and in his way was the beginning of this destruction, and but a beginning of it, as he observes, yet a pledge of the consummation by Nebuchadnezzar, which was long after these three years of Isaiah. And the glory of Moab shall be contemned with all that great
of cities and towns, of the inhabitants of them, and of wealth and riches, things in which Moab gloried, and were reckoned weighty and heavy things; these were accounted light by the king of Assyria, who spoiled them, or at least greatly diminished them: and the remnant [shall be] very small [and] feeble;
or, "not mighty" or "strong"; those that were not cut off by the Assyrian army would be but few, and these weak and without strength, being dispossessed of their cities, and of their wealth; though, in process of time, between this, and the fulfilment of the former prophecy, and that of Jeremiah, they recovered themselves, and became very numerous and flourishing.

F11 See Prideaux's Connect. par. 1. B. 1. p. 18. So Vitringa.
F12 Seder Olam Rabba, c. 23. p. 64.

Isaiah 16:14 In-Context

12 When Moab appears at her high place, she only wears herself out; when she goes to her shrine to pray, it is to no avail.
13 This is the word the LORD has already spoken concerning Moab.
14 But now the LORD says: “Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab’s splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble.”

Cross References 5

  • 1. Isaiah 20:3; Isaiah 37:30
  • 2. S Leviticus 25:50
  • 3. S Leviticus 19:13
  • 4. Isaiah 25:10; Jeremiah 48:42
  • 5. Isaiah 21:17
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