Isaiah 16

1 Send lambs as tribute to the ruler of the land, from Sela, across the desert, to the mount of Daughter Zion.
2 Like fluttering birds pushed from the nest, so are the women of Moab at the fords of the Arnon.
3 “Make up your mind,” Moab says. “Render a decision. Make your shadow like night— at high noon. Hide the fugitives, do not betray the refugees.
4 Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you; be their shelter from the destroyer.” The oppressor will come to an end, and destruction will cease; the aggressor will vanish from the land.
5 In love a throne will be established; in faithfulness a man will sit on it— one from the house[a] of David— one who in judging seeks justice and speeds the cause of righteousness.
6 We have heard of Moab’s pride— how great is her arrogance!— of her conceit, her pride and her insolence; but her boasts are empty.
7 Therefore the Moabites wail, they wail together for Moab. Lament and grieve for the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth.
8 The fields of Heshbon wither, the vines of Sibmah also. The rulers of the nations have trampled down the choicest vines, which once reached Jazer and spread toward the desert. Their shoots spread out and went as far as the sea.[b]
9 So I weep, as Jazer weeps, for the vines of Sibmah. Heshbon and Elealeh, I drench you with tears! The shouts of joy over your ripened fruit and over your harvests have been stilled.
10 Joy and gladness are taken away from the orchards; no one sings or shouts in the vineyards; no one treads out wine at the presses, for I have put an end to the shouting.
11 My heart laments for Moab like a harp, my inmost being for Kir Hareseth.
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.”

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 48

  • 1. S 2 Kings 3:4
  • 2. S 2 Chronicles 32:23
  • 3. S Judges 1:36; Ob 3 "fn"; 2 Kings 14:7
  • 4. S Isaiah 10:32
  • 5. Proverbs 27:8
  • 6. Numbers 21:29
  • 7. Judges 12:5
  • 8. Numbers 21:13-14; Jeremiah 48:20
  • 9. S 1 Kings 18:4
  • 10. Isaiah 58:7
  • 11. S Isaiah 9:4
  • 12. Isaiah 2:2-4
  • 13. S 1 Samuel 13:14; Daniel 7:14; Micah 4:7
  • 14. S Proverbs 20:28
  • 15. S Isaiah 7:2; Luke 1:32
  • 16. S Isaiah 9:7
  • 17. Jeremiah 25:21; Ezekiel 25:8; Amos 2:1; Zephaniah 2:8
  • 18. S Leviticus 26:19; S Job 20:6; Jeremiah 49:16; Obadiah 1:3; Zephaniah 2:10
  • 19. S Isaiah 13:6; Jeremiah 48:20; Jeremiah 49:3
  • 20. S 1 Chronicles 16:3
  • 21. S 2 Kings 3:25
  • 22. S Numbers 21:25
  • 23. S Isaiah 15:6
  • 24. S Numbers 32:3
  • 25. S Isaiah 5:2
  • 26. S Numbers 21:32
  • 27. S Job 8:16
  • 28. Psalms 80:11
  • 29. S Isaiah 15:3; Ezekiel 27:31
  • 30. S Numbers 32:3
  • 31. S Job 7:3
  • 32. S Ezra 3:13
  • 33. Jeremiah 40:12
  • 34. Isaiah 24:7-8
  • 35. Jeremiah 25:30
  • 36. S Judges 9:27
  • 37. S Job 24:11; S Isaiah 5:2
  • 38. S Isaiah 15:5
  • 39. S Job 30:31
  • 40. Isaiah 63:15; Hosea 11:8; Philippians 2:1
  • 41. 1 Kings 11:7
  • 42. S Isaiah 15:2
  • 43. S 1 Kings 18:29; Psalms 115:4-7; Isaiah 44:17-18; 1 Corinthians 8:4
  • 44. Isaiah 20:3; Isaiah 37:30
  • 45. S Leviticus 25:50
  • 46. S Leviticus 19:13
  • 47. Isaiah 25:10; Jeremiah 48:42
  • 48. Isaiah 21:17

Footnotes 2

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