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Isaiah 16:1–5 Moab Seeks Refuge in Judah
The previous section pertained to God’s judgments of Moab and its citizens; in the present section, Isaiah prophesies that many of the Moabites who escaped their homeland will seek refuge in the kingdom of Judah. But Judah will not help Moab because of Moab’s “arrogance and pride” (see Isaiah 16:6–11). This section concludes (verse 5) with a prophecy of Jesus Christ, who will sit on His throne in His temple, “the tabernacle of David.”
Send lambs to the ruler. As the Moabites flee to the kingdom of Judah for refuge, they provide lambs as tribute to the king of Judah. The lambs would be used, apparently, as sacrificial offerings on the temple mount of Jerusalem (“the mountain of the daughter of Zion”). Tributes from one country to another were not uncommon; see, for example, 2 Kings 3:4, which states that Mesha, the king of Moab, had at an earlier time presented Israel with 100,000 lambs.
like a fleeing bird, cast out of the nest. The fleeing Moabites are like a small bird that is fleeing, helpless and confused, and cast out of its nest.
Isaiah counsels Judah to “make a decision” and “hide the refugees” from those who were devastating Moab; “Let the Moabite refugees dwell with you,” Isaiah urged them.
throne will be established with lovingkindness. In the context of anxiety and fearfulness caused by war, Isaiah submits a prophecy filled with love and hope—the Messiah’s “throne will be established with loving-kindness, and one will sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle [Hebrew ’ohel, literally reads “tent”] of David, judging, and seeking justice, and being quick to do righteousness.” That Messiah is none other than Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 16:6–14 Lament for Moab
This section is linked to the previous two sections, both of which pertain to the kingdom of Moab. In this section, Isaiah sets forth his prophecy (in a thought-provoking way!) in the form of a lamentation. He thus describes Moab’s inhabitants’ tears and wailing for their destroyed homeland using the terms “wail,” “mourn,” “stricken with grief,” “weep,” “tears,” “moan,” and more—all words belonging to a lamentation. Additional evidence of Moab’s inhabitants lamenting are listed in verse 10.
We have heard of the pride of Moab. Isaiah lists the sins of Moab’s inhabitants, which brought upon them God’s punishments: “pride,” “arrogance,” “rage,” “boastings,” and “evil works.” Bracketed words are adapted from the JST. Moab will wail for Moab. The inhabitants of Moab will wail for the loss of their kingdom; they will be “stricken with grief” because its famous vineyards, and agricultural crops will wither through neglect and because of the ravages of war.
fields of Heshbon wither/vines of Sibmah. Moab was famous for its viticulture—note that Isaiah’s prophecy refers to “raisin cakes,” “fields,” “vines” (twice), “choice vines,” “summer fruits,” “harvest,” “fruitful field,” “vineyards,” and “wine presses.” Moab’s viticulture will be destroyed during the war.
Therefore I weep. An unnamed individual (likely the Lord [see v. 13] but perhaps Isaiah himself [see 15:5]) laments because of Moab’s destruction. The language demonstrates deep sorrow—“I water you with my tears” and “my bowels moan like a lyre for Moab.” And furthermore, “rejoicing is taken away, and joy,” “no singing gladly,” and “no shout in jubilation.”
Moab appears at the high place/to its temple to pray, it will be to no avail. Moab seeks help from its idols at its high place and temple, but it finds no help.
Lord spoke concerning Moab in the past. But now the Lord has spoken, saying. This is a great example of continuing revelation. The “Lord spoke concerning Moab in the past” (see 15:1–9; 16:1–12), but now the Lord reveals more concerning Moab through Isaiah (see verse 14). The Lord is very specific: within three years, Moab’s destruction will be complete, and very few will remain—perhaps those who were able to hide from the destroyers?
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