Isaiah 15


Prediction of very heavy calamities about to fall upon the

Moabites, 1-9.

This and the following chapter, taken together, make one entire

prophecy, very improperly divided into two parts. The time of its

delivery, and consequently of its accomplishment, which was to be

in three years from that time, is uncertain; the former not being

marked in the prophecy itself, nor the latter recorded in history.

But the most probable account is, that it was delivered soon after

the foregoing, in the first year of Hezekiah; and that it was

accomplished in his fourth year, when Shalmaneser invaded the

kingdom of Israel. He might probably march through Moab; and to

secure every thing behind him, possess himself of the whole

country, by taking their principal strong places Ar and

Kirhares.-L. The authorized Version which we have followed in the

margin, places the prophecy in this chapter fourteen years earlier

than that contained in the two preceding,

Jeremiah has happily introduced much of this prophecy of Isaiah

into his own larger prophecy against the same people in his

forty-eighth chapter, denouncing God's judgment on Moab,

subsequent to the calamity here foretold, and to be executed by

Nebuchadnezzar; by which means several mistakes of transcribers in

the present text of both prophets may be rectified.


Verse 1. Because in the night] beleil. That both these

cities should be taken in the night is a circumstance somewhat

unusual; but not so material as to deserve to be so strongly

insisted upon. Vitringa, by his remark on this word, shows that he

was dissatisfied with it in its plain and obvious meaning, and is

forced to have recourse to a very hard metaphorical interpretation

of it. Noctu vel nocturno impetu; vel metaphorice, repente,

subito, inexpectata destructione: placet posterius. Calmet

conjectures, and I think it probable, that the true reading is

keleil, as the night. There are many mistakes in the Hebrew

text arising from the very great similitude of the letters beth,

and caph, which in many MSS., and some printed editions, are

hardly distinguishable. Admitting this reading, the translation

will be,-

"Because Ar is utterly destroyed, Moab is undone!

Because Kir is utterly destroyed, Moab is undone!"

Verse 2. He is gone to Bajith, and to Dibon] alah

habbayith, should be rendered, he is gone to the HOUSE, i.e., to

their chief temple, where they practiced idolatry. Dibon was the

name of a tower where also was an idolatrous temple; thither they

went to weep and pray before their idols, that they might

interpose and save them from their calamities. So R. D. Kimchi. He

is gone to Bajith and to Dibon: but Bishop Lowth reads Beth Dibon;

this is the name of one place; and the two words are to be joined

together, without the vau intervening. So the Chaldee and

Syriac. This reading is not supported by any MS. or Version: but

some MSS., instead of ar, have ir, a city, others

have ad, unto, and some editions have al, upon. But

all these help little, though they show that the place puzzled

both the scribes and the editors.

On all their heads shall be baldness, &c.-"On every head there

is baldness," &c.] Herodotus, ii. 36, speaks of it as a general

practice among all men, except the Egyptians, to cut off their

hair as a token of mourning. "Cut off thy hair, and cast it away,"

says Jeremiah, Jer 7:29, "and take up a lamentation."



HOM. Odyss. iv. 197.

"The rites of wo

Are all, alas! the living can bestow;

O'er the congenial dust enjoined to shear

The graceful curl, and drop the tender tear."


On every head.-For roshaiv, read rosh. So

the parallel place, Jer 48:37, and so

three MSS., one ancient. An ancient MS. reads al col

rosh. Five read bechol rosh, on every head, with the

Septuagint and Arabic. AND every head. The vau, and,

is found in thirty MSS., in three editions, and in the Syriac,

Vulgate, and Chaldee.

Cut off-"Shorn."] The printed editions, as well as the MSS., are

divided on the reading of this word. Some have geduah,

shorn, others geruah, diminished. The similitude of the

letters daleth and resh has likewise occasioned many

mistakes. In the present case, the sense is pretty much the same

with either reading. The text of Jer 48:37 has the latter,

diminished. The former reading is found in twelve of Dr.

Kennicott's MSS., forty of De Rossi's, and two of my own. A

great number of editions have the same reading.

Verse 3. With sackcloth] sak. The word is in the plural

sakkim, sacks, in one of De Rossi's MSS.

Verse 4. The armed soldiers-"The very loins"] So the Septuagint,

ηοσφυς, and the Syriac. They cry out violently, with their utmost


Verse 5. My heart shall cry out for Moab-"The heart of Moab

crieth within her"] For libbi, my heart, the Septuagint

reads libbo, his heart, or leb; the Chaldee,

libbo. For bericheyha, the Syriac reads

berocheh; and so likewise the Septuagint, rendering it εναυτη,

Edit. Vat: or ενεαυτη, Edit. Alex. and MSS. I., D. II.

A heifer of three years old-"A young heifer."] Hebrew, a heifer

three years old, in full strength; as Horace uses equa trima,

for a young mare just coming to her prime. Bochart observes, from

Aristotle, Hist. Animal. lib. iv. that in this kind of animals

alone the voice of the female is deeper than that of the male;

therefore the lowing of the heifer, rather than of the bullock, is

chosen by the prophet, as the more proper image to express the

mourning of Moab. But I must add that the expression here is very

short and obscure; and the opinions of interpreters are various in

regard to the meaning. Compare Jer 48:34.

Shall they go it up-"They shall ascend"] For yaaleh, the

Septuagint and a MS. read in the plural, yaalu. And from

this passage the parallel place in Jer 48:5 must be corrected;

where, for yaaleh bechi, which gives no good sense, read

yaaleh bo.

Verse 7. "Shall perish"] abadu or abadeh. This

word seems to have been lost out of the text: it is supplied by

the parallel place, Jer 48:36. The

Syriac expresses it by aber, praeteriit, "he hath passed;"

and the Chaldee by yithbazezun, diripientur.

To the brook of the willows-"To the valley of willows"] That is,

to Babylon. Hieron. and Jarchi in loc., both referring to

Ps 137:2. So likewise

Prideaux, Le Clerc, &c.

Verse 9. The waters of Dimon] Some have Dibon, others have Ribon

and Rimon. St. Jerome observes that the same town was called both

Dibon and Dimon. The reading is therefore indifferent.

Upon him that escapeth of Moab, &c.-"Upon the escaped of Moab,

and Ariel, and the remnant of Admah."] The Septuagint for

aryeh read ariel. Ar Moab was called also Ariel or

Areopolis, Hieron. and Theodoret. See Cellarius. They make

Admah also a proper name. Michaelis thinks that the Moabites might

be called the remnant of Admah, as sprung from Lot and his

daughters, escaped from the destruction of that and the other

cities; or, metaphorically, as the Jews are called princes of

Sodom, and people of Gomorrah, Isa 1:10. Bibliotheque Orient.

Part v., p. 195. The reading of this verse is very doubtful; and

the sense, in every way in which it can be read, very obscure.-L.

Calmet thinks there may be a reference to 1Ch 11:22, where it

is said, "Benaiah slew two lion-like men of Moab," or the two

Ariels of Moab, and would therefore translate, "I will bring down

the remnant of Moab like Ariel, (which Benaiah smote,) and them

that are escaped like Adamah." They shall be exterminated, as were

the inhabitants of those two cities. Ariel was a double city-the

river Arnon dividing it in two. This is the two Ariels of Moab-not

two lion-like men, much less two lions. See Calmet on this


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