16 You [Moabites, now fugitives in Edom, which is ruled by the king of Judah] send [a]lambs to the ruler of the land, from Sela or Petra through the desert and wilderness to the mountain of the Daughter of Zion [Jerusalem].(A)
2 For like wandering birds, like a brood cast out and a scattered nest, so shall the daughters of Moab be at the fords of the [river] Arnon.
3 [Say to the ruler] Give counsel, execute justice [for Moab, O king of Judah]; make your shade [over us] like night in the midst of noonday; hide the outcasts, betray not the fugitive to his pursuer.
4 Let our outcasts of Moab dwell among you; be a sheltered hiding place to them from the destroyer. When the extortion and the extortioner have been brought to nought, and destruction has ceased, and the oppressors and they who trample men are consumed and have vanished out of the land,
5 Then in mercy and loving-kindness shall a throne be established, and [b] One shall sit upon it in truth and faithfulness in the tent of David, judging and seeking justice and being swift to do righteousness.(B)
6 We have heard of the pride of Moab, that he is very proud—even of his arrogance, his conceit, his wrath, his untruthful boasting.
7 Moab therefore shall wail for Moab; everyone shall wail. For the ruins, flagons of wine, and the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth you shall sigh and mourn, utterly stricken and discouraged.
8 For the fields of Heshbon languish and wither, and the vines of Sibmah; the lords of the nations have broken down [Moab’s] choice vine branches, which reached even to Jazer, wandering into the wilderness; its shoots stretched out abroad, they passed over [the shores of] the [Dead] Sea.
9 Therefore I [Isaiah] will weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vines of Sibmah. I will drench you with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh; for upon your summer fruits and your harvest the shout [of alarm and the cry of the enemy] has fallen.
10 And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there is no singing, nor is there joyful sound; the treaders tread out no wine in the presses, for the shout of joy has been made to cease.
11 Wherefore my heart sounds like a harp [in mournful compassion] for Moab, and my inner being [goes out] for Kir-hareseth [for those brick-walled citadels of his].
12 It shall be that when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself [worshiping] on the high place [of idolatry], he will come to his sanctuary [of Chemosh, god of Moab], but he will not prevail. [Then will he be ashamed of his god.](C)
13 This is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning Moab since that time [when Moab’s pride and resistance to God were first known].
14 But now the Lord has spoken, saying, Within [c]three years, as the years of a hireling [who will not serve longer than the allotted time], the glory of Moab shall be brought into contempt, in spite of all his mighty multitudes of people; and the remnant that survives will be very small, feeble, and of no account.
- Isaiah 16:1 As King Mesha sent 100,000 lambs each year to King Ahab of Israel (II Kings 3:4), so now the Moabites are advised to win the king’s favor and protection by diverting their tribute to the king in Jerusalem, as an acknowledgment of subjection.
- Isaiah 16:5 Isaiah apparently puts these words in the mouths of the Moabite ambassadors to the king of Judah, but in “language so divinely framed as to apply to ‘the latter days’ under King Messiah, when the Lord shall bring again [reverse] the captivity of Moab” (Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset and David Brown, A Commentary).
- Isaiah 16:14 This prophecy was fulfilled after the death of King Ahaz of Judah (Isa. 14:28), somewhere around the third year of King Hezekiah’s reign. Moab was not left completely without population at this time; there was still a “remnant.” The final desolation of Moab was reserved for King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in around 582 b.c., some five years after the taking of Jerusalem. The ruins of Elealeh, Heshbon, Medeba, Dimon, etc., still exist to confirm through modern research the accuracy of the fulfillment of this prophecy.