Isaiah 16:1-14

Isa 16:1

Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.


This chapter is a continuation of the prophecy against Moab and gives good advice to the Moabites.  The fleeing Moabites headed to the south of the Dead Sea to Sela which was located in the land of Edom.  It was an Edomite fortress located on top of a mountain near to Petra.  King Mesha was a sheep herder and had sent 100,000 sheep to King Ahab.  And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool. (2 Kings 3:4)  Here the prophet is counseling the Moabites to send lambs for sacrifice unto the house of David in Jerusalem.  They would send the tribute to Jerusalem when they were seeking help.


Isa 16:2

For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.


Just like a wandering bird or one that has been cast away from the nest, the daughters of Moab will wander aimlessly seeking a place to settle down which shows the sorry plight of the Moabites as they wander as nomads who have no home to go to.  The river Arnon was the borders of the land of Moab.


Isa 16:3

Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth.


To prevent the utter ruin of the Moabites, they are to take the counsel they are given and to execute that counsel in proper judgment.  They desired that counsel of Hezekiah.  They were to protect the people of Judah that have escaped from the Assyrian invasion.  The shadow or shade was normally a place where someone would sit under to escape the heat of the noon day sun.  Here it would be likened as protection for those who would escape from Judah as they would be hidden from the Assyrians.  Then the Moabites ask Hezekiah not to betray them when the Assyrians come into the land.  The word “bewray” means “reveal, expose, or disclose” or not to betray them by revealing their location at the south end of the Dead Sea.


Isa 16:4

Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.


Then Moab is asked to let the outcasts dwell with them for protection.  Notice the wording as it states “mine” outcasts.  They were not just outcasts or wanderers but they belonged to the nation of Judah which was the LORD’s land.  They were to be a covert for them which is a place of hiding for their protection.  Then in the last part of this verse, Isaiah looks to the future when the Assyrians will be finally defeated for good. The extortioner is the one who takes from the people and squeezes them for more.  The spoiler was the one who destroyed and the oppressors were the ones who treated the people like inferior slaves and just kept terrorizing them.


Isa 16:5

And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.


Since Assyria will not be attacking Jerusalem which means once again, under Hezekiah the throne of David shall be established once again and will rule in the proper and according to the law of God.  In other words, Hezekiah will deal with the Moabites in a fair way.  This verse also has a spiritual meaning that when the Lord Jesus Christ will come he will establish the throne of David forever as has already been prophesied.  Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this. (Isaiah 9:7)  He will judge properly and will understand all the causes which come before him always rendering a true and proper decision.  Divine righteousness will be at the basis for all decisions and they will not be tardy in fulfilling the decisions.


Isa 16:6

We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud: even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: but his lies shall not be so.


Now the prophet comes against the pride of Moab.  The people of Judah have heard of the pride of Moab as they probably relied upon their past when they were powerful but now refuse to accept the fact they are a people under judgment.  The people have heard of their arrogance and superior attitude toward others.  They held contempt for the people of God and came against them especially when they had just come out of Egypt.  Moab was living on lies believing they are still a powerful people rejecting the idea they are also on the run from Assyria and face extinction.  However, even though they are talking tough, their evil intentions will not come to pass.

Isa 16:7

Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kir-hareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken.


Since there was such pride among the Moabites, they will howl for what is going to come upon them. The howling would be like a wailing in sorrow.   Kir-hareseth was a chief city in the southern part of Moab and was built of brick and was also called the “city of the sun” which may allude to sun worship or the fact that bricks were used to build the houses and were dried in the sun before they were used in the buildings.  It was also famous for its raisin cakes which were used in their heathen worship of false gods.  The fact that they were stricken meant they were overthrown or defeated. 


Isa 16:8

For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come even unto Jazer, they wandered through the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea.


Heshbon was at one time an Israelite city which was given to the tribe of Reuben but was now back in Moabite hands.  The fields of Heshbon now languish which means suffer or deteriorating possibly because of the invading enemy and there is no one to care for the fields.  Sibmah was about 4 miles (6 KM) southwest of Heshbon and was famous for its vines and vineyards which no doubt was turned into wine.  The lords of the heathens would be the rulers of either the Assyrian army or Babylon or both of them having broken down the vines as invaders have done for centuries thus cutting off any chance of economic recovery.  Jazer was in Ammonite territory and was about 15 miles (24 KM) north of Heshbon.  The wilderness would have been the wilderness of Moab.  The branches may refer to the people who have been uprooted from their homes and driven out over the Dead Sea as they went toward the south of it.


Isa 16:9

Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen.


Jazer was destroyed before Sibmah and the LORD is showing that he commiserates with the Moabites for the loss of so many of their best vineyards to the invaders.  Elealeh was located about 2 miles (3 KM) northeast of Heshbon.  These must have been some of the most beautiful and fruitful vines in the region as the LORD states he will shed his tears upon them for losing their vines.  Even in the midst of judgment the LORD shows compassion to his Creation.  It was stated that the harvest was so plentiful that the people would shout and sing as they tread the grapes, however, they gave no glory to God for their bountiful harvest.  They no doubt praised their false gods.


Isa 16:10

And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease.


Once there was much joy and mirth because of the plentiful harvests but now because of the invaders, there will be no singing or shouting over the harvest since the vines have been destroyed by the Chaldeans.  Since there are no grapes, there will be no treading out of the wine from the presses.  The LORD himself has caused the singing and mirth to cease by means of the invaders.


Isa 16:11

Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kir-haresh.


The bowels means the inner parts or the feelings which are felt deep inside a person.  Here the LORD is stating that those deep feelings sound like a harp which is playing a very sad song and the same feelings are felt toward Kir-haresh.  What was happening to Moab would eventually happen to Judah as the Babylonians will destroy the entire land.


Isa 16:12

And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray; but he shall not prevail.


The Moabites will see their plight and will go to the high places and seek Chemosh, their chief deity and will appeal to him for help but will get none and they will become weary of constant unrequited supplication.  It does not matter how many times they pray to Chemosh he will not be able to answer them since he is just a man-fashioned idol which has no power except to deceive the worshippers.  Neither the people nor the idol will have any preeminence.


Isa 16:13

This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning Moab since that time.


This is the word of the LORD which has come not from man but from the LORD himself through the prophet Isaiah concerning the nation of Moab.  Since that time may refer to the time that Moab became a nation after being given birth by Lot’s daughter.  36 Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. 37 And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. (Genesis 19:36-37) 


Isa 16:14

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.


The LORD has now added the fact that within three years which would be the agreed term of a hireling or employee would all the glory of Moab be condemned and many of them shall die and the ones who remain will be so small in number, that they will not be able to be any kind of threat to anyone in contrast to what they were before when they were a powerful nation.  The three years may be from the time that Nebuchadnezzar destroys Jerusalem and then takes out the Moabites.