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What the Lord Says about Moab

48 The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, told me to say to the nation of Moab:

The town of Nebo is doomed;
Kiriathaim will be captured
    and disgraced,
and even its fortress
    will be left in ruins.
No one honors you, Moab.
In Heshbon, enemies make plans
    to end your life.
My sword will leave only silence
    in your town named “Quiet.”[a]
The people of Horonaim
    will cry for help,
as their town is attacked
    and destroyed.

Moab will be shattered!
    Your children will sob
and cry on their way up
    to the town of Luhith;
on the road to Horonaim
    they will tell of disasters.

Run for your lives!
Head into the desert
    like a wild donkey.[b]
You thought you could be saved
    by your power and wealth,
but you will be captured
along with your god Chemosh,
    his priests, and officials.
Not one of your towns
    will escape destruction.

I have told your enemies,
“Wipe out the valley
    and the flatlands of Moab.
Spread salt on the ground
    to kill the crops.[c]
Leave its towns in ruins,
    with no one living there.
10 I want you to kill the Moabites,
and if you let them escape,
    I will put a curse on you.”

11 Moab, you are like wine
left to settle undisturbed,
    never poured from jar to jar.
And so, your nation continues
    to prosper and improve.[d]
12 But now, I will send enemies
to pour out the wine
    and smash the jars!
13 Then you will be ashamed,
because your god Chemosh
    cannot save you,
just as Bethel[e] could not help
    the Israelites.

14 You claim that your soldiers
    are strong and brave.
15 But I am the Lord,
    the all-powerful King,
and I promise that enemies
    will overpower your towns.
Even your best warriors
    will die in the battle.
16 It won’t be long now—
    disaster will hit Moab!

17 I will order the nearby nations
    to mourn for you and say,
“Isn’t it sad? Moab ruled others,
but now its glorious power
    has been shattered.”

18 People in the town of Dibon,[f]
you will be honored no more,
    so have a seat in the dust.
Your walls will be torn down
    when the enemies attack.

19 You people of Aroer,[g]
    go wait beside the road,
and when refugees run by,
    ask them, “What happened?”
20 They will answer,
“Moab has been defeated!
    Weep with us in shame.
Tell everyone at the Arnon River
    that Moab is destroyed.”

21 I will punish every town
that belongs to Moab,
    but especially Holon,
Jahzah, Mephaath,
22     Dibon, Nebo,
Beth-Diblathaim, 23 Kiriathaim,
    Beth-Gamul, Beth-Meon,
24     Kerioth, and Bozrah.[h]
25 My decision is final—
your army will be crushed,
    and your power broken.

26 People of Moab, you claim
    to be stronger than I am.
Now I will tell other nations
    to make you drunk
and to laugh while you collapse
    in your own vomit.
27 You made fun of my people
and treated them like criminals
    caught in the act.
28 Now you must leave your towns
    and live like doves
in the shelter of cliffs
    and canyons.

29 I know about your pride,
    and how you strut and boast.
30 But I also know bragging
    will never save you.
31 So I will cry and mourn
    for Moab
and its town of Kir-Heres.

32 People of Sibmah,
you were like a vineyard
    heavy with grapes,
and with branches reaching
north to the town of Jazer
    and west to the Dead Sea.[i]
But you have been destroyed,
    and so I will weep for you,
as the people of Jazer weep
    for the vineyards.

33 Harvest celebrations are gone
from the orchards and farms
    of Moab.
There are no happy shouts
    from people making wine.
34 Weeping from Heshbon
can be heard as far
    as Elealeh and Jahaz;
cries from Zoar are heard
in Horonaim
    and Eglath-Shelishiyah.
And Nimrim Creek has run dry.

35 I will get rid of anyone
who burns incense
    to the gods of Moab
or offers sacrifices
    at their shrines.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

36 In my heart I moan for Moab,
like a funeral song
    played on a flute.
I mourn for the people
of the town of Kir-Heres,
    because their wealth is gone.

37 The people of Moab
mourn on the rooftops
    and in the streets.
Men cut off their beards,
    people shave their heads;
they make cuts on their hands
    and wear sackcloth.[j]
38 And it’s all because I, the Lord,
have shattered Moab
like a jar
    that no one wants.
39 Moab lies broken!
Listen to its people cry
    as they turn away in shame.
Other nations are horrified
at what happened,
    but still they laugh.

40 Moab, an enemy swoops down
like an eagle spreading its wings
    over your land.
41 Your cities[k] and fortresses
    will be captured,
and your warriors
    gripped by fear.[l]
42 You are finished as a nation,
because you dared oppose me,
    the Lord.
43 Terror, pits, and traps
    are waiting for you.
44 If you are terrified and run,
    you will fall into a pit;
and if you crawl out of the pit,
    you’ll get caught in a trap.
The time has come
    for you to be punished.

45 Near the city of Heshbon,
    where Sihon once ruled,
tired refugees stand in shadows
cast by the flames
    of their burning city.
Soon, the towns on other hilltops,
where those warlike people live,
    will also go up in smoke.

46 People of Moab, you worshiped
Chemosh, your god,
    but now you are done for,
and your children are prisoners
    in a foreign country.
47 Yet someday, I will bring
    your people back home.
I, the Lord, have spoken.

Footnotes

  1. 48.2 silence. . . Quiet: In Hebrew the name of the town was “Madmen,” which sounds like the word for “silence.”
  2. 48.6 like a wild donkey: One ancient translation; Hebrew “like (the town of) Aroer” (see verse 19).
  3. 48.9 Spread salt. . . crops: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  4. 48.11 continues. . . improve: Or “remains as evil as ever.”
  5. 48.13 Bethel: It may refer to the Phoenician or Canaanite god of that name; or it may refer to the town where people of the northern kingdom worshiped at a local shrine (see 1 Kings 12.26-30).
  6. 48.18 Dibon: The capital city of Moab.
  7. 48.19 Aroer: A Moabite town located just north of the Arnon River.
  8. 48.24 Bozrah: Not the same Bozrah as in 49.13.
  9. 48.32 reaching north. . . Dead Sea: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  10. 48.37 sackcloth: See the note at 4.8.
  11. 48.41 Your cities: Or “Kerioth.”
  12. 48.41 gripped by fear: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.

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