Isaiah – Chapter 16

More about Moav

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Continuing speaking about Moav, Isaiah refers to the tribute of sheep that the king of Moav would send the king of Israel every year (see II Kings chapter 3). Since the Northern Kingdom of Israel was exiled, Moav should now send the tribute to the remaining kingdom of Judah. Moav will be like a bird driven from its nest. Isaiah advises them to “make a shadow at noon that is like night” in order to try to hide from their enemies and to conceal the Jews who will pass that way on their way into exile. Moav should allow the exiled Jews to hide out there; the cattle and flocks and Moav will have been plundered by that time. By the time this happens, Assyria will have met defeat at the hands of King Chizkiyahu.

Moav has become very full of themselves, especially considering their origins (Lot and his daughter). Therefore, Moav will be humbled and will mourn for their casualties. Isaiah weeps for the fate of the various fallen cities of Moav, as if watering fields with his tears. The sound of plunderers can be heard over the produce of Moav. Joy will be absent from the fields and vineyards. The Moabites will mourn for their country and when they have tired of making war and want to pray, they will not be able to.

All this is what G-d foretold regarding Moav in the time of Balak and Balaam, hundreds of years earlier. Now G-d says that in three years, Moav will be brought down. Their survivors will be very few.

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