Jeremiah – Chapter 48

Moav Gets Theirs

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

G-d told Jeremiah what would be the fate of Moav. Woe to the Moabite cities of N’vo, Kiryasayim and Misgav, which have been destroyed. In Cheshbon, they plotted to overthrow the nation and Madmein will also be a waste. A cry will go up from Choronayim; Moav is destroyed. They will go up to Luchis, a mountain, crying and when they go down to Choronayim, their enemies will hear them wailing. If they run away, they can save their lives! They will then be like a tower (or perhaps a tree) standing tall in the desert. The Moabites put too much faith in their material possessions, which is why they will be taken captive. Not only will their idol Chemosh be unable to save them, it will be carried off, as well.

The invaders will loot every city, the valleys and the plains. Let the Moabites run away, because their cities will be ruined and empty. This is a punishment from G-d and those who do not do His will shall be cursed. Moav had it easy for a long time, dwelling securely in their land; now they will be exiled. The day is coming when G-d will send people to pour Moav out of their land, like wine from a jug, which is emptied then smashed. Moav will be as ashamed of having worshipped the idol Chemosh as Israel was for worshipping the golden calf that Yeravam set up in Beth-El. (This does not refer to the Golden Calf after the Exodus from Egypt; this one was in the Book of Kings.) How can the Moabites continue to claim that they are such mighty warriors, when they have been so soundly defeated? Their destruction is imminent and their own evil has caused it.

Neighboring countries will mourn over Moav’s fate. The Moabites will sit in their exile and long for good things. The people of Aroer will stand by the road as Moav is exiled and they will ask the Moabites what happened. The Moabites are shamed and they will tell in Arnon (a neighboring country) how Moav was destroyed.

The horn (referring to the royalty) has been cut off of Moav; the arm of Moav (referring to the officers and soldiers) has been broken. Moav will drink from the cup of G-d’s wrath and become drunk; they will wallow in their own filth and be a source of derision for other nations. As Moav mocked Israel, who did nothing to deserve it, they will be mocked by others.

The people of Moav will leave their cities and conceal themselves among the rocks. The other nations heard Moav’s arrogant boasts during the times of wealth and security. But they hated Israel for no reason and did not deal properly with the nation whose ancestor (Abraham) saved their ancestor (Lot).

Jeremiah cries for the way Moav is humbled. Rejoicing will be taken from the fields of Moav and wine will cease from their cisterns. No one will tread grapes with cheers, as they used to. Not only will rejoicing cease from Moav, they will no longer be able to serve their idols and offer sacrifices to them. Jeremiah feels for Moav because of their plight; everyone is in mourning. Wailing is everywhere and the nation is like a broken, useless utensil.

G-d said that Moav’s enemies would come swiftly upon them. Moav’s mighty warriors have become like heartbroken women. They will cease to be a nation because they opposed G-d. They will flee in fright, pits and traps waiting to capture them; whoever escapes the pit will fall into the trap.

A fire goes forth from the Moabite cities of Cheshbon and Sichon, consuming the nation and its leadership. The nation that worshipped the idol Chemosh is lost, their children are captives. But the exiles of Moav will return in the “end of days” (i.e., the Messianic era).

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