The Explanation of Moab’s Fall

A  teacher in Bible school had her straight hair permed in to a curly style. One morning she noticed that 4 yr. old Jack, who was usually cheerful, looked sad and bewildered. “Is something wrong, Jack?” Jenny asked him. “Your hair,” he mumbled. “You … More


Instead of coming to Jerusalem, with the Assyrian armies coming, the Moabites fled all the way south to strongholds in Edon, such as the city of Petra (v. 1), which was about 50 miles south of Moab’s southern border. From here the Moabites sent an appeal to the king of Judah to give them asylum from the enemy (vv. 2-4). But Isaiah warns them that it will take more than a request. They will need to submit to the king of Judah and pay tribute by sending animals. Then a kingdom of love will be set up, and someone from David’s family will rule with fairness (v. 5). They wanted Judah’s help, but they did not want Judah’s God.

Isaiah exposes the pride and conceit of Moab (v. 6) The people of Moab should have realized their helplessness before the Assyrians and turned to God, through their neighbor Israel, but they refused to do so. As a result, the fruitfulness and productivity of their land would be stopped (vv. 7-10). While the treading of grapes (squeezing the juice by mashing them with their bare feet) had been a time of great joy at the end of the harvest season, it would soon be ended because the people ignored God and rebelled against Him (v. 10). The invading army and the drought which would accompany it would wipe out Moab’s chances for survival. There was great sympathy for Moab (v. 11). The prophecy closes with an explanation about Moab’s fall (vv. 12-14). Moab is to become “weary on the high place,” which no doubt refers to the temples of her pagan gods.


When the people of Moab experienced God’s wrath, they became prideful and sought their own idols and gods. When I seek my own ways of escape in order to get through my daily troubles the results will be the same. My hope must be in God and He is the only one who can hear and help me.

Isaiah 16:1-14 (English Standard Version)

Send the lamb to the ruler of the land, from Sela, by way of the desert, to the mount of the daughter of Zion. Like fleeing birds, like a scattered nest, so are the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon. "Give counsel; grant justice; make your shade like night at the height of noon; shelter the outcasts; do not reveal the fugitive; let the outcasts of Moab sojourn among you; be a shelter to them from the destroyer. When the oppressor is no more, and destruction has ceased, and he who tramples underfoot has vanished from the land, then a throne will be established in steadfast love, and on it will sit in faithfulness in the tent of David one who judges and seeks justice and is swift to do righteousness." We have heard of the pride of Moab-- how proud he is!-- of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence; in his idle boasting he is not right. Therefore let Moab wail for Moab, let everyone wail. Mourn, utterly stricken, for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth. For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah; the lords of the nations have struck down its branches, which reached to Jazer and strayed to the desert; its shoots spread abroad and passed over the sea. Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah; I drench you with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh; for over your summer fruit and your harvest the shout has ceased. And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field, and in the vineyards no songs are sung, no cheers are raised; no treader treads out wine in the presses; I have put an end to the shouting. Therefore my inner parts moan like a lyre for Moab, and my inmost self for Kir-hareseth. And when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself on the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail. This is the word that the LORD spoke concerning Moab in the past. But now the LORD has spoken, saying, "In three years, like the years of a hired worker, the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt, in spite of all his great multitude, and those who remain will be very few and feeble."

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