A Message About Moab
This message is about the country of Moab. This is what the LORD All-Powerful, the God of the people of Israel, says:*
It will be bad for Mount Nebo.
Mount Nebo will be ruined.
The town of Kiriathaim will be humbled.
It will be captured.
The strong place will be humbled.
It will be shattered.
Moab will not be praised again.
Men in Heshbon will plan Moab’s defeat.
They will say, ‘Come, let us put an end to that nation.’
Madmenah, you will also be silenced.
The sword will chase you.
Listen to the cries from Horonaim.
They are cries of much confusion and destruction.
Moab will be destroyed.
Her little children will cry for help.
Moab’s people go up the path to Luhith.
They are crying bitterly as they go.
On the road down to the town of Horonaim,
cries of pain and suffering can be heard.
Run away! Run for your lives!
Run away like a weed blowing through the desert.
You trust in the things you made and in your wealth,
so you will be captured.
The god Chemosh will be taken into captivity,
and his priests and officials will be taken with him.
The Destroyer will come against every town.
Not one town will escape.
The valley will be ruined.
The high plain will be destroyed.
The LORD said this would happen,
so it will happen.
Spread salt over the fields in Moab.
The country will be an empty desert.§
Moab’s towns will become empty.
No one will live in them.
10 Bad things will happen to those who
don’t obey the LORD and don’t use their swords to kill those people.
11 Moab has never known trouble.
Moab is like wine left to settle.
Moab has never been poured from one jar to another.
He has not been taken into captivity.
So he tastes as he did before,
and his smell has not changed.”
12 This is what the LORD says:
But I will soon send men
to pour you from your jars.*
Then they will empty the jars
and smash them to pieces.”
13 Then the people of Moab will be ashamed of their false god, Chemosh. They will be like the people of Israel who trusted that god in Bethel but were ashamed when he did not help them.
14 You cannot say, ‘We are good soldiers.
We are brave men in battle.’
15 The enemy will attack Moab.
The enemy will enter its towns and destroy them.
Its best young men will be killed in the slaughter.”
This message is from the King.
The King’s name is the LORD All-Powerful.
16 The end of Moab is near.
Moab will soon be destroyed.
17 All you who live around Moab should cry for that country.
You know how famous Moab is.
So cry for it.
Say, ‘The ruler’s power is broken.
Moab’s power and glory is gone.’
18 You people living in Dibon,
come down from your place of honor.
Sit on the ground in the dust,
because the Destroyer is coming.
And he will destroy your strong cities.
19 You people living in Aroer,
stand next to the road and watch.
See the man running away.
See that woman running away.
Ask them what happened.
20 Moab will be ruined and filled with shame.
Moab will cry and cry.
Announce at the Arnon River§
that Moab is destroyed.
21 People on the high plain have been punished.
Judgment has come to the towns of Holon, Jahzah, and Mephaath.
22 Judgment has come to the towns
of Dibon, Nebo, and Beth Diblathaim.
23 Judgment has come to the towns
of Kiriathaim, Beth Gamul, and Beth Meon.
24 Judgment has come to the towns
of Kerioth and Bozrah.
Judgment has come to all the towns
of Moab, far and near.
25 Moab’s strength has been cut off.
Its arm has been broken.”
This is what the LORD said.
26 The people of Moab thought they were greater than the LORD.
So punish them until they act like a drunk,
falling and rolling around in his vomit.
Then people will make fun of them.
27 “Moab, you made fun of Israel.
Israel was caught by a gang of thieves.
Every time you spoke about Israel,
you shook your head and acted as if you were better than Israel.
28 People in Moab, leave your towns.
Go live among the rocks;
be like a dove that makes its nest
at the opening of a cave.”
29 We have heard about Moab’s pride.
He was very proud.
He thought he was important.
He was always bragging.
He was very, very proud.”
30 The LORD says, “I know Moab gets angry quickly and brags about himself,
but his boasts are lies.
He cannot do what he says.
31 So I cry for Moab.
I cry for everyone in Moab.
I cry for the men from Kir Hareseth.
32 I cry with the people of Jazer for Jazer.
Sibmah, in the past your vines spread all the way to the sea.
They reached as far as the town of Jazer.
But the Destroyer has taken your fruit and grapes.
33 Joy and happiness are gone from the large vineyards of Moab.
I stopped the flow of wine from the winepresses.
There is no singing and dancing from people walking on the grapes to make wine.
There are no shouts of joy.
34 The people of the towns of Heshbon and Elealeh are crying. Their cry is heard even as far away as the town of Jahaz. Their cry is heard from the town of Zoar, as far away as the towns of Horonaim and Eglath Shelishiyah. Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up. 35 I will stop Moab from making burnt offerings on the high places. I will stop them from making sacrifices to their gods.” This is what the LORD said.
36 I am very sad for Moab. My heart cries like the sad sound of a flute playing a funeral song. I am sad for the people from Kir Hareseth. Their money and riches have all been taken away. 37 Everyone has a shaved head. Everyone’s beard is cut off. Everyone’s hands are cut and bleeding.* Everyone is wearing sackcloth around their waists. 38 People are crying for the dead everywhere in Moabon every housetop and in every public square. There is sadness because I have broken Moab like an empty jar.” This is what the LORD said.
39 Moab is shattered. The people are crying. Moab surrendered. Now Moab is ashamed. People make fun of Moab, but what happened fills them with fear.”
40 The LORD says, “Look! An eagle is diving down from the sky.
It is spreading its wings over Moab.
41 The towns of Moab will be captured.
The strong hiding places will be defeated.
At that time Moab’s soldiers will be filled with fear,
like a woman giving birth.
42 The nation of Moab will be destroyed,
because they thought that they were more important than the LORD.”
43 This is what the LORD says:
People of Moab, fear, deep holes, and traps wait for you.
44 People will be afraid and run away,
and they will fall into the deep holes.
Anyone who climbs out of the deep holes
will be caught in the traps.
I will bring the year of punishment to Moab.”
This is what the LORD said.
45 People have run from the powerful enemy.
They ran to safety in the town of Heshbon.
But a fire started in Heshbon.
That fire started in Sihon’s town,
and it is destroying the leaders of Moab.
It is destroying those proud people.
46 It will be bad for you, Moab.
Chemosh’s people are being destroyed.
Your sons and daughters are being taken away
as prisoners and captives.
47 Moab’s people will be taken away as captives.
But in days to come, I will bring them back.”
This message is from the LORD.
This ends the judgment on Moab.
* 48:1 This message … says See Isaiah 15 for a similar message. 48:1 Mount Nebo A mountain in Moab, a country east of Israel. 48:6 weed In Hebrew this word is like the name “Aroer,” an important city in Moab. § 48:9 The Hebrew text here is hard to understand. * 48:12 jars This probably means the cities in Moab. 48:13 in Bethel This means the temple that King Jeroboam built in the town of Bethel (see 1 Kings 12:28-33). It is not clear if this means the people still worshiped the Lord there, but in a wrong way, or if they worshiped a false god, perhaps the Canaanite god El or Baal. 48:18 Dibon A city in the country of Moab. § 48:20 Arnon River An important river in Moab. * 48:37 Everyone … cut and bleeding The people did these things to show their sadness for people who had died. 48:43 fear, deep holes, and traps This is a wordplay in Hebrew. The Hebrew words are “Pahad, Pahat, and Pah.” 48:45 Sihon’s town This was Heshbon. See Num. 21:25-30.