Isaiah 16 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 16)

Verse 1

[1] Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.

Send — The prophet continues his prophecy against Moab, and gives them counsel what to do, to prevent, if possible, the desolation. Make your peace with God, by sacrifice, for all your injuries done to him, and to his people.

Sela — An eminent city of Moab, seated upon a rock.

Unto the mount — Unto the temple upon mount Zion.

Verse 2

[2] For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.

Cast out — Which knows not whither to go.

Arnon — Which was the border of the land of Moab, where they were, with design to flee out of their land, tho' they knew not whither.

Verse 3

[3] Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth.

Take counsel — Consider seriously what course to take.

Shadow — Or, as the shadow of the night, large and dark, as the shadow of the earth is in the night-season. Conceal and protect my people in the time of their distress.

The out-casts — Those of my people who are driven out of their land.

Wandereth — Unto their enemies.

Verse 4

[4] Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.

Mine out-casts — Whom tho' I have sorely chastened, yet I own for my people.

At an end — Shall shortly be destroyed, and then thou wilt not lose the fruit of thy kindness. The present tense is put for the future.

Verse 5

[5] And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.

In mercy — By my mercy. I am now punishing their sins, yet I will deliver them for my own mercy's sake.

The throne — The kingdom of Judah.

He — Their king.

In truth — That is, firmly and constantly; for truth is often put for the stability and certainty of a thing, as Proverbs 11:18.

Tabernacle — ln the house, or palace, which is called a tent, or tabernacle, with respect to the unsettledness of David's house, which now indeed was more like a tabernacle than a strong palace.

Seeking — Searching out the truth of things with care and diligence.

Hasting — Neither denying, nor yet delaying justice.

Verse 6

[6] We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud: even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: but his lies shall not be so.

We — The prophet having spoken to the Moabites, now turns his speech to God's people. The sense is, I do not expect that my counsels will have any good effect upon Moab; they will still carry themselves insolently and outrageously.

His lies — His vain imaginations, and false and crafty counsels, shall not take effect.

Verse 7

[7] Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken.

Moab — One Moabite shall howl or lament to or for another.

Kirhareseth — An ancient and eminent city of Moab, which was preserved when their other cities were ruined, and therefore the destruction of it was more lamented.

Stricken — Or, broken, overthrown or destroyed.

Verse 8

[8] For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come even unto Jazer, they wandered through the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea.

The lords — The Assyrians or Chaldeans, the great rulers of the eastern nations.

Plants — The choicest vines. Under which one particular he seems to understand, not only all other fruits and goods, but even their choicest people.

They — The lords of the heathen are come as far as Jazer, which is the utmost border of Moab. Wandered - The Moabites fled for their lives, and wandered hither and thither in the wilderness of Moab.

Branches — Her people, called plants before.

Stretched — Driven from their own homes, and dispersed into several countries.

The sea — Over the Dead-sea, which was the border of Moab. They were forced to flee out of their own country to save their lives.

Verse 9

[9] Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen.

Sibmah — I will bewail Sibmah, as I did bewail Jazer, which was destroyed before Sibmah.

Fallen — Those joyful shouts which were customary in the time of harvest and vintage, shall cease.

Verse 10

[10] And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease.

Treaders — In those times they used to squeeze out the juice of their grapes by treading them with their feet.

Verse 11

[11] Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh.

My bowels — Thro' compassion. In excessive grief, the bowels are sometimes rolled together, so as to make an audible noise.

Verse 12

[12] And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray; but he shall not prevail.

When — When it shall appear that all their other devotions are vain.

His sanctuary — To the temple of his great god Chemosh.

But — His god can neither hear nor help him.

Verse 13

[13] This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning Moab since that time.

Since — Since the beginning of God's revelation to me concerning Moab, hitherto.

Verse 14

[14] But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.

The Lord — Hath made this farther discovery of his mind to me.

Three years — This may well be understood of some great blow given to the Moabites, either by Sennacherib, or his son Esarhaddon, from which notwithstanding they recovered and flourished again 'till Nebuchadnezzar compleated their destruction.

Hireling — Within three years precisely counted; for hirelings are very punctual in observing the time for which they are hired.

The glory — Their strength, and wealth, and other things in which they glory, shall be made contemptible to those who formerly admired them.

With — With the great numbers of their people, of which they boasted.