1. Against Moab thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, Woe unto Nebo! for it is spoiled; Kiriathaim is confounded and taken: Misgab is confounded and dismayed.
1. Contra Moab, sic dicit Jehova exercituum, Deus Israel, Vae super Nebo, quia in vastitatem redacta est (vastata est;) destructa est Kiriathaim; pudefacta est Misgab et expavit (vel, anima fracta est.)
This prophecy is against the Moabites, who, though they derived their origin from Lot, and were of the same blood with the Israelites, had yet been inimical to them. This prophecy would be uninteresting, were we not to remember the history on which the application and use of what is said depends. We have said that the Moabites, as the father of their nation was Lot, were connected by blood with the Israelites; they ought then to have retained the recollection of their brotherhood, and to have dealt kindly with them; for God had spared them when the people of Israel entered into the land of Canaan. The Israelites, we know, passed through the borders of Moab without doing any harm to them, because it was God's purpose, from a regard to Lot, to preserve them for a time. But this people never ceased to contrive all manner of plots against God's people; and, as we shall hereafter see, when the state of that people became embarrassed, they cruelly exulted over them, and became more insolent than avowed enemies. Hence God prophesied against them, that the Israelites might know, as we reminded you yesterday, that their miserable condition was not overlooked by God, and that though he chastised them, yet some hope of mercy remained, as he undertook their cause and would be their defender. It was then no small comfort which this prophecy brought to the faithful; for they thus knew that God was still their father, though apparently he seemed to be severe to them. We now perceive the design of what is here said.
The case of the Moabites was different from that of the Egyptians, for the Egyptians were wholly aliens to the chosen people; but the Moabites, as we have said, were related to them. They were therefore willful, and as it were intestine enemies; and nature itself ought to have taught them to acknowledge the Israelites as their brethren, and to cultivate mutual kindness. This cruelty and ingratitude were so hateful to God, that at length he punished them most severely. But as the Moabites remained in quietness when Judea was laid waste, and the city Jerusalem destroyed, after the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel, and the banishment of the ten tribes to distant countries, it behooved the faithful to exercise patience, which could not have been done without hope. It was this then that Jeremiah had in view, even to sustain the minds of the godly with the expectation of God's judgment, which he here denounces on the Moabites.
1 All the versions, except the Syriac, which Calvin has followed, have "to Moab," and connect the words with the following, that is, "Jehovah says thus to Moab." The best version is, as given by Blayney and Henderson, "concerning Moab, thus saith," etc.. -- Ed.
2 Some give this rendering, "Alas! no Nebo;" it had ceased to exist, and the reason is given, "for it is laid waste. -- Ed.
3 Neither the Vulg. nor the Syr. gives this as a proper name, nor is there any such place found elsewhere. Blayney renders it "the high fortress," agreeably with the Vulg., Syr., and the Targ. -- Ed.
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