11. Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath settled on his lees, and hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone into captivity: therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed.
11. Tranquillus fuit Moab a pueritia sua (vel, quietus fuit Moab,) et resedit ipse super faeces suas, et non mutatus fuit a vase in vas, et in captivitatem non profectus (aut, non migravit;) propterea stetit sapor ejus in eo, et odor ejus non mutatus est.
Here he expresses more clearly what we have before seen, that Moab in vain promised to himself perpetual impunity, because he had for a long time been prosperous. Then the Prophet says that he would be suddenly destroyed, when God ascended his tribunal to execute his judgment.
He first says, that he had been quiet from his childhood, because when the Israelites had been often harassed, that nation remained untouched, and never felt any disadvantage, as though fortified on all sides by their own defences; for they dwelt in part amidst mountains, but had a level country, as it is well known, beyond Jordan. It was a land in a moderate degree fertile, so that as they enjoyed continual peace, they collected great wealth. But it was very hard for the Israelites, when God afflicted them with various calamities, to see the Moabites secure and safe from all trouble and all losses. As, then, this thought might have grievously wounded the minds of the faithful, the Prophet here exhorts them not to envy the happiness of the Moabites, because God would at length stretch forth his hand against them, according to what was done by David, who also exhorted the faithful patiently to wait for the day of the Lord, when they saw the ungodly enjoying all kinds of pleasure, and meeting with success according to their wishes. (Psalm 37:1, 7, 8.) We now then understand the object of the Prophet.
He compares Moab to an old man, who had passed his whole life in security, without any losses, without any grief or sorrow. Quiet, then, has Moab been, or quiet from his childhood, even from the time he became a nation. For what was the childhood of Moab? even from the time they expelled the giants and other inhabitants and dwelt in their land. Then success ever attended them; and hence he says, that they settled on their dregs, so that they underwent no change. Here is another metaphor: as wine which remains in its own vessel, and is never changed into another, retains its taste, its strength, and its savor; so also the Prophet says that Moab had always been in the enjoyment of perpetual felicity, like wine which remains on its own dregs. For the dregs preserve the wine, as it is well known; for the wine, being taken off from its dregs, loses in part its own strength, and at length becomes vapid; but wine, being not changed, continues in its own strength.
We hence see how apt is the comparison, when the Prophet says, that Moab had not been changed from vessel to vessel, but had settled on his dregs. And he explains himself without a figure when he adds, that he had not gone, or removed, into captivity. He yet intimates that this perpetual peace would avail the Moabites nothing, because as the Lord had resolved to destroy them, he would cause the strength of Moab to fail and all his wealth to be reduced to nothing.
Grant, Almighty God, that since we are so disposed to indulge sloth, and so devoted to earthly things, that we easily forget our holy calling except thou dost continually stimulate us, -- O grant that the afflictions by which thou triest us, may effectually rouse us, so that leaving the world we may strive to come to thee, and devote ourselves wholly to thy service; and that we may so carry on the warfare under the various afflictions of the present life, that our minds and all our thoughts may always be fixed on the hope of that eternal and blessed rest which thine only-begotten Son our Lord has promised as having been prepared for us in heaven. -- Amen.