14. How say ye, We are mighty and strong men for the war?
14. Quomodo dicitis, Viri (fortes) nos, et viri robusti ad praelium?
15. Moab is spoiled, and gone up out of her cities, and his chosen young men are gone down to the slaughter, saith the King, whose name is The Lord of hosts.
15. Vastatus est Moab, civitates ejus excidit (alii vertunt, civitates ejus evanuerunt, ut sit mutatio numeri; alii, incola ascendit, vel, discessit ab urbibus ejus,) et electio juvenum descendit (hoc est, electi juvenes; et est allusio ad nomen wyrxb, nam Myrwxb, dicuntur apud Hebroeos adolescentes, qui sunt in flore oetatis, sed nomen hoc deducitur a rxb, quod est eligere, unde est etiam nomen hoc quo utitur Propheta; electio igitur juvenum, vel, electi juvenes, descenderunt) ad mactationem, dicit Rex, nomen ejus Jehova exercituum (id est, cujus nomen est Jehova exercituum.)
The Prophet here reproves the pride of the Moabites, because they trusted in their own strength, and derided God and what the Prophets announced. We indeed know that ungodly men, when all things prosper with them, are moved by no fear, divest themselves of every feeling, and become so sunk in indifference, that they not only disdainfully disregard the true God, but also what is connected with moral obligation. Such, then, was the confidence which prevailed among the Moabites. Hence the Prophet here checks this foolish boasting.
How say ye, We are strong, we are warlike men? as though he had said, "These boastings, while God is seriously contending with you, are all empty, and will avail you nothing: ye think yourselves beyond the reach of danger, because ye possess great power, and are surrounded with strong defences; but God will reduce to nothing whatever you regard as your protection." Wasted, then, is Moab. He sets up this threatening in opposition to their arrogance. He indeed foretells what was to come, but speaks of it as a thing already fulfilled. Wasted, he says, is Moab, and the enemy has cut off his cities. The verb hle, ole, is to be taken in a transitive sense; it is indeed a neuter verb, but the other meaning is more suitable to this place, that the enemy would cut off the cities of the Moabites. I yet allow that it may be explained otherwise, that the inhabitants would ascend or depart from his cities; for, hle, ole, metaphorically, indeed, signifies to ascend, and to flow off, or to go away, as they say, in smoke; and if an anomaly as to number, common in Hebrew, be approved, the sense will be, "and from his cities they have vanished."1 And this explanation agrees well with what follows, and his young men have descended to the slaughter; that is, they who seem the strongest among them shall be drawn to destruction, or shall descend to the slaughter. But as the event seemed difficult to be believed, God is again introduced. Then the Prophet says, that he did not speak from his own mind, but announced what God had committed to him. And he adds his title, that the Jews might be more attentive to the consideration of God's power. God, he says, is he who speaks, the King, whose name is Jehovah of hosts. He sets up God's name in opposition to the warlike preparations, of which the Moabites, as we have seen, boasted; as though he had said, that if the Moabites had to do with mortals, they might indeed have justly gloried; but as they had a contest with the living God, all their power would vanish away, since God was prepared to execute vengeance. It follows --
A spoiler of Moab and of her cities is gone up.
The next clause is not so well rendered by Blayney. He applies it to the Chaldeans. "Moab" is spoken of in this chapter, both in the feminine and in the masculine gender. In our language the neuter would be the most suitable, it and its. I render the verse thus, --
15. The waster of Moab and of its cities is going up, And the choice of its youth shall descend to the slaughter, Saith the King, Jehovah of hosts is his name.
"Going up" as ascribed to the conqueror, and "descending" to the conquered. -- Ed.