34. From the cry of Heshbon even unto Elealeh, and even unto Jahaz, have they uttered their voice, from Zoar even unto Horonaim, as an heifer of three years old: for the waters also of Nimrim shall be desolate.
34. A clamore Hesebon usque ad Elealeh, ad Jahaes edent (ediderunt, ad verbum) vocem suam; a Zoar ad Choronaim vitula triennis (aut, vitulam triennem;) quia etiam aquae Nimrim in vastationem erunt (in ariditatem scilicet.)
He continues the same subject; and by many and various expressions confirms the same thing, in order that the faithful might know that the destruction of the Moabites was really foretold, and that they might feel more assured that God announced nothing but what he would presently execute.
At the cry of Heshbon even to Elealeh they shall send forth their voice. He means, as before, that there would be continued cryings and howlings sounding forth from every part, and spreading through every region. He then adds, From Zoar to Horonaim. We must bear in mind the situations of these cities; but we may suppose that the Prophet chose those cities which were opposite to each other. Then from one corner to the other continual crying would be heard, because there would be everywhere desolation and ruin. And then he comes to another part, from one city even to another there would be a similar cry. In short, he shews that no part in the whole land of Moab would be in a quiet state and free from miseries. This is the meaning.
But he compares the whole land of Moab, or the city Horonaim, to an heifer three years old, on account of its lasciviousness. Some restrict the comparison to the city Horonaim, for they read the words in apposition, "to Heronaim, an heifer three years old," putting the last words in the accusative case: but others read them apart, "an heifer three years old" is Moab. And I prefer this construction, because he afterwards adds another city, even Nimrim. As, however, it is a matter of no great moment, I will not contend with any one who may take the other view. Whether then it be one city or the whole country, it is compared to an heifer three years old, because that nation had long luxuriated in its own pleasures. Now, an heifer three years old, as it is well known, frisks and leaps, because it knows not what it is to fear the yoke; and then it is not worn out, as the case is with cows, who are weakened by having often brought forth young; and further, the milk that is taken from them exhausts their strength. But all heifer three years old is in her rigor and prime. In short, the Prophet intimates that the Moabites lived well, and as it were unrestrained, for they had long exulted in their abundance; and as they had plenty of wine and bread, they gave themselves up to luxury.1
He then adds, Surely even the waters of Nimrim shall be a desolation. Some think Nimrim to have been a city, and it is elsewhere called Nimra. Its waters are also mentioned by Isaiah, as the brooks of the willows. We may hence conclude that these waters were perpetual and flowed continually. But the Prophet speaks metaphorically as before, for the meaning is, that nothing would be so safe in the land of Moab as not to be destroyed, that nothing would be so fruitful as not to be dried up. Then by the waters of Nimrim he means the abundance which was in the whole country. For the Chaldeans did not dry up that river or those lakes, for it is certainly unknown whether there was a river there or a lake. But it is probable that there was there abundance of waters, which were not dried up by the coming of an hostile army; but, as I have said, he shews by these figurative expressions that the whole land of Moab would be laid waste. It follows --