45. They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon, because of the force: but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones.
45. In umbra Hesbon steterunt a fortitudine (aut, violentia) fugientes; quia ignis egressus est ex Hesbon, et flamma e medio Sion, et vorabit angulum Moab, et extremitatem et verticem filiorum tumultus.
He confirms what is said in the last verse, that the Moabites would in vain resort to their strongest cities, even Heshbon and Sihon; because a flame would thence break forth, which would consume the whole land. We hence see that God took away from the Moabites all their vain confidences, and showed that no defences could stand against his power, when once he rose up for judgment.
This, then, is what our Prophet means, when he says, that
But as I have already said, the Prophet alludes to that old saying mentioned by Moses, (Numbers 21:27, 28.) Further, there is no doubt but that Heshbon and Sihon were then in the possession of that nation; for they had taken away many cities from the Israelites, and thus the children of Israel had been reduced to narrower limits. At length the tribe of Judah alone remained after the overthrow of the kingdom of Israel. When they were driven into Chaldea, it was an easy thing for the Moabites to make that their own which belonged to no one. Besides, as they had helped the Chaldeans and betrayed that miserable people, and had thus acted perfidiously towards their brethren, a reward was given to them. But when at length they themselves dreaded the power of the Babylonian monarchy, they began to change their minds, and endeavored to obstruct the farther progress of the Chaldeans. Hence then a war was contemplated, and the occasion was given. He then speaks of Heshbon and Sihon as chief cities; and there is no doubt but that Sihon derived its name from a king who ruled there. For we know that there was a king bearing this name; but as he speaks here of a place, it is probable, that the king's name was given to the city in order to commemorate it.
He at length adds, that this
1 The word "strength" is here omitted. Calvin's version is, "Under the shadow of Heshbon stood they who had fled from strength," or violence, i.e., of their enemies. Some connect it with "stood," the fugitives "stood for strength," or, "without strength," which, perhaps, is preferable: they stood under the shadow or protection of Heshbon, and obtained no help; so far was this from being the case, that from Heshbon would go forth fire, that is, "the spoiler," or, destroyer, before often mentioned. Then
3 The last clause is evidently a quotation from Numbers 24:17: it is not literally the same, but the meaning is so. It is "corner"' here and not "corners," as in Numbers; and the word there is
And it shall devour the corner of Moab, And destroy the sons (or children) of tumult.
This passage is omitted in the Sept.; the Vulg. renders
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