A Message about Moab
1 This message was given concerning Moab. This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says:
“What sorrow awaits the city of Nebo;
it will soon lie in ruins.
The city of Kiriathaim will be humiliated and captured;
the fortress will be humiliated and broken down.
2 No one will ever brag about Moab again,
for in Heshbon there is a plot to destroy her.
‘Come,’ they say, ‘we will cut her off from being a nation.’
The town of Madmen,[a] too, will be silenced;
the sword will follow you there.
3 Listen to the cries from Horonaim,
cries of devastation and great destruction.
4 All Moab is destroyed.
Her little ones will cry out.[b]
5 Her refugees weep bitterly,
climbing the slope to Luhith.
They cry out in terror,
descending the slope to Horonaim.
6 Flee for your lives!
Hide[c] in the wilderness!
7 Because you have trusted in your wealth and skill,
you will be taken captive.
Your god Chemosh, with his priests and officials,
will be hauled off to distant lands!
8 “All the towns will be destroyed,
and no one will escape—
either on the plateaus or in the valleys,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 Oh, that Moab had wings
so she could fly away,[d]
for her towns will be left empty,
with no one living in them.
10 Cursed are those who refuse to do the Lord’s work,
who hold back their swords from shedding blood!
11 “From his earliest history, Moab has lived in peace,
never going into exile.
He is like wine that has been allowed to settle.
He has not been poured from flask to flask,
and he is now fragrant and smooth.
12 But the time is coming soon,” says the Lord,
“when I will send men to pour him from his jar.
They will pour him out,
then shatter the jar!
13 At last Moab will be ashamed of his idol Chemosh,
as the people of Israel were ashamed of their gold calf at Bethel.[e]
14 “You used to boast, ‘We are heroes,
mighty men of war.’
15 But now Moab and his towns will be destroyed.
His most promising youth are doomed to slaughter,”
says the King, whose name is the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
16 “Destruction is coming fast for Moab;
calamity threatens ominously.
17 You friends of Moab,
weep for him and cry!
See how the strong scepter is broken,
how the beautiful staff is shattered!
18 “Come down from your glory
and sit in the dust, you people of Dibon,
for those who destroy Moab will shatter Dibon, too.
They will tear down all your towers.
19 You people of Aroer,
stand beside the road and watch.
Shout to those who flee from Moab,
‘What has happened there?’
20 “And the reply comes back,
‘Moab lies in ruins, disgraced;
weep and wail!
Tell it by the banks of the Arnon River:
Moab has been destroyed!’
21 Judgment has been poured out on the towns of the plateau—
on Holon and Jahaz[f] and Mephaath,
22 on Dibon and Nebo and Beth-diblathaim,
23 on Kiriathaim and Beth-gamul and Beth-meon,
24 on Kerioth and Bozrah—
all the towns of Moab, far and near.
25 “The strength of Moab has ended.
His arm has been broken,” says the Lord.
26 “Let him stagger and fall like a drunkard,
for he has rebelled against the Lord.
Moab will wallow in his own vomit,
ridiculed by all.
27 Did you not ridicule the people of Israel?
Were they caught in the company of thieves
that you should despise them as you do?
28 “You people of Moab,
flee from your towns and live in the caves.
Hide like doves that nest
in the clefts of the rocks.
29 We have all heard of the pride of Moab,
for his pride is very great.
We know of his lofty pride,
his arrogance, and his haughty heart.
30 I know about his insolence,”
says the Lord,
“but his boasts are empty—
as empty as his deeds.
31 So now I wail for Moab;
yes, I will mourn for Moab.
My heart is broken for the men of Kir-hareseth.[g]
32 “You people of Sibmah, rich in vineyards,
I will weep for you even more than I did for Jazer.
Your spreading vines once reached as far as the Dead Sea,[h]
but the destroyer has stripped you bare!
He has harvested your grapes and summer fruits.
33 Joy and gladness are gone from fruitful Moab.
The presses yield no wine.
No one treads the grapes with shouts of joy.
There is shouting, yes, but not of joy.
34 “Instead, their awful cries of terror can be heard from Heshbon clear across to Elealeh and Jahaz; from Zoar all the way to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah. Even the waters of Nimrim are dried up now.
35 “I will put an end to Moab,” says the Lord, “for the people offer sacrifices at the pagan shrines and burn incense to their false gods. 36 My heart moans like a flute for Moab and Kir-hareseth, for all their wealth has disappeared. 37 The people shave their heads and beards in mourning. They slash their hands and put on clothes made of burlap. 38 There is crying and sorrow in every Moabite home and on every street. For I have smashed Moab like an old, unwanted jar. 39 How it is shattered! Hear the wailing! See the shame of Moab! It has become an object of ridicule, an example of ruin to all its neighbors.”
40 This is what the Lord says:
“Look! The enemy swoops down like an eagle,
spreading his wings over Moab.
41 Its cities will fall,
and its strongholds will be seized.
Even the mightiest warriors will be in anguish
like a woman in labor.
42 Moab will no longer be a nation,
for it has boasted against the Lord.
43 “Terror and traps and snares will be your lot,
O Moab,” says the Lord.
44 “Those who flee in terror will fall into a trap,
and those who escape the trap will step into a snare.
I will see to it that you do not get away,
for the time of your judgment has come,”
says the Lord.
45 “The people flee as far as Heshbon
but are unable to go on.
For a fire comes from Heshbon,
King Sihon’s ancient home,
to devour the entire land
with all its rebellious people.
46 “What sorrow awaits you, O people of Moab!
The people of the god Chemosh are destroyed!
Your sons and your daughters
have been taken away as captives.
47 But I will restore the fortunes of Moab
in days to come.
I, the Lord, have spoken!”
This is the end of Jeremiah’s prophecy concerning Moab.
- 48:2 Madmen sounds like the Hebrew word for “silence”; it should not be confused with the English word madmen.
- 48:4 Greek version reads Her cries are heard as far away as Zoar.
- 48:6 Or Hide like a wild donkey; or Hide like a juniper shrub; or Be like [the town of] Aroer.The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
- 48:9 Or Put salt on Moab, / for she will be laid waste.
- 48:13 Hebrew ashamed when they trusted in Bethel.
- 48:21 Hebrew Jahzah, a variant spelling of Jahaz.
- 48:31 Hebrew Kir-heres, a variant spelling of Kir-hareseth; also in 48:36.
- 48:32 Hebrew the sea of Jazer.