1Send them forth,* hugging the earth like reptiles,
from Sela across the desert,
to the mount of daughter Zion.
2Like flushed birds,
like scattered nestlings,
Are the daughters of Moab
3* Offer counsel, take their part;
at high noon make your shade like the night;
Hide the outcasts,
do not betray the fugitives.
4Let the outcasts of Moab live with you,
be their shelter from the destroyer.
When there is an end to the oppressor,
when destruction has ceased,
and the marauders have vanished from the land,
5A throne shall be set up in mercy,
and on it shall sit in fidelity,
in David’s tent,
A judge upholding right,
prompt to do justice.b
6We have heard of the pride of Moab,
how very proud he is,
Of his haughtiness, pride, and arrogance
that his empty words do not match.c
7* Therefore let Moab wail,
let everyone wail for Moab;
For the raisin cakes* of Kir-hareseth
let them sigh, stricken with grief.
8The terraced slopes of Heshbon languish,
the vines of Sibmah,
Whose clusters once overpowered
the lords of nations,
Reaching as far as Jazer
winding through the wilderness,*
Whose branches spread forth,
crossing over the sea.
9Therefore I weep with Jazer
for the vines of Sibmah;
I drench you with my tears,
Heshbon and Elealeh;
For on your summer fruits and harvests
10From the orchards are taken away
joy and gladness,
In the vineyards there is no singing,
no shout of joy;
In the wine presses no one treads grapes,
the vintage shout is stilled.e
11Therefore for Moab
my heart moans like a lyre,
my inmost being for Kir-hareseth.f
12* When Moab wears himself out on the high places,
and enters his sanctuary to pray,
it shall avail him nothing.g
13* That is the word the LORD spoke against Moab in times past. 14But now the LORD speaks: In three years, like the years of a hired laborer, the glory of Moab shall be empty despite all its great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and weak.h
* [16:1] Send them forth: the Hebrew text is disturbed; it could also be understood to refer to tribute (a lamb) sent from Moab to Zion, presumably to encourage the king to receive the Moabite refugees.
* [16:2] The Arnon: principal river of Moab.
* [16:3–5] Directed to Jerusalem, which should receive the suffering Moabites with mercy, as befits the city of David’s family, who were partly descended from Ruth the Moabite; and cf. 1 Sm 22:3–4. This would be a gracious act on Judah’s part, since its relations with Moab were strained at best.
* [16:7–14] Moab had been prosperous; now it has become a desert.
* [16:7] Raisin cakes: masses of dried compressed grapes used as food (cf. 2 Sm 6:19; 1 Chr 16:3; Sg 2:5), and also in the worship of other gods (Hos 3:1).
* [16:8] Wilderness: i.e., eastward. Sea: i.e., westward.
* [16:9–10] Battle cry…shout of joy: the same Hebrew word (hedad), which normally refers to the joyful shout of those treading the grapes (cf. Jer 25:30), here is used both for the triumphant shout of the enemy (v. 9) and for the vintagers’ shout, which has ceased.
* [16:12] In vain do the Moabites appeal to their god Chemosh.
* [16:13–14] A prose application of the preceding poetic oracle against Moab (15:1–16:12); cf. Jer 4:8. Like the years of a hired laborer: the fixed period of time for which the hired laborer contracted his services; cf. Is 21:16.
b. [16:5] Is 9:6; 11:3–4; 32:1; Jer 23:5; Ps 89:14; Prv 20:28.
f. [16:11] Is 15:5; Jer 48:36.