In Isaiah 15, Isaiah explained the burden or prophecy of Moab which was located in Jordan. In the night, Ar and Kir, two Moabite cities were laid waste and destroyed. This caused the Moabites to mourn by:
- Weeping in the temple and high places of their god,
- Cutting off their beards,
- Shaving their heads
- Being dressed in sackcloth.
Even the armed soldiers cried out and were afraid. People in Jahaz could hear the cries of people in Heshbon and Elealeh. All of these cities are located east of the Jordan. As the people cried and fled to other towns, they told people they encountered of the disasters that had taken place.
Isaiah’s heart broke because of the vision of Moab he saw.
The waters of Nimrim which is also located east of the Jordan were desolate and the grass was withered. The people carried their abundance with them over the Brook of the Willows. The waters of Dimon were full of blood; this was most likely from the Moabites who have been slain. By the way, Dimon was the capital of Moab.
Isaiah said this was only the beginning because lions would come upon those who escaped from the land of Moab and pour out more blood into Dimon. In the Apostolic Bible Polyglot, the Greek says the Arabians would be causing this destruction.
In Isaiah 16, Isaiah told the Moabites to send the lamb to the ruler of Mount Zion. According to 2 Kings 3:4, Mesha, the king of Moab was a sheepbreeder and he regularly paid 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams to the northern kingdom of Israel until King Ahab died. They probably shouldn’t have rebelled and stopped sending these to Israel.
Lambs were to be sent to Mount Zion for the protection of the Moabite women who were described as a flock of birds scattered from their nests as they crossed the Arnon River which was located south of Dimon (Dibon).
Isaiah 16:3-4 make an odd combination. I’ve seen several versions that that differ concerning the outcasts. Verse 3…verse 4 is translated:
- The outcasts…My outcasts…O Moab (NKJV).
- The fugitives…Moabite fugitives (MKJV and NIV).
- [Our] outcasts…[our] outcasts…protect Moab (CJB).
- The outcasts…the outcasts of Moab (NASB and NASU).
- The refugees…My refugees (Stone TaNaCh).
Based on the Hebrew, verse 3 should be “the outcasts” and verse 4 should be “My outcasts; Moab be a covert to them.” Therefore, in verse 3, the Lord is telling Judah to hide the Moabite refugees but in verse 4, the Lord wants Moab to be a place of hiding for His people. This appears to be instructions for the future.
It’s interesting to note that Mesha, the Moabite king’s name means safety. At some point in the past or in the future, the Lord wanted Moab to be a place of protection for His people. The Lord told them to allow His outcasts to dwell with them and to shelter them from the Oppressor (shoded is also translated “spoiler”). I think these verses are primarily for the future because the next thing Isaiah said was that a kingdom of love will be set up; the Messiah will rule in fairness, do rightly, and bring quick justice. Since this is the case, the Oppressor must be a reference to the coming Antichrist.
Isaiah 16 ends by saying this prophecy will take place within three years and that there will be a small remainder; therefore, this prophecy was for the past as well as the future. Over the years that have passed since then, the feeble remnant has certainly grown and as Ecclesiastes 1:9 says, “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.”
Long ago, Balaam prophesied concerning Moab in Numbers 24:17: “I see Him, but not now; I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult.” Certainly, the Lord will do this in the future.