Is. 16:1 Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.
Is. 16:2 For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.
“Sela” = the rock city, the capital of Edom, also known as Petra
“daughter of Zion” = Jerusalem, the people of Jerusalem
“Arnon” = “for Arnon was the border of Moab,” Judges 11:18.
Evidently the Moabites had fled as far south as Sela. At one point the Moabites had been conquered by David (2Samuel 8), and had been required to pay tribute, which they eventually stopped doing. The land of Edom had been conquered by Amaziah, king of Judah (2Kings 14).
It would seem that the Moabites are being advised to send a tribute (lamb) to the ruler of the land (the king of Judah) at his seat of government in Jerusalem in hopes of finding mercy and assistance.
Because the destruction of Moab is declared as certain and in trying to understand the next few verses, I did a word search on “Moab” and found a few interesting facts:
1) Balak, king of Moab, was the one who sought Balaam to curse Israel, Numbers 22.
2) Moses is buried in Moab, Deuteronomy 34:5-6.
3) Israel was subdued by Moab for 18 years and was delivered by Ehud, Judges 3.
4) The king of Moab provided shelter for David’s family (homeland of his Grandma Ruth) during the time he was in danger from Saul, 1Samuel 22.
5) There would be a remnant left after the destruction of Moab, Isaiah 16:14.
6) They will be recognized as an entity in “the latter days,” Jeremiah 48:47.
7) They will not be able to be overthrown by Antichrist, Daniel 11:41.
Is. 16:3 Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth.
I did a search to determine why the prophet would be giving advice for the future to a nation that is going to be destroyed.
Why was Moab destroyed?
Jeremiah 48:38 There shall be lamentation generally upon all the housetops of Moab, and in the streets thereof: for I have broken Moab like a vessel wherein is no pleasure, saith the LORD.
Jeremiah 48:42 And Moab shall be destroyed from being a people, because he hath magnified himself against the LORD.
Moab was destroyed because she brought God no pleasure (…and for His pleasure we are and were created. Revelation 4:11) and because of her pride and rejection of the Lord.
The key is that they suffered greatly and lost their national identity as foretold, but evidently God has a plan for sparing a remnant of these cousins of Israel (being descended from Lot, Abraham’s nephew).
The Lord tells them through Isaiah to listen to His advice; they should change their ways and execute judgment. The word “judgment” includes the idea of justice and intercession. They are advised to serve as a shadow, a covering, a defense, for those who may flee to them for protection.
Is. 16:4 Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.
Moab is encouraged to “let mine (God’s) outcasts dwell with thee.” Evidently, there is coming a time in the future when some of the people of Israel will need Moab’s protection. That would explain why God does not allow the Antichrist to overthrow Moab in the latter days, and would tie in with the mercy they will receive when Jesus is on His throne in the millennium as referenced in the next verse.
Daniel 11:41 “He shall enter also into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon.”
Is. 16:5 And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.
This truth is affirmed in Psalm 89 regarding God’s promise to establish David’s throne forever, and his seed, The Holy One of Israel, will be King.
Psalm 89:14&18 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face….For the LORD is our defence; and the Holy One of Israel is our king.
The Lord will not be on David’s earthly throne until the millennium.
Is. 16:6 We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud: even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: but his lies shall not be so.
This is another affirmation of why Moab was destroyed as verified in Jeremiah 48:42 above and verse 29:
We have heard the pride of Moab, (he is exceeding proud) his loftiness, and his arrogancy, and his pride, and the haughtiness of his heart.
The pride of Moab was very evident, especially to the people of Israel; but it will prove to be without foundation—they will be brought down.
Is. 16:7 Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken.
Is. 16:8 For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come even unto Jazer, they wandered through the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea.
The prophet is giving a word picture of the whole of Moab being in mourning with loud wailing. The coming destruction will destroy the foundations of her cities; the fields and vines will be sick; they will droop from lack of proper care. This is depicted more clearly in Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 48:33 And joy and gladness is taken from the plentiful field, and from the land of Moab; and I have caused wine to fail from the winepresses: none shall tread with shouting; their shouting shall be no shouting.
Is. 16:9 Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen.
Is. 16:10 And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease.
Is. 16:11 Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh.
Isaiah is deeply impacted at the message of doom for Moab; he is mourning for them to the point of great weeping. God’s judgment is just and righteous, but Isaiah is taking no joy at the thought of it. I believe that mirrors God’s heart as expressed in Ezekiel:
Ezekiel 33:11 Say unto them, As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live….
I believe Isaiah is picturing the heart of God and is an example of what our response should be when we consider the destruction to come on those who choose to reject the truth of the gospel. How often are we moved to the point of tears and great mourning for the lost souls around us? This is a very sobering and convicting picture.
Is. 16:12 And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray; but he shall not prevail.
Moab will turn to her impotent, false god, Chemosh, instead of to the one true God.
1Kings 11:7 Then did Solomon build an high place for Chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for Molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon.
The people of Moab will find their prayers to this false god empty; their god is impotent; Jeremiah states it quite succinctly.
Jeremiah 48:13 And Moab shall be ashamed of Chemosh, as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel their confidence.
Is. 16:13 This is the word that the LORD hath spoken concerning Moab since that time.
Is. 16:14 But now the LORD hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.
Isaiah reiterates that this is the word the Lord has spoken through him concerning Moab for or at that time (better choices than since). Now the Lord is sharing a specific time for the fulfillment—within three years. A hireling is contracted for service for a specified time. The destruction spoken of will occur at the designated time. The small ray of light for Moab—there will be a small but feeble remnant.