Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Isaiah 15: 7-9

Therefore the abundance which they have acquired and stored up
They carry off over the brook of Arabim.
For the cry of distress has gone around the territory of Moab,
Its wail goes as far as Eglaim and its wailing even to Beer-elim.
For the waters of Dimon are full of blood;
Surely I will bring added woes upon Dimon,
A lion upon the fugitives of Moab and upon the remnant of the land.

Even as the prophet weeps over Moab and documents the nation's coming lament over the days of desolation and famine, Isaiah says that there will be "added woes" beyond those already foretold (vs. 9).

Because of the loss of Moab's two major cities and the desecration of the land, the refugee population rises--people are on the move. "Therefore," begins verse 7, the people take all that they have with them, even over "the brook of Arabim," which can also be translated as the brook of willows or poplars. My study Bible suggests that the brook might have been the Zered River, which forms a border between Moab and Edom.

Matthew Henry brings up an interesting point in noting the attitude of the Moabites. Here are a people facing ruin, weeping, shaving their heads in grief--over their personal losses, not over the loss of God in their lives--yet carrying their entire "abundance" off to a foreign land.

"Those that are eager to get abundance of this world, and solicitous to lay up what they have gotten, little consider what may become of it and in how short a time it may be all taken from them. Great abundance, by tempting the robbers, exposes the owners; and those who depend upon it to protect them often find it does but betray them."
--Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary on the Bible

The "cry of distress" (vs. 8) from Moab is heard in the territory surrounding the nation. Eglaim is the northernmost part of Edom, and Beer-elim is the southernmost part of Edom. Moabite wailing covers a lot of auditory ground.

In verse 9, we read about Dimon. Depending on the original sources from which your Bible is translated, Dimon could be a place all its own or it could be an alternate spelling of Moab's idol capital, Dibon. Matthew Henry says, "Dimon signifies bloody; the place shall answer to its name." He references II Kings 3: 22 and 23, in which the Moabites see water that looks like blood. "Then they said, 'This is blood; the kings have surely fought together, and they have slain one another. Now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!'" (vs. 23) (Israel would then rise up in surprise to defeat them.) Here's what I read about the etymology of 'Dimon':

"The form of the name, Dimon, in Isa 15:9, may have been given to make it resemble the Hebrew dam, 'blood,' to support the play upon words in the verse...."
--International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

[It would be like Isaiah to use a play-on-words. Such a creative writer!]

But, given Moab's reliance upon idols and Dibon's propensity for them, it would be an equally plausible possibility that Isaiah was referring to the city itself. It is no wonder God would bring about additional woe upon the people in relationship to their activities at Dibon. Remember, "gods before Him" has always been the problem requiring the #1 Commandment. But the extent of the woes goes beyond Dibon to the fugitives themselves. One really does start to feel sad for this people in the end due to their cluelessness. We did wrong, but we won't own up to it. Instead, we'll cry over our ruin, take all that we own and cherish, and run away to start a new life [in an equally spiritually corrupt nation]! God would not have it. He would send "a lion." (vs 9)

It's a picture perhaps not unlike what Babylon would experience with the "desert creatures" taking over their houses, towers and palaces. (Isa. 13: 21 and 22) The cross-reference verse takes us back to another prophet's words--Amos--who warned that even when escape from the first obstacle is possible, there are more woes awaiting:

"Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord,
For what purpose will the day of the Lord be to you?
It will be darkness and not light;
As when a man flees from a lion
And a bear meets him,

Or goes home, leans his hand against the wall
And a snake bites him."

--Amos 5: 18 and 19

Perhaps the most striking contrast--and one that Judah should have seen--is that of "the remnant." [And did Isaiah choose that word on purpose or what?!] Moab's would not survive. Judah's would be preserved through the history of the world.


Where the scattered fugitives landed, as we begin Chapter 16. ...'Til next Wednesday!

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Next week:  Isaiah 16: 1-4
Note: I read from the New American Standard Bible translation,
specifically, The MacArthur Study Bible (NASB).
I will quote other sources if used in a post.

I also use
Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible
(with notes from the King James Version).