An Oracle Concerning Moab

Isaiah 15

1 A Message concerning Moab: Village Ar of Moab is in ruins,
destroyed in a night raid.
Village Kir of Moab is in ruins,
destroyed in a night raid.
Village Dibon climbs to its chapel in the hills,
goes up to lament.
Moab weeps and wails
over Nebo and Medba.
Every head is shaved bald,
every beard shaved clean.
They pour into the streets wearing black,
go up on the roofs, take to the town square,
Everyone in tears,
everyone in grief.
Towns Heshbon and Elealeh cry long and loud.
The sound carries as far as Jahaz.
Moab sobs, shaking in grief.
The soul of Moab trembles.
5 Oh, how I grieve for Moab!
Refugees stream to Zoar
and then on to Eglath-shelishiyah.
Up the slopes of Luhith they weep;
on the road to Horonaim they cry their loss.
The springs of Nimrim are dried up -
grass brown, buds stunted, nothing grows.
They leave, carrying all their possessions
on their backs, everything they own,
Making their way as best they can
across Willow Creek to safety.
Poignant cries reverberate
all through Moab,
Gut-wrenching sobs as far as Eglaim,
heart-racking sobs all the way to Beer-elim.
The banks of the Dibon crest with blood,
but God has worse in store for Dibon:
A lion - a lion to finish off the fugitives,
to clean up whoever's left in the land.

Isaiah 16

1 "Dispatch a gift of lambs," says Moab, "to the leaders in Jerusalem -
Lambs from Sela sent across the desert
to buy the goodwill of Jerusalem.
The towns and people of Moab
are at a loss,
New-hatched birds knocked from the nest,
fluttering helplessly
At the banks of the Arnon River,
unable to cross:
'Tell us what to do,
help us out!
Protect us,
hide us!
Give the refugees from Moab
sanctuary with you.
Be a safe place for those on the run
from the killing fields.'"

4 "When this is all over," Judah answers,
"the tyrant toppled,
The killing at an end,
all signs of these cruelties long gone,
A new government of love will be established
in the venerable David tradition.
A Ruler you can depend upon
will head this government,
A Ruler passionate for justice,
a Ruler quick to set things right."

6 We've heard - everyone's heard! - of Moab's pride,
world-famous for pride -
Arrogant, self-important, insufferable,
full of hot air.
So now let Moab lament for a change,
with antiphonal mock-laments from the neighbors!
What a shame! How terrible!
No more fine fruitcakes and Kir-hareseth candies!
All those lush Heshbon fields dried up,
the rich Sibmah vineyards withered!
Foreign thugs have crushed and torn out
the famous grapevines
That once reached all the way to Jazer,
right to the edge of the desert,
Ripped out the crops in every direction
as far as the eye can see.
I'll join the weeping. I'll weep right along with Jazer,
weep for the Sibmah vineyards.
And yes, Heshbon and Elealeh,
I'll mingle my tears with your tears!
The joyful shouting at harvest is gone.
Instead of song and celebration, dead silence.
No more boisterous laughter in the orchards,
no more hearty work songs in the vineyards.
Instead of the bustle and sound of good work in the fields,
silence - deathly and deadening silence.
My heartstrings throb like harp strings for Moab,
my soul in sympathy for sad Kir-heres.
When Moab trudges to the shrine to pray,
he wastes both time and energy.
Going to the sanctuary and praying for relief
is useless. Nothing ever happens.

13 This is God's earlier Message on Moab. God's updated Message is, "In three years, no longer than the term of an enlisted soldier, Moab's impressive presence will be gone, that splendid hot-air balloon will be punctured, and instead of a vigorous population, just a few shuffling bums cadging handouts."

The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by NavPress and Eugene H. Peterson
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