48 Concerning Moab:
This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says:
“Woe to Nebo, for it will be ruined.
Kiriathaim will be disgraced and captured;
the stronghold will be disgraced and shattered.
2 Moab will be praised no more;
in Heshbon people will plot her downfall:
‘Come, let us put an end to that nation.’
You, the people of Madmen, will also be silenced;
the sword will pursue you.
3 Cries of anguish arise from Horonaim,
cries of great havoc and destruction.
4 Moab will be broken;
her little ones will cry out.
5 They go up the hill to Luhith,
weeping bitterly as they go;
on the road down to Horonaim
anguished cries over the destruction are heard.
6 Flee! Run for your lives;
become like a bush in the desert.
7 Since you trust in your deeds and riches,
you too will be taken captive,
and Chemosh will go into exile,
together with his priests and officials.
8 The destroyer will come against every town,
and not a town will escape.
The valley will be ruined
and the plateau destroyed,
because the Lord has spoken.
9 Put salt on Moab,
for she will be laid waste;
her towns will become desolate,
with no one to live in them.
10 “A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work!
A curse on anyone who keeps their sword from bloodshed!
11 “Moab has been at rest from youth,
like wine left on its dregs,
not poured from one jar to another—
she has not gone into exile.
So she tastes as she did,
and her aroma is unchanged.
12 But days are coming,”
declares the Lord,
“when I will send men who pour from pitchers,
and they will pour her out;
they will empty her pitchers
and smash her jars.
13 Then Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh,
as Israel was ashamed
when they trusted in Bethel.
14 “How can you say, ‘We are warriors,
men valiant in battle’?
15 Moab will be destroyed and her towns invaded;
her finest young men will go down in the slaughter,”
declares the King, whose name is the Lord Almighty.
16 “The fall of Moab is at hand;
her calamity will come quickly.
17 Mourn for her, all who live around her,
all who know her fame;
say, ‘How broken is the mighty scepter,
how broken the glorious staff!’
18 “Come down from your glory
and sit on the parched ground,
you inhabitants of Daughter Dibon,
for the one who destroys Moab
will come up against you
and ruin your fortified cities.
19 Stand by the road and watch,
you who live in Aroer.
Ask the man fleeing and the woman escaping,
ask them, ‘What has happened?’
20 Moab is disgraced, for she is shattered.
Wail and cry out!
Announce by the Arnon
that Moab is destroyed.
21 Judgment has come to the plateau—
to Holon, Jahzah and Mephaath,
22 to Dibon, Nebo and Beth Diblathaim,
23 to Kiriathaim, Beth Gamul and Beth Meon,
24 to Kerioth and Bozrah—
to all the towns of Moab, far and near.
25 Moab’s horn is cut off;
her arm is broken,”
declares the Lord.
(Jeremiah 48:1-25 NIV)
Chapter 48 is an extensive indictment against Moab. The chapter breaks down into two parts; we will look at the first part today, and cover the second part in our next time together.
Geographically, Moab occupied the land east of the Dead Sea. Historically, the Moabites were distant relatives of Abraham, the product of Lot’s daughters getting their father drunk then sleeping with him (Genesis 19:30-38). Relationally, the Moabites were long-standing bitter enemies of the Israelites.
This passage names over 20 cities in Moab. This mention of all these towns is significant, as one of the primary points in this section is verse 11 – the fact that Moab had never been forced into exile. The Lord was telling the Moabites that none were exempt from this impending exile and ruin.
There are many references to disgrace, fall from glory, ruin, and judgment in today’s passage. In verse 25, the Lord specifically calls out Moab’s loss of strength (signified by the broken horn and arm).
The two references to Chemosh (vv. 7 and 13) are to the deity that the Moabites worshiped. Solomon (in his later years of not walking with the Lord) built an altar to Chemosh to appease his Moabite wives (1 Kings 11:7).
Throughout history, the Lord brings down the proud and humbles the those that boast in their own strength.
May we keep focused on the Lord and Him alone, not depending on our resources and strength.
May we remember the Apostle Paul’s charge in how to live with those around us:
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
(Romans 12:17-19 NIV)