Moab’s Unique Role

Isaiah 16: 6-7. “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. Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken.”

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Isaiah often combines his prophecies of the near future and then looks beyond that to the end times when all prophecy will be complete.  Moab, in Isaiah’s time, will be defeated by Assyria, and will suffer complete destruction. I looked at several explanations for the versions that translate raisin cakes for the foundations of Kir-haraseth. There seems to be general agreement that the raisin cakes, a sweet delicacy, and perhaps also flagons of wine, were offered in sacrifice to the gods of the Moabites. It’s an obscure reference, though, and I’m not a student of the Hebrew language.  I have to depend on commentaries. This does seem, though to be the generally agreed translation and meaning.

Moab has a unique place in history, because not only was Moab a place of refuge for the Jews in Isaiah’s day; it will also be a refuge for the remnant that escape from Antichrist, and will be sheltered in Petra, to become the nucleus of the race heading into the Millenial Kingdom.

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Petra is an amazing place, with temples and housing built right into the rock. There are no easy roads into Petra, which makes it highly defensible.  I’d love to see it someday.

Moab Preserved

Isaiah 16:3-5. “Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth. 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. 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.”

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These verses refer to the time of the future great tribulation,
the time of Jacob’s trouble.”  At the end of the warfare of Har-Magedon, the King of the North will pass through Palestine, “the glorious land,” on his way  to conquer Egypt. But Edom, Moab, and Ammon will “be delivered” (Dan. 11:41).Satan will have instigated Antichrist to lead the armies of the Roman power to exterminate the Jewish people, and particularly the godly remnant who have already turned to Jesus, Messiah. Those Jews will have escaped to the rocky, deep valleys and the mountains in Moab (Matt. 24:16). Moab is to guard them and nourish them there for 3 1/2 years (Rev. 12:14, with verse 6).

Moab is to listen to godly counsel, and make godly judgments. They are to be the refuge for believing Jews, hiding them. To bewray is to make accusations, to speak unkindly about someone, to betray people.

The believing Jews who survive in Petra of Moab will be the nucleus  God uses to establish His kingdom in Jerusalem. The spoiler and the extortioner is Antichrist, who promised much but meant not a word he said.

Moab as a Shelter

Isaiah 16:1-2. “Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion. 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.”

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In 16:1,  “the ruler of the land” is the occupant of the throne of Dave, to whom the tribute of lambs is to be paid by Moab, represented here by Sela, or Petra.This tribute had been sent to Samaria (2 Kings 3:4); now the lambs must be sent to Jerusalem and this will be the case, by way of Gentile tribute, when Christ comes to deliver Israel (15:5).

The plea in verse 1 is for Moab to shelter the Jews who survive Antichrist, and to protect them and nourish them.  The Moabites are compared to wandering birds. A bird cast out of its nest will wander from place to place, seeking its home. This is the way the Moabites will react when Antichrist breaks his covenant with Israel, and the Jews are forced to flee or they will die.  Moab becomes a place for them to hide, and to be taken care of. During this period, the last half of the Tribulation, Israel will become strong enough to take a last and victorious stand over Antichrist, who will have spent 3 1/2 years warring against those nations who rise up against him when they finally understand his true purpose.

No Escape

Isaiah 15:7-9. “Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows. For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab: the howling thereof unto Eglaim, and the howling thereof unto Beer-elim. For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land.”

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The people of Moab are going to try to rescue whatever they can, in terms of crops for food, and probably their household goods and money. The Brook of the Willows seems to have been a boundary between Moab and the Jordan River. They would be looking for a place of escape and shelter, hoping to save whatever they could from the destruction of their enemies.

Verse 8 mentions other boundaries of Moab, where the news of the fall of their land will spread with great lamentation and crying. The waters of Dimon, another boundary, would be red with the blood of the slain.  And to make matters worse, there would be lions that would hunt escapees from Moab.

There would be very little success in their efforts to escape the armies of Assyria.

Mourning for Moab

Isaiah 15:5-6. “My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old: for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up: for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction. For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, and there is no green thing.”

Isaiah himself would see the destruction of Moab, and would mourn. The fugitives who escaped death would seek refuge south and west of their home.  Zoar is compared to a three-year-old ox, an age at which the animal will be at his full strength. Zoar, then, becomes an important city of refuge for the Moabites.

Luhith was a rise about one mile west of Mount Nebo, where sacrifice was made to the gods of the Moabites. The waters of Nimrim are just south of Luhith.   Horonaim remains unidentified for certain, but some believe it to have been a city north of Kirhareseth.

The thing all these places share in common is the desolation of war.  Water is dried up,  the hay and grass are withered, or dried up and useless.  There is nothing green. The desolation and destruction are complete.

Sackcloth for Grieving

Isaiah 15: 3-4. “In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly. And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz: therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him.”

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Sackcloth would be called burlap today. It was used primarily for making bags for such things as harvested grain. Rough and uncomfortable, there was no beauty in it. It was the practice, for someone who was grieving, to wear sackcloth to show the depth of sorrow.

The Moabites, after their utter defeat, would literally be crying in the streets and the housetops.

The cities mentioned in verse four were all part of the destruction, which was complete. No corner escaped the armies of Assyria.  In fact, the armed Moabite soldiers that survived would find life not worth living.  The shame of their defeat, and the hopelessness of their future, made their lives grievous to them.


Isaiah 15:1. “The burden of Moab. Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba: on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off.

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Moab was defeated by the Assyrians about the 4th year of Hezekiah’s reign, and the prophecies of 15:1-9 and 16:6-14 were then fulfilled.

Ar was the chief city of Moab. As you can see, it was situated near the Arnon River. Kir, another large city, lay about six miles south of Ar. Bajith and Debon were places of worship and sacrifice to the gods of the Moabites.

Those who will mourn the destruction of Moab are those who survived the devastation created by the Assyrians.  Shaving one’s head and beard were signs of deep mourning.

Moab does not exist today as a country; rather, it is part of what we know as Jordan. Genesis 19: 37-38  is the account of Moab and Ammon, sons of Lot,  conceived in incest by his elder and younger daughters after the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.