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like a contagion through the whole land, until they became so general, that every one would mourn and
howl. For the foundations of Kir-harefeth, &c.
This seems to have been the name of" a considerable city in the land of Moab; and was probably the very fame place that was called Kir, in the beginning of
this prophecy.-: The foundations of this city were
to be stricken, which would give rife to the mourning here foretold. The word translated foundations, signifies also, bottles, fiaggons, or large vejcls, wherein liquor is kept; which is perhaps the preferable fense here, it being more natural to say, that foundations are destroyed, and that vessels are stricken. To this interpretation 1 am the rather inclined, as, in the beginning of next verse, the vine of Sibmah is mentioned, which would require many large vessels to contain its fruits. These vessels being stricken and broken, would give occasion to lamentation and sorrow, especially when taken in conjunction with what follows in the next verse,
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 seat
Heshbon was the name of a city in Moab, which was surrounded with vineyards, very fruitful fields, and rich pasture-grounds. At the time to which this prophecy referred, the fields situated in the vicinity of this city languished, and lost the beautiful, luxuriant appearance which they were wont to aflume, because a sufficient number of hands were not left to cultivate and improve them, the people being either engaged in military services, or V 1 ing fled before the
enemy, or already wasted by slaughter. The vine
as Sibmah, &c. Though this place is seldom mentioned in scripture, it appears, from what is here said, that it was renowned for the excellent vines which it produced. Whtn this prediction was fulfilled, they were in a languishing state; the enemies of Moab, Called the Lords of the Heathen, having plucked up the best plants, and broken osf the branches, and carried them to Jazer. The land of Jazer, which is said to have been aboat fifteen miles from Heshbon, was pitched on by the Reubenites and Gadites, as a proper place for feeding cattle; and therefore they requested Moses and Eleazar, and the princes of the congregation, that it might be given to them for a possession *. The wines of Heshbon and Sibmah, having been in high reputation among the princes and great men of neighbouring nations, vines of the species which grew in these places, were propagated not only over all the land of Moab, but cions of them were sent over seas into foreign countries. And, at the period to which our prophet looked forward, when this prediction should be verified, these vines were to. be almost totally demolished, and left in an unculti. vated condition; and many of them were to be dispersed through the wilderness of Moab. Striking proofs of the deplorable, forlorn state of that kingdom!
9 % Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer, the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Hefhbon, and Elealeh : for the shouting for thy summer-fruits, and for thy harvest, is fallen.
Our prophet, contemplating the calamities which he had predicted, in his own name, and personating the Moabites, declares what was his own determination, and what would be their conduct, in the time
f Numb, xxxii. J. el sea.
of of their distress. / will bewail, with tears of sor.r
row, and bitter lamentations, the desolation of the
fields of Heshbon, and the vines of Sibmah. With
tlx weeping ofjazer; with those strong expressions of sorrow that the inhabitants of that place had mourned over some great loss, or to which their destruction
had given rife. / will water thee, 0 HcJhbon, and
Elealeb, with my tears, which shall flow in such abundance, as to moisten some of thy neglected fields and
vineyards. For the Jhouting, &c. When the people
of Moab were employed in gathering the summerfruits, in collecting the vintage, and reaping their harvest, they enlivened and encouraged each other by joyful acclamations. In this manner they might amuse themselves at proper seasons, and be thereby excited to proceed in their work with greater alacrity and pleasure. These loud and joyful shouts were to fall low, and cease. All their mirth and festivity were to be laid aside; and the whole joyous scene exhibited in the seasons of grape-gathering, and reaping the corns, was to be reversed in the land of Moab, and to be succeeded by desolation and mourning.
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 viz/to^-shouting to cease.
The Moab'.tes were accustomed to reap their luxuriant crops with much joy and gladness, and to gather the grapes of their vineyards with singing and shouting. Being worldly men, who had their portion in this present life, and the fruits of the vine and of the field being of all others the most excellent and valuable, they had no greater joy than that which they felt on these occasions. Our prophet therefore, in describing the calamities with which they were to be
visited, on account of their incorrigible transgressions, suits the representation to the prevailing sentiments of that people. As they placed their chief happiness in the things of this world, he declares, that the desolation which they would greatly lament, should arise from their being deprived of worldly abundance, and the joy wherewith the possession of it was accompanied. The whole prediction before us, delivered
in language greatly diversified, plainly intimates, that the time was then fast approaching, when the miseries that were coming upon Moab, would deprive them of all the joy and gladness, the singing, shouting, and festivity, which they had hitherto enjoyed in prosperity.- That so great were to be the foretold calamities with which the land mould be visited, that sorrow and anguish, weeping, howling, and lamentation, should be substituted in their place, and prevail as universally among the inhabitants, in the time of their distress, as the opposite practices had; done in happier days.
11 Wherefore my bowels shall sound like ar* harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kir* haresh.
Isaiah, with his accustomed elegance, pathetically describes the tender, painful emotions which he would feel, on account of the distresses of Moab. These compassionate feelings he illustrates by a beautiful similitude. My bowels Jhallfound like a harp, which is a musical instrument, the strings of which being extended, pressed with the hand, and touched with the fingers, emits a pleasant, melodious, grave found. In like manner, when the inward parts are distended with grief, when the animal spirits are depressed, and the bowels are moved, the heart, thus oppressed and overcharged, seeks relief in fobs and sighs, which form a found, in some respects, like a mournful tune, similar expressions with that now before us
frequently frequently occur in scripture *. The words import, that our prophet's bowels were to be sensibly touched b? the calamities of Moab, and his inward parts so strongly moved by the distresses of Kir-haresh, as to produce a mournful, affecting found, expressive of his poignant sorrow.
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.
The unsuccessful attempt of the Moabites, to escape the foretold desolation, is here strongly depicted. After the above-mentioned threatened judgments had become visible, by their execution on Moab, that people were to become weary of the high place to which they had resorted, that they might sacrifice to their gods on altars, which were commonly erected on places of eminence, that they might weep before them, and implore their assistance. Having wearied themselves in vain in the service of their idols, their cries, lamentations, and sacrifices, having accomplished no valuable purpose, they would desist from these
practices, and take another course. HeJhall corns
to bis sanfluary to pray, but be fliall not prevail. The Moabitts fatigued with fruitless expedients, which hitherto had produced no good effect, they would repair to Jerusalem, where was the sanctuary of the God of Israel, that they might supplicate relief from distress, and his merciful interposition in their behalf. But they shall not prevail: they shall not be able to reach the sanctuary of the Lord, being prevented by their enemies; and, though some of them might get there, they shall not prevail with God to obtain deliverance, who had determined, for just reasons, to afflict them in the manner foretold. The words
* Job xxx. 27. Jer. iv. 19.