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Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, [1834], at

Jeremiah Chapter 48


jer 48:0

This prophecy Jer. 48 is an amplification of Isa. 15-16, and also introduces two verses, Jer 48:43-44, from Isa 24:17-18. Jeremiah's introduction of passages from older writers being accepted, it would seem that the passages borrowed are so inwoven with that which is Jeremiah's own, that they cannot be omitted as a later interpolation without destroying the whole. On the other hand in that which is the writer's own, and even in many of the alterations of the borrowed passages, Jeremiah's mode of expression is so clearly to be recognized that the whole must be acknowledged to be his.

From Isa 16:13 it has been conjectured that Isaiah had an ancient prophecy before him, and that Jeremiah drew from the same source. Bearing in mind the number of prophetic writings mentioned in the Books of Chronicles which have not come down to us, there is nothing unreasonable in such a supposition.

Jeremiah 48:1

jer 48:1

Against Moab - Concerning Moab.

Is confounded - Is brought to shame.

Misgab - The high fort; some special fortress, probably Kir-haraseth Kg2 3:25.

Jeremiah 48:2

jer 48:2

No more praise of Moab - literally, "The glory of Moab is no more," i. e., Moab has no more cause for boasting.

Heshbon - This town now belonged to the Ammonites Jer 49:3 but was on the border. The enemy encamped there arranges the plan of his campaign against Moab.

In the original there is a play of words upon the names Heshbon and Madmen.

Jeremiah 48:3

jer 48:3

Omit shall be. "Spoiling and great destruction," literally breaking, is the cry heard from Horonaim Isa 15:5.

Jeremiah 48:4

jer 48:4

Moab - Probably the city elsewhere called Ar-Moab. See the Septuagint of this verse.

Jeremiah 48:5

jer 48:5

Luhith was situated upon an eminence, and Jeremiah describes one set of weeping fugitives as pressing close upon another.

In the going down of Horonaim ... - Rather, in the descent of Horonaim they have heard the distresses of the cry of breaking, i. e., the cry of distress occasioned by the ruin inflicted by the enemy. It was situated in a hollow, probably near the Dead Sea.

Jeremiah 48:6

jer 48:6

Like the heath - Or, Like a destitute man. See the marginal reference note.

Jeremiah 48:7

jer 48:7

Works - Possibly the products of labor. The versions render fortifications.

Chemosh - As the national god of Moab Num 21:29, he represents the whole land; and his being led into captivity implies the total ruin of those under his protection. His name here spelled Chemish is repeated in Car-chemish, i. e., the fortress of Chemish.

Jeremiah 48:8

jer 48:8

The valley - The lowlands on the east bank of the Jordan, and at the top of the Dead Sea.

The plain - An upland pasture; it answers very much to downs: so in Jer 48:21.

Jeremiah 48:10

jer 48:10

Deceitfully - Better as in the margin.

Jeremiah 48:11

jer 48:11

Moab from the time it conquered the Emims Deu 2:9-10, and so became a nation, had retained quiet possession of its land, and enjoyed comparative prosperity. From the Moabite Stone we gather that King Mesha, after the death of Ahab threw off the yoke of Israel; nor except for a short time under Jeroboam II was Israel able to bring the Moabites back into subjection. They gradually drove the Reubenites back, and recovered most of the territory taken from the Amorites by Moses, and which originally had belonged to them.

He hath settled on his lees - Good wine was thought to be the better for being left to stand upon its sediment Isa 25:6, and in all cases its flavor was rendered thereby stronger (marginal reference). "By being emptied from vessel to vessel" it became vapid and tasteless. So a nation by going into captivity is rendered tame and feeble. By his taste is meant the flavor of the wine, and so Moab's national character.

Jeremiah 48:12

jer 48:12

I will send - tilters "unto him and they shall" tilt "him, and they shall empty his vessels, and break their" pitchers "in pieces." "Pitchers" originally meant "skins," but the word came to signify small earthenware jars Isa 30:14 : thus the Chaldaeans shall destroy of Moab everything that has contained the wine of her political life both small and great.

Jeremiah 48:13

jer 48:13

Israel was ashamed of Beth-el - After Salmaneser had carried Israel away, they could trust no longer in the calf of Bethel established by Jeroboam.

Jeremiah 48:14

jer 48:14

Mighty - Heroes, veteran warriors.

Jeremiah 48:15

jer 48:15

Rather, "Moab is spoiled," and her cities have gone up, i. e., in smoke, have been burned Jos 8:20-21. Others render, "The waster of Moab and of her towns is coming up to the attack, and her chosen youths are gone down to the slaughter."

Jeremiah 48:16

jer 48:16

Near to come - Twenty-three years elapsed between the fourth year of Jehoiakim, when this prophecy was spoken, and its accomplishment by the invasion of Moab five years after the capture of Jerusalem. So slowly does God's justice move onward.

Jeremiah 48:17

jer 48:17

The lamentation over Moab uttered by those "round about him," i. e., the neighboring nations, and those "that know his name," nations more remote, who know little more than that, there is such a people, takes the form of an elegy. The metaphorical expressions, "staff of strength," and "rod" or "scepter of beauty," indicate the union of power and splendor in the Moabite kingdom.

Jeremiah 48:18

jer 48:18

Sit in thirst - Jeremiah draws a picture of the conquered inhabitants, collected outside the walls, waiting for their captors to march them away to the slave mart. The enemy occupied with plundering the houses of Dibon thinks little of the hunger and thirst of his prisoners.

Strong holds - The remains of the fortifications of Dibon are still visible.

Jeremiah 48:19

jer 48:19

Aroer - On the Arnon, due south of Dibon. If Dibon falls, the turn of Aroer will come next, and therefore its inhabitants are to be on the look out, asking for news.

Jeremiah 48:20

jer 48:20

Or, "Moab is ashamed, because she (Dibon) is broken" by her fortifications being battered down.

Jeremiah 48:21

jer 48:21

Holon - This place apparently took its name from caverns in its neighborhood.

Jeremiah 48:22

jer 48:22

Beth-diblathaim - i. e., "the house of the two cakes of figs," perhaps so called from two hills in its neighborhood. Hos 1:3 note.

Jeremiah 48:23

jer 48:23

Beth-meon - Meon is probably the Moabite Olympus, and thus Beth-Baal-Meon, the full name of this town Jos 13:17, would signify the place where the heavenly Baal was worshipped.

Jeremiah 48:24

jer 48:24

Kerioth - A synonym of Ar, the old capital of Moab. It appears to have been a considerable place, and has been identified with El-Korriat, situated on the long ridge of Mount Attarus.

Bozrah - Probably the Bosora mentioned in 1 Macc. 5:26 in company with Bosor, i. e., Bezer. Since the word means sheepfolds, it was no doubt a common name for places in this upland region, fit only for pasturage.

Jeremiah 48:25

jer 48:25

The horn - i. e., his pride (marginal reference); his arm, i. e., his strength Jer 17:5.

Jeremiah 48:26

jer 48:26

Make ye him drunken - With the wine-cup of God's fury, until terror deprive him of his senses.

Jeremiah 48:27

jer 48:27

Was he found ... - Or, "was he found among thieves that so often as thou speakest of him" thou waggest thy head? - in contempt for a fallen enemy.

Jeremiah 48:28

jer 48:28

Dwell in the rock - See Jer 4:29. The sole chance of escape is refuge in inaccessible fastnesses.

In the sides ... - On the further side "of the mouth of the pit." The wild rock pigeon invariably selects deep ravines for its nesting and roosting.

Jeremiah 48:30

jer 48:30

But it shall not be so - Most commentators translate, "I know, saith Jehovah, his arrogancy, and the emptiness of his boastings; they have worked emptiness."

Jeremiah 48:31

jer 48:31

Mine heart ... - Rather, "there shall be mourning for" etc.

Jeremiah 48:32

jer 48:32

Or, "More than the weeping of Jazer" over its ruined vineyards "will I weep for thee, O vine of Sibmah." Compare the marginal reference. Jazer lies in an upland valley about 15 miles north of Heshbon.

Thy plants ... - "Thy branches are gone over the sea, i. e." the power of Moab is felt even on the western side of the Dead Sea; "they reached etc."

Jeremiah 48:33

jer 48:33

Winepresses - Rather, "wine-vats," into which the wine runs from the presses.

Their shouting shall be no shouting - The vintage shout is - silence. For the vines have been destroyed, and desolation reigns where once was the joyful cry of those who tread the grapes.

Jeremiah 48:34

jer 48:34

The meaning is that, taking up the lamentation of Heshbon, the Moabites break forth into a wail, heard as far as Elealeh, scarcely two miles distant Num 32:37, but thence spreading over the land to towns on the southern and southwestern borders of the land.

An heifer of three years old - Applied in Isa 15:5 to Zoar, but here to Horonaim. Some take "an heifer" as a proper name, and render it: "Eglah for the third part" (compare Isa 19:24). Zoar, Horonaim, and Eglah formed a tripolis, or confederacy of three towns, and Eglah might therefore be put after either one or the other.

Nimrim - Probably the Wady-en-Nemeirah at the southeastern end of the Dead Sea.

Jeremiah 48:36

jer 48:36

Like pipes - A wind instrument, used at funerals Mat 9:23.

The riches that he hath gotten - literally, "that which remains over, a superfluity."

Jeremiah 48:37

jer 48:37

Cuttings - Compare Jer 16:6, and marginal references.

Jeremiah 48:38

jer 48:38

Generally - Rather, entirely.

Jeremiah 48:39

jer 48:39

Literally, "How is it broken down! they wail! How hath Moab tutored the back in shame! Yea, Moab is become a laughter and a terror Jer 17:17 to all who are round about him."

Jeremiah 48:40

jer 48:40

The rapid and irresistible attack of Nebuchadnezzar is compared to the impetuous dash of the eagle on its prey Deu 28:49.

Jeremiah 48:41

jer 48:41

Surprised - captured by force.

Jeremiah 48:45

jer 48:45

Because of the force - Rather, without force. Translate it: "The fugitives have stood, (i. e., halted) powerless in the shadow of Heshbon." As Heshbon was the capital of the Ammonites, the sense is that the defeated Moabites looked to Ammon for protection.

But afire ... - Not only will Ammon refuse aid to Moab, but her ruin is to come forth from Heshbon. To show this Jeremiah has recourse to the old triumphal poetry of the Mosaic age (marginal reference).

The corner - i. e., of the beard ..."the crown of the head." The fire of war consumes both far and near, both hair and beard, i. e., everything that it can singe and destroy.

The tumultuous ones - literally, "sons of the battle-shout," the brave Moabite warriors.

Jeremiah 48:47

jer 48:47

Bring again the captivity - (Or, "restore the prosperity.") A similar promise is given to Egypt, Ammon, and Elam Jer 46:26; Jer 49:6.

Thus far ... Moab - An editorial note by the same hand as the last words of Jer 51:64.

Next: Jeremiah Chapter 49