The Only Hope for Moab Isaiah 16,1-14 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
Moab’s only hope during the Tribulation will be Jesus Christ. You know that the context of this passage is the Second Advent because of verse 5. Notice that the throne is David’s throne, that by mercy it is established, that “he” sits upon it in truth, that “he” judges and that “he” is hasting righteousness. The only king who will ever do these things on David’s throne is Jesus [Lk 1:31-33, Is 9:6-7, Ps 85:9-13]. Knowing that we are dealing with a Tribulation and Second Advent passage helps us understand what Isaiah is prophesying to Moab.
The background of this prophecy is that during the Tribulation, Moab is going to be confederate with the armies that will attack Israel [Ps 83:6]. However, during the battles, Moab is destroyed, her soldiers are killed and those who can escape are instructed to head down to Sela Petra for protection. They are instructed to turn to the Lord, who will have mercy on them. Only a remnant will survive.
Here’s how the prophecy lays out verse by verse:
v.1 – Moab is instructed to send “the lamb” to the ruler of the land, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion – the ruler of the land will be Jesus [Ps 110, particularly v.2], he will be in Jerusalem [the mount of the daughter of Zion is the hill of Jerusalem, Is 10:32] – sending the lamb is a form of tribute, indicating that they are looking to him for protection, that they are not against him and that they will serve him and not their own gods [2 Ki 3:4] – they send the lamb from Sela, where they will have to hide [Ps 46:7].
v.2 – the daughters of Moab will flee the destruction in Moab and not be able to return [as a wandering bird cast out] – they will ford the river Arnon as they head south to Sela.
v.3 – the counsel they are to take and the judgment they are to execute are to:
- Make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noon day – the place that can be that dark with the sun directly overhead is Sela Petra – Petra is located approximately 50 miles south of the Dead Sea at an elevation of approximately 2700 ft; it is entered through a narrow opening 2/3 of a mile long, with walls 300 ft high and as narrow as 9 ft wide.
- Hide the outcasts – the outcasts are to hide there.
- Bewray not him that wandereth – to bewray is to divulge or to reveal – in other words, when other outcasts wander down there they are to take them in and not turn them over to the antichrist [contrast Oba 13-15].
v.4 – they are also to provide protection for the Jews that run down there to escape the spoiler, the antichrist, and his army in Israel – here they are faced with a choice and the Lord gives them a clear reason to help the Jews and not the antichrist – he says that the “extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, and the oppressors are consumed out of the land” – in other words, “I’ll win, he’ll lose,” [Is 49:25-26].
v.5 – Jesus, when he returns, will sit upon the throne of David and rule in mercy, truth and judgment [Ps 89:14] and in righteousness [Rev 19:11] – there has been so much unrighteousness in the earth that he will quickly root out the wickedness and establish righteousness in the earth.
At this point in the chapter, the prophecy turns to the reasons for and the results of the destruction of Moab.
v.6 – the reasons for Moab’s destruction are:
- Pride – Prov 6:17
- Haughtiness – Prov 16:18
- Wrath – Prov 21:24
- Lies – Prov 6:17
v.7 – they end up howling for the destruction – the foundations of Kirhareseth are destroyed – thus the cities are razed to the ground.
v.8 – the fields of Heshbon are destroyed [crops] – like Joel 1:4, Rev 8:7, Rev 11:6 – the vine of Sibmah is destroyed [grapes and wine] – the lords of the heathen come through and destroy their branches from coast to coast.
v.9-11 – as a result, there is wailing and weeping instead of joy, gladness, shouting and singing – the typical joy of the harvest and vintage is replaced with tears over the fallen harvest – the weeping is deep and sounds like the harp [Ps 137].
v.12-13 – when Moab becomes weary on his high places [Is 15:2] then he turns to his sanctuary to pray but he doesn’t prevail [Prov 1:24-33].
v.14 – all of this destruction and the reduction of Moab to a mere remnant of its former glory takes only three years [the last part of the Tribulation].