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Chapter 15


    Oracle on Moab:
Laid waste in a night,
    Ar of Moab is destroyed;
Laid waste in a night,
    Kir of Moab is destroyed.
Daughter Dibon has gone up
    to the high places to weep;
Over Nebo and over Medeba
    Moab is wailing.
Every head is shaved,
    every beard sheared off.[b](A)
In the streets they wear sackcloth,
    and on the rooftops;
In the squares
    everyone wails, streaming with tears.(B)
Heshbon and Elealeh cry out,
    they are heard as far as Jahaz.
At this the loins of Moab tremble,
    his soul quivers within him;(C)
My heart cries out for Moab,
    his fugitives reach Zoar,
The ascent of Luhith
    they ascend weeping;
On the way to Horonaim
    they utter rending cries;(D)
The waters of Nimrim
    have become a waste,
The grass is withered,
    new growth is gone,
    nothing is green.
So now whatever they have acquired or stored away
    they carry across the Wadi of the Poplars.
The cry has gone round
    the territory of Moab;
As far as Eglaim his wailing,
    even at Beer-elim his wailing.
[c]The waters of Dimon are filled with blood,
    but I will bring still more upon Dimon:
Lions for those who are fleeing from Moab
    and for those who remain in the land!

Chapter 16

Send them forth,[d] hugging the earth like reptiles,
    from Sela across the desert,
    to the mount of daughter Zion.
Like flushed birds,
    like scattered nestlings,
Are the daughters of Moab
    at the fords of the Arnon.[e](E)
[f]Offer counsel, take their part;
    at high noon make your shade like the night;
Hide the outcasts,
    do not betray the fugitives.
Let the outcasts of Moab live with you,
    be their shelter from the destroyer.
When there is an end to the oppressor,
    when destruction has ceased,
    and the marauders have vanished from the land,
A throne shall be set up in mercy,
    and on it shall sit in fidelity,
    in David’s tent,
A judge upholding right,
    prompt to do justice.(F)
We have heard of the pride of Moab,
    how very proud he is,
Of his haughtiness, pride, and arrogance
    that his empty words do not match.(G)
[g]Therefore let Moab wail,
    let everyone wail for Moab;
For the raisin cakes[h] of Kir-hareseth
    let them sigh, stricken with grief.
The terraced slopes of Heshbon languish,
    the vines of Sibmah,
Whose clusters once overpowered
    the lords of nations,
Reaching as far as Jazer
    winding through the wilderness,[i]
Whose branches spread forth,
    crossing over the sea.
Therefore I weep with Jazer
    for the vines of Sibmah;
I drench you with my tears,
    Heshbon and Elealeh;
For on your summer fruits and harvests
    the battle cry[j] has fallen.(H)
10 From the orchards are taken away
    joy and gladness,
In the vineyards there is no singing,
    no shout of joy;
In the wine presses no one treads grapes,
    the vintage shout is stilled.(I)
11 Therefore for Moab
    my heart moans like a lyre,
    my inmost being for Kir-hareseth.(J)
12 [k]When Moab wears himself out on the high places,
    and enters his sanctuary to pray,
    it shall avail him nothing.(K)


  1. 15:1–16:14 Both the historical situation reflected in this oracle against Moab and the date of composition are uncertain. Variants of the same poem are found in Jer 48, and there are connections with Nm 21:27–30 as well.
  2. 15:2 Shaved…sheared off: traditional signs of grief.
  3. 15:9 There is a play on words between “Dimon” and dam, the Hebrew word for blood.
  4. 16:1 Send them forth: the Hebrew text is disturbed; it could also be understood to refer to tribute (a lamb) sent from Moab to Zion, presumably to encourage the king to receive the Moabite refugees.
  5. 16:2 The Arnon: principal river of Moab.
  6. 16:3–5 Directed to Jerusalem, which should receive the suffering Moabites with mercy, as befits the city of David’s family, who were partly descended from Ruth the Moabite; and cf. 1 Sm 22:3–4. This would be a gracious act on Judah’s part, since its relations with Moab were strained at best.
  7. 16:7–14 Moab had been prosperous; now it has become a desert.
  8. 16:7 Raisin cakes: masses of dried compressed grapes used as food (cf. 2 Sm 6:19; 1 Chr 16:3; Sg 2:5), and also in the worship of other gods (Hos 3:1).
  9. 16:8 Wilderness: i.e., eastward. Sea: i.e., westward.
  10. 16:9–10 Battle cry…shout of joy: the same Hebrew word (hedad), which normally refers to the joyful shout of those treading the grapes (cf. Jer 25:30), here is used both for the triumphant shout of the enemy (v. 9) and for the vintagers’ shout, which has ceased.
  11. 16:12 In vain do the Moabites appeal to their god Chemosh.