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Isaiah 16 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

More Troubles for Moab

16 Send lambs[a] as gifts
    to the ruler of the land.
Send them across the desert
    from Sela[b] to Mount Zion.
The women of Moab
    crossing the Arnon River
are like a flock of birds
    scattered from their nests.
Moab’s messengers say
    to the people of Judah,
“Be kind and help us!
Shade us from the heat
    of the noonday sun.
Hide our refugees!
    Don’t turn them away.
Let our people live
in your country
    and find safety here.”

Moab, your cruel enemies
    will disappear;
they will no longer attack
    and destroy your land.
Then a kingdom of love
    will be set up,
and someone from David’s family
    will rule with fairness.
He will do what is right
    and quickly bring justice.

Moab’s Pride Is Destroyed

We have heard of Moab’s pride.
Its people strut and boast,
    but without reason.
Tell everyone in Moab
    to mourn for their nation.
Tell them to cry and weep
for those fancy raisins[c]
    of Kir-Hareseth.

Vineyards near Heshbon
and Sibmah
    have turned brown.
The rulers of nations
    used to get drunk
on wine
from those vineyards[d]
    that spread to Jazer,
then across the desert
    and beyond the sea.

Now I mourn like Jazer
for the vineyards
    of Sibmah.
I shed tears for Heshbon
    and for Elealeh.
There will be no more
    harvest celebrations
10 or joyful and happy times,
    while bringing in the crops.
Singing and shouting are gone
    from the vineyards.
There are no joyful shouts
where grapes were pressed.
    God has silenced them all.

11 Deep in my heart I hurt
    for Moab and Kir-Heres.
12 It’s useless for Moab’s people
    to wear themselves out
by going to their altars
    to worship and pray.

13 The Lord has already said all of this about Moab. 14 Now he says, “The contract of a hired worker is good for three years, but Moab’s glory and greatness won’t last any longer than that. Only a few of its people will survive, and they will be left helpless.”


  1. 16.1 lambs: The main product of Moab.
  2. 16.1 Sela: A town in Edom.
  3. 16.7 fancy raisins: The Hebrew text has “raisin-cakes,” which could mean either the rich produce or the prosperous farmers.
  4. 16.8 The rulers. . . vineyards: Or “The rulers of nations have destroyed those vineyards.”

Isaiah 16 New International Version (NIV)

16 Send lambs as tribute
    to the ruler of the land,
from Sela, across the desert,
    to the mount of Daughter Zion.
Like fluttering birds
    pushed from the nest,
so are the women of Moab
    at the fords of the Arnon.

“Make up your mind,” Moab says.
    “Render a decision.
Make your shadow like night—
    at high noon.
Hide the fugitives,
    do not betray the refugees.
Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you;
    be their shelter from the destroyer.”

The oppressor will come to an end,
    and destruction will cease;
    the aggressor will vanish from the land.
In love a throne will be established;
    in faithfulness a man will sit on it—
    one from the house[a] of David
one who in judging seeks justice
    and speeds the cause of righteousness.

We have heard of Moab’s pride
    how great is her arrogance!—
of her conceit, her pride and her insolence;
    but her boasts are empty.
Therefore the Moabites wail,
    they wail together for Moab.
Lament and grieve
    for the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth.
The fields of Heshbon wither,
    the vines of Sibmah also.
The rulers of the nations
    have trampled down the choicest vines,
which once reached Jazer
    and spread toward the desert.
Their shoots spread out
    and went as far as the sea.[b]
So I weep, as Jazer weeps,
    for the vines of Sibmah.
Heshbon and Elealeh,
    I drench you with tears!
The shouts of joy over your ripened fruit
    and over your harvests have been stilled.
10 Joy and gladness are taken away from the orchards;
    no one sings or shouts in the vineyards;
no one treads out wine at the presses,
    for I have put an end to the shouting.
11 My heart laments for Moab like a harp,
    my inmost being for Kir Hareseth.
12 When Moab appears at her high place,
    she only wears herself out;
when she goes to her shrine to pray,
    it is to no avail.

13 This is the word the Lord has already spoken concerning Moab. 14 But now the Lord says: “Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab’s splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble.”


  1. Isaiah 16:5 Hebrew tent
  2. Isaiah 16:8 Probably the Dead Sea
New International Version (NIV)

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