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A Plea for Mercy

16 Send a flock of lambs from the rock[a] of the desert

    as a gift to the leaders in Jerusalem,[b]
    to the mountain of the Daughter of Zion.
At the banks of the River Arnon, the women of Moab
    are like newly hatched, fluttering birds.
They say, “Make a decision!
    Give us shelter.[c] Hide the fugitives. Don’t betray them!
Allow the Moabite fugitives to stay with you.
    Be a shelter for them from the destroyer!”
    One day the oppressor will be no more.
    The destroyer[d] will come to an end,
    and the tyrant will vanish from the land.
Then a government of unfailing love[e] will be established,
    with a faithful king in the tabernacle of David,
    passionate for justice and swift to do what is right.

Moab’s Demise

We have heard about Moab’s pride.
    How haughty he is—filled with arrogance and insolence,
    with nothing more than empty boasts!
So now Moab will wail;
    everyone will wail over the ruin of their country.
    Lament and grieve for the foundations of Kir-Hareseth.[f]
All the lush fields of Heshbon are dried up.
    The vineyards of Sibmah have struck down[g] the lords of nations,
    whose vines reached northward to Jazer[h]
    and spread to the desert.
    Their shoots spread out and extend across the Dead Sea.[i]
So I weep along with Jazer over the vines of Sibmah.
    I drench you with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh,[j]
    for the shouts of joy over the harvest
    of fruit and grain have ceased.
10 Joyful celebrations are stilled in the orchards;
    in the vineyards, no one sings or shouts,
    and no one treads out wine in the presses.
    I have silenced your gleeful shouts.
11 Like harp strings, my heartstrings throb for Moab,[k]
    and my inner being sighs for your broken walls, Kir-Hareseth.[l]
12 When Moab comes to their high places
    to plead with all their might
    and enter their temples to pray, it will have no effect.

13 This was the word the Lord Yahweh spoke in the past about Moab, 14 but now the Lord Yahweh says, “In exactly three years,[m] the splendor of Moab and its huge population will shrink to nothing; only a small and feeble remnant will remain.”


  1. Isaiah 16:1 Or possibly a place in Edom (2 Kings 14:7) called Sela, which means “rock or cliff.”
  2. Isaiah 16:1 Or “Send a lamb of the lord of the land.” This would have been a gift of tribute sent to secure Judah’s protection.
  3. Isaiah 16:3 Or “Make your shade like night at noon.”
  4. Isaiah 16:4 Or “destruction.”
  5. Isaiah 16:5 Or “a throne,” a metonymy for a king or government being established.
  6. Isaiah 16:7 Or “over the raisin cakes (delicacies) of Kir-Hareseth (wall of earthen potsherds)” or “You shall care for those who dwell in Seth” (LXX).
  7. Isaiah 16:8 “The lords of the nations have broken down its vines.”
  8. Isaiah 16:8 Modern Sumia, a suburb of Heshbon.
  9. Isaiah 16:8 Moab’s spreading, creeping vines of Heshbon (“stronghold”) become a metaphor for the tentacles of pride that spread throughout the heart of man.
  10. Isaiah 16:9 Elealeh is a city and means “a mighty one (God) ascends.” See Num. 32:37.
  11. Isaiah 16:11 Even for pride-filled Moab, God’s heart was moved with compassion.
  12. Isaiah 16:11 Or “for Kir-Hareseth (walls of earthen potsherds).”
  13. Isaiah 16:14 Or “in three years as the years (counted by) of a hireling.”