Get Out While You Can!

48 1-10 The Message on Moab from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, the God of Israel:

“Doom to Nebo! Leveled to the ground!
    Kiriathaim demeaned and defeated,
The mighty fortress reduced to a molehill,
    Moab’s glory—dust and ashes.
Conspirators plot Heshbon’s doom:
    ‘Come, let’s wipe Moab off the map.’
The city of Madmen will be struck mute,
    as killing follows killing.
Listen! A cry out of Horonaim:
    ‘Disaster—doom and more doom!’
Moab will be shattered.
    Her cries will be heard clear down in Zoar.
Up the ascent of Luhith
    climbers weep,
And down the descent from Horonaim,
    cries of loss and devastation.
Oh, run for your lives! Get out while you can!
    Survive by your wits in the wild!
You trusted in thick walls and big money, yes?
    But it won’t help you now.
Your big god Chemosh will be hauled off,
    his priests and managers with him.
A wrecker will wreck every city.
    Not a city will survive.
The valley fields will be ruined,
    the plateau pastures destroyed, just as I told you.
Cover the land of Moab with salt.
    Make sure nothing ever grows here again.
Her towns will all be ghost towns.
    Nobody will ever live here again.
Sloppy work in God’s name is cursed,
    and cursed all halfhearted use of the sword.

11-17 “Moab has always taken it easy—
    lazy as a dog in the sun,
Never had to work for a living,
    never faced any trouble,
Never had to grow up,
    never once worked up a sweat.
But those days are a thing of the past.
    I’ll put him to work at hard labor.
That will wake him up to the world of hard knocks.
    That will smash his illusions.
Moab will be as ashamed of god Chemosh
    as Israel was ashamed of her Bethel calf-gods,
    the calf-gods she thought were so great.
For how long do you think you’ll be saying, ‘We’re tough.
    We can beat anyone anywhere’?
The destruction of Moab has already begun.
    Her choice young soldiers are lying dead right now.”
The King’s Decree—
    his full name, God-of-the-Angel-Armies.
“Yes. Moab’s doom is on countdown,
    disaster targeted and launched.
Weep for Moab, friends and neighbors,
    all who know how famous he’s been.
Lament, ‘His mighty scepter snapped in two like a toothpick,
    that magnificent royal staff!’

18-20 “Come down from your high horse, pampered beauty of Dibon.
    Sit in dog dung.
The destroyer of Moab will come against you.
    He’ll wreck your safe, secure houses.
Stand on the roadside,
    pampered women of Aroer.
Interview the refugees who are running away.
    Ask them, ‘What’s happened? And why?’
Moab will be an embarrassing memory, nothing left of the place.
    Wail and weep your eyes out!
Tell the bad news along the Arnon river.
    Tell the world that Moab is no more.

21-24 “My judgment will come to the plateau cities: on Holon, Jahzah, and Mephaath; on Dibon, Nebo, and Beth-diblathaim; on Kiriathaim, Beth-gamul, and Beth-meon; on Kerioth, Bozrah, and all the cities of Moab, far and near.

25 “Moab’s link to power is severed.
    Moab’s arm is broken.” God’s Decree.

The Sheer Nothingness of Moab

26-27 “Turn Moab into a drunken lush, drunk on the wine of my wrath, a dung-faced drunk, filling the country with vomit—Moab a falling-down drunk, a joke in bad taste. Wasn’t it you, Moab, who made crude jokes over Israel? And when they were caught in bad company, didn’t you cluck and gossip and snicker?

28 “Leave town! Leave! Look for a home in the cliffs,
    you who grew up in Moab.
Try living like a dove
    who nests high in the river gorge.

29-33 “We’ve all heard of Moab’s pride,
    that legendary pride,
The strutting, bullying, puffed-up pride,
    the insufferable arrogance.
I know”—God’s Decree—“his rooster-crowing pride,
    the inflated claims, the sheer nothingness of Moab.
But I will weep for Moab,
    yes, I will mourn for the people of Moab.
    I will even mourn for the people of Kir-heres.
I’ll weep for the grapevines of Sibmah
    and join Jazer in her weeping—
Grapevines that once reached the Dead Sea
    with tendrils as far as Jazer.
Your summer fruit and your bursting grapes
    will be looted by brutal plunderers,
Lush Moab stripped
    of song and laughter.
And yes, I’ll shut down the winepresses,
    stop all the shouts and hurrahs of harvest.

34 “Heshbon and Elealeh will cry out, and the people in Jahaz will hear the cries. They will hear them all the way from Zoar to Horonaim and Eglath-shelishiyah. Even the waters of Nimrim will be dried up.

35 “I will put a stop in Moab”—God’s Decree—“to all hiking to the high places to offer burnt sacrifices to the gods.

36 “My heart moans for Moab, for the men of Kir-heres, like soft flute sounds carried by the wind. They’ve lost it all. They’ve got nothing.

37 “Everywhere you look are signs of mourning:
    heads shaved, beards cut,
Hands scratched and bleeding,
    clothes ripped and torn.

38 “In every house in Moab there’ll be loud lamentation, on every street in Moab, loud lamentation. As with a pottery jug that no one wants, I’ll smash Moab to bits.” God’s Decree.

39 “Moab ruined!
    Moab shamed and ashamed to be seen!
Moab a cruel joke!
    The stark horror of Moab!”

* * *

40-42 God’s verdict on Moab. Indeed!

“Look! An eagle is about to swoop down
    and spread its wings over Moab.
The towns will be captured,
    the fortresses taken.
Brave warriors will double up in pain, helpless to fight,
    like a woman giving birth to a baby.
There’ll be nothing left of Moab, nothing at all,
    because of his defiant arrogance against me.

43-44 “Terror and pit and trap
    are what you have facing you, Moab.” God’s Decree.
“A man running in terror
    will fall into a trap.
A man climbing out of a pit
    will be caught in a trap.
This is my agenda for Moab
    on doomsday.” God’s Decree.

45-47 “On the outskirts of Heshbon,
    refugees will pull up short, worn out.
Fire will flame high from Heshbon,
    a firestorm raging from the capital of Sihon’s kingdom.
It will burn off Moab’s eyebrows,
    will scorch the skull of the braggarts.
That’s all for you, Moab!
    You worshipers of Chemosh will be finished off!
Your sons will be trucked off to prison camps;
    your daughters will be herded into exile.
But yet there’s a day that’s coming
    when I’ll put things right in Moab.

    “For now, that’s the judgment on Moab.”

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