There would be terror to hit Moab, like the terror of the apocalypse judgment day of Isaiah, chapter 24. Terror was all around with pits and snares to catch people. If they fled, they would fall into a pit. Even if they crawled out of the pit, they would be caught in a trap. There was no escape. They tried to flee to Heshbon, the capital of Ammon, the country north of Moab. However, they were surprised to learn that Heshbon was also on fire. This was the capital city of King Sihon, or house of Sihon, dating back to the days of Joshua, chapter 21. The Moabites would have problems with their foreheads and scalps. They would be cursed, and then perish. The people with their god Chemosh would lose their sons and daughters to captivity.
King Yahweh was speaking about Moab, since it was going to be ashamed of their national god Chemosh since his towns were going to be destroyed. Chemosh was compared to the northern Israelite worshiping place of Bethel, the competing place with Jerusalem for worshippers, before the northern kingdom collapsed. There may even have been some Chemosh worshippers in Jerusalem. However, Moab with its heroes and mighty warriors would not be able to withstand the coming attack. Many of its best young men would be slaughtered in the coming invasion.
Jeremiah warns the Moabites to flee and save themselves. They should take off like a wild donkey in the desert. They had trusted in their treasures and fortresses, but to no avail. The local god of Moab, Chemosh, was going to be exiled along with his priests and attendants. Every town would be destroyed, since none would escape. Both the valleys and the plains would be destroyed. All the towns of Moab would fall and become a desolation with nobody living in them. Prepare some salt for Moab to help with her wounds.
“King Josiah defiled Topheth, which is in the valley of the sons of Ben-hinnom, so that no one would make a son or daughter pass through fire as an offering to Molech. He removed the horses that the kings of Judah had dedicated to the sun. They were at the entrance to the house of Yahweh, by the chamber of the eunuch Nathan-melech, which was in the precincts. Then he burned the chariots of the sun with fire. He pulled down the altars on the roof of the upper chamber of King Ahaz, which the kings of Judah had made as well as the altars which King Manasseh had made in the two courts of the house of Yahweh. He broke them into pieces. He threw the rubble into the Wadi Kidron. The king defiled the high places that were east of Jerusalem, to the south of the Mount of Destruction, which King Solomon of Israel had built for Astarte the abomination of the Sidonians, for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. He broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the sacred poles, and covered the sites with human bones.”
King Josiah eliminated the ancient Ammonite and Canaanite practice of burning children as a sacrifice to the fertility god Molech at a place called Topheth, which was in the valley of Ben-hinnom. The sacrifices to Molech were also mentioned in Leviticus, chapters 18 and 21. He then eliminated the horses of the kings of Judah that had been dedicated to the sun god. These must have been at the entrance to the temple, somehow near where a eunuch official named Nathan-melech lived. The king also burned the chariots dedicated to the sun god. Worship of sun must have been prevalent. This king tore down and broke into pieces the altars that King Ahaz had made for his upper chamber and the altars that King Manasseh had put into the temple of Yahweh itself. Finally, he put the rubble into the Wadi Kidron, which turned out to be some sort of garbage dump for all this sacred stuff. Next, the king tore down the houses of worship that King Solomon had built for his wives to worship the foreign gods of Astarte, Chemosh, and Milcom. He broke all their pillars and sacred poles and covered them with human bones.