The punishment of Moab (Ezek 25:9-25:11)

“Therefore,

I will lay open

The flank of Moab.

I will lay it open

From the towns

On its frontier,

The glory of the country,

Beth-jeshimoth,

Baal-meon,

Kiriathaim.

I will give it,

Along with the Ammonites,

To the people of the East

As a possession.

Thus Ammon

Shall be remembered

No more

Among the nations.

I will execute

Judgments

Upon Moab.

Then they will know

That I am Yahweh.”

Yahweh, via Ezekiel, said that the future of Moab was closely tied to Ammon. They would both suffer the same result, being captured by the people from the East. The flanks or boundaries of Moab would be laid open. Their border towns, their glorious cities would be captured, especially Beth-jeshimoth on the north, Baal-meon on the east, and Kiriathaim on the south. The western border was the Jordan River and the Dead Sea. No one would remember them, just like the Ammonites would not be remembered either. They would be wiped out, since Yahweh was going to execute his judgments on Moab. Thus, they too would finally realize that Yahweh was God.

Against Moab (Ezek 25:8-25:8)

“Thus says Yahweh God!

‘Moab said.

‘The house of Judah is

Like all the other nations.’”

Instead of a very long diatribe against Moab, as in Jeremiah, chapter 48, and Isaiah, chapters 15 and 16, Ezekiel has only a few short comments. Moab was the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. The Moabites, like the Ammonites, had been involved in many quarrels and battles with the Israelites, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is also the country of Jordan, like Ammon. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter as in Genesis, chapter 19. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse.   For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Here the complaint against Moab was that they said that Judah was like the other countries and not unique.

Powerful Yahweh (Jer 50:44-50:44)

“Like a lion

Coming up

From the thickets

Of the Jordan River

Against a perennial pasture,

I will suddenly

Chase them

Away from her.

I will appoint over her

Whomever I choose.

Who is like me?

Who can summon me?

Who is the shepherd

That can stand before me?”

Interesting enough, this section is almost word for word what Yahweh said against the Edomites in the preceding chapter. These Babylonians would be like lions that come out of the thickets on the Jordan River to find a beautiful pasture land. Suddenly, Yahweh would chase them away from this perennial green field. There is no one like Yahweh. Who could oppose him? The shepherds had no chance against Yahweh.

Against Hazor (Jer 49:30-49:33)

“‘Flee!

Wander far away!

Hide in deep places!

O inhabitants of Hazor!’

Says Yahweh.

‘King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Has made a plan

Against you.

He has formed a purpose

Against you.

‘Rise up!

Advance

Against a nation at ease,

That dwells securely.’

Says Yahweh.

‘They have no gates.

They have no bars.

They live alone.

Their camels

Shall become booty.

Their herds of cattle

Shall become a spoil.

I will scatter to every wind

Those who have shaven temples.

I will bring calamity

Against them

From every side.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Hazor shall become

A liar of jackals,

An everlasting waste.

No one shall live there.

No one shall settle in it.’”

The kingdom of Hazor was the more sedentary northwestern Arab tribes in the Arabian Desert, east of the Jordan River, in present day Saudi Arabia, not the Israelite town of Hazor. Yahweh warned them to flee and get out of there, because King Nebuchadnezzar had a plan against them. Even though they were at ease and secure, they had no gates, bars or fortresses, since they lived alone. The king of Babylon was going to take their flocks of cattle and their camels as the spoils of war. These shaven temple Hazor people would be scattered all over the place with all kinds of trouble on every side. These oasis tent towns would become a wasteland, as if they were not already. No one would want to live and settle there. This is like the previous warnings to other places, earlier in this chapter.

 

 

 

Against Kedar (Jer 49:28-49:29)

“Concerning Kedar

With the kingdoms of Hazor

That King Nebuchadnezzar

Of Babylon

Defeated.

Thus says Yahweh.

‘Rise up!

Advance against Kedar!

Destroy the people of the east!

Take their tents!

Take their flocks!

Take their curtains!

Take all their goods!

Carry off their camels

For yourselves!

A cry shall go up.

‘Terror is all around!’”

Kedar was the second son of Ishmael, the step brother of Isaac. However, this biblical term was applied to a group of nomadic tribes in the northwest Arabian desert, east of the Jordan River and Ammon, in what is today Saudi Arabia. They were considered to be the people of the east, the Arabs. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon was going to defeat them. He was going to take their possessions since they had no buildings to burn. They were going to lose their tents, flocks, curtains, and most importantly their camels. They would cry out that terror was all around them. They had no fortresses to defend themselves. Both Kedar and Hazor were not restored, but left as wastelands.

The plan of Yahweh for Edom (Jer 49:19-49:20)

“Like a lion

Coming up

From the thickets

Of the Jordan River

Against a perennial pasture,

I will suddenly

Chase Edom

Away from it.

I will appoint over it

Whomever I choose.

Who is like me?

Who can summon me?

Who is the shepherd

That can stand before me?

Therefore hear the plan

That Yahweh has made

Against Edom!

Hear the purposes

That he has formed

Against the inhabitants

Of Teman!

Surely the little ones

Of the flock

Shall be dragged away.

Surely their fold

Shall be appalled

At their fate.”

Yahweh has a precise plan for Edom. These Edomites were like lions that come out of the thickets on the Jordan River to find a beautiful pasture land. Suddenly Yahweh would chase Edom away from this perennial green field. There is no one like Yahweh. Who could oppose him? The shepherds had no chance against Yahweh. He clearly wants to get rid of the town of Teman, the Edomite clan around the southern Edomite town of Petra. Even the little ones would be dragged away. The shepherds and the sheep would be appalled at what was happening. Clearly the power of Yahweh was apparent.

The defeat of Moab (Jer 48:1-48:2)

“Concerning Moab.

Thus says Yahweh of hosts!

The God of Israel!

‘Woe for Nebo!

It is laid waste!

Kiriathaim is put

To shame!

It is taken!

The fortress is put

To shame!

It is broken down.

The renown of Moab

Is no more.

In Heshbon,

They planned evil

Against her.

‘Come!

Let us cut her off

From being a nation!’

You also!

O Madmen!

Shall be brought

To silence.

The sword shall

Pursue you.”

Strangely enough, this is a very long chapter on Moab, the country directly east of the Dead Sea on the other side of the Jordan River. Isaiah also had 2 chapters on Moab, chapters 15 and 16. The Moabites and Israelites had been involved in many quarrels and battles, since they had a strange biblical relationship. The Moabite kingdom lasted from around the 13th century BCE to around the 4th century BCE, where today it is the country of Jordan. The Moabites were the descendants of Lot’s incest with his oldest daughter in Genesis, chapter 19. Thus the Moabites had an on again, off again, relationship with the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah. In the Book of Ruth, chapter 4, the Moabites were friendly, as Ruth, a Moabite, had a son named Obed, who turned out to be the grandfather of King David via his son Jesse.   For a while, Moab was part of the Kingdom of Israel, until they revolted. Mount Nebo, the place where Moses died, had been laid waste. The powerful fortress and famous Kiriathaim was put to shame. It is not clear whether this is the same city as Kir, mentioned in Isaiah, chapter 15. Heshbon was a city in Ammon, north of Moab, where the madmen were looking to plan evil against the Moabites. In the Septuagint Greek translation, this is chapter 31, not chapter 48 as here.