They are before you!
O inhabitants of Moab!’
Who flees from the terror
Shall fall into the pit.
Everyone who climbs
Out of the pit
Shall be caught in the trap.
I will bring these things
In the year of their punishment.’
In the shadow of Heshbon,
Fugitives stop exhausted.
A fire has gone out
A flame from
The house of Sihon.
It has destroyed
The forehead of Moab,
The scalp of the people
Woe to you!
The people of Chemosh
Have been taken captive.
Have been taken into captivity.”
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.
“But I say.
‘I pine away!
I pine away!
Woe is me!
The treacherous deal treacherously.
The treacherous deal very treacherously.’
Are upon you!
O inhabitant of the earth!
Whoever flees at the sound of the terror
Shall fall into the pit.
Whoever climbs out of the pit
Shall be caught in the snare.”
The mood changes quickly, as Isaiah pines away because he is worried about the violent treacherous people who deal very treacherously, just like we have today. They create terror as they set pits and snares to catch people. If you flee, you will fall into a pit. Even if you crawl out of the pit, you will be caught in a snare trap. There is no escape.
They hid their net for me.
They dug a pit for my life.
Let ruin come upon them unawares!
Let the net that they hid
Let them fall in!
Let it be to their ruin!”
David noted that these things were done to him without a good cause. They hid a net to trap him. They dug a pit to put an end to his life. David wanted them to get caught in their own nets. He wanted them to fall into the pits that they had dug out to get him. This was to be their ruin. Clearly David was vindictive here because he believed that he was right because they did not have a good cause against him.
“The nations have sunk in the pit that they made.
They have fallen into the net that they hid.
Now their own foot has been caught.
Yahweh has made himself known.
He has executed judgment.
The wicked are snared in the work of their own hands.
David said that the various pagan nations have sunk into the very pits that they made to catch others. They were caught in their own nets. Yahweh had made himself known to all. He had executed his judgment. Thus the wicked ones were caught in their own nets and traps that they themselves had made. The term Selah, which appears over 70 times in the psalms, means a musical interlude or pause. The term Higgaion only appears 3 times in the psalms. However, it also means some kind of musical meditation. This public prayer stops for a musical mediation or pause.
“If one does not repent,
God will sharpen his sword.
He has bent and strung his bow.
He has prepared his deadly weapons,
He makes his arrows fiery shafts.
See how they conceive evil!
They are pregnant with mischief.
They bring forth lies.
They make a pit.
They dig it out.
They fall into the hole that they have made.
Their mischief returns upon their own heads.
On their own heads violence descends.”
If the wicked ones do not repent, God will sharpen his sword against them. The bows and arrows will be ready like deadly fiery arrows. Notice that the wicked ones are always conceiving evil. In a colorful phrase, they are pregnant with mischief. The result of their pregnancy is lies. They dig out pits to snare people, but they fall into their own traps. Thus their conceived mischief and violence returns and descends on their own heads. The tables are turned on the violent wicked ones.