Jeremiah 48

The Lord's message about Moab

1 The Lord Almighty, Israel's God, spoke this message about Moab:

48:1Moab was a country near Judah. It was on the east side of the Dead Sea. The king of Sihon took some of Moab's towns for himself. Later, the Israelites took some of these places for themselves. The tribes of Reuben and Gad lived in some of these towns.

‘Nebo city is in terrible trouble!

It will soon become a heap of stones.

The people of Kiriathaim city will be ashamed.

Its enemies will take it for themselves.

They will knock down its strong buildings,

and its people will be ashamed.

2 People will no longer praise Moab.

In Heshbon, Moab's enemies will decide how to destroy the nation.

They will say, “We must completely destroy Moab!”

The town of Madmen will become silent,

as a great army chases out the people.

3 The people of Horonaim will shout for help,

because a strong army is destroying them.

4 Moab will come to an end!

Its children will cry loudly.

5 They will go up the hill to Luhith.

They will weep as they go.

As they go down the road towards Horonaim,

they will cry about their town that the enemy is destroying.

6 People say, “Run away to save your lives!

Go and live in the desert.”

7 People of Moab, you trusted your riches and your skills to save you.

Because of that, your enemies will catch you.

They will even take your god Chemosh away as prisoner,

together with his priests and officers.

8 Your cruel enemy will attack every town.

No town or city will escape.

The enemy will destroy every place in the valley,

and every place on the high ground.

They will become heaps of stones.

I, the Lord, tell you this!

9 Dig a grave to bury Moab!

48:9There are several ways to understand what the Hebrew means here.

Its land will become like a desert.

Its cities will become heaps of stones.

Nobody will live in them.’

10 The Lord will curse anyone who refuses to do his work! He will punish anyone who does not use his sword to kill his enemies!

Moab's peace will come to an end

11 The Lord said, ‘Moab's people have lived in peace since they first became a nation. No enemy has taken them away to a foreign land as their prisoners. They have been like the wine in a bottle that nobody has moved. Nobody has poured it into another bottle, so its taste and smell have never changed. Moab has always been the same.

12 But the time will soon come when I will send people to attack Moab. They will pour out Moab's people like somebody pours wine out of a bottle. They will pour out all the wine so that the bottles are empty. And they will break the bottles into pieces!

13 Then Moab's people will be ashamed because their god Chemosh has not saved them. They will be like the Israelites who trusted in their idol at Bethel and they became ashamed.

14 Men of Moab, you should no longer say,

“We are brave soldiers who know how to fight.”

15 I am the King, the Lord Almighty, and I tell you this:

The enemy will soon destroy Moab and its cities.

They will kill its strongest young men.

16 Moab will soon come to an end.

Terrible trouble will quickly destroy it.

17 You nations that live around Moab,

you know how famous it has been.

But now you must weep for it.

Say, “Moab's royal power is finished!

They no longer have great power to rule!”

18 You people who live in Dibon must stop being proud.

Come down from the places where people give you honour.

Sit on the ground in the dirt.

Moab's cruel enemy has arrived.

They will cause your strong buildings to become heaps of stones.

19 You people who live in Aroer,

stand beside the road and watch.

Ask the people who are running away what has happened.

20 They will reply, “The enemy has won against Moab

and its people are ashamed.

So weep and cry out!

Stand beside the Arnon river and tell the news.

Tell people that the enemy has destroyed Moab.”

21 The Lord has judged the cities on the high ground and he will soon punish them:

  • Holon, Jahzah and Mephaath,
  • 22 Dibon, Nebo and Beth-Diblathaim,
  • 23 Kiriathaim, Beth-Gamul and Beth-Meon,
  • 24 Kerioth and Bozrah.
  • He will punish all the towns of Moab, near or far away. 25 Moab has lost its power. Its strength has finished.’

    That is what the Lord says.

    26 ‘Moab has turned against me.

    So my anger will make him like a person who is drunk.

    He will lie down in the place where he has been sick.

    People will laugh at him.

    27 You people of Moab laughed at my people, the Israelites.

    Why did you insult them?

    You said that they were no better than a group of robbers.

    28 Now you must all leave your towns.

    Go and live among the rocks.

    Live like doves that make their nests high up among the rocks.

    29 We have heard that Moab's people are very proud.

    They think that they are better than everyone else.

    We know how much they boast.’

    30 The Lord says,

    ‘I know about Moab's proud thoughts.

    But their pride is false.

    Whatever they do, it will be useless.

    31 So I am sad for Moab. I am crying for all their people.

    I weep for the people of Kir-Heres.

    48:31Kir-Heres had been the capital city of Moab.

    32 I weep for the vines of Sibmah, more than Jazer weeps.

    The branches of those vines reached across the sea as far as Jazer.

    48:32The vines are a picture of Moab's strength. Other nations enjoyed the good things that they received from Moab. The sea is the Dead Sea.

    But the cruel enemy will destroy all the fruit that grows on your vines and trees.

    33 People will no longer be happy in the land where this fruit grows.

    I will stop them making wine from their grapes.

    They will not stamp on their grapes and shout with joy.

    Instead, the shouts will be shouts about trouble.

    34 In Heshbon and Elealeh people cry out because of their pain.

    The noise reaches as far as Jahaz.

    It reaches from Zoar to Horonaim and Eglath-Shelishiyah.

    Even the Nimrim river has become dry.’

    35 The Lord says this:

    ‘I will remove the people of Moab who worship other gods.

    They offer sacrifices to them

    and they burn incense at their altars.

    36 So I am very sad for the people of Moab.

    I weep like a flute that plays a funeral song.

    I am sad for the people of Kir-Heres,

    because all their riches will disappear.

    37 All the men will be very upset.

    They will cut the hair off their heads and their faces.

    They will use knives to cut their hands.

    They will wear sackcloth as their clothes.

    38 People are standing on the roofs of their houses.

    They are standing in the streets.

    They are all crying and weeping.

    They are sad because I have destroyed Moab.

    I have broken it in pieces, like a jar that I no longer want.’

    That is what the Lord says.

    39 ‘Yes, Moab will be like a broken jar.

    Its people will weep with loud voices.

    They will turn away because they are ashamed.

    All the nations around there will laugh at Moab.

    They will see the terrible trouble that it has received.’

    40 The Lord says,

    ‘Look at the enemy that suddenly arrives!

    It comes like an eagle that flies down to catch its food.

    41 The enemy will take Moab's towns and its strong buildings.

    Moab's soldiers will be afraid,

    like a woman who will soon give birth.

    42 Moab has been proud and it has turned against the Lord.

    So they will no longer be a nation.’

    43 The Lord says this:

    ‘People of Moab, there will be danger, deep holes and traps that are ready to catch you!

    44 Anyone who runs away from danger, will fall into a deep hole.

    And a trap will catch anyone who climbs out of the deep hole.

    Yes, the time will soon come when I will punish Moab's people.

    45 People will run away to Heshbon to be safe.

    They will be helpless as they stand outside its walls.

    Flames of fire will come out from Heshbon,

    the city where King Sihon once ruled.

    It will burn as far as Moab's borders.

    It will destroy those proud people who love to fight.

    46 It will be very bad for you, you people of Moab!

    The enemy will destroy you people who worship Chemosh.

    They will take away your sons and your daughters.

    They will take them as prisoners to a foreign land.

    47 But one day I will cause Moab to be strong again.’

    That is what the Lord says.

    That is the end of the Lord's message against Moab.