The Message

Isaiah 16

A New Government in the David Tradition

11-4 “Dispatch a gift of lambs,” says Moab,
    “to the leaders in Jerusalem—
Lambs from Sela sent across the desert
    to buy the goodwill of Jerusalem.
The towns and people of Moab
    are at a loss,
New-hatched birds knocked from the nest,
    fluttering helplessly
At the banks of the Arnon River,
    unable to cross:
‘Tell us what to do,
    help us out!
Protect us,
    hide us!
Give the refugees from Moab
    sanctuary with you.
Be a safe place for those on the run
    from the killing fields.’”

4-5 “When this is all over,” Judah answers,
    “the tyrant toppled,
The killing at an end,
    all signs of these cruelties long gone,
A new government of love will be established
    in the venerable David tradition.
A Ruler you can depend upon
    will head this government,
A Ruler passionate for justice,
    a Ruler quick to set things right.”

6-12 We’ve heard—everyone’s heard!—of Moab’s pride,
    world-famous for pride—
Arrogant, self-important, insufferable,
    full of hot air.
So now let Moab lament for a change,
    with antiphonal mock-laments from the neighbors!
What a shame! How terrible!
    No more fine fruitcakes and Kir-hareseth candies!
All those lush Heshbon fields dried up,
    the rich Sibmah vineyards withered!
Foreign thugs have crushed and torn out
    the famous grapevines
That once reached all the way to Jazer,
    right to the edge of the desert,
Ripped out the crops in every direction
    as far as the eye can see.
I’ll join the weeping. I’ll weep right along with Jazer,
    weep for the Sibmah vineyards.
And yes, Heshbon and Elealeh,
    I’ll mingle my tears with your tears!
The joyful shouting at harvest is gone.
    Instead of song and celebration, dead silence.
No more boisterous laughter in the orchards,
    no more hearty work songs in the vineyards.
Instead of the bustle and sound of good work in the fields,
    silence—deathly and deadening silence.
My heartstrings throb like harp strings for Moab,
    my soul in sympathy for sad Kir-heres.
When Moab trudges to the shrine to pray,
    he wastes both time and energy.
Going to the sanctuary and praying for relief
    is useless. Nothing ever happens.

13-14 This is God’s earlier Message on Moab. God’s updated Message is, “In three years, no longer than the term of an enlisted soldier, Moab’s impressive presence will be gone, that splendid hot-air balloon will be punctured, and instead of a vigorous population, just a few shuffling bums cadging handouts.”

King James Version

Isaiah 16

1Send ye the lamb to the ruler of the land from Sela to the wilderness, unto the mount of the daughter of Zion.

For it shall be, that, as a wandering bird cast out of the nest, so the daughters of Moab shall be at the fords of Arnon.

Take counsel, execute judgment; make thy shadow as the night in the midst of the noonday; hide the outcasts; bewray not him that wandereth.

Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler: for the extortioner is at an end, the spoiler ceaseth, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.

And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.

We have heard of the pride of Moab; he is very proud: even of his haughtiness, and his pride, and his wrath: but his lies shall not be so.

Therefore shall Moab howl for Moab, every one shall howl: for the foundations of Kirhareseth shall ye mourn; surely they are stricken.

For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come even unto Jazer, they wandered through the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea.

Therefore I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon, and Elealeh: for the shouting for thy summer fruits and for thy harvest is fallen.

10 And gladness is taken away, and joy out of the plentiful field; and in the vineyards there shall be no singing, neither shall there be shouting: the treaders shall tread out no wine in their presses; I have made their vintage shouting to cease.

11 Wherefore my bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab, and mine inward parts for Kirharesh.

12 And it shall come to pass, when it is seen that Moab is weary on the high place, that he shall come to his sanctuary to pray; but he shall not prevail.

13 This is the word that the Lord hath spoken concerning Moab since that time.

14 But now the Lord hath spoken, saying, Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.