Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 15:1

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Because in the night - בליל beleil . That both these cities should be taken in the night is a circumstance somewhat unusual; but not so material as to deserve to be so strongly insisted upon. Vitringa, by his remark on this word, shows that he was dissatisfied with it in its plain and obvious meaning, and is forced to have recourse to a very hard metaphorical interpretation of it. Noctu vel nocturno impetu; vel metaphorice, repente, subito, inexpectata destructione: placet posterius. Calmet conjectures, and I think it probable, that the true reading is כליל keleil, as the night. There are many mistakes in the Hebrew text arising from the very great similitude of the letters ב beth, and כ caph, which in many MSS., and some printed editions, are hardly distinguishable.

Admitting this reading, the translation will be, -

"Because Ar is utterly destroyed, Moab is undone!

Because Kir is utterly destroyed, Moab is undone!"

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The burden of Moab - (see the note at Isaiah 13:1). This is the title of the prophecy. The Chaldee renders this, ‹The burden of the cup of malediction which is to come upon Moab.‘

Because in the night - The fact that this was to be done in the night denotes the suddenness with which the calamity would come upon them. Thus the expression is used in Job to denote the suddenness and surprise with which calamities come:

Terrors take hold on him as waters,

A tempest stealeth him away in the night.

Job 27:20

So a thief is represented as coming in the night - in a sudden and unexpected manner Job 24:14:

The murderer in the night is as a thief.

See also Matthew 24:43; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15.

Ar of Moab - This was the capital of Moab. it was situated on the south of the river Arnon. It was sometimes called “Rabbath Moab.” Isaiah Isaiah 16:7-11 calls it the city ‹with walls of burnt brick.‘ Under the name of Areopolis it occurs in Eusebius and Stephen of Byzantium, and in the acts of many Synods of the fifth and sixth centuries, when it was the seat of a bishop (Reland‘s “Palestine,” pp. 577,578). Abulfeda says that in his time it was a small town. Jerome says that the city was destroyed by an earthquake when he was young, probably about 315 a.d. Burckhardt found a place called Rabba about twenty miles south of the river Arnon, which he supposed to be the ancient Ar. Seetsen found there ruins of considerable compass; especially the ruins of an old palace or temple, of which portions of the wall and some pillars are still standing. Legh says, ‹There are no traces of fortifications to be seen; but, upon an eminence, were a dilapidated Roman temple and some tanks.‘

Is laid waste - That is, is about to be laid waste. This passed before the mind of Isaiah in a vision, and he represents it as it appeared to him, as already a scene of desolation.

And brought to silence - Margin, ‹Cut off.‘ The word may mean either. The sense is, that the city was to be destroyed, for so the word דמה dâmâh often means Hosea 4:5-6; Hosea 10:7, Hosea 10:15; Jeremiah 6:2; Jeremiah 47:5; Zephaniah 1:11.

Kir of Moab - Probably this city was the modern Kerek or Karak. The Chaldee renders it by the name כרכא kerakā' or ‹fortress,‘ hence, the name Kerek or Karak. According to Burckhardt, it lies about three hours, and according to Abulfeda twelve Arabic miles, south of Ar Moab, upon a very high and steep rocky hill, from which the prospect extends even to Jerusalem, and which, formed by nature for a fortress, overlooks the whole surrounding country. In the wars of the Maccabees (2 Maccabees 12:17) it is mentioned under the name of Κάρακα Karaka and it is now known by the name of “Kerek” or “Karak.” In the time of the crusades, a pagan prince built there under king Fulco (in the year 1131) a very important castle, which was very serviceable to the Franks, and in 1183 it held out successfully against a formidable siege of a month by Saladin. Abulfeda speaks of it as so strong a fortress that one must abandon even the wish to take it. It has been visited in modern times by Seetsen, Burckhardt, and the company of English travelers referred to above. The place has still a castle, into which the whole surrounding country brings its grain for safe keeping. The small and poor town is built upon the remains of once important edifices, and is inhabited by Moslems and Christians. It is the seat of a bishop, though the bishop resides at Jerusalem (see Gesenius, “Commentary in loc.”)