Prophecies against Ammon, Moab, Edom, and the Philistines.

In the eight chapters now following there are contained some of the mightiest prophecies of the Old Testament against the chief heathen nations of the time, all of whom had, at one time or another, opposed the people of God and hindered His good and gracious will concerning them.

AGAINST AMMON AND MOAB. — V. 1. The word of the Lord, now withheld from the Jews for a time, came again unto me, saying, v. 2. Son of man, set thy face against the Ammonites, the descendants of Lot’s younger daughter and therefore related to Israel, whose God they had originally known, Gen. 19, 38, and prophesy against them, v. 3. and say unto the Ammonites, in a formal declaration of God’s attitude toward them, Hear the word of the Lord God, of the sovereign Ruler of the universe, who is at the same time the God of the covenant, Thus saith the Lord God, Because thou saidst, Aha! an expression of malignant joy, against My Sanctuary when it was profaned, exulting over the triumph which heathenism desired to celebrate over the supposed downfall of Israel’s religion, and against the land of Israel when it was desolate, cp. Ps. 83, 4. 7. 8. 12, and against the house of Judah when they went into captivity, from the time when the first companies of Jews were driven away into exile, for the Ammonites had been the auxiliaries of the Chaldeans at that time, 2 Kings 24, 2: v. 4. behold, therefore I will deliver thee to the men of the East, that is, the Bedouin tribes of the Arabian deserts, for a possession, and they shall set their palaces in thee, that is, their corrals and enclosures for their cattle, and make their dwellings in thee, pitching their tents wherever they chose; they shall eat thy fruit, all the products of the land, and they shall drink thy milk, for that, in a stock-raising country, was a staple product. V. 5. And I will make Rabbah, the capital of Ammonitis, Deut. 3, 11, a stable for camels, the nomad tribes using it for this very purpose, and the Ammonites, the inhabitants of the country here standing for the entire province, a couching-place for flocks, the Arabs choosing any place they liked for the purpose, to bed down their flocks for the night; and ye shall know that I am the Lord, being fully convinced by the evidence of righteous anger and punishment. V. 6. For thus saith the Lord God, Because thou hast clasped thine hands, in malignant glee, and stamped with the feet, as if dancing for joy, and rejoiced in heart, with a malicious delight of the innermost soul, with all thy despite against the land of Israel, with all the contempt of which the Ammonites were able, v. 7. behold, therefore I will stretch out Mine hand upon thee, in the gesture and act of a stern punishment, and will deliver thee for a spoil to the heathen, the nation which eventually brought about the complete destruction of Ammon; and I will cut thee off from the people, and I will cause thee to perish out of the countries, in its position among the nations; I will destroy thee, thereby causing their identity as a state to be lost and bringing about an almost total annihilation of them as a people; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord. Cp. Amos 1, 13-15; Jer. 49, 1-5. V. 8. Thus saith the Lord God, Because that Moab and Seir, Idumea joining Moab in its hatred of the Lord’s people, do say, Behold, the house of Judah is like unto all the heathen, that is, without advantage over them, subject to the same in life, without the protection of God, v. 9. therefore, behold, I will open the side of Moab, literally, “the shoulder of Moab,” the Moabites being descendants of the older daughter of Lot, Gen. 19, 37, from the cities, so that the entire country would be included in this sentence of punishment, from his cities which are on his frontiers, from the greatest to the least, the glory of the country, distinguished for their fine location and architectural beauty, Beth-jeshimoth, Baal-meon, and Kiriathaim, the most important cities of the entire province, v. 10. unto the men of the East, the Bedouin tribes, with the Ammonites, whose fate they would be obliged to share, and will give them in possession, that the Ammonites may not be remembered among the nations, Moab thus sharing the fate of her sister state toward the north. V. 11. And I will execute judgments upon Moab; and they shall know that I am the Lord. Cp. Is. 16, 6-8; Jer. 48. While the Moabites are indeed still mentioned after the exile, they were no longer of importance as a nation and soon disappeared entirely from historical accounts, the word of the Lord thus being fulfilled in every detail.

AGAINST IDUMEA AND PHILISTIA. — V. 12. Thus saith the Lord God, Because that Edom, whose people were direct descendants of Jacob’s brother Esau, hath dealt against the house of Judah by taking vengeance, or, “by exercising vindictive revenge,” and hath greatly offended, heaping guilt upon itself, and revenged himself upon them, still smarting under the feeling of having been cheated of the right of the first-born, cp. Gen. 27, 41, v. 13. therefore thus saith the Lord God, I will also stretch out Mine hand upon Edom, in a stern and comprehensive punishment, and will cut off man and beast from it, in a general destruction; and I will make it desolate from Teman, the southernmost part of the country; and they of Dedan, of the northern section of the country, shall fall by the sword, that is, the entire land would become subject to the punishment of the Lord. V. 14. And I will lay My vengeance upon Edom by the hand of My people Israel, not only in a physical subjection brought about at the time of the Maccabees, but also in the more complete conquest in the Messianic times, when at least some of the inhabitants of this country bowed down before the true God; and they shall do in Edom, in its physical subjection, according to Mine anger and according to My fury; and they shall know My vengeance, saith the Lord God, the manner in which he takes revenge upon such as will not bow down to his rule. V. 15. Thus saith the Lord God, Because the Philistines, Judah’s neighbors to the southwest, along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, have dealt by revenge, in vindictive malice, and have taken vengeance with a despiteful heart, in a perpetual war of spite, to destroy it for the old hatred, on account of the enmity which reached back into the earliest history of the relations between the two nations, v. 16. therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I will stretch out Mine hand upon the Philistines, and I will cut off the Cherethims, another name for the Philistines on account of their Cretan descent, and destroy the remnant of the seacoast. Cp. Amos 1, 8; Is. 14, 30; Jer. 47, 4. V. 17. And I will execute great vengeance upon them with furious rebukes, or, “in punishments of fury”; and they shall know that I am the Lord when I shall lay My vengeance upon them, forcing them to concede the unlimited range of His power, so that they would have to confess, even though most unwillingly, that lie alone is the true God.