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Isaiah: Prophet of Salvation Book 3

Isaiah is the prophet of Salvation. He is also known as the truly "Universalist" prophet, by which is meant that He makes it clear that salvation is extended equally to all nations and not just to Israel. He lived to see the fall of Israel and the deportation of the Israelites to Assyria, and he prophesied of their "return" to God (through repentance). He is truly a "major prophet" whose prophecies greatly influenced the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Isaiah 15, 16: Oracle Against Moab

Chapter 15: All Flesh is Grass

Isaiah’s prophecy against Moab is seldom the text of a pastor’s message. It is one of the more obscure prophecies in Scripture, and to most people today it seems largely irrelevant. Yet it has its place in the inspired word of God.

The message of God’s compassion is regularly missed or ignored. Another lesson is that the sin of Israel and Judah brought judgment not only upon those two nations but upon the entire region. The Assyrian and Babylonian kings were given authority to conquer many other nations as well. They certainly misused their authority, as all carnally minded kings do, but God used them to judge all the nations for their idolatry—including Moab for its worship of Chemosh.

Judah had been given the Dominion Mandate in Gen. 49:10, but the kings in Jerusalem had misused it. If they had used it properly, Judah’s dominion would have increased until it ruled the entire world. But God would not allow Judah to expand its dominion only so that they might enslave others and steal their wealth. God never intended to bless their lawlessness or carnality.

Hence, it is only with the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of His Kingdom that the Dominion Mandate is fully released until His Kingdom fills the whole earth (Dan. 2:35).

Clear Streams Nourish Grass

Isaiah 15:6 says,

6 For the waters of Nimrim are desolate. Surely the grass is withered, the tender grass died out, there is no green thing.

Nimrim is the plural form of Nimrah, “pure, clear.” It was a clear stream east of the Dead Sea. Nimrim prophetically represented the revelation of God which the Moabites had rejected. Grass represents “flesh,” as we see from Isaiah 40:6-8,

6 A voice says, “Call out.” Then he answered, “What shall I call out?” “All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.” 7 The grass withers, the flower fades, when the breath of the Lord blows upon it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.

This is quoted in 1 Peter 1:23-25 to compare the transient nature of our Adamic flesh with the unending and immortal nature of those begotten by the seed of the word. Apart from Jesus Himself, all of us, including the Moabites, were born of fleshly seed. We all start out as “grass” and are sustained by the waters of Nimrim, the word of God. But if the word is not a revelation to us, we fade and die as grass without changing our identity to that which has been begotten by the Spirit.

Moab itself was begotten not only by fleshly seed from Lot but also through incest in a lawless manner. So the desolation of the grass in Moab represents divine judgment upon all fleshly people of Moab who should have followed the example of Ruth.

Isaiah 15:7 continues,

7 Therefore the abundance [yithra, “wealth, riches”] which they have acquired [asah, “produced”] and stored up they carry off over the brook of Arabim [“willows”].

Isaiah’s word picture is of people producing more than they consume, so that they are able to store wealth. However, when they go into captivity, the foreigners steal it and carry it away.  Arabim means willows in the sense that the tree has dark wood.

The word Arabim is plural for arab, which also means “to grow dusky, darkened,” and the prophet perhaps intended to draw a contrast between the clear waters of Nimrim with the murky “brook of Arabim.” In other words, if they refused the clear word of God, they would be given a murky word that would not be so clear.

Arab also means “to mortgage, give in pledge.”

Isaiah uses this to enhance the picture of wealthy people being indebted by mortgages. That, of course, is quite relevant to us today, for America too crossed its own “brook of Arabim” when the Federal Reserve Act was passed in 1913. This turned money into debt notes and enslaved the entire nation to the modern rulers of Babylon.

Thus, the prophecy to Moab applies also to America and to the world in general.

The Distress of Moab

Isaiah 15:8 says,

8 For the cry of distress has gone around the territory of Moab, its wail goes as far as Eglaim and its wailing even to Beer-elim.

Eglaim is plural for egel and means “two pools” or “reservoirs.” The town was later known as Agalla. The town of Beer-elim, “the well of God” or “the well of heroes” was an oasis in the desert in the southern part of Moab. It is most likely the same place where the Israelites camped in Num. 21:14-16,

14 Therefore it is said in the Book of the Wars of the Lord, “Waheb in Suphah, and the wadis of the Arnon, 15 and the slope of the wadis that extends to the site of Ar, and leans to the border of Moab.” 16 From there they continued to Beer, that is the well where the Lord said to Moses, “Assemble the people, that I may give them water.”

All of these places were noted for their water. Without water, life could not thrive, nor could towns be established. The distress of Moab, at least on the surface, was pictured as a loss of water, but under the surface we see that their real loss was a drought of revelation.

They lacked the water of the word.

Isaiah 15:9 concludes,

9 For the waters of Dimon are full of blood; surely I will bring added woes upon Dimon, a lion upon the fugitives of Moab and upon the remnant of the land.

Dimon means “a riverbed” or “silence.” Perhaps the word was meant to convey a dry riverbed, where the sound of water could not be heard for most of the year. Isaiah gives us a picture of a river of blood in place of a normal river. This town was probably too small to be the site of a great slaughter that would result in a river of blood. It was therefore prophetic of greater things to come.

Also, the root word for Dimon is dam, “blood.” It is likely that the prophet was using this as a subtle play on words to convey the river of blood that was to come. More recently, in times of intercession, we have noted that “rivers of blood” refer to the abortion industry.

This would certainly apply to America and to much of the world, which has legalized the murder of countless unborn children. Yet if we view it as a prophetic picture of the distress of Moab, we see destruction and captivity coming upon Moab—and especially upon Dimon.

Perhaps Jamie Dimon of JP Morgan Chase Bank might be a prophetic type as well when judgment hits the banking system’s mortgage system that has enslaved humanity for more than a century.