In Biblehub there are so many different translations for Isaiah 16:1-5, therefore, I am going to include the most literal translation for those verses that require them.
When we have sinned, it is wise for us to acknowledge our sin. And not only to acknowledge our sin, but to be quick to seek mercy, forgiveness and the grace of G-d. True repentance involves remorse and regret for having done the sinful deed in the first place (not remorse and regret that we have been found out and are going to experience consequences). In this chapter, G-d’s judgment that is placed upon Moab (the state of Jordan today – east of Israel) is so severe that even Isaiah is moved and grieved by it. Although this was partially fulfilled in the days around Isaiah’s time, we need to remember that that partial fulfilment was a foreshadowing of what is going to take place in the last days when G-d pours His wrath out on the enemies of Israel.
Verse 1: “Send forth the fattened sheep, O ruler of the land, From Sela to the wilderness, unto the mountain of the daughter of Zion.”
- Send forth: A call for Moab to send tribute.
- Fattened sheep: A sheep that is ready to be sacrificed.
- Send forth the fattened sheep: G-d is giving the people of Moab an opportunity to repent. Unfortunately, Moab, for the most part, are going to reject this. They are not going to submit to this instruction, to worship the G-d of Israel, and nor are they going to offer up a choice sacrifice to Him.
- Ruler: Governor. Someone who has power and authority in a land.
- The land: Referring to the land of Moab. The ruler of Moab is being instructed to offer up or to send tribute. G-d was angry with Moab because they made life difficult for the children of Israel (see Deut 23:3-6). Moab knew about all the miraculous things that G-d had done for the children of Israel when He brought them out of Egypt, but they were neither convicted by the truth of G-d (that He was with and was leading the children of Israel) and nor did they respond in obedience to the revelation of G-d – that His hand was upon His people. Moab stood in opposition to the will of G-d.
- Sela: A location in Moab.
- The mountain of the daughter of Zion: Speaking of Jerusalem
- Daughter of Zion: Possibly a prophetic term that relates to Jerusalem at the time of the end. The term ‘Zion’ places this in an end time/last day context.
v2: It shall be: (The majority in) Moab is not going to accept G-d’s offer to repent and so they are going to suffer the consequences of that rejection.
- Wandering: Because Moab does not submit to the instruction of G-d, because they will not recognize the G-d of Israel, they are going to be like a confused bird that is trying to get to a specific location (migrate), but they do not have the knowledge of how to do it.
- Thrown out of the nest: This is not speaking of a young bird learning to fly, but this is an image of being thrown out of the nest due to being rejected.
- So shall be the daughters of Moab: The daughters of Moab are going to be rejected forever because of their persistent faithlessness.
- The fords (passageway) of the Arnon: The Arnon was a river on the southern border of Moab. The majority of the Moabites are fleeing southwards (toward Egypt – ie the wrong location) instead of trying to find security in the G-d of Israel or with the people of Israel.
Verse 3: “Bring counsel, make justice; and I will place as the night your shadow in the midst of the noontime; Hide the outcasts, do not betray him who escapes.”
Note: This verse is a call to the Jewish people in the last days to be different. They are not to return evil for evil, but they are to receive the sojourner – those who are looking for refuge. G-d has been gracious to us, therefore we should afford grace to others.
- Bring counsel: Reflecting upon the instruction of G-d and then demonstrating that truth and wisdom (ie: putting G-d’s counsel/instructions into action).
- I will place as the night your shadow in the midst of the noontime: A shadow is dark, and it can hide or cover up what you do not want seen (as the darkness of night). In this context it is speaking of the exiles from Moab being able to hide in the darkness of their (Israel’s) shadow, to be safe – even in the middle of the day. G-d is instructing Israel to be a shelter to those who have fled to them for safety. This is in contrast to what Israel’s enemies did to them. Babylon did not provide shelter for those who escaped from Babylon. Instead, they cut them down and punished the Jewish refugees who tried to escape. G-d does not desire for His people to act in a tit-for-tat way.
Verse 4: “Let My fugitives stay with you. Be a hiding place for them, because of the one that wants to plunder them. For the one who tramples they are going to come to an end, devastation ceases, the oppressors are consumed out of the land.”
- The one that wants to plunder them: This could mean that if the fugitives are not hidden or taken care of then the oppressor will wipe them out and none will survive when the destruction comes to an end.
- Tramples: Treads upon others.
Note: This judgment is going to be vast, and it is going to be complete. The only safe place for the exiles of Moab to flee is to Israel. The timing of those who flee will be crucial. Once this judgment starts to fall, they will not be able to flee from Moab. They have to flee to Israel before this judgment falls. Those who wait until the end of the judgment are not going to survive, because the oppressor will oppress everyone.
Verse 5: “A throne, with grace, is going to be established; and He will sit upon it in truth, in the tent of David, judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness. “
Note: This verse is the key verse to set this prophetic passage in a last day’s context. It speaks about a transition away from this world into the kingdom that Messiah Yeshua will rule over in His millennial kingdom.
- Grace: Although some Bibles translate this word as ‘mercy’ a better way to translate it is with the word ‘grace’. ‘Grace’ is a word that speaks about G-d’s loving kindness/steadfast love, a loving kindness that is only available through accepting His covenantal offering – ie Messiah Yeshua.
- He will sit upon it in truth, in the tent of David: At the time of this prophecy, David was already deceased. When this term ‘David’ is used, after the death of King David, it then becomes a hermeneutical aid that assists us in realizing that we’re speaking about the Son of David – the Messiah.