Isaiah 16:1-14

Daybreak for Students

Isaiah 16:1-14

Isaiah 16
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. — Isaiah 16:6

Probably one of the most well known shipwrecks in all of history is that of the Titanic, when over 1,500 people died. The declaration by the builders that the ship was “unsinkable” or “invincible,” contains a chilling tone of arrogance. Sadly, pride was one of the principle causes of the great loss of life.

In order to allow the first-class passengers ample deck space, the number of lifeboats was reduced to twenty — only half enough for the 2,228 passengers. The designers were overly confident that they had created an unsinkable ship.

On the day of the accident, other ships gave reports of ice floes in the area, and yet the officers of the Titanic ignored the reports and made no effort to slow the ship. They thought it was constructed so well that no amount of damage would cause it to sink. When it was clear that the ship would hit a huge iceberg, the crew members tried desperately to turn and miss it, but to no avail. The iceberg caused a massive parallel rip on the ship’s hull.

Perhaps there are more precious souls ruined and lost by pride than any other single sin. It makes one independent of God, and sometimes of others around him. The proud person will trust himself, his works and treasures, and will not seek after God. This attitude was seen in the Moabites. They were given counsel whereby they could have been forgiven and received, but they would not heed.

Proud people are much like the Moabites. Often they will not take good counsel when it is given to them. They think themselves too wise to be advised. They will not submit to God nor regard the warnings He gives them.

We can make our heavenly goal and also save ourselves a great deal of grief if we will heed God’s instructions to us. Let us make sure that we are not like the builders and officers of the Titanic or like the Moabites.


This chapter continued and concluded “the burden,” or prophecy, regarding Moab. The prophet gave good counsel to the Moabites, telling them to reform what was amiss among them, and particularly to be kind to God’s people, as the likeliest way to prevent the threatened judgments. Moab’s only hope was to make peace with Judah. “Send ye the lamb” meant to pay tribute to the Davidic dynasty. “Sela” refers to Petra, the capital of Edom. This city was cut into the face of the rock at the end of a narrow gorge, which was a natural hiding place for the Moabites. Isaiah urged the Moabites to send a peace offering to the king of Judah. It would take more than an appeal to give them asylum from the enemy. They needed to submit to the King of Judah, which meant acknowledging the God of Judah. The Moabites wanted Judah’s help but they did not want Judah’s God. Isaiah called the Moabites extortioners, spoilers, and oppressors and announced that the nation was destined to be destroyed.

Moab’s pride kept them from submitting to Judah. This would lead to their defeat and bring dreadful devastation to their country. All the inhabitants would lament bitterly at the ruin of their country. Moab was famous for its fields and vineyards, which were planted with choice plants, but they would all be laid waste by the invading army. There was no mention of their praising God for their abundance, and giving Him the glory for it. If they would honor God, they might have retained their goods and used them for rejoicing, rather than being stripped of everything. The soldiers, called here “the lords of the heathen,” would break down all the plants. The shouting for the enjoyment of the summer fruits would turn into howling for the loss of them. The joy of harvest would cease.

The prophet Isaiah seemed to have looked upon the Moabites with a compassionate concern. He said, “I will bewail with the weeping of Jazer the vine of Sibmah: I will water thee with my tears, O Heshbon.” It appears to be an inward grief and trembling. He went further to say, “My bowels shall sound like an harp for Moab.” The prophet acquainted himself with, and mourned over the coming afflictions of these people.

The chapter closes with a eulogy about Moab’s predicted fall. He would soon be weary of the high places, and praying to his idols would not help him. (Chemosh was the principal god of the Moabites and was known for his severe retribution.) The Lord spoke concerning Moab and the time of its destruction. The time fixed for execution of this sentence was three years. A hired servant (hireling) would keep accurate records of his time of service, and in the same way, God was recording the rebellion of Moab and tracking the time. Fair warning was given and with it space to repent. If they had done as Nineveh did, the judgments threatened would have been prevented.


(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II.   The message of condemnation: the Holy One of Israel provoked, rebuking and judging
     C.   Prophecies related to the foreign nations
           4.   The judgment upon Moab
                 b.   The plea of Moab (16:1-5)
                 c.   The desolation of Moab’s pride (16:6-13)
                 d.   The coming destruction of Moab (16:14)


  1. What could Moab have done to prevent the ruin of its people?

  2. Why do you suppose Moab did not heed God’s warnings?

  3. Why do some people today heed God’s warnings and others ignore them?


Purpose today to take counsel from God’s Word and act upon it. You will be glad you did!