Read verses 8-11
Q: Who is Moab and the Moabites?
A: They are the other son of Lot by an incestuous relationship with his daughter (Gen. 19:37) who occupied land along the eastern border and southern half of the Dead Sea. Ammon, Seir, and Moab occupied the land to the east of the Dead Sea all the way from Israel to the Red Sea. Because the tribes of Reuben and Gad settled the northern part of Moab’s territory there was a perpetual state of animosity between them.
It was Balak, then king of the Moabites, who joined with the Midians in hiring the prophet-magician Balaam to curse Israel. When that failed, Moab enticed Israel into a form of idolatry involving sexual immorality that resulted in God’s judgment against Israel. (Num. 25:1-9) In other words, Moab became one of Israel’s worst spiritual enemies and are mentioned in Psalm 83 as well as desiring Israel’s total destruction.
Q: Who is Seir?
A: Esau and his descendants, the Edomites, lived in Seir.
Q: What does God highlight about their particular crimes?
A: Their assertion, “Behold the house of Judah is like all the nations” is a way of stating that their faith in the One True God shows that it is no more special or powerful than any of the gods worshiped by the rest of the nations. Whereas the Ammonites rejoiced over the destruction of God’s Temple – His house, the Moabites rejoice over what they perceived as the end of God’s influence on earth when His “Chosen People” fell.
Q: What does it mean when God says, “I will deprive the flank”?
A: The word for “flank” could be translated as “shoulder”. It is a way of stating that the very place where Moab believes itself to be strongest is going to be the way by which they fall. It’s a way of stating in the language of the time that pride is going to be their undoing.
Q: Why would the city of Beth-jeshimoth be held up as an example of “the glory of the land” of Moab?
A: This city formerly belonged to the tribe of Reuben so from a “glory” point of view would represent their belief they were superior to Israel. Its literal meaning “house of desolation” may indicate the greater spiritual representation that their glory in the flesh would lead to their total earthly and spiritual destruction.
Q: Why would the city of Baal-meon be held up as an example of “the glory of the land” of Moab?
A: It too formerly belonged to Reuben and in fact was the birthplace of Elisha. Literally meaning “lord of the habitation” it had strong connections with Baal worship and other false gods. It would represent what they thought was their ultimate victory over Israel to not only possess their land but to completely corrupt their spiritual relationship with the One True God.
Q; Why would the city of Kiriathaim be held up as an example of “the glory of the land” of Moab?
A: Literally meaning “the double city” and also once belonging to the tribe of Reuben, the name implies that Moab took exceptional pride in its own strength and accomplishments. It is important to note how throughout Scripture the chief repeated characteristic of Moab is its intense problem with pride.
We have heard of the pride of Moab, an excessive pride;
Even of his arrogance, pride, and fury;
His idle boasts are false.
— Isaiah 16:6
Q: Given these clues about the true nature of Moab, why is God’s pronouncement upon them particularly fitting?
A: He addresses this issue of pride by stating they “will not be remembered among the nations”. They will never obtain the very thing their pride continually strived for, to elevate themselves above everyone else.
Q: What is the problem for people like the Moabites where v.11 is concerned?
A: They had every opportunity to “know that I am Lord” in a meaningful and positive way, but because of their continued and willful disobedience only came to know this for certain at the moment of their destruction when it is too late.
Point: Whereas Ammon was happy to see the things of God destroyed or rendered ineffective, Moab exhibited the pride of Satan desiring to replace God with something else. They thought Israel’s destruction created a void they could step in and themselves fill.