“Cursed is he who does the work of Yahweh negligently;
and cursed is he who keeps back his sword from blood.
“Moab has been at ease from his youth,
and he has settled on his dregs,
and has not been emptied from vessel to vessel,
neither has he gone into captivity;
therefore his taste remains in him,
and his scent is not changed.
Therefore behold, the days come,” says Yahweh,
“that I will send to him those who pour off,
and they will pour him off;
and they will empty his vessels,
and break their containers in pieces.
Moab will be ashamed of Chemosh,
as the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel, their confidence.
“How do you say, ‘We are mighty men,
and valiant men for the war’?
Moab is laid waste,
and they have gone up into his cities,
and his chosen young men have gone down to the slaughter,”
says the King, whose name is Yahweh of Armies.
“The calamity of Moab is near to come,
and his affliction hurries fast.
All you who are around him, bemoan him;
and all you who know his name, say,
‘How the strong staff is broken,
the beautiful rod!’
The history of Moab’s dealings with Israel are covered in the Bible. I agree with others who study Moab that it is a good representation of a corrupting influence. Moab harmed Israel from the inside. It was Moab’s king that hired Balaam to curse Israel in order to keep them from harming Moab but God blessed Israel instead. Eventually, Moab realized that the way to stop Israel was to pervert them. They had their women infiltrate Israel and get the men to have sex with them. Pretty crafty wasn’t it? Israel was supposed to kill their enemies, not sleep with them!
The first verse in this passage has special meaning in light of Israel’s history with Moab. God wants us to make a clean break from sin. In this case, Israel was neglegent in killing the Moabites. Moab was harming Israel, but Israel decided to enjoy the sin that they could have with them. Israel refused to separate themselves from their sin and they ended up being punished by God for it.
Moab, on the other hand, was still around. Perhaps that is why this prophesy says: “Moab has been at ease from his youth.” God had some things that He needed to finish with Moab and we read about that here. You can imagine that after getting away with sin for such a long time that you might begin to think that you are strong and valiant. Moab thought they were strong, according to this passage, but they were about to be broken.
It’s important for unbelievers to realize that even if they are successful at perverting believers and getting them to sin, that they won’t escape God’s hand. It’s also important for us, as believers, separate ourselves from sin and sinful influences. Living a life of holiness means that we make a clean break. We need to stop playing around with sin and fight against it instead.