(Remotely Related: Are the Isaiah 16:2 's "daughters of Moab" reference the same as the "outcasts" in Isaiah 16:3 & Isaiah 16:4? )

It may seem that this posting has too many questions but it is important to note that said questions are very closely related & intertwined with each other in regards to answering them. Therefore, it would be Disadvantageous if each question were placed in separate postings.

Isaiah 16:1-7 (NASB 1995)

1 Send the tribute lamb to the ruler of the land, From Sela by way of the wilderness to the mountain of the daughter of Zion. 2 Then, like fleeing birds or scattered nestlings, The daughters of Moab will be at the fords of the Arnon. 3 “Give us advice, make a decision; Cast your shadow like night at high noon; Hide the outcasts, do not betray the fugitive. 4 “Let the outcasts of Moab stay with you; Be a hiding place to them from the destroyer.” For the extortioner has come to an end, destruction has ceased, Oppressors have completely disappeared from the land. 5 A throne will even be established in lovingkindness, And a judge will sit on it in faithfulness in the tent of David; Moreover, he will seek justice And be prompt in righteousness. 6 We have heard of the pride of Moab, an excessive pride; Even of his arrogance, pride, and fury; His idle boasts are false. 7 Therefore Moab will wail; everyone of Moab will wail. You will moan for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth As those who are utterly stricken.

Isaiah 16:1-7 (NKJV)

1 Send the lamb to the ruler of the land, From Sela to the wilderness, To the mount of the daughter of Zion. 2 For it shall be as a wandering bird thrown out of the nest; So shall be the daughters of Moab at the fords of the Arnon. 3 “Take counsel, execute judgment; Make your shadow like the night in the middle of the day; Hide the outcasts, Do not betray him who escapes. 4 Let My outcasts dwell with you, O Moab; Be a shelter to them from the face of the spoiler. For the extortioner is at an end, Devastation ceases, The oppressors are consumed out of the land. 5 In mercy the throne will be established; And One will sit on it in truth, in the tabernacle of David, Judging and seeking justice and hastening righteousness.” 6 We have heard of the pride of Moab— He is very proud— Of his haughtiness and his pride and his wrath; But his lies shall not be so. 7 Therefore Moab shall wail for Moab; Everyone shall wail. For the foundations of Kir Hareseth you shall mourn; Surely they are stricken.

Isaiah 16:1-7 The Westminster Leningrad Codex

1 שִׁלְחוּ־כַ֥ר מֹשֵֽׁל־אֶ֖רֶץ מִסֶּ֣לַע מִדְבָּ֑רָה אֶל־הַ֖ר בַּת־צִיּֽוֹן׃

2 וְהָיָ֥ה כְעוֹף־נוֹדֵ֖ד קֵ֣ן מְשֻׁלָּ֑ח תִּֽהְיֶ֙ינָה֙ בְּנ֣וֹת מוֹאָ֔ב מַעְבָּרֹ֖ת לְאַרְנֽוֹן׃

3 ׳הָבִיאוּ׳ ״הָבִ֤יאִי״ עֵצָה֙ עֲשׂ֣וּ פְלִילָ֔ה שִׁ֧יתִי כַלַּ֛יִל צִלֵּ֖ךְ בְּת֣וֹךְ צָהֳרָ֑יִם סַתְּרִי֙ נִדָּחִ֔ים נֹדֵ֖ד אַל־תְּגַלִּֽי׃

4 יָג֤וּרוּ בָךְ֙ נִדָּחַ֔י מוֹאָ֛ב הֱוִי־סֵ֥תֶר לָ֖מוֹ מִפְּנֵ֣י שׁוֹדֵ֑ד כִּֽי־אָפֵ֤ס הַמֵּץ֙ כָּ֣לָה שֹׁ֔ד תַּ֥מּוּ רֹמֵ֖ס מִן־הָאָֽרֶץ׃

5 וְהוּכַ֤ן בַּחֶ֙סֶד֙ כִּסֵּ֔א וְיָשַׁ֥ב עָלָ֛יו בֶּאֱמֶ֖ת בְּאֹ֣הֶל דָּוִ֑ד שֹׁפֵ֛ט וְדֹרֵ֥שׁ מִשְׁפָּ֖ט וּמְהִ֥ר צֶֽדֶק׃

6 שָׁמַ֥עְנוּ גְאוֹן־מוֹאָ֖ב גֵּ֣א מְאֹ֑ד גַּאֲוָת֧וֹ וּגְאוֹנ֛וֹ וְעֶבְרָת֖וֹ לֹא־כֵ֥ן בַּדָּֽיו׃ ס

7 לָכֵ֗ן יְיֵלִ֥יל מוֹאָ֛ב לְמוֹאָ֖ב כֻּלֹּ֣ה יְיֵלִ֑יל לַאֲשִׁישֵׁ֧י קִיר־חֲרֶ֛שֶׂת תֶּהְגּ֖וּ אַךְ־נְכָאִֽים׃

There seem to be 4 major characters that are relevant in Isaiah 16:

  1. God
  2. Isaiah
  3. Moabite nation
  4. Israelite nation

One of the overall major themes/tenors of Isaiah 16 is a Devastating Prophetic Proclaimation over Isaiah 16.

As the aforementioned scripture passages shown above indicate, Isaiah 16:4's NKJV translation is starkly different from NASB1995

NKJV seems like Isaiah telling the Moabite nation that they should be helpful towards Israelite refugees

However, NASB1995 seems like Isaiah is telling the Israelite nation that they should be helpful toward the Moabite refugees

  1. (Isa 16:4) Are the refugees as Moabite Or Israelite?
  2. What are contextual consequences when it comes to choosing one translation over the other?
  • a) To add to the complexity factor, would taking into consideration the Old Testament Hebrew conjunctional phrases or terms that link the various verses in Isaiah 16:1-7 help us get a better understanding of Isaiah 16:1-7?

  • b) If yes, could someone please exegete said verses in the Old Testament Hebrew and provide their opinions?

  • Where is the question.? This reads like a lecture and not a question.
    – Dottard
    Jul 5, 2023 at 11:17

2 Answers 2


The most critical question here hinges upon understanding the Hebrew grammar behind the following clause:

Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; . . . (KJV)

In Hebrew, the words are these:

יָג֤וּרוּ בָךְ֙ נִדָּחַ֔י מֹואָ֛ב

One challenge to understanding this is that in Hebrew a common form of sentence follows the verb-subject-object (VSO) order. In English, this form is rare, so the words typically get rearranged during translation to the more typical subject-verb-object (SVO) order.

Keeping in mind that the subject may follow a verb, it must also be understood that Hebrew words can have pronominal suffixes which add subject/object/pronoun information to them. Such is the case here.

Preliminary Details

Let's break this down, word by word.

יָג֤וּרוּ (yā·ḡū·rū/H1481) -- V‑Qal‑Imperf‑3mp: This verb contains the third-person masculine plural suffix, meaning it will apply to they/them, i.e. "they will live" [MORE HERE]

בָךְ֙ (ḇāḵ) -- Prep | 2fs: This is the preposition "in" with the second-person feminine singular suffix, translated as "with" because English speakers would not find "in" to be idiomatic in this context; think, perhaps, of "among" as a possible rendition here. The feminine singular "you" indicates the object is feminine. Cities and countries, for example, are considered as feminine. In this case, "Moab" is feminine. So we have "in you (Moab)."

נִדָּחַ֔י (nid·dā·ḥay/H5080) -- V‑Nifal‑Prtcpl‑mpc | 1cs: This is marked as a verb of participle form, which is acting as a noun much like a gerund would in English. Because it has a first-person common singular suffix, equivalent to "my" in English, it is technically in construct state. However, the construct is with its own pronominal suffix, and it does not continue to the next word, i.e. there is no genitive relationship here with "Moab." Hence we have "my outcasts/banished."

מֹואָ֛ב (mō·w·’āḇ/H4124) -- N‑proper‑fs: This is a grammatically feminine noun, the name of Moab, a name which means "of his father."

Further Analysis

The first word (yā·ḡū·rū/H1481) is in yiqtol form. This verb form can be used or translated in several ways, depending on context. It is often translated in the future tense, but it can also be used in language of the law (command form), as a form of subjunctive or modal verb, etc. In this case, the KJV translators accepted it to be the command form, hence the "let (them) dwell" translation.

The "them" is dropped in translation because it is redundant after the object is translated. This is common with Hebrew, because verbs nearly always have their pronouns associated with them (infinitive absolutes do not). However, this "them" that is part of the verb gives us a clear picture as to whom is being addressed.

Because the pronomial object which follows, translated as a prepositional phrase in English, supplies the object as "you (feminine)," it seems clear that it should apply to Moab, the only feminine noun in the clause.

Literally translated, we might see something like this:

Let them dwell my outcasts in you Moab.

This makes little sense in English, but could be improved by a slight reordering and the addition of punctuation as:

Let them, my outcasts, dwell in you, Moab.

From there, it's not difficult to see why the KJV has rendered it as it has.

The grammar clearly links "you" with being "Moab." It also clearly connects the "them" with "my outcasts/banished," although the "them" becomes redundant and unnecessary in translation. The tricky part for translators may actually be the participle for "outcasts."

Looking at the Nifal/Niphal

The participle is in nifal/niphal form. As posted HERE...

The Niphal stem generally expresses passive or reflexive voice, but it can also express other kinds of action depending on the context and the specific verb. . . . Passive voice means that the subject of the verb is receiving the action rather than performing the action. In English, passive voice is expressed using the helping verb “to be.” In Biblical Hebrew, the passive nature of the verbal action is expressed by the Niphal form of the verb itself without any helping verbs.

Translators might see complications with who is doing what to whom based on this passivity.

My Conclusions

Personally, I see the nifal status of this verb as indicating those who have been cast out by God, which would be a third entity in the lineup and does not affect the remaining grammar of the clause, i.e. the "you" and the "them" remain the same in their relationship to each other. Thus, the KJV has it right.


Context is more important than grammar here, the key being the outcome of the battle at Kir-hareseth a place mentioned only in this prophecy and 2 Kings 3. The Moabites had been utterly devastated there. A note in the NABRE translation confirms that the encouragement to provide help to the refugees is:

...directed to Jerusalem, which should receive the suffering Moabites with mercy, as befits the city of David’s family, who were partly descended from Ruth the Moabite; and cf. 1 Sm 22:3–4. {David's parents were given refuge by Moab.} This would be a gracious act on Judah’s part, since its relations with Moab were strained at best.

Indeed, this is the only interpretation that makes sense in the context of the previous chapter, where the refugees are clearly escaping from Moab, not to it.

The waters of Dimon are filled with blood, but I will bring still more upon Dimon: Lions for those who are fleeing from Moab and for those who remain in the land! (15:9)

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Dimon/Dibon is a town on the northern banks of the Arnon River. This is apparently a reference to the defeat of Moab described in (2 Kings 3) when Israel and Judah joined forces and tricked the Moabites into thinking the river's waters were red with blood because Israel and Judah had turned against each other. Israel then devastated Moab. So the refugees are Moabites, for whom God has compassion despite their idolatry. Near the end of the poem, God declares:

for Moab my heart moans like a lyre, my inmost being for Kir-hareseth. (16:11)

This confirms the reference in 15:9, for Kir-hareseth, a walled city of Moab, was completely destroyed in the battle.

The Israelites rose up and attacked the Moabites, who fled from them. They ranged through the countryside destroying Moab leveling the cities, each one casting the stones onto every fertile field and filling it, stopping up every spring, felling every fruit tree, until only the stones of Kir-hareseth remained. (2 Kgs. 3:24-25)

The idea that the people of Israel or Judah would flee to Moab after what happened at Dimon and Kir-hareseth makes no sense. It was the Moabites who had been devastated. So regardless of grammatical problems, the better interpretation is that it is the Moabites who are the refugees.

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