1 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Moab, and for four, I will not turn away his punishment, because he burned the bones of the king of Edom into lime.
2 But I will send a fire upon Moab, and it shall devour the palaces of Kirioth. And Moab shall die with tumult, with shouting, and with the sound of the trumpet.
3 And I will cut off the judge from the midst of it and will slay all its princes with him," says the LORD.
4 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away their punishment, because they have despised the law of the LORD and have not kept his commandments. And their lies caused them to err, after which their fathers have walked.
5 But I will send a fire upon Judah, and it shall devour the palaces of Jerusalem."
6 Thus says the LORD: "For three transgressions of Israel, and for four, I will not turn away their punishment, because they sold the righteous for silver and the poor for a pair of shoes.
7 They pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor and turn aside the way of the meek. And a man and his father will go in to the same maid to profane my holy name.
8 And they lay themselves down upon clothes laid to pledge by every altar and they drink the wine of the condemned in the house of their god.
9 Yet I destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars and he was strong as the oaks, yet I destroyed his fruit from above and his roots from beneath.
10 Also I brought you from the land of Egypt and led you forty years through the wilderness to possess the land of the Amorite.
11 And I raised up some of your sons for prophets and some of your young men for Nazarites. Is it not even so, O children of Israel?" says the LORD.
12 "But you gave the Nazarites wine to drink and commanded the prophets, saying, 'Do not prophesy.'
13 Behold, I am pressed under you as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.
14 Therefore, the flight shall perish from the swift and the strong shall not strengthen his force, neither shall the mighty deliver himself;
15 Neither shall he stand who handles the bow, and he who is swift of foot shall not deliver himself; neither shall he who rides the horse deliver himself.
16 And he who is courageous among the mighty shall flee away naked in that day," says the LORD.
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
In this chapter the prophet foretells the calamities that should come upon the Moabites for their transgressions (verses 1-3); and the destruction of Judah and Jerusalem for their iniquities (verses 4-5); also the judgments of God that should come upon Israel, the ten tribes, for their sins, which sins are enumerated; their oppression of the poor, their lewdness and idolatry (verses 6-8); and which are aggravated by the blessings of goodness bestowed upon them, both temporal and spiritual (verses 9-12); therefore they are threatened with ruin, which would be inevitable, notwithstanding their swiftness, strength, and courage, and their skill in shooting arrows, and riding horses (verses 13-16).
[v.1] - "lime" - This may be read as "ashes."
[v.4] - Reference, Ezekiel 20:18-20; Acts 7:51.
[v.6] - "they sold the righteous for silver, and the poor for a pair of shoes" - This is not necessarily referring to the sale of individual people, but rather the corruption of the judges, who were "to extend a helping hand to the miserable and the poor, to avenge wrongs, and to give to every one his right" (John Calvin). From John Calvin's Commentary: "This is what the Prophet points out in these words,— That they sold the just for silver; that is, that they sold him for a high price, and then that they were corrupted by the meanest gift, that if one offered them a pair of shoes, they would be ready without any blush of shame to receive such a bribe."
[v.7] - "They pant after the dust of the earth on the head of the poor" - From John Gill's Exposition: "Either were greedy after money, the dust of the earth, and even that small portion of it the poor were possessed of; they could not be easy that they should enjoy that little of it they did, but were desirous to get it out of their hands by oppression and injustice: or they were eagerly desirous of throwing the poor upon the earth, and trampling upon them, and dragging them through the dust of it, thereby filling their heads and covering their faces with it; and caused them to put their mouths in the dust, and be humble suppliants to them."
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 1-7:
Grant, almighty God, that since we see so grievous punishments formerly executed on unbelievers who had never tasted of the pure knowledge of your word, we may be warned by their example, so as to abstain from all wickedness, and to continue in pure obedience to your word; and that, as you have made known to us that you hate all those superstitions and depravations by which we turn aside from your word,— O grant, that we may ever be attentive to that role which has been prescribed to us by you in the Law, as well as in the Prophets and in the Gospel, so that we may constantly abide in your precepts, and be wholly dependent on the words of your mouth, and never turn aside either to the right hand or to the left, but glorify your name, as you have commanded us, by offering to you a true, sincere, and spiritual worship, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
[v.13] - From John Calvin's Commentary: "God carried that people on his shoulders; and when they loaded him with the burden of iniquities, it is no wonder that he said that they were like a wagon—a wagon filled with many sheaves: 'You are light as wind, but you are also to me very burdensome, and I am forced at length to shake you off.'"
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 8-13:
Grant, Almighty God, that as you have not only redeemed us by the blood of your only begotten Son, but also guide us during our earthly pilgrimage, and supply us with whatever is needful,— O grant, that we may not be unmindful of so many favors, and turn away from you and follow our sinful desires, but that we may continue bound to your service, and never burden you with our sins, but submit ourselves willingly to you in true obedience, that by glorifying your name we may carry you both in body and soul, until you at length gather us into that blessed kingdom which has been obtained for us by the blood of your Son. Amen.
[v.14-16] - Calvin's prayer for these verses is included with the first eight verses of the next chapter. Therefore, the prayer is in the next chapter.