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by Steve Ashburn


In Part 6 of this series we saw how Syria was destroyed as a nation, her people deported to other nations, and how her land basically became pastureland for Israel. After this, Israel finally came into complete possession of her promised land, the ancient land of Canaan. Generally speaking, this includes Lebanon from the vicinity of Sidon, southward to the Sinai, eastward into Jordan, and north to the Euphrates River.  

Isaiah 49:19–20 indicates there will be massive immigration of Jews to Israel after this war, so that the land “shall even now be too narrow by reason of the inhabitants” and immigrants will demand, “The place is too strait for me: give place to me that I may dwell.” In fact, Isaiah 54:1 infers that the population of Israel will more than double during the end times due to this massive wave of immigration: “for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife.” Israel’s newly acquired territory in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, West Bank, and Gaza will provide them room.  We now continue in our studies of this Psalm 83 war, with a description of God’s judgment on Jordan, one of Israel’s most intractable adversaries. 

Moab and Ammon were sons of Lot, whose descendants settled the area north and east of the Dead Sea. Although their ancestor was a godly man, Moab and Ammon became pagan nations who worshipped false gods such as Chemosh and Molech, were perpetual enemies of Israel, and who led Israel into idol worship (King Solomon introduced worship of these gods in Jerusalem; 1 Kings 11:7). Together with Esau (Edom), they settled the area now known as Jordan. The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan by and large consists of their descendants, amalgamated with Bedouin Arabs, who now commonly are referred to as Jordanian Arabs. 

Isaiah 15–16 contain prophecies against Moab (modern-day Jordan). These chapters are sandwiched between Isaiah 14 (the last part of which describes the end-times attack against Gaza) and Isaiah 17 (which describes the end-times war against Syria). In addition, Jeremiah 48–49 is a parallel passage to these chapters, and as we have seen refers to the end-times attack on Jordan (Moab and Ammon). Although Nebuchadnezzar precursively may have fulfilled these prophecies in the sixth century BC, the timeline is indicated by Jeremiah 48:47: “Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days.” Therefore, let’s take a look at this interesting prophecy.  

Isaiah 15:1 begins, “The burden of Moab.” As we have seen before, the term, “burden” denotes an extremely severe judgment. The rest of this verse explains why it is so severe: “Because in the night Ar of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence; because in the night Kir of Moab is laid waste, and brought to silence.” Ar and Kir were ancient cities in Moab which in modern times are known as Rabba and Al Karak, located respectively seventy-seven and eighty-seven miles south of Amman, Jordan, along the King’s Highway (Route 35). Our text verse indicates that these cities will be laid waste overnight (symbolically, this also could refer to cities [or other locations] in Jordan in general).  

In a similar fashion, Isaiah 17:14 describes a probable nuclear attack on Syria, and generally speaking, upon Arab countries who attack Israel: “behold at eveningtide trouble; and before the morning he is not.” In all likelihood, therefore, Isaiah 15:1 describes a nuclear attack on Jordan, which takes out at least two cities. The parallel passage in Jeremiah 49:2 says, “I will cause an alarm of war to be heard in Rabbah of the Ammonites; and it shall be a desolate heap, and her daughters shall be burned with fire”; in context, this means that “Rabbah of the Ammonites” (modern-day Amman) and “her daughters” (sister cities) will be destroyed “with fire” (nuclear weapons). Israel may use enhanced-radiation warheads (neutron bombs) in order to minimize the damage. Alternatively, fuel-air bombs could be used much more selectively in some cases, and with less collateral damage. 

The parallel passage in Jeremiah 48 indicates that Jordanians will attempt to flee from the danger, but will unable to escape:  

Fear, and the pit, and the snare, shall be upon thee, O inhabitant of Moab, saith the Lord. He that fleeth from the fear shall fall into the pit; and he that getteth up out of the pit shall be taken in the snare: for I will bring upon it, even upon Moab, the year of their visitation, saith the Lord. They that fled stood under the shadow of Heshbon because of the force: but a fire shall come forth out of Heshbon, and a flame from the midst of Sihon, and shall devour the corner of Moab, and the crown of the head of the tumultuous ones. Woe be unto thee, O Moab! the people of Chemosh perisheth: for thy sons are taken captives, and thy daughters captives. (Jeremiah 48:43–46) 

Those who attempt to flee from nearby destruction (“the fear”) shall be trapped in “the pit” (with no way out); and those who manage to escape yet again will be taken “in the snare” (captured prisoner). Thus, God will bring upon Moab “the year of their visitation” (their punishment for attacking Israel). Some refugees will take shelter in “the shadow of Heshbon” (Heshbon was the ancient capital of Ammon and seat of its king, Sihon, located twelve miles southwest of Amman); Scripture here probably alludes to the capital of Jordan (Amman), its seat of government (“Sihon”) and military strength (“the force”); but fire will destroy Amman (“Heshbon”), its royal palace (“Sihon”), the greater metropolitan area (“the corner of Moab”), and “the crown of the head” (the scalps) of the riotous Jordanians (“tumultuous ones”).  

Thus, Scripture indicates an Israeli nuclear strike against Amman, including the royal palace (“Sihon”). The Hebrew word translated “devour” (wattokal) is used twenty other times in the Bible, and usually is translated “consumed,” in reference to eating food, or in some cases to fire from the Lord consuming sacrifices, while leaving the altar untouched. The usage of this word in our passage seems more consistent with “consuming” flesh rather than melting objects; thus, the use of neutron warheads here is implied.  

The Lord then pronounces severe woe on Moab, and pejoratively refers to them as “the people of Chemosh” (idol worshippers), which seems in context a reference to their Islamic religion; they will “perish” and their surviving “sons are taken captives, and thy daughters captives.” In the parallel account in Jeremiah 49:3, Scripture says, “their king shall go into captivity, and his priests and his princes together.” This infers that the king of Jordan (currently King Abdullah II) and his chief advisors and military commanders will be captured. 

Verse 2 of our text passage in Isaiah then describes Jordanians weeping and wailing, and seeking comfort in their pagan temples (“Bajith” signifies a pagan temple, in ancient times that of Baal; in a modern context this may refer to mosques). 

He is gone up to Bajith, and to Dibon, the high places, to weep: Moab shall howl over Nebo, and over Medeba: on all their heads shall be baldness, and every beard cut off. In their streets they shall gird themselves with sackcloth: on the tops of their houses, and in their streets, every one shall howl, weeping abundantly. And Heshbon shall cry, and Elealeh: their voice shall be heard even unto Jahaz: therefore the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out; his life shall be grievous unto him.

My heart shall cry out for Moab; his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old: for by the mounting up of Luhith with weeping shall they go it up; for in the way of Horonaim they shall raise up a cry of destruction. For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.  

Therefore the abundance they have gotten, and that which they have laid up, shall they carry away to the brook of the willows. For the cry is gone round about the borders of Moab; the howling thereof unto Eglaim, and the howling thereof unto Beer-elim. For the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood: for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab, and upon the remnant of the land. (Isaiah 15:2–9) 

Dibon, Nebo, Medeba, Heshbon, Elealeh, and Jahaz were ancient towns in Moab, and probably signify the population of modern Jordan howling at the Israeli retaliation toward—and probable invasion of—their country. Although the Jordanian army will put up a fight (“the armed soldiers of Moab shall cry out”), they will not prevail against the IDF (“his life shall be grievous unto him”).  

The parallel passage in Jeremiah 48:40–42 indicates that aircraft of the IDF will be used: The Lord “shall fly as an eagle, and shall spread his wings over Moab.” At that time, Israeli ground troops will overrun fortresses in Jordan: “Kerioth is taken, and the strong holds are surprised.” As a result, Jordanian soldiers will greatly fear: “and the mighty men's hearts in Moab at that day shall be as the heart of a woman in her pangs.” After that, “Moab shall be destroyed from being a people,” as Jordan becomes Israeli territory. 

Our passage in Isaiah indicates that refugees will be herded like cattle (“his fugitives shall flee unto Zoar, an heifer of three years old”) for three years to sites in Jordan near ancient Zoar [present-day Al-Safi] and Horonaim [near present-day Al-Karak] (southeast of the Dead Sea); the “mounting up of Luhith” probably signifies the road ascending up to the region of Horonaim (present-day Route 35). They will carry their possessions with them on the way; “the waters of Nimrim” (present-day Wadi Numeira), is a stream emptying into the Dead Sea southeast of its southern end, near the present-day town of El Iraq, Jordan, where refugees will carry their property.  

This general locale probably will act as a staging area for the temporary housing of refugees pending their relocation to other countries. The “brook of the willows” was the ancient boundary between Moab and Edom, which in modern terms would be the Wadi Karak, near present-day Al Karak, a town southeast of the Dead Sea. Variations of the word, “weep,” “cry,” or “howl” are found twelve times in Isaiah 15; this indicates extreme anguish of the Jordanians at being forcibly evicted from their land by Israel.  

As a geographic note: There are three wadis which cascade off the Jordanian Plateau, dropping three thousand feet into the southeastern Dead Sea valley. From north to south, these are the Wadi Karak (“the brook of the willows”), at the mouth of whose canyon was located ancient Sodom; the Wadi Numeira (“the waters of Nimrim”), at the mouth of whose canyon was located ancient Gomorrah; and the Wadi Zered, at the mouth of whose canyon was located ancient Zoar (to which Lot fled, Genesis 19:23). Taken together with Admah and Zeboiim, these five cities made up “the cities of the plain” (Genesis 13:12) where Lot dwelled. 

Eglaim and Beer-elim were ancient towns in southern Moab on the border with Edom; Isaiah indicates that the “howling” will reach to this area, which in modern context would mean all of Jordan. Scripture says that “the waters of Dimon shall be full of blood,” meaning that the battle for Jordan would be intense around the location of Dimon [Dibon, the ancient capital of Moab], near present-day Dhībān, located north of the Arnon River in west-central Jordan. Isaiah says that God will bring even more bloodshed to those who escape from Jordan (“for I will bring more upon Dimon, lions upon him that escapeth of Moab”), and also upon those who remain in the land (“upon the remnant of the land”).  

In context, this means that Jordanian troops who escape to neighboring countries will be attacked like “lions”; this could refer to action by the IDF, or to coalition forces in Iraq which in Isaiah 21:8 were described as a “lion,” referring to the US and its allies.  

Jordanian rebels who remain in the land (“the remnant of the land”) will suffer the same fate. Presumably those who surrender, including most civilians, will be herded (like “an heifer”) to staging areas in the general region of Al Karak, to be relocated to other nations. Isaiah 15 indicates this process will take “three years.” This period seems to be confirmed in the parallel passage in Isaiah 16:14: “Within three years, as the years of an hireling, and the glory of Moab shall be contemned, with all that great multitude; and the remnant shall be very small and feeble.”  

Our Scripture text indicates that within three years, “as the years of an hireling [contractor],” the relocation of Jordanians will be complete, with perhaps only a small number (“and the remnant shall be very small”) of the elderly and infirm (“feeble”) remaining.  

An interesting question is: Who is this “hireling,” or contractor? This same terminology is used in Isaiah 21:16, in reference to present-day Saudi Arabia (“Kedar”): “Within a year, according to the years of an hireling, and all the glory of Kedar shall fail.” It seems that some Middle Eastern populations will be relocated to other countries, with the cooperation of the US and other Western nations, likely in order to avoid the possibility of another nuclear war. The “hireling” (contractor) in this case would probably be a UN-type organization or committee (like the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), who would find homes for the newly displaced populations.  

The parallel passage in Isaiah 16:8 also sheds light on this invasion: “For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah: the lords of the heathen have broken down the principal plants thereof, they are come even unto Jazer, they wandered through the wilderness: her branches are stretched out, they are gone over the sea.” Our text verse indicates that coalition forces (“the lords of the heathen”) will destroy the fruitfulness and productivity of Jordan, and sweep through the country from the eastern desert (“the wilderness”) even to Jazer (west of present-day Amman). After this, Jordan’s population (“her branches”) will be “stretched out” (evacuated) and relocated to other countries (“gone over the sea”).  

Israel, in the meantime, will be in possession of her ancient land promised to Abraham, living securely without fear of further attacks. Scripture says that God will then begin to exceedingly bless his promised land, until it truly will be overflowing with agricultural produce and livestock, and become like the garden of Eden (“and he will make her wilderness like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord”; Isaiah 51:3). The parallel passage in Jeremiah 49:2 says, “then shall Israel be heir unto them that were his heirs”; the related passage in Zephaniah 2:9 states, “the residue of my people shall spoil them, and the remnant of my people shall possess them.” The timeline in Zephaniah is end-times, as indicated by “the remnant of my people,” referring to modern Israel, after being regathered into their land. 

Interestingly, Scripture says that during the time of this evacuation, there will be a drought in the area, so that “the waters of Nimrim” (present-day Wadi Numeira) will be dry. Historically, this wadi was a tourist attraction in Jordan, having a fast-flowing stream and many cataracts. It dropped about three thousand feet from its source on the plateau near El Iraq, Jordan to the Dead Sea. However, the region is currently experiencing its worst drought in nine hundred years. Our Scripture passage predicts that at the time of this war, the drought will have worsened, with no green plants or hay:  

“For the waters of Nimrim shall be desolate: for the hay is withered away, the grass faileth, there is no green thing.” This also is consistent with our Lord’s prophecy in the Olivet Discourse that at this time (the beginning of the end times), there would be severe droughts (“and there shall be famines . . . in divers places”; Matthew 24:7). To the astute student of the Bible, this drought is an important sign to look for. In fact, the Bible indicates that drought conditions will extend from Iraq (Jeremiah 50:38) to Egypt (Isaiah 19:5), encompassing the entire Mideast region—exactly what is happening today! 

During the millennium, the ancient peoples of Moab and Ammon will be restored as nations: “Yet will I bring again the captivity of Moab in the latter days, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 48:47); “afterward I will bring again the captivity of the children of Ammon, saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 49:6). Therefore, Moab and Ammon will have a blessed place in the kingdom age. These descendants of righteous Lot will bring sacrifices to the Lord and worship him in his temple in Jerusalem, as Isaiah 42:11 implies: “Let the wilderness and the cities thereof [east of Israel] lift up their voice”; their territory will be south and east of the Israeli tribes of Reuben and Gad, respectively.  

In Part 8 of this series, we’ll continue our study of Bible prophecy about Jordan in the end times. Scripture has a lot to say about another ancestor of modern-day Jordanians (and residents of the West Bank) who will attack Israel in the last days, and that man is: Esau. Biblical prophecy against his descendants is so extensive that it deserves an article of its own—so don’t miss Part 8! 

I provide more details of this and many other end-times prophecies in my recently published book, END TIMES DAWNING: Get Ready! (available from Please read it! Also if you would, please leave a book review on Amazon! 

Yours in Christ, 

Steve Ashburn


[This article was published on October 16, 2020]


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