"I know"--God's Decree--"his rooster-crowing pride, the inflated claims, the sheer nothingness of Moab. But I will weep for Moab, yes, I will mourn for the people of Moab." (Jeremiah 48:30-32, MSG)
Chapters 48 and 49 of Jeremiah deal with judgments on Israel's neighbors. Ho hum, although I did run across an interesting verse ("sloppy work in God's name is cursed," 48:16).
But then I ran across this unexpected word midway through the judgments. I will weep for Moab.
I went back and confirmed. Yes, God was speaking, not Jeremiah.
I went forward. God repeats His grief: "My heart moans for Moab." (48:36)
God doesn't give a reason for grieving Moab. He says the men of the city Kir-heres are like flute sounds carried by the wind. They will lose everything. But if the severity of judgment hurt God's heart, He would mourn every nation under judgment.
If you're wondering--keep reading. God doesn't express the same grief about Ammon or Damascus.
It's not even because the Moabites descended from Abraham's nephew Lot. So did the Ammonites. They are destroyed without sympathy.
Is it because of David's Moabitess great-grandmother, Ruth?
Or more precisely, because of Ruth herself? Her faith inspired an entire book of the Bible. Its legacy lived on, affecting generations to come. Perhaps she even held an infant David on her knee, telling him of Israel's great God.
I don't know. God doesn't tell us, so all my reasonings are pure conjecture.
The fact that God mourned Moab gladdens my heart, however. God's heart always included other nations than Israel. Israel was meant to be the lighthouse to draw the world to Himself. The lament regarding Moab is a comparatively rare record of that love in the Old Testament.
God gives Moab a promise: "There's a day that's coming that I'll put things right in Moab." (Jeremiahs 48:47)
Jordan (which includes the old Moab) and Israel should "just get along."
Well, Moab, Israel and Judah didn't do so well either.