Isaiah 15–16: Jeremiah and Moab

Bryan Murawski   -  

Today, when preachers use the words of other preachers without proper attribution, we call that plagiarism.  Back in Old Testament Bible times, the prophets called that a good use of prophecy!

I’m not advocating for plagiarizing sermons, of course.  But oftentimes, we see the words of one prophet reused in another prophet’s book.  That’s the case for Jeremiah and Isaiah.

Isaiah 15–16 delivers an oracle about Moab.  If we believe the Bible’s own testimony about itself, Jeremiah was a prophet who ministered several decades after Isaiah.  He likely would have had access to Isaiah’s prophecies, whether orally or written.  In Jeremiah 48, the prophet borrows from Isaiah’s words about Moab and repurposes them for his own context in his judgment against the Moabites.

Below you’ll find the relevant verses.  Notice how the language is “cut and pasted” from one prophet to the other.  It appears that Jeremiah borrowed from Isaiah, reusing and reshaping his prophecies against Moab to slightly different effect.  Not every verse links up exactly, but this is likely due to Jeremiah’s exegetical reshaping of Isaiah’s words.