2 Kings 3

Moab’s rebellion

1 Joram,[a] Ahab's son, became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat, Judah's king. He ruled for twelve years.
2 He did what was evil in the LORD's eyes, but he wasn't as bad as his father and mother. He removed the sacred pillar of Baal that his father had made.
3 But he nevertheless clung to the sins that Jeroboam, Nebat's son, had caused Israel to commit. He didn't deviate from them.
4 Now Moab's King Mesha kept sheep. He would pay Israel's king one hundred thousand lambs and the wool from one hundred thousand rams.
5 But when Ahab died, Moab's king rebelled against Israel's king.
6 So King Joram set out from Samaria at once. He prepared all Israel for war.
7 He sent word to Judah's King Jehoshaphat, "Moab's king has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?" Jehoshaphat responded, "Yes, I'll go. We'll fight as one: you and I, our troops and our horses."
8 "Which road should we take?" Joram asked. Jehoshaphat responded, "The road that goes through the Edomite wilderness."
9 So Israel's and Judah's kings set out with the king of Edom. They marched around for seven days until there was no water left for the army or for the animals with them.
10 Israel's king said, "This is terrible! Has the LORD brought us three kings together only to hand us over to Moab?"
11 Jehoshaphat said, "Isn't there any prophet of the LORD around, so we could question the LORD through him?" One of the servants of Israel's king answered, "Elisha, Shaphat's son, is here. He used to pour water on Elijah's hands."
12 Jehoshaphat said, "He has the LORD's word!" So Israel's king and Jehoshaphat and Edom's king went down to see Elisha.
13 Elisha said to Israel's king, "What do we have to do with each other? Go to your father's or mother's prophets." Then Israel's king said to him, "Don't say that, because it is the LORD who has brought us three kings together—but only to hand us over to Moab!"
14 Elisha said, "I swear by the life of the LORD of heavenly forces, the one I stand before and serve, if I didn't care about Judah's King Jehoshaphat, I wouldn't notice you or even look at you!
15 Now bring me a musician." While the musician played, the LORD's power came over Elisha.
16 He said, "This is what the LORD says: This valley will be filled with pools.[b]
17 This is what the LORD says: You won't see any wind or rain, but that valley will be full of water. Then you'll be able to drink—you, your cattle, and your animals.
18 This is easy for the LORD to do. He will also hand Moab over to you.
19 You will then attack every fort and every grand city, cutting down all the good trees, stopping up all the springs, and ruining the good fields with stones."
20 The next morning, at the time to offer the grain offering, water came flowing from the direction of Edom. The land filled up with water.
21 Now all the Moabites had heard how these kings had come to fight against them. So all who were able to fight were summoned, and they took up positions along the border.
22 They got up early in the morning as the sun's rays shone on the water. The Moabites saw the water from a distance. It looked as red as blood.
23 They said, "It's blood! The kings must have fought each other and killed themselves! Now get the plunder, Moab!"
24 But when they entered Israel's camp, the Israelites rose up and attacked the Moabites. The Moabites fled from them. Israel moved forward, striking the Moabites down as they went.[c]
25 Then the Israelites destroyed the Moabite cities. Each Israelite threw a stone on every piece of good land until it was covered. They stopped up every spring and cut down every good tree. Only Kir-hareseth remained with its stone wall intact, but then stone throwers surrounded it and attacked it.
26 Moab's king saw that he was losing the battle. So he took seven hundred soldiers with him, each with sword in hand, to break through to Edom's king. But they failed.
27 Then he took his oldest son, who was to succeed him as king, and he offered him on the wall as an entirely burned offering. As a result, outrage was expressed by Israel. So they pulled back from Moab's king and returned to their own country.

2 Kings 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

Jehoram, king of Israel. (1-5) War with Moab, The intercession of Elisha. (6-19) Water supplied, Moab overcome. (20-27)

Verses 1-5 Jehoram took warning by God's judgment, and put away the image of Baal, yet he maintained the worship of the calves. Those do not truly repent or reform, who only part with the sins they lose by, but continue to love the sins that they think to gain by.

Verses 6-19 The king of Israel laments their distress, and the danger they were in. He called these kings together, yet he charges it upon Providence. Thus the foolishness of man perverteth his way, and then his heart fretteth against the Lord, ( Proverbs 19:3 ) . It was well that Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord now, but it had been much better if he had done it before he engaged in this war. Good men sometimes neglect their duty, till necessity and affliction drive them to it. Wicked people often fare the better for the friendship and society of the godly. To try their faith and obedience, Elisha bids them make the valley full of pits to receive water. Those who expect God's blessings, must dig pools for the rain to fill, as in the valley of Baca, and thus make even that a well, ( Psalms 84:6 ) . We need not inquire whence the water came. God is not tied to second causes. They that sincerely seek for the dew of God's grace, shall have it, and by it be made more than conquerors.

Verses 20-27 It is a blessing to be favoured with the company of those who have power with God, and can prevail by their prayers. A kingdom may be upheld and prosper, in consequence of the fervent prayers of those who are dear to God. May we place our highest regard upon such as are most precious in his account. When sinners are saying Peace, peace, destruction comes upon them: despair will follow their mad presumption. In Satan's service and at his suggestion, such horrid deeds have been done, as cause the natural feelings of the heart to shudder; like the king of Moab's sacrificing his son. It is well not to urge the worst of men to extremities; we should rather leave them to the judgment of God.

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Heb Jehoram (also in 3:6); the king’s name is variously spelled in either long Jehoram or short Joram form.
  • [b]. LXX, Vulg Fill this valley with ditches.
  • [c]. Heb uncertain
  • [d]. Heb uncertain
  • [e]. Heb uncertain

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO 2 KINGS 3

This chapter gives the character of Jehoram king of Israel, 2Ki 3:1-3, relates the rebellion of the king of Moab against him, 2Ki 3:4,5, the war that he and his allies entered into on that account, 2Ki 3:6-9 the distress the combined army were in for want of water, their application upon this to Elisha, who promised them water, and they had it in a wonderful manner, 2Ki 3:10-20 and the chapter is concluded with the rout of the Moabites, and the barbarity of their king to his eldest son, 2Ki 3:21-27.

2 Kings 3 Commentaries