2 Kings 3

1 Y'horam the son of Ach'av began his reign over Isra'el in Shomron during the eighteenth year of Y'hoshafat king of Y'hudah, and he ruled for twelve years.
2 He did what was evil from ADONAI's perspective; but he was not as bad as his father and mother, because he got rid of Ba'al's standing-stone which his father had made.
3 Nevertheless, he clung to the sins of Yarov'am the son of N'vat, with which he had led Isra'el into sin; he never turned away from them.
4 Mesha king of Mo'av was a sheep-breeder, and he used to send the king of Isra'el the wool of 100,000 lambs and of 100,000 rams as tribute.
5 But after Ach'av died, the king of Mo'av rebelled against the king of Isra'el.
6 Y'horam left Shomron and mustered all Isra'el.
7 He also went and sent this word to Y'hoshafat king of Y'hudah: "The king of Mo'av has rebelled against me. Will you join me in attacking Mo'av?" He answered, "I will join in the attack - I'm with you all the way; think of my people and horses as yours.
8 Which route should we take?" he added. "The road through the desert of Edom," answered Y'horam.
9 So the king of Isra'el set out, along with the king of Y'hudah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout journey of seven days, there was no water for either the army or the animals following them.
10 "This is terrible!" exclaimed the king of Isra'el. "Has ADONAI called these three kings together only to hand them over to Mo'av?"
11 But Y'hoshafat said, "Isn't there a prophet of ADONAI here through whom we can consult ADONAI?" One of the servants of the king of Isra'el answered, "Elisha the son of Shafat is here, the one who used to pour water on Eliyahu's hands."
12 Y'hoshafat said, "The word of ADONAI is with him." So the king of Isra'el, Y'hoshafat and the king of Edom went down to consult him.
13 Elisha said to the king of Isra'el, "What do you and I have in common? Go, consult your father's prophets and your mother's prophets!" But the king of Isra'el answered him, "No, because ADONAI has called these three kings together to hand them over to Mo'av."
14 Elisha said, "As ADONAI-Tzva'ot lives, before whom I stand, if I didn't respect the fact that Y'hoshafat the king of Y'hudah is here, I wouldn't even look in your direction or take notice of you.
15 But now, bring me a musician." As the musician played, the hand of ADONAI fell on Elisha;
16 and he said, "ADONAI says to dig until this valley is full of trenches.
17 For here is what ADONAI says: 'You won't see wind, and you won't see rain. Nevertheless the valley will be filled with water; and you will drink - you, your cattle and your other animals.
18 That's an easy thing to do, from ADONAI's perspective. He will also hand Mo'av over to you.
19 You will conquer every fortified city and every choice town, you will chop down every good tree, stop up every well and ruin every good field with stones."
20 The next morning, around the time for making the offering, water came from the direction of Edom, and the countryside was filled with water.
21 When all Mo'av heard that the kings had come up to attack them, every man was summoned, from the youngest capable of bearing arms to older ones, and stationed on the border.
22 They rose early in the morning, when the sun was shining on the water. Mo'av, when they saw the water in the distance looking as red as blood,
23 said, "That's blood! The kings must have quarreled, and their soldiers killed each other. Mo'av! To the plunder!"
24 When they arrived at the camp of Isra'el, Isra'el launched an attack, so that Mo'av fled before them. But they advanced on Mo'av and struck it.
25 They made ruins of the cities. Each man threw his stone on every good field, covering it. They stopped up all the wells. They chopped down all the good trees. Finally, all that remained was Kir-Hareset behind its stone wall, with the slingers surrounding and attacking it.
26 When the king of Mo'av saw that the fighting was too much for him, he took with him 700 men armed with swords and tried to break through to the king of Edom; but they couldn't do it.
27 Then he took his firstborn son, who was to have succeeded him as king, and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. Following this, such great anger came upon Isra'el that they left him and went back to their own land.

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.

Chapter Summary


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

Complete Jewish Bible Copyright 1998 by David H. Stern. Published by Jewish New Testament Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.