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2 Kings 3

Listen to 2 Kings 3

Moab Rebels Against Israel

1 1In the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned twelve years.
2 He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, though not like his father and mother, for he put away the 2pillar of Baal 3that his father had made.
3 Nevertheless, he clung to 4the sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, 5which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from it.
4 Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, 6and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams.
5 But 7when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.
6 So King Jehoram marched out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel.
7 And he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah, "The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?" And he said, "I will go. 8I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses."
8 Then he said, "By which way shall we march?" Jehoram answered, "By the way of the wilderness of Edom."
9 So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and 9the king of Edom. And when they had made a circuitous march of seven days, there was no water for the army or for the animals that followed them.
10 Then the king of Israel said, "Alas! 10The LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab."
11 11And Jehoshaphat said, "Is there no prophet of the LORD here, through whom we may inquire of the LORD?" Then one of the king of Israel's servants answered, 12"Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, 13who poured water on the hands of Elijah."
12 And Jehoshaphat said, "The word of the LORD is with him." So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.
13 And Elisha said to the king of Israel, 14"What have I to do with you? Go to 15the prophets of your father and to 16the prophets of your mother." But the king of Israel said to him, "No; it is 17the LORD who has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab."
14 And Elisha said, 18"As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you.
15 But now 19bring me a musician." And when the musician played, 20the hand of the LORD came upon him.
16 And he said, "Thus says the LORD, 'I will make this dry streambed full of pools.'
17 For thus says the LORD, 'You shall not see wind or rain, but that streambed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.'
18 This is a light thing in the sight of the LORD. He will also give the Moabites into your hand,
19 and you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree and stop up all springs of water 21and ruin every good piece of land with stones."
20 The next morning, about the time of 22offering the sacrifice, behold, water came from the direction of Edom, till the country was filled with water.
21 When all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them, all who were able to put on armor, from the youngest to the oldest, were called out and were drawn up at the border.
22 And when they rose early in the morning and the sun shone on the water, the Moabites saw the water opposite them as red as blood.
23 And they said, "This is blood; the kings have surely fought together and struck one another down. Now then, Moab, to the spoil!"
24 But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose and struck the Moabites, till they fled before them. And they went forward, striking the Moabites as they went.[a]
25 And they overthrew the cities, and 23on every good piece of land every man threw a stone until it was covered. They stopped every spring of water and felled all the good trees, till only its stones were left in 24Kir-hareseth, and the slingers surrounded and attacked it.
26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle was going against him, he took with him 700 25swordsmen to break through, opposite the king of Edom, but they could not.
27 Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place 26and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they withdrew from him and returned 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.

Cross References 26

  • 1. [2 Kings 1:17]
  • 2. [2 Kings 10:26, 27; Exodus 23:24]
  • 3. 1 Kings 16:31, 32
  • 4. 1 Kgs. 12:28, 31, 32
  • 5. See 1 Kings 14:16
  • 6. [Isaiah 16:1, 2]
  • 7. 2 Kings 1:1
  • 8. 1 Kings 22:4
  • 9. [1 Kings 22:47]
  • 10. [Joshua 7:7]
  • 11. 1 Kings 22:7
  • 12. [2 Kings 2:25]
  • 13. [1 Kings 19:21; John 13:4, 5]
  • 14. [Ezekiel 14:3]
  • 15. 1 Kings 22:6
  • 16. 1 Kings 18:19
  • 17. [See ver. 10 above]
  • 18. 2 Kings 5:16; 1 Kings 17:1
  • 19. [1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Chronicles 25:1]
  • 20. 1 Kings 18:46; Ezekiel 1:3; Ezekiel 3:14, 22; Ezekiel 8:1; Ezekiel 37:1; Ezekiel 40:1
  • 21. [ver. 25; Isaiah 25:2]
  • 22. [Exodus 29:39, 40]
  • 23. [ver. 19]
  • 24. Isaiah 16:7; [Isaiah 15:1; Isaiah 16:11; Jeremiah 48:31, 36]
  • 25. [Judges 20:2]
  • 26. Amos 2:1; [Micah 6:7]

Footnotes 1

  • [a]. Septuagint; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain

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

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.