2 Kings 3

Jehoram Meets Moab Rebellion

1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel at Samaria 1in the eighteenth * year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve * years.
2 He did evil in the sight of the LORD, though not like his father and his mother; for 2he put away the sacred pillar of Baal 3which his father had made.
3 Nevertheless, 4he clung to the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, 5which he made Israel sin; he did not depart from them.
4 Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and 6used to pay 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 And King Jehoram went out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel.
7 Then he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, "The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?" And he said, "I will go up; 8I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses."
8 He said, "Which * way shall we go up?" And he answered, "The way of the wilderness of Edom."
9 So 9the king of Israel went with 10the king of Judah and 11the king of Edom; and they made a circuit of seven days' journey, and there was no water for the army or for the cattle that followed them.
10 Then the king of Israel said, "Alas! For the LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab."
11 But Jehoshaphat said, "12Is there not a prophet of the LORD here, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?" And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, "13Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, 14who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah."
12 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 Now Elisha said to the king of Israel, "What do I have to do with you? 15Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother." And the king of Israel said to him, "No, for the LORD has called these three kings together to give them into the hand of Moab."
14 Elisha said, "16As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look at you nor see you.
15 "But now 17bring me a minstrel." And it came about, when the minstrel played, that 18the hand of the LORD came upon him.
16 He said, "Thus says the LORD, 'Make this valley full of trenches.'
17 "For thus says the LORD, 'You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley 19shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts.
18 'This is but a 20slight thing in the sight of the LORD; He will also give the Moabites into your hand.
19 '21Then you shall strike every fortified city and every choice city, and fell every good tree and stop all springs of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.' "
20 It happened in the morning 22about the time of offering the sacrifice, that behold, water came by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.
21 Now all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them. And all who were able to put on armor and older were summoned and stood on the border.
22 They rose early in the morning, and the sun shone on the water, and the Moabites saw the water opposite * them as red as blood.
23 Then they said, "This is blood; the kings have surely fought together, and they have slain one another. Now therefore, Moab, to the spoil!"
24 But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites arose and struck the Moabites, so that they fled before * them; and they went forward into the land, slaughtering the Moabites.
25 23Thus they destroyed the cities; and each one threw a stone on every piece of good land and filled it. So they stopped all the springs of water and felled all the good trees, until in 24Kir-hareseth only they left its stones; however, the slingers went about it and struck it.
26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him 700 * men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom; but they could not.
27 Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place, and 25offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel, and they departed 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 25

  • 1. 2 Kings 1:17
  • 2. Exodus 23:24; 2 Kin 10:18, 26-28
  • 3. 1 Kings 16:31, 32
  • 4. 1 Kings 12:28-32
  • 5. 1 Kings 14:9, 16
  • 6. 2 Samuel 8:2; Isaiah 16:1, 2
  • 7. 2 Kings 1:1
  • 8. 1 Kings 22:4
  • 9. 2 Kings 3:1
  • 10. 2 Kings 3:7
  • 11. 1 Kings 22:47
  • 12. 1 Kings 22:7
  • 13. 2 Kings 2:25
  • 14. 1 Kings 19:21; John 13:4, 5, 13, 14
  • 15. 1 Kings 18:19; 1 Kings 22:6-11, 22-25
  • 16. 1 Kings 17:1; 2 Kings 5:16
  • 17. 1 Samuel 16:23; 1 Chronicles 25:1
  • 18. 1 Kings 18:46; Ezekiel 1:3
  • 19. Psalms 107:35
  • 20. Jeremiah 32:17, 27; Mark 10:27; Luke 1:37
  • 21. 2 Kings 3:25
  • 22. Exodus 29:39, 40
  • 23. 2 Kings 3:19
  • 24. Isaiah 16:7; Jeremiah 48:31, 36
  • 25. Amos 2:1; Micah 6:7

Footnotes 5

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

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