The Second Book of the Kings

Chapter 3

Jehoram's reign, 1-3. Mesha rebels, 4, 5. Jehoram, with Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom, being distressed for lack of water, by Elisha obtains water and promise of victory, 6-20. The Moabites, deceived by the color of the water, coming to plunder, are overcome, 21-25. The king of Moab, failing in his attempt to break through to the king of Edom, sacrifices his son and raises the siege, 26, 27.

1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah and reigned twelve years. 2 And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD, but not like his father and his mother, for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made. 3 Nevertheless, he cleaved to the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat who made Israel to sin. He did not depart from it.

4 And Mesha king of Moab was a sheep-master, and he rendered to the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and one hundred thousand rams, with the wool. 5 But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6 And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time and numbered all Israel. 7 And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, "The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me against Moab to battle?" And he said, "I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, and my horses as your horses." 8 And he said, "Which way shall we go up?" And he answered, "The way through the wilderness of Edom."

9 So the king of Israel, the king of Judah, and the king of Edom went. And they made a circuit of seven days' journey, and there was no water for the army and for the cattle that followed them. 10 And the king of Israel said, "Alas! For the LORD has called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab!" 11 But Jehoshaphat said, "Is 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, "Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat who 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, "What have I to do with you? Go 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 deliver them into the hand of Moab." 14 And Elisha said, "As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward you, nor see you. 15 But now bring me a minstrel." And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. 16 And he said, "Thus says the LORD: 'Make this valley full of ditches.' 17 For thus says the LORD: 'You shall not see wind, neither shall you see rain, yet that valley shall be filled with water so that you may drink—you, your cattle, and your beasts. 18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD. He will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. 19 And you shall smite every fortified city and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.'" 20 And it came to pass in the morning, when the food-offering was offered, that behold, water came by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.

21 And when all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them, they gathered all who were able to put on armor, and upward, and stood in the border. 22 And they rose early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water. And the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood. 23 And they said, "This is blood. The kings are surely slain and they have smitten one another. Now therefore, Moab, to the plunder." 24 And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose and smote the Moabites so that they fled before them. And they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country. 25 And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land every man cast his stone and filled it. And they stopped all the wells of water and felled all the good trees. Only the stones of Kirhara-seth were left, but the slingers surrounded it and smote it. 26 And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too severe for him, he took with him seven hundred men who drew swords to break through to the king of Edom, but they could not. 27 Then he took his eldest son who was to reign in his stead and offered him for a burnt-offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel. And they departed from him and returned to their own land.


Matthew Henry Commentary - 2nd Kings, Chapter 3[➚]