2 Kings 3 – “War with Moab”

Hebrew-English Text
I. Summary
Moab secedes from Israel. An army consisting of Israelites, Judahites, and Edomites lays waste to the land of Moab. The Moabite king sacrifices his son and pushes the invading armies back.

II. Photo
Elisha seeks inspiration: “‘Now then, get me a musician.’ As the musician played, the hand of the Lord came upon him.” (v. 15)

III. Important Verses
4-5: Now King Mesha of Moab was a sheep breeder; and he used to pay as tribute to the king of Israel a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams. But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.
6-7: So King Jehoram promptly set out from Samaria and mustered all Israel. At the same time, he sent this message to King Jehoshaphat of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me; will you come with me to make war on Moab?” He replied, “I will go. I will do what you do: my troops shall be your troops, my horses shall be your horses.”
9-10: So the king of Israel, the king of Judah, and the king of Edom set out, and they marched for seven days until they rounded [the tip of the Dead Sea]; and there was no water left for the army or for the animals that were with them. “Alas!” cried the king of Israel. “The LORD has brought these three kings together only to deliver them into the hands of Moab.”
15-16: Now then, get me a musician.” As the musician played, the hand of the LORD came upon him, and he said, “Thus said the LORD: This wadi shall be full of pools.
22-25: Next morning, when they rose, the sun was shining over the water, and from the distance the water appeared to the Moabites as red as blood. “That’s blood!” they said. “The kings must have fought among themselves and killed each other. Now to the spoil, Moab!” They entered the Israelite camp, and the Israelites arose and attacked the Moabites, who fled before them. They advanced, constantly attacking the Moabites, and they destroyed the towns. Every man threw a stone into each fertile field, so that it was covered over; and they stopped up every spring and felled every fruit tree. Only the walls of Kir-hareseth were left, and then the slingers surrounded it and attacked it.
26-27: Seeing that the battle was going against him, the king of Moab led an attempt of seven hundred swordsmen to break a way through to the king of Edom; but they failed. So he took his first-born son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him up on the wall as a burnt offering. A great wrath came upon Israel, so they withdrew from him and went back to [their own] land.

IV. Outline
1. Introductory statement
2-3. Jehoram’s evil ways
4-5. Moab rebels
6-8. Israel and Judah join forces
9-10. The kings of Judah, Israel, and Edom run out of water
11-15. Elisha begrudgingly agrees to help
16-19. Elisha’s prediction of inundated wadis and victory over Moab
20. Water
21-23. The Moabites attack
24-25. The Israelites depredate the land of Moab
26-27. The king of Moab sacrifices his son and pushes Israel back

V. Comment
No comment today. Stay tuned.

VI. Works Used
(see “Commentaries” page)
Cogan, Mordechai and Hayim Tadmor. “II Kings” The Anchor Bible v. 11 (USA: Doubleday, 1988).
Collins, John J. “Introduction to the Hebrew Bible,” (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2004).
Hobbs, T.R. “2 Kings” Word Biblical Commentary vol. 13 (Waco, Texas: Wordbooks, 1985).
Photo taken from http://www.utsa.edu/today/images/graphics/violin.jpg