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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 3

Bridgeway Bible CommentaryBridgeway Bible Commentary

Verses 1-27

Elisha helps in the defeat of Moab (3:1-27)

Joram (or Jehoram) succeeded his brother Ahaziah in Israel. He was not as bad as his father Ahab, and at least showed some displeasure with Baal worship by removing a sacred pillar that his father had built (3:1-3).
After Ahab’s death, Moab had revolted against Israelite rule and refused to pay tribute, but Ahaziah did nothing about it (see 1:1). Joram tried to recover this valuable source of income by a military attack in which he had the support of Judah and Edom, both of whom would benefit if Moab was weakened. The army marched around the southern end of the Dead Sea and approached Moab from the deserts of Edom (4-8).
When, after a week’s march, the army had no water, Joram blamed God. Jehoshaphat knew God better and asked him through the prophet Elisha what they should do (9-12). Elisha felt no obligation to help Joram, but for the sake of Jehoshaphat he announced that God would supply enough water to meet all their needs. They were then to attack and devastate Moab. That night, probably as a result of a storm in the distant red hills of Edom, water flowed down the dry creek bed beside which the army was camped (13-20).
Next day the refreshed allies slaughtered the falsely confident Moabites and devastated their towns, farmlands and forests. They seemed certain of complete conquest of the land when suddenly, while approaching the last stronghold, they saw the Moabite king sacrifice his son. This must have so inspired the Moabites and terrified the Israelites that the allied army was forced to retreat and finally return home (21-27). Relieved of pressure from their attackers, the Moabites took the opportunity to rebuild their country. Soon they were engaging in guerilla attacks against Israel (see 13:20).

Elisha’s miracles

At this point the writer of Kings departs from his chronological pattern and recounts a number of incidents to demonstrate the nature of Elisha’s work. Elisha had an important part to play in God’s judgment on the northern kingdom because of its unfaithfulness during the time of the dynasty of Omri. He also had to help preserve and strengthen that small body of believers in Israel who remained faithful to God (see 1 Kings 19:15-18). A collection of six stories (4:1-6:7) shows how Elisha used his supernatural powers to help preserve this small remnant when it was threatened with extinction. A second collection (6:8-8:15) deals with that part of his work which was concerned with judgment on the nation Israel.

Bibliographical Information
Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/bbc/2-kings-3.html. 2005.
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