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Bible Commentaries
2 Kings 3

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-27

Chapter 3

Now chapter 3.

Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, and he reigned for twelve years ( 2 Kings 3:1 ).

So Jehoram, the other son of Ahab, began now to reign while Jehoshaphat was still king of Judah; he reigned for twelve years.

And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD; but not as bad as his father: for he did remove the Baal image of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he continued in the ways of the first king of Israel, Jeroboam, and he made Israel to sin ( 2 Kings 3:2-3 ).

Now this time Moab, the area across Jordan River, the area that is now Jordan, rebelled against Israel. They have been tributaries, and Moab had to pay a hundred thousand sheep and a hundred thousand goats a year as tribute. They have been conquered, and so this was the tribute that was laid upon them. A hundred thousand sheep, hundred thousand goats with the full wool were to be turned over to the king of Israel every year. And the king of Moab rebelled against this, so Jehoram drafted all of the men of Israel and he sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah asking him to go up against Moab with him in battle. And so he said, "Of course, I'm as you are. You know, my men with your men." And so they said, "Which way shall they go?" And they said, "Let's go down through Edom." So they were going to go south and attack them at the flank from the southern flank. The king of Edom joined with them.

And so they made this journey. It would be south of the Dead Sea to Edom, and then coming north on the other side of the Jordan River to attack Moab. And they came to a barren area.

No water for them, and for the cattle that followed them. And the king of Israel said, Alas! the LORD has called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab! But Jehoshaphat said, Isn't there a prophet around here, that we might inquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king's servants answered and said, There is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which actually ministered unto Elijah. 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. And Elisha said to the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? Why don't you go to the prophets of your father, and the prophets of your mother? ( 2 Kings 3:9-13 )

Elisha really had no use for the king of Israel because of the idolatry that was in the land.

And he said, Nay: the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab. Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts lives, if it weren't that I respected Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not even pay any attention to you. I wouldn't even look at you. But bring me now a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him. And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make a valley full of trenches. For you will not see the wind, neither will you see the rain; yet the valley will be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites into your hand. And ye shall smite every fenced city, every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all the wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones. And so it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water ( 2 Kings 3:13-20 ).

Now this does happen down there in that great rift by the Dead Sea. It can be a hot sunny day, and suddenly you get torrents of water flowing down through the canyon from the rain that... It's like out here in the desert when it rains in the mountains. You can be going through the desert, and it can be having a cloudburst up in the mountains, and these gullies just become filled with water. Though it may not even be raining where you are, the gullies become just torrents, rivers. And so this did happen there. They didn't see the rain; they didn't hear the winds. And yet, the valley was full of water that came from Edom.

And now when the Moabites heard that the kings were coming to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armor, and they stood at the border. And they rose up early in the morning, and they saw this valley full of water but in the early morning sun reflecting off of it, it looked like blood ( 2 Kings 3:21-22 ):

The early morning sun rising was a reddish, you know, the reddish tint that is, and as it was reflecting on the water, they said, "Oh, they must have all taken the sword against each other and they've been fighting with each other. Let's go in and just mop them up." And so, they came rushing in, in a mop-up operation, and of course, all of the fellows were just waiting for them. And so the Moabites were defeated, and they went forth and destroyed the cities. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/2-kings-3.html. 2014.
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