Jehoram and Elisha. Victory over Moab
1. The eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat] according to 2 Kings 1:17, 'in the second year of Jehoram son of Jehoshaphat.'
2. The image of Baal] RV 'the pillar of Baal.' No mention is made of this in the account of Ahab's reign; but it is stated that Ahab erected an altar for Baal (1 Kings 16:32), beside which the pillar here alluded to was doubtless raised. For the significance of such pillars see on 1 Kings 7:15. That Jehoram's religious reformation was not very complete is plain from 1 Kings 10:19-28 : cp. chapter 13.
4. Mesha] see on Numbers 21:29. This king, in his inscription on the Moabite Stone, refers to the affliction which his country suffered from Israel, and to the war which put an end to it, though he places the latter in the time of Ahab. Lambs.. rams] For a tribute, or present, of sheep from Moab cp. Isal Numbers 6:1.
7. Sent to Jehoshaphat] see on 1 Kings 22:2; Jehoshaphat himself had been attacked by the Moabites (2 Chronicles 20:1). 8. Which way shall we go?] The usual route from Israel would be across the fords of the Jordan near Jericho, Moab being then invaded from the north.
Through the wilderness of Edom] i.e. S. of the Dead Sea. Edom, though it had a king, was at this time under the control of Judah (1 Kings 22:47), and additional forces could be obtained from thence in the course of the march.
9. Fetched a compass] RV 'made a circuit.'
11. Poured water on the hands of] i.e. acted as his attendant. In the East water is still poured over the hands after eating, since the fingers generally serve as forks.
14. I would not look toward thee] Jehoram was not only the son of the idolatrous Ahab, but is described in 2 Kings 3:2 as having done evil in the sight of the Lord. At a later date, however, Elisha's attitude towards him changed: cp. chapter 6.
15. Bring me a minstrel] For the connexion of music with prophecy cp. 1 Samuel 10:5. The hand of the Lord] cp. Ezekiel 33:22.
16. Valley] The Heb. means a ravine or water-course which was then dry—possibly the Wady el Ahsa. Ditches] RV 'trenches'.: to retain the promised water for drinking purposes.
17. Neither shall ye see rain] It is not implied that the water would be produced by any other means than rain, but the rain would fall at a distance: cp. 2 Kings 3:20.
20. When the meat offering was offered] i.e. the daily morning sacrifice at Jerusalem: cp. 1 Kings 18:29.
22. As red as blood] Coloured by the red soil of Edom (Edom meaning 'red'), or reflecting the red tints of the morning sky.
25. Filled it] thereby rendering it useless for tillage or pasture. Kir-haraseth] probably the Kir of Isaiah 15:1 and the Kir-heres of Jeremiah 48:31, Jeremiah 48:36.
26. The king of Edom] probably in the hope that he, as a discontented vassal of Judah, would connive at his escape.
27. For a burnt offering] presumably to Chemosh, the Moabite deity. Human sacrifices in ancient times prevailed amongst most Semitic nations; but the offering of a son or daughter must generally have been confined to occasions when some great offence had to be atoned for (cp. Micah 6:7) or some great calamity averted. Such sacrifices at one time were not unknown in Israel (Genesis 22; Judges 11:30.); but the higher religious consciousness of the Hebrews led them to realise much earlier than other races how alien they were to the divine character. There was great indignation] RM 'there came great wrath upon Israel.' Probably the combined forces of the invaders met with some signal disaster which was attributed to divine anger against them, stimulated by the king's sacrifice. From him] i.e. from the king of Moab. On the Moabite Stone Mesha relates his capture of various towns (Nebo, Jahaz) and the fortifications of others (Baal-Meon, Kiri-athaim, Bezer, Dibon, Medeba, Beth-dib-lathaim), which were all N. of the Arnon, and some of which are expressly enumerated in the Bible among the cities of Reuben and Gad; so not only must the Israelites have retired from Moab, but the Moabites must have made themselves masters of what had previously been Israelite territory.
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Dummelow, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3". "John Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/
the Third Week after Epiphany