Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 3:13

Now Elisha said to the king of Israel, "What do I have 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 give them into the hand of Moab."
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Armies;   Idolatry;   Jezebel;   Moabites;   Reproof;   Thompson Chain Reference - Elisha;   Jehoshaphat;   Magistrates;   Nation, the;   Rebuke;   Rulers;   Wicked, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Mesha;   Moabites;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Jehoram;   Moab;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Prophet, Prophetess, Prophecy;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Jehoram;   Jehoshaphat;   Moabite Stone;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Dibon;   Elisha;   Jehoram;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Elisha;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Kir-Hareseth;   Mesha;   Oracles;   Queen;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Edom, Edomites;   Elisha;   Jehoshaphat;   Medeba;   Mesha;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Joram, Jehoram;   Mesha ;   Moab, Moabites ;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Kirharaseth;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Armor;   Arms;   Jehoshaphat;   Mesha;   Moab;   Samaria;   Smith Bible Dictionary - Eli'sha;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Urim and Thummim;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Army;   Elisha;   Jehoram;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Holy Spirit;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Get thee to the prophets of thy father - This was a just, but cutting reproof.

Nay - The Chaldee adds here, I beseech thee, do not call the sins of this impiety to remembrance, but ask mercy for us; because the Lord hath called, etc. The Arabic has, I beseech thee, do not mention of our transgressions, but use kindness towards us. It is very likely that some such words were spoken on the occasion; but these are the only versions which make this addition.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Jehoram‘s humility in seeking 2 Kings 3:12 instead of summoning Elisha, does not save him from rebuke. His reformation 2 Kings 3:2 had been but a half reformation - a compromise with idolatry.

Nay: for the Lord hath called … - The force of this reply seems to be - “Nay, reproach me not, since I am in a sore strait - and not only I, but these two other kings also. The Lord - Yahweh - is about to deliver us into the hand of Moab. If thou canst not, or wilt not help, at least do not reproach.”

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-3.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

ELISHA PROPHESIED GOD'S PROVISION OF ABUNDANT WATER

"And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay; for Jehovah hath called these three kings together to deliver them into the hand of Moab. And Elisha said, As Jehovah liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee. But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, that when the minstrel played, that the hand of Jehovah came upon him. And he said, Thus saith Jehovah, Make this valley full of trenches. For thus saith Jehovah, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, and ye shall drink both ye and your cattle and your beasts."

The first two verses here reveal the complete rejection of the king of Israel by the prophet, for he declared flatly that, if he had not been accompanied by the king of Judah the prophet would not even have looked at him.

"Make this valley full of trenches" (2 Kings 3:16). The different rendition here by the RSV is probably correct, based upon the fact that God did NOT need any help to supply plenty of water for that host with all their animals. That rendition is, "Thus saith the Lord, I will make this dry stream-bed full of pools." We strongly prefer the RSV here, because it frustrates the erroneous interpretation of some writers that, "In this wady it is still possible to obtain water by digging for it!"[9] The water that filled that valley did not come from the army's digging wells all that night! No indeed, the text flatly declares that, "There came water by the way of Edom (2 Kings 3:20)" That can mean only that there was a cloudburst in the highlands of Edom where that wady originated, and that by the following morning the whole area was flooded!

"Ye shall not see wind, neither ... rain, yet this valley shall be filled with water" (2 Kings 3:17). This prophecy of Elisha meant that the wind and rain normally to be expected together (in that area) would NOT be seen. Why? It would occur at a great distance from the host, and none of them would even be aware of it. It should be noted that Elisha did not say that there would not be rain, but that they would not see it!

"Ye shall drink ... ye and your cattle and your beasts" (2 Kings 3:17). "The cattle (Hebrew = flocks and herds) is a reference to their food supply, and beasts refers to the luggage animals."[10]

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-kings-3.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, what have I to do with thee?.... An idolater; I can hold no discourse nor have any conversation with thee, nor give thee any advice or assistance:

get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother; the prophets of Baal, and of the groves:

and the king of Israel said unto him, nay; meaning, he would not apply to them, who he was sensible could give him no relief, only to the Lord God, from whom this affliction was, and therefore begs he would pray to him to have mercy on them; so the Targum,"I beseech thee remember not the sins of that wickedness, pray for mercy for us:"

for the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab; signifying, that he should not perish alone, but the other two kings with him, who had no connection with the prophets of his father and mother in their idolatry, and therefore hoped for their sakes mercy would be shown.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-3.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, h What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, i Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

(h) He knew that this wicked king would have but used his counsel to serve his turn, and therefore, he disdained to answer him.

(i) The wicked do not esteem the servants of God unless they are driven by every necessity and fear of the present danger.

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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-kings-3.html. 1599-1645.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

What have I, … — I desire to have no discourse with thee.

Get thee — To the calves, which thou after thy father's example dost worship; and to the Baals which thy mother yet worshippeth by thy permission; let these idols whom thou worshippest in thy prosperity, now help thee in thy distress.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-kings-3.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 3:13 And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

Ver. 13. What have I to do with thee? &c.] See how infinitely the Lord scorneth the addresses and services of ungodly persons. [Ezekiel 20:3]

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-kings-3.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

What have I to do with thee? I desire to have no discourse nor converse with thee.

To the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother, i.e. to the calves, which thou after thy father’s example dost worship; and to the Baals which thy mother yet Worshippeth by thy permission, and to which thy heart is yet inclined, though thou hast destroyed one of his images for politic reasons. Let these idols whom thou worshippest in thy prosperity now help thee in thy distress.

Nay, I renounce those false prophets and Baals, and will seek to none but God for help.

These three kings: if thou hast no respect for me, yet pity this innocent king of Edom, and good Jehoshaphat, who are involved in the same danger with myself.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-kings-3.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

13.Get thee to the prophets of thy father — A proper respect for the true God of Israel demanded that Jehoram should then and there receive a severe rebuke, for though he had put away the idols of his father, (2 Kings 3:2,) he had not returned to the pure worship of Jehovah.

Nay — Reproach me not, (such is the purport of his words,) for we all seem to be about to fall into the power of Moab.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-3.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Kings 3:13. Elisha said to the king of Israel, What have I, &c.? — I desire not to have any discourse with thee. Get thee to the prophet of thy father, &c. — Seek counsel and help of thy false prophets and of their gods, the calves, which thou, after thy father’s example, worshippest; and the Baals, which thy mother yet worships by thy permission. Let these idols, which thou servest in thy prosperity, now help thee in thy distress. The king of Israel said, Nay, &c. — That is, I will not consult them; but do thou now give us counsel how we may be extricated from this great distress. For the Lord hath called, &c. — He was sensible it was by the particular providence of the God of Israel that he was brought into this strait, and perhaps secretly he believed in Jehovah alone as the true God, though, for political reasons, he worshipped the calves.

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Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-3.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Mother, whom thou supportest. This is not an order, but a sarcasm (Haydock) which the king deserved. (Calmet) --- Christ said to Judas, what thou dost, do quickly, John xiii. 27. (Haydock) --- With what liberty does the prophet speak to an impious king! shewing himself worthy to succeed Elias, and actuated by the like zeal for God.

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

What . . . ? See note on 2 Samuel 16:10. Figure of speech Erotesis. App-6.

Nay = Say not so.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-kings-3.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

What have I to do with thee ... Wishing to produce a deep spirit of humility and contrition, Elisha gave a stern repulse to the king of Israel, accompanied by a sarcastic sneer, in bidding him go and consult Baal and his soothsayers. He acknowledged Jehoshaphat king of Judah alone, because it was the theocratic kingdom, and he was descended from the royal dynasty, of David (see similar instances-Hosea, a prophet of Israel, dates his prophetic writings "in the days of Uzziah, etc., kings of Judah"). "What have I to do with thee?" - (see as to this elliptic phrase the note at 1 Kings 17:18.) Its import in this passage is, What have we in common, I a prophet of the true God, and thou the descendant of idolatrous Ahab, that thou shouldest ask counsel of me? But the distressed condition, especially the imploring language, of the royal suppliants, who acknowledged the hand of the Lord in this distress, drew from the prophet the solemn assurance, that solely out of respect to Jehoshaphat, the Lord's true servant, did he take any interest in Jehoram.

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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-kings-3.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(13) Unto the king of Israel.—As the leader of the confederacy; or as Elisha’s sovereign, who might be supposed to have brought the others to the prophet.

The prophets of thy father—i.e., the Baal prophets (comp. 1 Kings 18:19) and false prophets of Jehovah (1 Kings 22:6; 1 Kings 22:11). Elisha’s sarcasm indicates that the former had not been wholly rooted out.

Nay.—Heb., ‘al; Greek, μή. “Say not so;” or, “Repulse me not.” (Comp. Ruth 1:13.)

These three kings.—And not one (myself) only, emphasising the word three. Or else Jehoram would rouse compassion by the magnitude of the imminent disaster.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.
What
Ezekiel 14:3-5; Matthew 8:29; John 2:4; 2 Corinthians 5:16; 6:15
get
Judges 10:14; Ruth 1:15; Proverbs 1:28; Jeremiah 2:27,28
the prophets
1 Kings 18:19; 22:6,10,11,22-25
Nay
10; Deuteronomy 32:37-39; Hosea 6:1
Reciprocal: 1 Kings 17:18 - What have I:1 Kings 22:15 - Go and prosper;  2 Kings 10:19 - all the prophets;  2 Chronicles 18:5 - prophets;  Psalm 15:4 - a vile;  Proverbs 28:4 - but;  Isaiah 57:13 - let;  Jeremiah 37:19 - Where;  Lamentations 3:39 - a man;  Ezekiel 13:12 - Where;  Ezekiel 20:1 - that certain;  Ezekiel 20:31 - and shall;  Ezekiel 20:39 - Go ye;  Daniel 5:17 - Let;  Mark 6:20 - feared;  Mark 14:41 - Sleep

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:13". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-3.html.