Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 3:26

When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took with him 700 men who drew swords, to break through to the king of Edom; but they could not.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Edomites;   Idolatry;   Moabites;   Thompson Chain Reference - Jehoshaphat;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Moabites;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Mesha;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Chemosh;   Moab;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jehoshaphat;   Kir-Haraseth;   Mesha;   Moabite Stone;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Dibon;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Kings, 1 and 2;   Kir-Hareseth;   Mesha;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Edom, Edomites;   Jehoshaphat;   Kir (1);   Medeba;   Mesha;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - 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;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Break;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Seven hundred men - These were no doubt the choice of all his troops, and being afraid of being hemmed up and perhaps taken by his enemies, whom he found on the eve of gaining possession of the city, he made a desperate sortie in order to regain the open country; and supposing that the quarter of the Edomites was weakest, or less carefully guarded, he endeavored to make his impression there; but they were so warmly received by the king of Edom that they failed in the attempt, and were driven back into the city. Hence he was led to that desperate act mentioned in the following verse.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:26". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

To break through, even unto the king of Edom - Either because he thought that the king of Edom would connive at his escape or to take vengeance on him for having deserted his former allies (2 Kings 3:8 note).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:26". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-3.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

THE GREAT INDIGNATION THAT CAME AGAINST ISRAEL

"And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew the sword, to break through unto the king of Edom; but they could not. Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt-offering upon the wall. And there was great wrath against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land."

The best explanation of what happened here is perhaps that of Honeycutt. "The scene of the king sacrificing his oldest son on the wall, the one destined to succeed him as king, so moved and excited the Moabites that they fell upon the coalition and defeated it."[12] It is certainly ridiculous to suppose, as Mesha reported it on the Moabite Stone, that his pagan god Chemosh defeated Israel.

"He took seven hundred men ... to break through to the king of Edom" (2 Kings 3:26). In this maneuver, Mesha, the king of Moab, evidently supposed that the king of Edom, a vassal of Jehoshaphat, might actually change sides and help him, or at least be a less enthusiastic fighter than others of the coalition. Montgomery called this passage a contradiction[13] of the fact of Edom being a part of the coalition. However, he merely misunderstood the thinking of Mesha.

"And there was great wrath against Israel" (2 Kings 3:27). The source of this wrath is NOT stated, and scholars have different views of its origin. Keil believed that, "The Israelites brought upon themselves the wrath of God by occasioning the offering of an abominable human sacrifice."[14] Adam Clarke agreed with that view, writing that, "The Lord was displeased with Israel for driving things to such an extremity."[15] Jackson declared that, "The great wrath that came upon Israel was from the god of Moab who accepted the human sacrifice of his worshippers."[16]

We cannot agree with either of these opinions. God would hardly have been angry with Israel for carrying out the same kind of victorious destruction of Moab that God's prophet had prophesied, as Keil thought. Nor is it possible to suppose that a nonentity like Chemosh, the Moabite's pagan god, could either have "accepted" or "rejected" anything. However, in this case, it must be admitted that the defeat of Israel following Mesha's appeal to Chemosh by the sacrifice of his son and heir gave that pagan ruler ample excuse for attributing the victory to his pagan god. In this connection, the words of Dentan are helpful:

"It may seem strange that our Bible would contain a story that can be interpreted as teaching the efficacy of human sacrifice, even such a sacrifice to a heathen god, Chemosh of the Moabites; but this is another striking bit of evidence of basic honesty."[17]

If there had been any such person as that mythical Deuteronomist so sternly jealous of the honor of the One True God and his unique sanctuary in Jerusalem, why would he have allowed anything like this to appear in the Bible? The existence of it proves that no such person existed!

Another possible explanation of Israel's repulse here is that of LaSor:

"It is possible that the Israelites believed that human sacrifice was efficacious to Chemosh in his own land, because the popular beliefs of the Israelites were often in opposition to revealed truth, as spoken by the prophets."[18] If that was the case, it is easy to see how there might have ensued a general panic following the sacrifice of Mesha's son.

It appears, therefore, that the great wrath that came upon Israel was that of the Moabites who were aroused to a frantic frenzy by their kings abominable sacrifice of his son. At any rate, the campaign ended then and there.

Copyright Statement
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 3:26". "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 when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him,.... The siege was so close, the slingers or engineers did so much execution, that he saw the city would soon be taken, and he be obliged to deliver it up:

he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords; men expert in war, bold and daring:

to break through even unto the king of Edom; through his quarters, and so escape, he lying nearest to the city, and perhaps the weakest body of men with him; or he might think he was not so hearty in the cause of the kings, and would make but a feeble resistance, and let him pass:

but they could not; break through they met with a greater opposition than was expected perhaps the Edomites remembered how they had lately used them, which made them fight more desperately against them, see 2 Chronicles 20:23.

Copyright Statement
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 3:26". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-3.html. 1999.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the king of Edom: but they could not.

To break thro' — That he might make an escape: which he chose to do on the king of Edom's quarter; because he thought his was the weakest side.

Copyright Statement
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 3:26". "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 3:26 And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through [even] unto the king of Edom: but they could not.

Ver. 26. To break through even unto the king of Edom.] Either because that quarter was weakest, or because his rage was most against the Edomites for helping the Israelites against him.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:26". 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

That being unable to defend the city longer, he might make an escape; which he chose to do on the king of Edom’s quarter, because he thought either that his was the weakest side, or that he would more willingly suffer him to escape, because he was not so hearty in the war as the rest, but only forced to it, and he might hereafter have some occasion of the king of Moab to join with him, as before he had, 2 Chronicles 20:22.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:26". 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

26.To break through unto the king of Edom — He probably expected to receive less opposition from the king of Edom than from the other kings, and the Edomite forces were probably the weakest of the three armies that were encamped against the city.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:26". "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 3:26. He took with him seven hundred men — to break through, &c. — He made a sally with seven hundred stout men, upon the quarter of the king of Edom, which he thought the weakest side, hoping to break through and escape. But they were repulsed, and compelled to retreat.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:26". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-kings-3.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Edom, hoping that he would favour their escape, or because that part seemed the weakest.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:26". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-3.html. 1859.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the king of Edom: but they could not.

When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, [ chaazaq (Hebrew #2388), strong, violent, obstinate]. For a time he sustained a siege, but perceiving the imminent peril in which his city was placed, and the alarming advances the besiegers were making, he determined to attempt a sally. Putting himself at the head of his 700 men [ sholeep (Hebrew #8025) chereb (Hebrew #2719), drawing sword - i:e., armed warriors], he endeavoured to break through the enemy's camp at a point where; as Josephus says, 'the watch seemed to be negligently kept.'

To break through even unto the king of Edom. His object was not to effect his escape through the Edomite lines into the desert, though Josephus represents that as his motive ('Antiquities,' b. 9:, ch. 3:, sec. 2), but to be avenged on the king of Edom alone. Against that foe his irrepressible rage was directed, because, having been a former ally, he had forsaken him, and joined confederacy with the kings of Israel and Judah against him. Hatred and revenge, when they are roused, commonly discharge their intensest violence against former friends or allies. Mesha, however, in his effort to penetrate to the king of Edom, met with a disastrous repulse; and now, findings himself reduced to the last extremities, he resolved on an act which, among the ancient Rephaites and Phoenicians, betokened the depth of desperation.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:26". "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

(26) The battle was too sore for him.—The garrison was giving way under the destructive fire of the slingers.

To break through even unto the king of Edom.—Because the Edomite contingent seemed to be the most vulnerable point in the allied army, or because he hoped that these unwilling allies of Israel would allow him to escape through their ranks.

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:26". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the king of Edom: but they could not.
unto the king of Edom
9; Amos 2:1
Reciprocal: Numbers 24:17 - Moab;  Judges 8:10 - fell an hundred;  Judges 20:2 - drew sword

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:26". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-3.html.