Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Kings 3:8

He said, "Which way shall we go up?" And he answered, "The way of the wilderness of Edom."
New American Standard

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Edom;   Moabites;   Thompson Chain Reference - Jehoshaphat;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Deserts;   Kings;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Mesha;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Beersheba;   Moab;   Palestine;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Government;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Jehoram;   Jehoshaphat;   Moabite Stone;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Dibon;   Edom;   Judah, Kingdom of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - King, Kingship;   Kings, 1 and 2;   Kir-Hareseth;   Mesha;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Edom, Edomites;   Jehoshaphat;   Medeba;   Mesha;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Desert, Wilderness;   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;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Israel;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Edox, Idumea;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Through the wilderness of Edom - Because he expected the king of Edom to join them, as we find he did; for, being tributary to Judah, he was obliged to do it.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:8". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-kings-3.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The readiest and most natural “way” was across the Jordan near Jericho into the Arboth-Moab, and then along the eastern shore of the Dead Sea to Moab proper, the tract south of the Arnon. But the way chosen was that which led to the Edomite country, namely, round the southern extremity of the Dead Sea, and across the Arabah, or continuation of the Jordan and Dead Sea valley. Thus would be effected a junction with the forces of Edom, which had resumed its dependence on Judah, though the year before it had been in alliance with Moab 2 Chronicles 20:22; and they would come upon the Moabites unprepared.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:8". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-kings-3.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he said, which way shall we go up.... That is, Jehoram said so to Jehoshaphat, consulting with him which was the best way to take to the land of Moab, whether the shortest way, over Jordan; or some other:

and he answered, the way through the wilderness of Edom; which bordered upon it, and the same through which the Israelites passed; for Kadesh was on the extreme border of Edom, whither they came, Numbers 20:1 and this Jehoshaphat proposed, partly that they might come upon Moab unawares, and attack them where they were weakest, and not on their guard; and partly, to take the king of Edom with them, who was no other than Jehoshaphat's deputy, and so be assisting to them, and prevent him from revolting, which otherwise he might take this opportunity of doing.

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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 3:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-kings-3.html. 1999.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Kings 3:8 And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.

Ver. 8. The way through the wilderness of Edom.] Imprudens erat hoc responsum et concilium. Jehoshaphat spoke this impoliticly; and no wonder, since he consulted not time enough with God, by his prophets. Jehoshaphat is usually an Epimetheus, a postmaster, an after wit.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:8". 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

He said; either Jehoshaphat; or rather, Jehoram; for the following answer may seem to be Jehoshaphat’s.

Through the wilderness of Edom; which though it was much the longer way, yet they thought it best; partly to secure the king or viceroy of Edom, of whom they might have some suspicion, from that passage, 2 Chronicles 20:22, and to carry both him and his soldiers along with them into the war, both to get their assistance, and to prevent them from, making a war of diversion against Judah, whilst Jehoshaphat was engaged against Moab; and partly that they might invade Moab on their weakest side, and where they least expected them. God also thus disposed their hearts to make way for the following miracle.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:8". 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

8.Through the wilderness of Edom — That is, around the southern end of the Dead Sea, so as to attack the Moabites from the south. This was a longer and more difficult route than to have crossed the Jordan at the north end of the Dead Sea, and thence proceeded southwards; but it was probably chosen with the hope of taking the enemy by surprise, as the Moabites would hardly expect an attack from Israel in that quarter.

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:8". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-kings-3.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Edom though more circuitous (Calmet) than to cross over the Jordan at Galgal, as the enemy might this be taken unawares, (Menochius) and fresh recruits might be procured from the tributary king of Edom, ver. 9. (Haydock) Yet the want of water made this road more dangerous.

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Bibliographical Information
Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:8". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-kings-3.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

he said: i.e. Jehoram.

Which way . . . ? Either by crossing Jordan north of the Dead Sea and attacking Moab from the north; or by Edom, which was under Judah (1 Kings 22:47).

he answered: i.e. Jehoshaphat answered.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:8". "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 he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.

Which way shall we go? ... through the wilderness of Edom. This was a long and circuitous route, by the southern bend of the Dead Sea. Jehoshaphat, however, preferred it, partly because the part of the Moabite territory at which they would arrive was the most defenseless, and partly because he would thereby enlist in the expedition the forces of the king of Edom. But in penetrating the deep, rocky valley of Ahsy, which forms the boundary between Edom and Moab, the confederate armies were reduced, both man and beast, to the greatest extremity for want of water. They were disappointed by finding the wady of this valley, the brook Zered (Deuteronomy 2:13-18) (Robinson), dry. Jehoram was in despair. But the pious mind of Jehoshaphat inquired for a prophet of the Lord; and, on being informed that Elisha was at hand, 'the three kings went down to him;'

i.e., to his tent, which was either in the camp or close by it. He had been directed there by the Spirit of God for this special purpose. They went to him, not only as a mark of respect, but to supplicate for his assistance, and knowing his stern temper.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:8". "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

(8) And he said—i.e., Jehoram said.

Which way.—They might cross the Jordan, and attack the northern frontier of Moab, or they might round the southern end of the Dead Sea, and invade Moab from the side of Edom. The former was the shortest route for both kings. But Moab’s strongest defences were on the north frontier, and the allies would be liable to attacks from the Syrians in Ramoth-gilead (2 Kings 8:28). The longer and more difficult southern road may have been chosen partly on these grounds, and partly because Jehoshaphat wished to march as far as might be within his own territory, and to get a contingent from Edom, which was at this time subject to him (1 Kings 22:48), and perhaps to hold it in check. Moreover, the Moabites were less likely to be on their guard on the southern border, which was more difficult of access.

And he answered.—Said—i.e., Jehoshaphat.

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-kings-3.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.
the wilderness of Edom
The wilderness of Edom was probably the same as that of Zin or Kadesh, through which the children of Israel passed; extending southward from the Dead Sea, to the eastern branch of the Red Sea. See Note on Nu 13:21.
Numbers 21:4; Malachi 1:2,3
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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-kings-3.html.