2 Kings 3

2 Kings 3

Moab Rebels Against Israel

In the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria, and he reigned twelve years. He did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, though not like his father and mother, for he put away the pillar of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless, he clung to the sin of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin; he did not depart from it.

Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he had to deliver to the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams. But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. So King Jehoram marched out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. And he went and sent word to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?” And he said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” Then he said, “By which way shall we march?” Jehoram answered, “By the way of the wilderness of Edom.”

So the king of Israel went with the king of Judah and the king of Edom. And when they had made a circuitous march of seven days, there was no water for the army or for the animals that followed them. Then the king of Israel said, “Alas! The LORD has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.” And Jehoshaphat said, “Is there no prophet of the LORD here, through whom we may inquire of the LORD?” Then one of the king of Israel’s servants answered, “Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of 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 you? Go to the prophets of your father and to the prophets of your mother.” But the king of Israel said to him, “No; it is the LORD who has called these three kings to give them into the hand of Moab.” And Elisha said, “As the LORD of hosts lives, before whom I stand, were it not that I have regard for Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would neither look at you nor see you. But now bring me a musician.” And when the musician played, the hand of the LORD came upon him. And he said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘I will make this dry streambed full of pools.’ For thus says the LORD, ‘You shall not see wind or rain, but that streambed shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, you, your livestock, and your animals.’ This is a light thing in the sight of the LORD. He will also give the Moabites into your hand, and you shall attack every fortified city and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree and stop up all springs of water and ruin every good piece of land with stones.” The next morning, about the time of offering the sacrifice, behold, water came from the direction of Edom, till the country was filled with water.

When all the Moabites heard that the kings had come up to fight against them, all who were able to put on armor, from the youngest to the oldest, were called out and were drawn up at the border. And when they rose early in the morning and the sun shone on the water, the Moabites saw the water opposite them as red as blood. And they said, “This is blood; the kings have surely fought together and struck one another down. Now then, Moab, to the spoil!” But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose and struck the Moabites, till they fled before them. And they went forward, striking the Moabites as they went. And they overthrew the cities, and on every good piece of land every man threw a stone until it was covered. They stopped every spring of water and felled all the good trees, till only its stones were left in Kir-hareseth, and the slingers surrounded and attacked it. When the king of Moab saw that the battle was going against him, he took with him 700 swordsmen to break through, opposite the king of Edom, but they could not. Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they withdrew from him and returned to their own land.


2 Kings 3 Commentary

by Brad Boyles

The verses here in 2 Kings 3 really put into perspective just how evil Ahab and Jezebel really were. Their son, Jehoram (aka Joram), is now king over Israel. We read that he turned from the false god Baal, yet, he still did evil in the sight of God. Though he may have rejected one false god that his parents worshipped, he didn’t return to the Lord. He simply changed his devotion to a different false god.

In our modern-day political age, we complain about having two bad candidates to choose from during an election year, but Israel is currently on a streak of 9 evil kings in a row! Despite the evil leadership, God was still working. He was calling Godly men as His mouthpiece who led the way simultaneously alongside the darkness of Israel’s leadership.

Moab Rebels

Moab was under the authority of Israel and under king Ahab, they paid a tribute. Once Jehoram became king, Moab decided to stop paying them and Jehoram decided to go wring some necks. He recruited the good king Jehoshaphat from Judah to come along with him, most likely because the king of Judah had a lot more military experience. Jehoshaphat agrees, so they begin to travel through the dry desert of Edom.

Along the way, they recruit a military leader from the kingless nation of the Edomites to fight with them. So, we have Israel led by Jehoram, Judah led by Jehoshaphat, and a representative (called king) from Edom all moving their troops toward Moab. After 7 days, they run out of water. At this point, Scripture highlights two different ways that humans respond to chaos and tragedy.

Jehoram vs. Jehoshaphat

Then the king of Israel said, “Oh no, the LORD has summoned three kings, only to hand them over to Moab.”  11  But Jehoshaphat said, “Isn’t there a prophet of the LORD here? Let’s inquire of Yahweh through him.” One of the servants of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat, who used to pour water on Elijah’s hands, is here.”

2 Kings 3:10-11 HCSB

Two opposite responses.

Jehoram doubts… Jehoshaphat hopes. Jehoram blames… Jehoshaphat believes. Jehoram looks at the circumstances… Jehoshaphat looks for God.

Two completely different responses, right? So, which of these sounds more like you these days? Are you a doubter… a blamer… a fatalistic thinker? Or are you looking for God even in dark places?

The difference, of course, was found in the fact that Jehoshaphat knew the Lord and Jehoram didn’t. Jehoshaphat had seen the works of God in the dead-end moments of life. He had witnessed the power and faithfulness of the Lord. He knew exactly where to do to find Him. In that time, seeking the Lord meant seeking His prophets. So, they summon for Elisha.

God Provides The Victory

There is so much I love in this chapter. I love how Elisha has picked up Elijah’s mantle and has inherited the same direct, convicting, borderline-snarky attitude. I can’t help but smirk when I read of Elisha turning to Jehoram and quipping, “We have nothing in common. Go to the prophets of your father and your mother!” Incredible truth.

But, I also love how God was faithful to deliver His people despite the fact that Jehoram had no faith and no interest in loving God. Incredible grace.

Does God still work in the same way today? Absolutely. Throughout history, believers and nonbelievers have mingled together in the busyness of our daily grind while God sits back and does His thing. The words and actions of Jehoshaphat and Elisha were treasured riches of grace that were attempting to speak directly to the heart of Jehoram despite his lack of spiritual interest. What happened in the end? All glory would go to God. The same is true for us.

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