Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years.
And he wrought evil in the sight of the LORD; but not like his father, and like his mother: for he put away the image of Baal that his father had made.
Heb. statue. Baal.
Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.
And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool.
But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.
And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel.
A. M. 3109. B.C. 895. numbered
And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, saying, The king of Moab hath rebelled against me: wilt thou go with me against Moab to battle? And he said, I will go up: I am as thou art, my people as thy people, and my horses as thy horses.
wilt thou go
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.
So the king of Israel went, and the king of Judah, and the king of Edom: and they fetched a compass of seven days' journey: and there was no water for the host, and for the cattle that followed them.
that followed them
Heb. at their feet.
And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!
But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.
Is there not here
that we may
That is, was his constant and confidential servant. Mr. Hanway, speaking of a Persian supper, says, "Supper being now brought in, a servant presented a basin of water, and a napkin hung over his shoulders; he went to every one in the company, and poured water on their hands to wash."
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 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.
And Elisha said, As the LORD of hosts 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.
As the Lord
I would not look
But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.
This was evidently intended to soothe and tranquillize the prophet's mind, which had been agitated and discomposed with holy indignation by the presence of the idolatrous king, and the recollection of his abomination. The soothing influence of music is generally acknowledged in every civilized nation.
And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches.
Make this valley
For thus saith the LORD, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.
Ye shall not
that ye may
And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.
And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.
And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.
when the meat
there came water
This supply was altogether miraculous; for there was neither wind nor rain, nor any other natural means to furnish it.
And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armour, and upward, and stood in the border.
Heb. were cried together. put on armour. Heb. gird himself with a girdle.
And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil.
This is blood
Heb. destroyed. now therefore.
And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.
or, smote in it even.
And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees: only in Kirharaseth left they the stones thereof; howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it.
only in, etc
Heb. until he left the stones thereof in Kir-haraseth. Kir-haraseth. Supposed to be the same as Ar, or Areopolis, the capital of Moab.
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
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 indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land.
In cases of great extremity, it was customary in various heathen nations, to offer human sacrifices, and even their own children. This was frequent among the Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Scythians, Gauls, Africans, and others; and was the natural fruit of a religious system, which had for the objects of its worship cruel and merciless divinities. The king of Moab, in this case, sacrificed his son to obtain the favour of Chemosh his god, who, being a devil, delighted in blood and murder, and the destruction of mankind. The dearer any thing was to them, the more acceptable those idolaters thought the sacrifice, and therefore burnt their children in the fire to their honour.