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Bible Commentaries

Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible

2 Kings 3

 

 

Verses 1-27

2 Kings 3:1-27. Reign of Jehoram. War with Moab.—The only two kings of Israel on whom the censure pronounced is in any way qualified are Jehoram, the last of the house of Omri, and Hoshea (2 Kings 17:2), the last king of Israel. All the others are said to have done evil.

The war with Moab is the subject of the famous inscription of Mesha discovered in 1868 (pp. 34, 69). On this Mesha states that Omri occupied the land of Mehedebah (Medeba, Numbers 21:30, Joshua 13:9, Isaiah 15:2) his days, half his son's days, forty years. In Kings it is specially said that Mesha's rebellion was after the death of Ahab. Omri and Ahab together according to Kings reigned only thirty-four years; Ahaziah and Jehoram fourteen years, making only forty-eight years from the accession of Omri to the extinction of his dynasty. Mesha must not only have thrown off the yoke of Israel, but have engaged in considerable building operations after his victory, which makes it probable that the war to reduce him took place some time after his rebellion against the house of Omri. Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 3:7) used the same language to Jehoram as he did to Ahab (2 Kings 22:4). Judah and its dependent Mesha, a Noked (Amos 1:1*), state of Edom, were evidently vassals of the more powerful king of Israel. The king of Edom (1 Kings 22:47) may have been the "deputy" appointed by Jehoshaphat, but 2 Kings 3:26 may imply that he was a native king. The three kings did not directly attack Moab, which according to Mesha's inscription was strongly fortified, but approached it by a circuitous route. Elisha, unknown to the kings, was with the army, and was called the servant (2 Kings 3:11) "which poured water on the hands" (cf. Psalms 60:8) of Elijah. He was accustomed (2 Kings 3:15) to prophesy under the influence of music (1 Samuel 10:5*), and the formula (2 Kings 3:14) "As Yahweh liveth, before whom I stand" (cf. Jeremiah 35:19) is the same as that used by his master (1 Kings 17:1). The supplying of water by the digging of pits in the sand is a known expedient (see Cent.B). [R. H. Kennett suggests that the "Moabites took the ruddy light on the water for an omen of blood rather than for actual gore." (See J. G. Frazer, Adonis Attis Osiris, i. 53.)—A. S. P.] Elisha (2 Kings 3:19) foretells all the barbarous methods which Israel would employ in victory in the same manner as he does the atrocities Hazael would commit when he became king of Syria (2 Kings 8:12). The acts committed when Moab was defeated (2 Kings 3:25) were forbidden (Deuteronomy 20:19 f.). The war ended by the desperate act of the king of Moab offering his son as a burnt sacrifice (2 Kings 3:27) on the wall of Kir-hareseth (Isaiah 16:7, Jeremiah 48:31, the modern Kerak). Mesha attributes all his troubles to the wrath of his god Chemosh (Moabite Stone, 1. 5). Chemosh certainly delighted in human sacrifices. The great wrath which came forth against Israel was from the god of Moab who had accepted the supreme sacrifice of his worshipper.

 


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Bibliography Information
Peake, Arthur. "Commentary on 2 Kings 3:4". "Arthur Peake's Commentary on the Bible ". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/pfc/2-kings-3.html. 1919.

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