Friday, Jul 01st

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2 Kings 3

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In this chapter we see yet another true miracle, when water was given in the desert, to enable an army to survive. God opened Elisha’s mouth and he spoke the words. He did not think of what to say – God just filled his mouth, and the miracle came to pass. Do you believe it? Or, do you think, like many modern ‘Christians’, that what happened was just a natural phenomenon?

Wrong thinking in ANY part of scripture reduces our ability to think properly and biblically. When we insert human ideas into the Bible, our spiritual lives suffer.

Verses 1-3

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.

By the time Jehoshaphat had ruled Judah for 18 years, Jehoram began his rule of Israel following his father, Ahab. Jehoram ruled for 12 years. Though he was also wicked, he was not as evil as his father, Ahab, nor his mother, Jezebel. A major difference was that Jehoram removed the image of Ba’al erected by Ahab. On the other hand, he sinned in every other way, thus continuing to lead the Israelites into a pit of sin and godlessness. (Though each individual is responsible for his beliefs and actions, leaders can make matters far worse).

Many Christians will tolerate a ‘lesser’ sin because other sins are greater. (Indeed, this faulty reasoning explains why they vote for wicked leaders... because they are less wicked than others – not a godly way to deal with it)! This is not acceptable, for to God ALL sins are intolerable and godless. Christians are to ‘zero-tolerate’ sin of every kind. This also goes for national leaders, whose lives must be clean, honourable and upright. We do not see this today, and Christians elect as leaders those whose lives are publicly evil, and pastors who misuse scripture.

Verses 4&5

  1. 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.

  2. But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

As soon as Ahab died, the subordinate king of Moab, Mesha, stopped being subject to Israel. This constituted a very big loss of income for the next king, Jehoram, in the form of rams and lambs – 200,000 in total.

Verses 6-9

  1. And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel.

  2. 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.

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

  4. 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.

No ruler could accept such a public defiance of his rule by tribute kings. Jehoram immediately numbered how many soldiers, war equipment and horses he had, and contacted Jehoshaphat in Judah, to ask if he would join him in a war against Moab. Judah promised to match any soldier and war equipment (In real terms, then, Judah gave far more than Israel). Jehoshaphat asked what route they should take. Jehoram wanted to travel through the deserts of Edom, the land of Esau’s descendants, the Edomites or Idumeans, south of Israel. The king of Edom also joined them, probably because Moab was a threat to them, too.

The three kings made their way with their respective armies through the deserts for seven days... but found there was no water for men or animals, which directly affected their lives, even before a battle. As an indirect comment – Christians should always ‘count the cost’ and ‘know thine enemy’ before setting out on a promised task.

Verses 10-12

  1. And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the LORD hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

Seven days without water led Jehoram to exclaim that all three kings and their armies would die or be beaten by Mesha’s Moabites. Jehoshaphat (remember he asked a similar question previously) asked if a prophet lived nearby, who could tell them if God was with them. One of Jehoram’s men said that Elisha, who had assisted Elijah, lived nearby. This was sufficient proof of Elisha’s credibility, so the three kings made a journey to see him. (The term ‘poured water on’ can also refer to Elisha’s firm following of Elijah as a close associate. It also means to consecrate).

Verses 13-19

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the LORD came upon him.

  4. And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches.

  5. 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.

  6. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.

  7. 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.

When the kings found Elisha, his response to Jehoram was immediate; ‘Why have you come to me? Go back to the pagan kings of your father and mother!’ The king of Israel refused to go, saying that if Elisha did not help, their armies would be beaten by the Moabites. Elisha was not shy to say that if it were not for the presence of the good king of Judah, he would not even bother with the king of Israel! This is a sound rule to live by for Christians... many of whom continue in friendship with unbelievers, whose presence has a tainting effect on the Christian’s soul and spiritual life, affecting thinking, worship, and doctrinal purity. This is why, for many years, I have held even the best of these unbelievers at arm’s length. But, who listens to this counsel? If you play with the devil it will always be to his pretty tune!

Because Jehoshaphat was there, Elisha consented to help, and called for a minstrel. The minstrel was ordered to play and sing. When he began to do so, the Holy Spirit used his mouth to sing a divine message (which did not mean he thought the words in his head). God caused him to sing – God said the valley would be filled with ditches, and though there would be no wind or rain, the ditches would be filled with water, for men and animals. God would give victory to the armies against Moab – it being a trifling act of power on God’s part. Israel, Edom and Judah, would hit every fortress city hard, all the most financially secure cities; and the armies would cut down all the trees and fill the wells with rubble, which would also be scattered everywhere on good land.’

Is this not what has happened in the West, with the arrival of an invading army of Islam, even before Islam has made the invasion official? Is it not an inversion of God’s promise to Judah, Israel and Edom, for the paganism and godlessness of the West? We suffer because of our refusal to obey God, and our election of wicked men to office.

Verses 20-25

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:

  4. And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

Next morning a meat offering, minchah, was made by God’s priests as a sacrifice on behalf of the people. As it was being made, water, coming from the direction of Edom, began to fill the dry river beds, saving people and animals from death.

The Moabites were told of the three armies coming their way and every man with armour (or not) was commanded to be ready for battle by guarding the border. The Moabites looked towards the other army and saw that the water was shimmering red. Note that it shone “red as blood” and NOT “with blood”. The Moabites mis-read the sign, saying that the water was filled with actual enemy blood. The foolish Moabite commanders, thinking the enemy had fought each other, told the soldiers to go to the enemy and finish off those who were still alive, and to get the spoils – gold, silver, armour, weapons, and so on.

But, the enemy was waiting and full of vigour! They battled the Moabites, who were thus taken by surprise, and fell back. As the Moabites fled, the enemy chased them and cut them down even in their own country. This is a sure voice of wisdom for our own day – western armies should go to meet the Islamic terror in their own land and beat them soundly, chasing them to the final spot where they must be killed like rabid dogs. To date, Islam has discounted the West as too soft – which is true. So, an outright surprise battle against it would win, if the West did not herald its intentions.

The enemy fought the Moabites and took every Moabite city. The soldiers picked up all the stones suitable for their slingshots, and filled their stone vessels with water. They threw larger stones down water wells to stop their use, cut down trees, but left things standing in Kirharaseth (one of two major fortified cities). Even so, soldiers overran the city using slingshots, beating the city with Moabite stones. In spiritual terms, opposition to evil must be total and continuous.

Verses 26&27

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

The Moabite king saw defeat coming, and threw caution to the wind. He and seven hundred chosen men decided to cut through the battle lines to kill the king of Edom, who must have been closest. But, they failed.

The king of Moab then did an unthinkable thing, and sacrificed his own heir and son to his gods, on the wall of the Moabite stronghold. The action was so despised by Israel that the disgusted invading army stopped fighting and returned to their respective homelands, the battle won decisively by God’s might.


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Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH
United Kingdom