II Kings 3



           The Character of Jehoram’s Reign Over Israel (vs. 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.”  (On chronology of the kings in II Kings see II Kings Chronology –

this web site)


2  “And he wrought evil in the sight of the Lord — as did every other king

of Israel both before him (I Kings 14:16; 15:25-26, 33-34; 16:13, 19, 25, 30;

22:52) and after him (ch. 8:27; 10:31; 13:2, 11; 14:24; 15:9, 18, 24; 17:2) —

“but not like his father, and like his mother”  i.e. Ahab and Jezebel, the

introducers of the Baal-worship into Israel“for he put away the image of

Baal that his father had made.”  It had not been said previously that Ahab

had actually set up an image of Baal, but only that he had “built him a house

 in Samaria, and reared him up an altar,”and that he “served him and

 worshipped him” (I Kings 16:31-32). But an image of the god for whom a

“house” was built was so much a matter of course in the idolatrous systems

of the East, that it might have seemed superfluous to mention it. The actual

existence of the image appears later, when its destruction is recorded

(ch. 10:27). It seems that Jehoram, at the commencement of his reign, took

warning by the fates of his father and brother, so far as to abolish the state

worship of Baal, which his father had introduced, and to remove the image

of Baal from the temple where it had been set up. The image, however, was

not destroyed — it was only “put away.”

3  “Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat,

which made Israel to sin; he departed not there from.” The maintenance

of the calf-worship was, no doubt, viewed as a political necessity. If the two

sanctuaries at Dan and Bethel had been shut up, the images broken, and the

calf-worship brought to an end, there would, as a matter of course, have been

 a general flocking of the more religious among the people to the great

sanctuary of Jehovah at Jerusalem; and this adoption of Jerusalem as a

spiritual center would naturally have led on to its acceptance as the general

political center of the whole Israelite people. Israel, as a separate kingdom, a

distinct political entity, would have disappeared. Hence every Israelite

monarch, even the Jehovistic Jehu, felt himself bound, by the political

exigencies of his position, to keep up the calf-worship, and maintain the

religious system of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.



The War with Moab (vs. 4-27)


The historian goes back to the origin of the war. He had already, in ch. 1:1,

mentioned the revolt of Moab at the death of Ahab; but he now recalls his

readers’ attention to the fact, and to some extent explains it and accounts for it.

Moab had been treated oppressively — had been forced to pay an

extraordinarily heavy tribute — and was in a certain sense driven into rebellion

(vs. 4-5).  Jehoram, when he came to the kingdom, determined to make a great

Effort to put the rebellion down, and to re-establish the authority of Israel

Over the revolted people His relations with Jehoshaphat of Israel were so close

that he had no difficulty in persuading him to join in the war. He was also

able to obtain the alliance of the King of Edom. Thus strengthened, he

made no doubt of being successful, and confidently invaded the country

(vs. 6-9). The course of the war is then related (vs. 10-27).


4   “And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rended unto the

king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand

rams with the wool.  5 But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that

the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.   6  And King

Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time” - literally, the same day –

and numbered all Israel.”  -  rather, mustered or reviewed  all Israel.

“Numbering” was forbidden (II Samuel 24:1), and is not here intended, the

verb used being dqp, and not hnm.


7  “And he went and sent to Jehoshaphat the King of Judah, saying,”

 Jehoshaphat had originally allied himself with Ahab, and had cemented the

alliance by a marriage between his eldest son, Jehoram, and Athaliah, Ahab’s

daughter (ch. 8:18; II Chronicles 18:1). He had joined Ahab in his attack on

the Syrians at Ramoth-Gilead (1 Kings 22:4-36), and had thereby incurred the

rebuke of Jehu the son of Hanani (II Chronicles 19:2). This, however, had not

prevented him from continuing his friendship with the Israelite royal house;

he “joined himself with Ahaziah” (II Chronicles 20:35), Ahab’s successor, and

though their combined naval expedition met with disaster ( Kings 22:48), yet

he still maintained amicable relations with the Israelite court. Jehoram,

therefore, confidently sought his active help when he made up his mind to

engage in a war with Moab. “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.”  Compare the answer which the same king had made to Ahab, when

requested to join him in his attack on the Syrians (1 Kings 22:4). The

words were probably a common formula expressive of willingness to enter

into the closest possible alliance. Jehoshaphat, it appears from <142001>2

Chronicles 20:1-35, had, a little before this, been himself attacked by the

united forces of Moab and Ammon, and brought into a peril from which he

was only delivered by miracle. It was, therefore, much to his advantage

that Moab should be weakened.


8  “And he said, Which way shall we go up?” Jehoram asked Jehoshaphat’s

advice as to the plan of campaign. There ‘were two ways in which Moab might

be approached — the direct one across the Jordan and then southward through

the country east of the Dead Sea to the Arnon, which was the boundary

between Moab and Israel; and a circuitous one through the desert west of the

Red Sea, and across the Arabah south of it, then northwards through Northern

Edom, to the brook Zered, or Wady-el- Ahsy, which was the boundary between                

 Moab and Edom. If the former route were pursued, Moab would be entered on

the north; if the latter, she would be attacked on the south. Jehoshaphat

recommended the circuitous route. “And he answered, The way through the

wilderness of Edom.”probably for two reasons: Edom, though under a native

king, was a dependency of Judah (1 Kings 22:47), and on passing through the

Edomite country, an Edomite contingent might be added to the invading

force; Moab, moreover, was mere likely to be surprised by an attack on

this quarter, which was unusual, and from which she would not anticipate



9  “So the King of Israel went” — as leader of the expedition, he is

placed first — “and the King of Judah  — the second in importance,

therefore placed second — “and the King of Edom— the third in

importance, therefore placed last. It is to be remarked that, when Edom

was last mentioned, she was ruled by a “deputy,” who received his

appointment from the King of Judah (I Kings 22:47). Now, apparently,

she has her own native “king.” The change is, perhaps, to be connected

with the temporary revolt of Edom hinted at in II Chronicles 20:22.

“and they fetched a compass of seven days’ journey:”  The distance from

Jerusalem, where the forces of Israel and Judah probably united, to the

southern borders of Moab by way of Hebron, Malatha, and Thamara,

which is the best-watered route, and would probably be the route taken,

does not much exceed a hundred miles; but its difficulties are great, and it

is quite probable that the march of an army along it would not average

more than fifteen miles a day. “and there was no water for the host,” The

confederate army had reached the border of Moab, where they had

probably expected to find water in the Wady-el-Ahsy, which is reckoned a

perennial stream,  but it was dry at the time. All the streams of these parts

fail occasionally, when there has been no rain for a long time – “and for the

cattle that followed them.”  - rather, .for the beasts that followed them - The

baggage-animals are intended (see v. 17).


10  “And the King of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these

three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!”   Jehoram

first assumes, without warrant, that the expedition is one which Jehovah has

sanctioned, and then complains that it is about to fail utterly. As he had made

no attempt to learn God’s will on the subject at the mouth of any prophet, he

had no ground for surprise or complaint, even had the peril been as great as

he supposed. God had not “called the three kings together;” they had come

together of their own accord, guided by their own views of earthly policy.

Yet God was not about to “deliver them into the hands of Moab,” as in

strict justice He might have done. He was about to deliver the three kings

from their peril.


11  “But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that

we may inquire of the Lord by him?” The Israelite monarch despairs at once;

the Jewish monarch retains faith and hope. Undoubtedly he ought to have had

inquiry made of the Lord before he consented to accompany Jehoram on the

expedition. But one neglect of duty does not justify persistence in neglect.

This he sees, and therefore suggests that even now, at the eleventh hour, the

right course shall be taken. It may not even yet be too late. “And one of the

king of Israel’s servants answered and said, Here is Elisha” -  Apparently,

Jehoram was not aware of Elisha’s presence with the army. He had to be

enlightened by one of his attendants, who happened to be acquainted with

the fact – “the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.”

 i.e. who was accustomed to minister to Elijah’s wants, and to attend upon him.


12  “And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the Lord is with him.” - that is,

“he is a true prophet; he can tell us the will of God.” It is impossible to say how

Jehoshaphat had acquired this conviction. Elijah’s selection of Elisha to be his

special attendant (I Kings 19:19-21) was no doubt generally known, and may

have raised expectations that Elisha would be the next great prophet.

Jehoshaphat may have heard of the miracles recorded in ch. 2. At any rate,

he appears to have been firmly convinced of Elisha’s prophetic mission, and

to have accepted him as the authorized exponent of God’s will at the time.

So the King of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the King of Edom went down

to him.”   Prophets were commonly summoned into the king’s presence, or, if

they had a message to him, contrived a meeting in some place where they

knew he would be. That the kings should seek Elisha out and visit him was a

great sign both of the honor in which he was held, and also of the extent to

which they were humbled by the danger which threatened them.


13  “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.”   Despite Jehoram’s self-humiliation, Elisha regards it as

incumbent on him to rebuke the monarch, who, though he had “put away

the image of Baal which his father had made,” still “wrought evil in the

sight of the Lord,” and “cleaved to the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat”

(vs. 2-3). Jehoram must not be allowed to suppose that he has done enough

by his half-repentance and partial reformation; he must be rebuked and

shamed, that he may, if possible, be led on to a better frame of

mind. “What,” says the prophet, “have I to do with thee? What common

ground do we occupy? What is there that justifies thee in appealing to me

for aid? Get thee to the prophets of thy father” — the four hundred whom

Ahab gathered together at Samaria, to advise him as to going up against

Ramoth-Gilead (I Kings 22:6) — “and the prophets of thy mother,”

the Baal-prophets, whom Jezebel, who was still alive, and held the position

of queen-mother, still maintained (ch. 10:19) — “get thee to them,

and consult them. On them thou hast some claim; on me, none.” “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.” A most

soft and meek answer — one well calculated to “turn away wrath.” “Nay,”

says the king; “say not so. Let not that be thy final answer. For it is not I

alone who am in danger. We are three kings who have come down to thee

to ask thy aid; we are all in equal danger; have respect unto them, if thou

wilt not have respect unto me; and show them a way of deliverance.”


14  “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.”  Jehoshaphat’s conduct

had not been blameless; he had twice incurred the rebuke of a prophet for

departures from the line of strict duty — once for “helping the ungodly”

Ahab at Ramoth-Gilead (II Chronicles 19:2); and a second time for “joining

himself with Ahaziah to make ships to go to Ophir” (Ibid. ch. 20:36-37;

compare I Kings 22:48). Even now he was engaged in an expedition which

had received no Divine sanction, and was allied with two idolatrous monarchs.

But Elisha condones these derelictions of duty in consideration of the king’s

honesty of purpose and steady attachment to Jehovah, which is witnessed to

by the authors both of Kings (I Kings 22:43; here - v.11) and Chronicles (II

Chronicles 17:3-6; 19:4-11; 20:5-21). He “regards the presence of

Jehoshaphat,” and therefore consents to return an answer to the three

kings, and announce to them the mode of their deliverance. The adjuration

wherewith he opens his speech is one of great solemnity, only used upon

very special occasions (see I Kings 17:1; ch. 5:16), and adds great force to his



15  “But now bring me a minstrel.”  A player on the harp seems to be

intended. Music was cultivated in the schools of the prophets (I Samuel 10:5;

I Chronicles 25:1-3), and was employed to soothe and quiet the soul, to help

it to forget things earthly and external, and bring it into that ecstatic condition

in which it was most open to the reception of Divine influences. As David’s

harping refreshed Saul, and tranquillized his spirit (I Samuel 16:23), so the

playing of any skilled minstrel had a soothing effect on those possessing

the prophetic gift generally, and enabled them to shut out the outer world,

and concentrate their whole attention on the inward voice which

communicated to them the Divine messages.  And it came to pass, when

the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.”  By

“the hand of the Lord” is meant the power of the Spirit of God, the Divine

effluence, whatever it was, which acquainted the prophets with the Divine

will, and enabled them to utter it.


16  “And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches.”

- rather, full of pits – The object was to detain the water which would

otherwise have all run off down the torrent-course in a very little time.


17  “For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see

rain;” - Wind and rain usually go together in the East, especially when there

is sudden heavy rain after a time of drought.  What Elisha promises is a

heavy storm of wind accompanied by violent rain, which, however, will be

at such a distance that the Israelites will see nothing of it, but whereof they

will experience the effects when the torrent-course that separates them from

the Moabite country suddenly becomes a rushing stream as the rain flows

off down it. Their “pits,” or trenches, will retain a portion of the water, and

furnish them with a sufficient supply for their wants. It was necessary that

the storm should be distant, that the Moabites might know nothing of it,

and so fall under the delusion (v. 23), which led to their complete defeat.

yet that valley shall be filled with water,” - Travelers tell us that, in

certain circumstances, it takes but ten minutes or a quarter of an hour for a

dry water-course in the East to become a raging torrent quite impassable –

“that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle” i.e., the animals which

you have brought with you for food — “and your beasts”; i.e. your beasts

of burden, or baggage-animals.  Animals, except camels, suffer from drought

even more than men, and die sooner. The Israelites do not appear to have ever

employed camels.


18  “And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord:”  God, the Author

of nature, (and as El Shaddai – can go contrary to nature – I recommend

Genesis 17 - Names of God – El Shaddai by Nathan Stone  - this web site –

CY – 2011)  has full control over nature, and it is an easy matter for Him to

produce at will any natural phenomena. It is otherwise when the stubborn

element of the human will is brought into play. Then difficulty may arise.

“He will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.”   It would be

better to translate, he will also deliver (see the Revised Version).


19  “And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall

fell every good tree,” - It has been said that the Law forbade this but there is

no general prohibition of the cutting down of fruit trees, but only a prohibition

of their being cut down for siege works.  That prohibition rests on prudential,

not on moral, grounds, and is thus practically limited to cases where the

conquest of the country attacked, and its occupation by the conquerors, are

looked forward to. The words are, “When thou shalt besiege a city.... thou

shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou

 mayest eat of them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the tree of the

field is man’s life) to employ them in the siege.”  (Deuteronomy 20:19) –

The destruction of the fruit trees in an enemy’s country was a common

feature of the wars of the period, and was largely practiced, both By the

Assyrians and the Egyptians – “and stop all wells of water,” -  The stoppage

of springs and wells was another common practice in ancient times, often

employed against enemies and aliens. The Philistines stopped the Hebrew

wells in the days of Isaac (Genesis 26:18). Hezekiah stopped the springs of

water outside Jerusalem, when he expected to be besieged by the Assyrians

(II Chronicles 32:3-4).  The practice was regarded as quite legitimate – “and

mar every good piece of land with stones.”  - literally, grieve every good

piece of land.  To clear the stones off a piece of ground was the first step

towards preparing it for cultivation in the stony regions on either side of the

Jordan.  The clearance was generally effected by collecting the stones into

heaps.  When it was wished to “mar the land,” the stones were there to be

spread over it afresh.


20 “And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was

offered” i.e. about sunrise, which was the time of the morning sacrifice —

that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom,” -  The Wady-el-

Ahsy drains a portion of Southern Moab, and also a considerable tract of

Northern Edom. The nocturnal storm had burst, not in the Moabite

country, where it would have attracted the attention of the Moabites, but

in some comparatively distant part of the Idumaean territory, so that the

Moabites were not aware of it. Josephus says that the storm burst at a

distance of three days’ journey from the Israelite camp (‘Ant. Jud.,’ 9:3. § 2);

but this can only be his conjecture – “and the country was filled, with

water.” By “the country” (ha-arets) must be meant here the bed

or channel of the water-course. This was suddenly filled with a rushing

stream, which, however, rapidly ran off, leaving the water-course dry,

excepting where the pits had been made by the Israelites. But this supply

was ample for the army.


21  “And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight

against them,” - The Hebrew has no pluperfect tense; but the verbs have here a

pluperfect force. Translate, When all the Moabites had heard that the kings were

come up to fight against them, they had gathered all that were able, etc. The

muster of the troops had long preceded the storm – “they gathered all that

were able to put on amour;” -  literally, there had been gathered together

all that girded themselves with girdles; i.e. all the male population of full age.

And upward — i.e., and all above the age when the girdle was first assumed —

and stood in the border; took up a position near the extreme border of their

territory, on the northern bank of the Wady-el-Ahsy.


22  “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.”

Some think that the red hue of the water was due to the red tinge of the soil

in the part of Edom where the rain had fallen.  Others  to “the reddish earth

of the freshly dug trenches,” or pits but the only cause of the redness

mentioned either in Kings or in Josephus is the ruddy hue of the sunrise.

A ruddy sunrise is common in the East, more especially in stormy weather

(see Matthew 16:3); and the red light, falling upon the water in the pits, and

reflected thence to the opposite side of the wady, would quite sufficiently

account for the mistake of the Moabites, without supposing that the water

was actually stained and discolored. The Moabites concluded that the red-

looking liquid was blood, from knowing that the wady was dry the day

before, and from not suspecting that there had been any change in the night,

as the storm which had caused the change was at such a distance.  (I would

like to strongly emphasize that the error of the Moabites can be/will be

duplicated in the end days, especially when the whole worldly system

is  built on “A LIE” – no telling what the wicked imaginations will come

up with, especially in light of II Thessalonians 2:11 – “for this cause God

shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie.”  We are

talking the 21st century here, not the Stone Age or Iron Age here! – CY –



23  “And they said, This is blood:  the kings are surely slain, and they have

smitten one another:”  - There were rivalries and jealousies subsisting between

Judah, Israel, and Edom, which made it quite possible that at any time open

quarrel might break out among them. Edom especially was, it is probable, a

reluctant member of the confederacy, forced to take her part in it by her

suzerain, Jehoshaphat. The Moabites, moreover, had recently had personal

experience how easily the swords of confederates might be turned against each

other, since their last expedition against Judah (II Chronicles 20:1-25) had

completely failed through such a sudden disagreement and contention – “now

therefore, Moab, to the spoil.”  If their supposition were correct, and the

kings had come to blows, and the hosts destroyed each ether, Moab would

have nothing to do but to fly upon the spoil, to strip the slain, and plunder

the camp of the confederates. A disorderly rush took place for this purpose

(see Josephus, ‘Ant. Jud.,’ 9:3. § 2).


24  “And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up” –

The first rush of the main body would be upon the camp, where they would

expect to find the richest spoil. It was near at hand; and the occupants kept

themselves concealed in it, expecting the disorderly attack which actually

took place. They then “rose up,” and fell upon the crowd of assailants, who

were off their guard, and expecting nothing less. A confused rout followed –

“and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them:”  Josephus says,

“Some of the Moabites were cut to pieces; the others fled, and dispersed

themselves over their country.” – “but they went forward, smiting the

Moabites even in their country.” 


25  “And they beat down the cities” i.e. destroyed them — leveled them

with the ground — “and on every good piece of land cast every man his

stone (see v. 19 and the comment ad loc.), and filled it” [with stones]. “And

they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees i.e.

 the fruit trees, (Josephus) — only in Kir-haraseth  left they the stones

thereof;” -  literally, until in Kir-harasethi.e., in Kir-haraseth only —

left he the stones thereof. He (i.e. the commander, or the army) went on

destroying and leveling the cities, until he came to Kir-haraseth, which

proved too strong for him. There he was obliged to leave the stones

untouched. Kir-haraseth, which is not mentioned among the early Moabite

towns, nor even upon the Moabite Stone, and which is therefore thought to

have been a newly constructed fortress, was, in the later times, one of the most

important of the strongholds of Moab (see Isaiah 15:1; 16:7,11; Jeremiah 48:36).

It was sometimes called Kir-Moab, “the fortress of Moab.” At what time it

got the name of Kerak is uncertain; but we find it spoken of as Kerak- Moab by

Ptolemy (about A.D. 150), and by Stephen of Byzantium (about A.D. 530).

It was a place of much importance in the time of the Crusades. The situation is

one of great strength. The fortress is built upon the top of a steep hill, surrounded

on all sides by a deep arid narrow valley, which again is completely enclosed by

mountains, rising higher than the fort itself. It is undoubtedly one of the strongest

positions within the territory anciently possessed by the Moabites. “Howbeit the

slingers went about it, and smote it.”  It has been suggested that by “slingers

are meant, not mere ordinary slingers, but persons who worked more elaborate

engines, as catapults and the like.  All sorts of elaborate modes of attacking

fortifications were very early known in Asia; but it is very questionable whether

the Hebrew word used (μy[iL;Q"h") can mean anything but “slingers” in the

usual sense. The situation is one which would allow of “slingers,” in the

ordinary sense, sending their missiles into the place, and grievously harassing it.


26  “And when the King of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him,”

 i.e. that he could not hope to maintain the defense much longer, but would be

forced to surrender the fortress — “he took with him seven hundred men that

drew swords, to break through even unto the King of Edom:”  Perhaps he

regarded the King of Edom as the weakest of the three confederates, and the

least likely to offer effectual resistance; perhaps he viewed him as a traitor, since

Edom had been his ally a little earlier (II Chronicles 20:10, 22), and wished to

wreak his vengeance on him – “but they could not.”  The attempt failed; Edom

was too strong, and he was forced to throw himself once more into the

beleaguered town.

27  “Then he took his eldest son, that should have reigned in his stead” –

the throne of Moab being hereditary, and primogeniture the established law

(cf. Moabite Stone, lines 2 and 3, “My father reigned over Moab thirty years,

and I reigned after my father”) — “and offered him for a burnt offering” –

Human sacrifice was widely practiced by the idolatrous nations who bordered

on Palestine, and by none more than by the Moabites. A former King of Moab,

when in a sore strait, had asked, “Shah I give my firstborn for my transgression,

the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?” (Micah 6:7); and there is reason to

believe that a chief element in the worship of Chemosh was the sacrifice of young

children by their unnatural parents. The practice rested on the idea that God was

best pleased when men offered to Him what was dearest and most precious to

them; but it was in glaring contradiction to the character of God as

revealed by His prophets, (I will say once again, that the God of the Universe,

who is Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient, who knows all things, has

testified that abortion never came into His mind, (Jeremiah 7:31; 19:5; 32:35) –

another evidence that ABORTION ON DEMAND IS SIN AND THE

PERSON WHO DOES SO A VILE SINNER – Leviticus 20:3 and 5 says

that God will set His face against that man and his family - CY – 2011) and

it did violence to the best and holiest instincts of human nature. The Law

condemned it in the strongest terms as a profanation of the Divine Name

(Leviticus 18:21; 20:1-5), and neither Jeroboam nor Ahab ventured to introduce it

when they established their idolatrous systems. The King of Moab, undoubtedly,

offered the sacrifice to his god Chemosh (see Moabite Stone, lines 3, 4, 8, 12),

hoping to propitiate him, and by his aid to escape from the peril in which he found

himself placed. His motive for offering the sacrifice “upon the wall” - is not

so clear. It was evidently done to attract the notice of the besiegers, but

with what further object is uncertain. Some think the king’s intention was

to confound the enemy by the spectacle of the frightful deed to which they

had forced him, and thus to effect a change in their purposes,  but perhaps

it is as likely that he hoped to work upon their fears, and induce them to retire

under the notion that, if they did not, Chemosh would do them some terrible injury.

And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed” -  It

seems necessary to connect these clauses, and to regard them as assigning cause

and effect. The deed done aroused an indignation against Israel, which led to the

siege being raised. The terrible act of their king, to which they considered that

Israel had driven him, stirred up such a feeling of fury among the residue of

the Moabite nation, that the confederates quailed before it, and came to the

conclusion that they had best give up the siege and retire. They therefore

departed from him — i.e. the King of Moab — and returned to their own

land; severally to Edom, Judea, and Samaria.



                        ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS


Jehoram was better than his father and his mother, very considerably better

than his brother (l Kings 22:52-53). He “put away the image of Baal that

his father had made,” lowered the Baal-worship from the position of the

state religion to that of (at the most) a tolerated cult, and professed himself

a worshipper of Jehovah. But his heart was not whole with God. He

“cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat; and departed not

therefrom.”  (v. 3) - At Dan and Bethel the golden calves still received the

homage of both king and people; priests, not of the blood of Aaron, offered

the sacrifices of unrighteousness before the insensible images; and ritual

practices were maintained which had no Divine sanction. Jehoram’s

reformation stopped half-way. He repented of what Ahab and Jezebel and

Ahaziah had done, but not of what Jeroboam had done. His was a halfhearted

repentance.  Jesus said, “No servant can serve two masters:  for either

he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one,

and despise the other.  YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON.”

(Luke 16:13)




A people that delights in human sacrifice, and offers to its deities tender

and innocent children, drowning their cries with the loud din of drums and

tom-toms, must have depraved its conscience by long persistence in evil,

and departed very far indeed from original righteousness, (the United States

 and Europe included – CY – 2011) 




Diodorus Sicalus describes the ceremony as it took place at  Carthage,

a Phoenician colony. There was in the great temple there, he  says, an image

of Saturn (Moloch), which was a human figure with a bull’s  head and

outstretched arms. This image of metal was made glowing hot by a fire

kindled within it; and the children, laid in its arms, rolled from thence into

the fiery lap below. If the children cried, the parents stopped their noise by

fondling and kissing them; for the victim ought not to weep, and the sound

of complaint was drowned in the din of flutes and kettle-drums.  Mothers

stood by without tears or sobs; if they wept or sobbed, they lost the honor

of the act, and the children were sacrificed notwithstanding.” The only

doubtful point is whether the children were placed alive in the glowing arms of the

image, or whether they were first killed and afterwards burnt in sacrifice;

but the description of Diodorus seems to imply the more cruel of the two

proceedings –





ON POSTERITY.And Mesha King of Moab was a sheep master, and

 rendered unto the King of Israel a hundred thousand lambs, and a 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 (vs. 4-5).  Moab was a

tributary to the kingdom of Israel, and contributed largely to its revenue, not in cash,

but in cattle, or in wool, but not the less valuable on that account. But now a

rebellion had broken out, and a serious revolt was threatened. Why was this?

Matthew Henry ascribes it to the neglect of Ahaziah, the former king, the brother

of Jehoram.  He made no attempt to avoid such a catastrophe. Ah! Sins of

omission  entail serious evils. The neglect of one generation brings miseries

on another. (If time was to go on, think of what our grandchildren and great grand

children will have to deal with by the neglect of voters and lawmakers of the last

U. S. Congress – CY – 2011) - The neglect of parents often brings ruin on the

children. Negative sins are curses. “We have left undone the things we ought to

have done;” and who shall tell the result on all future times?



EVIL IS EVIL STILL.  Even though Jehoram made a stab at reformatioin,

the foundation of his character was still evil“ he wrought evil in the sight

of the Lord”  (v. 2).  This is the great fact which God looks at, and in the light

of which He judges us.  Herod “did many things” to please John the Baptist,

but his bad heart remained unchanged (Mark 5:20). The cardinal necessity of

the heart is not reformation (new resolutions) but  renewal regeneration

“Ye must be Born Again!”(John 3:3) – It is the founding of the life on a

spiritual basis — “God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must worship

Him in Spirit and in Truth” – (John 4:24)  (Once again I recommend

How to Be Saved! - # 5 – this web site – CY – 2011)


Jesus described the person and results of one who preferred to go the

reformed route as opposed to Salvation in the Lord when He said:


“When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through

dry places, seeking rest, and findeth none.  Then he saith, I will return

into my house from whence I came out; and when he is come, he findeth it

empty, swept, and garnished.  Then goeth he, and taketh with himself

seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell

there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it

be also unto this wicked generation.”  (Matthew 12:43-45)



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