Moab's people fight against Israel
1 Ahab's son Jehoram became the king of Israel in Samaria. This happened when Jehoshaphat had been the king of Judah for 18 years. Jehoram ruled Israel as king for 12 years. 2 He did things that the Lord said were evil. But he was not as bad as his father and his mother had been. Jehoram did throw away the stone pillar where people worshipped Baal. His father Ahab had made that pillar. 3 But Jehoram continued to do the same bad things that Nebat's son Jeroboam had done. Jeroboam had caused many people in Israel to do those sins, and Jehoram did not stop doing them himself.
3:1Jehoram is also called Joram in some Bibles. Samaria was the capital city of Israel.
3:2Baal was a false god. Some kings of Israel caused their people to worship Baal. Perhaps this was to keep them away from God's house in Jerusalem.
4 Mesha, the king of Moab, was a sheep farmer. Every year he had to pay the king of Israel 100,000 male lambs and the wool from 100,000 male sheep. 5 But after King Ahab died, the king of Moab turned against the king of Israel. 6 So King Jehoram left Samaria to bring all Israel's army together. They were ready to attack Moab. 7 He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah: ‘The king of Moab has turned against me. Will you go with me to fight against the Moabites?’
Jehoshaphat replied, ‘Yes, I will go with you. We will have one army. My soldiers will join with your soldiers. My horses will be under your authority.’
8 King Jehoram asked, ‘What road should we go on to attack Moab?’ King Jehoshaphat replied, ‘We should travel through the Edom desert.’
9 So the king of Israel, the king of Judah and the king of Edom joined together to attack Moab. They were travelling along the road for seven days. After that time, there was no more water for the army or for their animals. 10 The king of Israel was very upset. He said, ‘What has happened? Perhaps the Lord has brought us three kings here to put us under the power of the king of Moab!’ 11 But King Jehoshaphat asked, ‘There must surely be a prophet of the Lord here somewhere. We could ask him what the Lord wants us to do.’
3:91 Kings 22:47 tells us that there was no king of Edom at this time. The king of Judah chose an officer to rule Edom. So the ‘king of Edom’ here means the ruler of Edom.
An officer of the king of Israel answered him, ‘Yes, Shaphat's son Elisha is here. He was Elijah's servant.’ 12 Jehoshaphat said, ‘He will tell us what the Lord is saying.’ So the king of Israel, King Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went to meet Elisha.
13 Elisha said to the king of Israel, ‘We have nothing to say to each other! Instead, go to the prophets that your father and your mother liked to listen to.’ The king of Israel replied, ‘No! The Lord told us three kings to come here together. Now he is putting us under Moab's power.’ 14 Elisha said to him, ‘I serve the Lord Almighty. I promise you, as surely as the Lord lives, I would never even look at you! But I do respect Jehoshaphat, the king of Judah, who is with you. So I will help you. 15 But now, bring someone to play music on a harp for me.’
While the man was making music, the Lord's power came to Elisha. 16 Elisha said, ‘This is what the Lord says: Dig many holes in this dry valley, 17 because the Lord says this: You will not see any wind or any rain. But this valley will become full of water! You, your cows and your other animals will have water to drink. 18 This is an easy thing for the Lord to do. He will also put the Moabites under your power. 19 You will destroy all their strong cities and all their important towns. You will cut down every good tree. You will stop their springs giving any water. You will cover their fields with stones so that nothing grows there.’
20 The next morning, at the time when they offered the morning sacrifice, the water appeared! It came from the direction of Edom so that the land was full of water!
21 All the people in Moab had heard that the kings had come to attack them. So the leaders of Moab brought together every man who was old enough to fight. They put these men on Moab's border. 22 When the Moabites woke up early the next morning, the sun was shining on the water. When they looked at the water from where they were, it looked like blood! 23 They said to each other, ‘That is blood! The armies of those kings have fought against each other. Now they are all dead! We must go and take all their valuable things!’
24 So the Moabites arrived at the camp of the Israelite army. Then Israel's soldiers attacked the Moabites. The Moabites ran away back to their own land. The Israelites chased them and they completely destroyed them. 25 They destroyed the Moabites' towns. Each Israelite soldier threw a stone onto all the good fields, until they covered them with stones. They filled the springs so that they gave no water. They cut down all the good trees.
Only the city of Kir-Hareseth was still there with its stone walls. But the Israelite soldiers stood all around the city. They attacked it with stones from their slings. 26 The king of Moab realized that he was not winning the battle. So he took 700 of his soldiers who had swords. They tried to attack their enemies and reach the king of Edom. But they failed to do that. 27 So the king of Moab took his oldest son who would have become king after him. He killed him on the wall of the city as a burnt offering to their god. This made the Israelite soldiers become very upset. So they went away from the city and they returned to their own land.
3:25Kir-Hareseth was the capital city of Moab.
3:27The Moabites' false god was called Chemosh.