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Y’horam the son of Ach’av began his reign over Isra’el in Shomron during the eighteenth year of Y’hoshafat king of Y’hudah, and he ruled for twelve years. He did what was evil from Adonai’s perspective; but he was not as bad as his father and mother, because he got rid of Ba‘al’s standing-stone which his father had made. Nevertheless, he clung to the sins of Yarov‘am the son of N’vat, with which he had led Isra’el into sin; he never turned away from them.

Mesha king of Mo’av was a sheep-breeder, and he used to send the king of Isra’el the wool of 100,000 lambs and of 100,000 rams as tribute. But after Ach’av died, the king of Mo’av rebelled against the king of Isra’el. Y’horam left Shomron and mustered all Isra’el. He also went and sent this word to Y’hoshafat king of Y’hudah: “The king of Mo’av has rebelled against me. Will you join me in attacking Mo’av?” He answered, “I will join in the attack — I’m with you all the way; think of my people and horses as yours. Which route should we take?” he added. “The road through the desert of Edom,” answered Y’horam.

So the king of Isra’el set out, along with the king of Y’hudah and the king of Edom. After a roundabout journey of seven days, there was no water for either the army or the animals following them. 10 “This is terrible!” exclaimed the king of Isra’el. “Has Adonai called these three kings together only to hand them over to Mo’av?” 11 But Y’hoshafat said, “Isn’t there a prophet of Adonai here through whom we can consult Adonai?” One of the servants of the king of Isra’el answered, “Elisha the son of Shafat is here, the one who used to pour water on Eliyahu’s hands.” 12 Y’hoshafat said, “The word of Adonai is with him.” So the king of Isra’el, Y’hoshafat and the king of Edom went down to consult him.

13 Elisha said to the king of Isra’el, “What do you and I have in common? Go, consult your father’s prophets and your mother’s prophets!” But the king of Isra’el answered him, “No, because Adonai has called these three kings together to hand them over to Mo’av.” 14 Elisha said, “As Adonai-Tzva’ot lives, before whom I stand, if I didn’t respect the fact that Y’hoshafat the king of Y’hudah is here, I wouldn’t even look in your direction or take notice of you. 15 But now, bring me a musician.” As the musician played, the hand of Adonai fell on Elisha; 16 and he said, “Adonai says to dig until this valley is full of trenches. 17 For here is what Adonai says: ‘You won’t see wind, and you won’t see rain. Nevertheless the valley will be filled with water; and you will drink — you, your cattle and your other animals. 18 That’s an easy thing to do, from Adonai’s perspective. He will also hand Mo’av over to you. 19 You will conquer every fortified city and every choice town, you will chop down every good tree, stop up every well and ruin every good field with stones.” 20 The next morning, around the time for making the offering, water came from the direction of Edom, and the countryside was filled with water.

21 When all Mo’av heard that the kings had come up to attack them, every man was summoned, from the youngest capable of bearing arms to older ones, and stationed on the border. 22 They rose early in the morning, when the sun was shining on the water. Mo’av, when they saw the water in the distance looking as red as blood, 23 said, “That’s blood! The kings must have quarreled, and their soldiers killed each other. Mo’av! To the plunder!”

24 When they arrived at the camp of Isra’el, Isra’el launched an attack, so that Mo’av fled before them. But they advanced on Mo’av and struck it. 25 They made ruins of the cities. Each man threw his stone on every good field, covering it. They stopped up all the wells. They chopped down all the good trees. Finally, all that remained was Kir-Hareset behind its stone wall, with the slingers surrounding and attacking it. 26 When the king of Mo’av saw that the fighting was too much for him, he took with him 700 men armed with swords and tried to break through to the king of Edom; but they couldn’t do it. 27 Then he took his firstborn son, who was to have succeeded him as king, and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. Following this, such great anger came upon Isra’el that they left him and went back to their own land.

Moab Revolts

Joram[a](A) son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned twelve years. He did evil(B) in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father(C) and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone(D) of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he clung to the sins(E) of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.

Now Mesha king of Moab(F) raised sheep, and he had to pay the king of Israel a tribute of a hundred thousand lambs(G) and the wool of a hundred thousand rams. But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled(H) against the king of Israel. So at that time King Joram set out from Samaria and mobilized all Israel. He also sent this message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight(I) against Moab?”

“I will go with you,” he replied. “I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.”

“By what route shall we attack?” he asked.

“Through the Desert of Edom,” he answered.

So the king of Israel set out with the king of Judah and the king of Edom.(J) After a roundabout march of seven days, the army had no more water for themselves or for the animals with them.

10 “What!” exclaimed the king of Israel. “Has the Lord called us three kings together only to deliver us into the hands of Moab?”

11 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there no prophet of the Lord here, through whom we may inquire(K) of the Lord?”

An officer of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha(L) son of Shaphat is here. He used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.[b](M)

12 Jehoshaphat said, “The word(N) of the Lord is with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

13 Elisha said to the king of Israel, “Why do you want to involve me? Go to the prophets of your father and the prophets of your mother.”

“No,” the king of Israel answered, “because it was the Lord who called us three kings together to deliver us into the hands of Moab.”

14 Elisha said, “As surely as the Lord Almighty lives, whom I serve, if I did not have respect for the presence of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I would not pay any attention to you. 15 But now bring me a harpist.”(O)

While the harpist was playing, the hand(P) of the Lord came on Elisha 16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says: I will fill this valley with pools of water. 17 For this is what the Lord says: You will see neither wind nor rain, yet this valley will be filled with water,(Q) and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. 18 This is an easy(R) thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands. 19 You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town. You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones.”

20 The next morning, about the time(S) for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.(T)

21 Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man, young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border. 22 When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the way, the water looked red—like blood. 23 “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”

24 But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites. 25 They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth(U) was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it.

26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed. 27 Then he took his firstborn(V) son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.

Footnotes

  1. 2 Kings 3:1 Hebrew Jehoram, a variant of Joram; also in verse 6
  2. 2 Kings 3:11 That is, he was Elijah’s personal servant.

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