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2 Kings 3 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

Israel’s King Joram

Joram son of Ahab became king over Israel in Samaria during the eighteenth year of Judah’s King Jehoshaphat and reigned 12 years. He did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, but not like his father and mother, for he removed the sacred pillar of Baal his father had made. Nevertheless, Joram clung to the sins that Jeroboam son of Nebat had caused Israel to commit. He did not turn away from them.

Moab’s Rebellion against Israel

King Mesha of Moab was a sheep breeder. He used to pay the king of Israel 100,000 lambs and the wool of 100,000 rams, but when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. So King Joram marched out from Samaria at that time and mobilized all Israel. Then he sent a message to King Jehoshaphat of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to fight against Moab?”

Jehoshaphat said, “I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.” Then he asked, “Which route should we take?”

Joram replied, “The route of the Wilderness of Edom.”

So the king of Israel, the king of Judah, and the king of Edom set out. After they had traveled their indirect route for seven days, they had no water for the army or their animals.

10 Then the king of Israel said, “Oh no, the Lord has summoned three kings, only to hand them over to Moab.”

11 But Jehoshaphat said, “Isn’t there a prophet of the Lord here? Let’s inquire of Yahweh through him.”

One of the servants of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat, who used to pour water on Elijah’s hands, is here.”

12 Jehoshaphat affirmed, “The Lord’s words are with him.” So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went to him.

13 However, Elisha said to King Joram of Israel, “We have nothing in common. Go to the prophets of your father and your mother!”

But the king of Israel replied, “No, because it is the Lord who has summoned these three kings to hand them over to Moab.”

14 Elisha responded, “As the Lord of Hosts lives, I stand before Him. If I did not have respect for King Jehoshaphat of Judah, I would not look at you; I wouldn’t take notice of you. 15 Now, bring me a musician.”

While the musician played, the Lord’s hand came on Elisha. 16 Then he said, “This is what the Lord says: ‘Dig ditch after ditch in this wadi.’ 17 For the Lord says, ‘You will not see wind or rain, but the wadi will be filled with water, and you will drink—you and your cattle and your animals.’ 18 This is easy in the Lord’s sight. He will also hand Moab over to you. 19 Then you must attack every fortified city and every choice city. You must cut down every good tree and stop up every spring of water. You must ruin every good piece of land with stones.”

20 About the time for the grain offering the next morning, water suddenly came from the direction of Edom and filled the land.

21 All Moab had heard that the kings had come up to fight against them. So all who could bear arms, from the youngest to the oldest, were summoned and took their stand at the border. 22 When they got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water, and the Moabites saw that the water across from them was red like blood. 23 “This is blood!” they exclaimed. “The kings have clashed swords and killed each other. So, to the spoil, Moab!”

24 However, when the Moabites came to Israel’s camp, the Israelites attacked them, and they fled from them. So Israel went into the land and struck down the Moabites. 25 They destroyed the cities, and each of them threw stones to cover every good piece of land. They stopped up every spring of water and cut down every good tree. In the end, only the buildings of Kir-hareseth were left. Then men with slings surrounded the city and attacked it.

26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle was too fierce for him, he took 700 swordsmen with him to try to break through to the king of Edom, but they could not do it. 27 So he took his firstborn son, who was to become king in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering on the city wall. Great wrath was on the Israelites, and they withdrew from him and returned to their land.

2 Kings 3 New International Version (NIV)

Moab Revolts

Joram[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 in the eyes of the Lord, but not as his father and mother had done. He got rid of the sacred stone of Baal that his father had made. Nevertheless he clung to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them.

Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to pay the king of Israel a tribute of a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams. But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled 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 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. 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 of the Lord?”

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

12 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.

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.”

While the harpist was playing, the hand 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, and you, your cattle and your other animals will drink. 18 This is an easy 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 for offering the sacrifice, there it was—water flowing from the direction of Edom! And the land was filled with water.

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 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 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.
New International Version (NIV)

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