II Kings

Chapter 3

"Jehoram, War with Moab [1-27]."
"Elisha, Help Given [15-25]."

 

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription is provided with written permission by http://www.theseason.org

II Kings 3:1 "Now Jehoram [Joram] the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years."

The name "Jehoram" in the Hebrew means "whom God has exhalted". He became the king over Israel at the death of Ahab, however there will be another king with the same name that will be the king over Judah, shortly after this time of rule.

II Kings 3:2 "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."

Jehoram [Joram] was much like his father in many ways, for he also did wickedness in the eyes of the Lord, however Joram's wickedness was different than that of either his father Ahab, or his mother Jezebel. The idols of Baal were destroyed, and even the grove worship that his mother brought to Israel from Zidon.

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

So when the idols of Baal and the grove worship had been put away, Joram brought back the worship of the two golden calves that Jeroboam made, following the death of Solomon. Remember that when Jeroboam took the throne, the first thing that he did was to put a stop to the people of Israel traveling to Jerusalem to worship at the house of God, the Temple, by making two golden calves. The people of the ten tribes were given this new religion that was suppose to save them time and money. Jeroboam told them that it was to far to go down to Jerusalem to worship, and so he set up his own priesthood to offer sacrifices on the altars to the two golden calves.

God doesn't like substituting any form of man's traditions or idols to be placed before Him and His ways. It doesn't matter how fancy and religious the temples and idols appear to be, God doesn't like it.

II Kings 3:4 "And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and hundred thousand rams, with the wool."

"Mesha" meaning "freedom", the king of Moab and his people, were from the children of Lot's oldest daughter's son [Moab]. The king of Israel had a tax or burden placed upon the people of Moab that was paid to the king of the house [nation] of Israel. This is a lot of wool, and a lot of tribute to pay.

Go back to page 22, which was taken from Appendix 54 the Companion Bible and review the writings on the Moabite stone that was found in 1868, in the land of the Moabites. The writing on this stone gives a second witness to what is recorded here in the book of II Kings.

II Kings 3:5 "but it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel."

Ahab was the one that established the tax and set the rate for the tax, and now that Ahab was dead, king Mesha wanted to be free from paying that tax. He simply did not want the burden of that wealth being taken from his people, with nothing given in return. So Mesha is going to start a tax rebellion, a "Boston tea party" of his day. A revolt against the tyranny placed on Moab by the House of Israel.

II Kings 3:6 "And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel."

When Jehoram saw the trouble starting he went throughout Israel to set up his draft system, to count the men that were of age and able to lift a sword and go to battle. Remember that it had only been a matter of a year of so that Israel had fought another war with Syria at Ramoth-gilead, and lost the battle. That battle claimed the life of king Ahab, when a stray arrow hit in an unprotected part of His armor. So the fighting men of Israel had not been home long, when this conflict arose in the land of Moab. So Jehoram is going to find that his ranks are short of men.

II Kings 3:7 "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." 

Keep this relationship in mind: King Ahab had a son and a daughter, and at his death Ahab's son Ahaziah took the throne. Ahaziah was very young, and in a drunken state he walked out an upstairs window, and seriously injured him, which lead to his death. However back in Ahab's day, he wanted to form an alliance with Jehoshaphat, and confirmed that alliance through a marriage between his daughter, whose name is not given, to Jehoshaphat's son. That son in law of Ahab took the throne after his son Ahaziah died, and he is this king Jehoram [Joram]. So when Jehoram is approaching Jehoshaphat for help, he is going to his own father for help.

So Jehoshaphat agreed to have the house [nation] of Judah back the army of the house of Israel with men and equipment, or what ever is needed. Remember the last time Jehoshaphat backed Israel with his troops, Ahab set a trap that just about took his life. However that was over a year ago, and Jehoshaphat has forgotten that, besides, this is his son. This relationship is identified later in II Kings 8:18; "And he [Joram, which is also Jehoram] walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, as did the house of Ahab: for the daughter of Ahab was his wive: and he did evil in the sight of the Lord." Take a look at the sixteenth verse.

II Kings 8:16 "And in the fifth year of Joram the son of Ahab king of Israel, Jehoshaphat being then king of Judah, Jehoram the son of Jehoshaphat king of Judah began to reign."

The names "Joram" and "Jehoram" are the same person, and each name identified this king according to his connection to Israel or Judah. This king on the throne of Israel was the son in law of Ahab, for Ahab had only one son [Ahaziah], and he was dead.

Jehoshaphat was dedicated to protect the family, for all of the tribes of both houses or nations were of the family of Jacob [Israel], and when any part of the family was in trouble, he came to their rescue. However, there is one thing to remember from this, and that is that you should never bind yourself to an obligation unless you seek God's blessing on the matter first. So the point here is why would Jehoram seek God's blessings in military action, when he was off worshipping a calf and did not believe in God. As Jehoram bowed to the calf, he probably even mouth the name of Jehovah God, but the prayer was given to the golden calf. So of course Jehoram did not seek help from God, and God would also not bless him in this action.

Anytime you leave God out of your life that the decisions that you make, those efforts will fail. Even though those earthly matters appear to succeed, you will not find peace of mind in it.

II Kings 3:8 "And he said, "Which way shall we go up?" And he answered, "the way through the wilderness of Edom." "

The first thing that Jehoshaphat wanted to know, was "which way are we going to attack from?" Jehoram had set the battle plan without consulting with God. It is obvious why they had to go through Edom, for they had to stay away from Syria on their way to the land of Moab. So this army was going to slip through the wilderness or desert of Edom to approach Moab, and give them a surprise attack.

II Kings 3:9 "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."

Remember that the Edomites lived in the area that Joshua gave to the tribe of Reuben, and they were very friendly with the house of Israel. The Edomites were kin to Israel the offspring of Esau, for Esau was the twin brother to Jacob. So the seed [children] of Jacob and Esau are allied together for this battle, and on their way through the desert for this surprise attack. The made a wide circle through the desert to reach the point of attack, however they overlooked the fact that there was no water for the men and animals.

II Kings 3:10 "And the king of Israel said, "Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!"

So stop and think of what this jerk has just said. First of all he did not go to God for instructions, nor did Jehoshaphat, he went to his two calves, and bowing before the calves uttered the name of the Lord. After Jehoram had set the battle plan, organized the three nation in an allied force, and marched in the desert for seven day; only then can he see that this war is going to be a complete loss. Only then did he turn to the Lord, and blame himself for the stupidity of his own actions. Here they were out in the wilderness with these thousands of men and herds of cattle, and no water for them to drink. Did God send them there? No way. Not one of them sought God for any of their directions, Jehoram sought help from his golden calves. He never even got a "moo" out of those metallic cows, but they sure looked pretty shining in the sun. Jehoram is lying even in his statement here, for he did not seek Almighty God. Even to this day, it is important to seek God guidance in battle if you want complete success.

II Kings 3:11 "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."

Elisha was a young man at the time of this battle, for it was only a year or so since the time that Elijah was taken. Elisha would be of age for the draft, and called to serve. The miracles of Elijah and Elisha were well known, and the kings wanted Elisha to be brought before them.

II Kings 3:12 "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."

When all that Jehoram could do was blame God, Jehoshaphat wanted a prophet of God to come forth and give them instructions in the matter. Jehoshaphat did love the Lord, only he just waited until they were deep in trouble before he remembered to call on the name of the Lord. This is the same thing that happened before when he rejected God's Word through the prophet and never called on the Lord until the Syrians about killed him. When the battle was lost, and the Syrian enemy was about to run him through with a sword, he cried out to the Lord. Jehoshaphat always waited until he gets all bottled up and it is to late, before turns him mind to God. Jehoshaphat knows that all that is necessary is for one prophet of God, for God is not double minded, and what He says is true.

It is not like the false prophets of today, the way government of today is handled, where by a poll of the people has to be taken to see what way the wind is blowing before a decision can be made. That is Satan's way, the way of the left, and the way of socialism. You can always count on the majority to be wrong, so let the majority rule. It isn't the way of God, for God's way and His Word is absolute.

II Kings 3:13 "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." 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."

Elisha told the kings, you have got yourself in this mess by yourself, go and get the prophets of those golden calves, the prophets of your father and mother Jezebel, and ask them to get you out of your mess. This king of Israel, Jehoram still can not see that it was his own stupidity that got them into this mess, for God did not call them to go anywhere. They went to the calves and muttered all sorts of words, but it was not to God. Jehoram is still lying, and now he is lying to a man of God. Elisha was wearing the very mantle of God.

II Kings 3:14 "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."

Elisha is telling Jehoram that, were it not for Jeoshaphat the king of Judah, the king that worshipped at the altar of God, I would not look upon you or give you the time of day. Elisha had no respect for the king of Israel in any manner. God is anxious to bless one of his children, and in this case, Jehoshaphat knew that God would help, when one of His Own would call on His name. However, when a person turns completely away from God, and gets into deep trouble, he doesn't even have the sense to call on God. There is nothing new under the sun, that is the way that is was, and that is the way that it still is today.

God is the creator of our souls, and He is the supreme Authority, He loves us and wants our love and reverence. When we give Him our love, He enjoys blessing His children and taking care of us. However we have to ask for His help. He will not intercede when it is not asked for, because He has given us the right to chose for ourselves. If you think that you can set him aside and completely disregard His Word and still have His blessings, your are badly mistaken, for the messes you get yourself into, are your mess, not His. Had it not been for Jehoshaphat, Elisha would have let the whole army starve of thirst out there in the desert.

When things are rough in your life and those critical decisions have to be made, do you turn to the Father for direction? When you are a child of God, He wants you to ask Him for help and direction before you get in over your head. God knows where all the pitfalls are, and He can remove those obstacles before they become problems. If it is nothing more than a prayer saying, "Father guide men thorough these hard times, in Jesus name"; The Father will give you help. Seek God's will, and thank him for the success that He gives you. God will bring his wall of protection around you and see you through. Always plan ahead and use common sense in what every you do, and don't be a quitter. When you work your way into a problem, then work your way out of that problem.

II Kings 3:15 "But now bring me a minstrel." And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him."

Elisha wanted a musician to be brought to him, and music to be played on the harp. God is going to use this musician to help people.

II Kings 3:16 "And he said, "Thus saith the Lord, `Make this valley full of ditches.' "

They are in the middle of the desert, and Elisha is telling these kings to dig many trenches, and water ways, for God is about to bring the water. They need something to hold the water when it comes. The sky is clear, and there isn't even so much as a wind, yet Elisha is telling them to prepare these irrigation trenches for the huge amount of water that is coming.

II Kings 3:17 "For those 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.' "

Elisha is telling these kings that you won't see this water fall from heaven in the form of rain, but the water will come and fill those trenches that both the men and the cattle may drink. Remember that the reason for this happening was because Jehoshaphat insisted on talking to a prophet of God, to have God's direction in this matter.

II Kings 2:18 "And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: He will deliver the Moabites also into your hand."

Elisha is reminding these kings that bringing about this water in these trenches was just a small thing for the Lord. Then Elisha told them that God would also bring about the victory over the Moabites. Just as God worked great things in those days, He will also bring great things in your life. You can always count on God, for He even wants to help you when you seek God's will in your life.

II Kings 2:19 "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."

Elisha's orders from God to the three kings was that you are to destroy the entire land. God was very unhappy with the Moabites, even more so than He was with Israel. The orders are to destroy and tare down all the walls and defenses of the Moabite cities, cut down all their fruit and shade trees, plug up their water wells, and cover all their crop lands with stones.

Remember the law of Deuteronomy 20:19; "When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, inmaking war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them, and thou shalt not cut them down (for the trees of the field is man's life) to employ them to siege:"

Deuteronomy 20:20 "Only the trees which thou knowest that they be not trees for meat, thou shalt destroy and cut them down; and thou shalt build bulwarks against the city that maketh war with thee, until it be subdued."

The order from God was that when you go in to conquer a country to possess the land, you don't cut down the fruit trees, for you want the fruit off those trees when you are living in the land. However, this does not apply here, for Elisha is ordering that all trees, fruit and shade alike will be destroyed, so that no one will remain behind. This was to be complete destruction of the Moabite land and people. Don't leave them anything to eat nor drink, or even the land to raise their crops.

II Kings 2:20 "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."

Right there in the desert of Edom, springs sprung forth, and all the trenches were filled with the water. This is the same desert that their forefather wandered in some six hundred years prior, and God provided water for them also. Their water would come from Edom, and that was the reason for the irrigation ditches, the water was to flow all the way to Moab, for there would be no water in Moab. This was the fourth miracle of God at the hand of Elisha.

The water came from the ground, when the meat offering was being offered back in Jerusalem, at the Temple of God, before the altar of God. The meat offering brought the sweet odor of the burnt offering being offered up to God, and as this was happening, God answered Elisha's request. The "meat offering" called "minhah" in the Hebrew text; is part fo the "Katar" which is "to burn or turn to vapor", the offering for the sake of the incense. This offering is made to give pleasure to the Father in praise.

After the morning prayers to the Father, God answered their prayers. The blessing came after the prayers of thanksgiving. You can always count of God, however you have to do it God's way.

II Kings 2:21 "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."

When the Moabites heard that the Israelites along with the Edomites were coming against them, the took their army to the border and prepared themselves for the battle.

II Kings 2:22 "And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Mobites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:"

The early morning was the time of the morning oblation or sacrifices., when the meat offerings were made. Remember that the land of the Edomites and the Moabites bordered to each other. As the Moabites looked out across the desert of the Edom, the saw the water in the early morning sun, and it appeared to them the color of blood. Remember they did not know what was going on in the camp of the Israelites and the Edomites, that God had filled their trenches with water. In the desert where the sand is red, for the ditch was filled with water, the reflection off that water would also be red. Then with the sun shining off the water, the reflection can give the appearance of even a deeper red. Redish soil will turn water red, and it will still be usable.

So if you were a Moabite, and you knew that that area was a desert, this is the only common reason that you could arrive at. You knew that it had not rained and there was no wind. There were no springs in the area, so the only thing that these Moabites could derive from it would be that it was blood.

II Kings 2:23 "And they said, "This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil."

The Moabites are thinking in their minds that the kings have fought amongst themselves and have killed each other. They though all the enemy was dead, and the order went out to go get the spoils. If you think that the battle is over, and it is time to haul back the spoils, you take off your heavy armor and drop your sword, and get ready to carry the spoils of the battle back. This was a victory that Elisha didn't ask for, but God gave it anyway.

There is a blood that we can hide under today, and it also will give us the victory over all our enemies. That blood is the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ. When we lift our cups at Communion, we are taking that wine in symbolic remembrance of the blood that Jesus shed on the cross for all those that would believe and call upon His name in repentance. Jesus Christ became the Passover Lamb, shed once, for all times.

II Kings 2:24 "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."

Imagine it, here these Moabites think that they are coming into a camp of dead people, to take the spoils of the camp. They have left their armor and swords back on their border, and when they enter into the camp they see the armed men of Israel, ready to do battle. The Moabites had no defense as they were mowed down by the swords of Israel, Judah, and Edom. Once the men are retreating from battle, they become easy targets of their enemy, and you don't allow them a chance to dig in and get ready for battle again.

II Kings 2:25 "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 [fruit] trees: only in Kir-haraseth left they the stones thereof; howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it."

Notice that the Israelites and Edomites were not sloppy in following the orders of God, that were given them by Elisha. Even "Kir-haraseth" the fort built of stone, was destroyed by the Israelites.

II Kings 2:26 "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."

When Mesha, the king of Moab saw that the battle was lost, he took seven hundred of his best men, and went after only the king of Edom. Remember that "seven hundred" stands for "spiritual completeness" in biblical numerics. He though that Edom would be the weakest, and he wanted a victory.

II Kings 2:27 "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."

King Mesha knew the God of Israel, for this is well recorded on line (17) of the Moabite stone, and they knew that all Israel had the blessing of God on their side. He knew that the king of Edom did not follow the same religious beliefs as the Israelites. After the battle was over, the land was destroyed, and the wells filled, the king of Moab took his own son and slaughtered him as a burnt offering on the broken wall, right in front of the Israelites. This burnt offering was a mockery of the sacred offerings back on the altar of God in Jerusalem. This was the height of indignation that Mesha could show toward Israel, and it disgusted the army of the Israelites to the last man.

This is exactly what Molach worship is, the sacrificing of your own sons as a burnt offering to the god Molach. Sure Mesha, the king of the Moabites lived after the battle, but his son that would have become king, was turned to ashes for the sake of Molach. Molach worship is the sacrificing of human beings as burnt offerings. When the soldiers of Israel saw the sacrifice take place, in disgust they just went home. Unfortunately, with his army destroyed and his son dead, Mesha the king escaped with his life. Though he lived, the one that would replaced him was cremated alive in this human sacrifice.

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