Melachim II Three: War Against Moab

We’re back to hearing about the various kings. “And Jehoram the son of Ahab reigned over Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and he reigned twelve years (Kings II 3:1).” Jehoram, like most of the kings, turns against God eventually. But at the same time, although he’s evil in some way, which we don’t hear much about right now, he does take down the idols to Baal that his parents erected, so that’s a good thing.

So there’s this guy Mesha, who is the king of Moab, and a shepherd. Way to multitask! He pays an annual tribute to the king of Israel, but one Ahab dies, Mesha rebels against Jehoram as his successor. As happens far too often, we don’t know what causes this rebellion or much about what it looks like. The story moves right along, with Jehoram commissioning another census of the people. He then calls Jehoshaphat and asks him to come as an ally in a war against Moab. The two factions of Israelites are working together against a common enemy, which is good for the people, but probably not good for Moab.

On their way to attack Moab, the kings want some reassurance about their quest, so they decide to check with Elisha. “And Elisha said to the king of Israel, ‘What do I have [to do] with you? Go to your father’s prophets and to your mother’s prophets!’ And the king of Israel said to him, ‘Don’t [say that], for the Lord has summoned these three kings to deliver them into the hands of Moab (Kings II 3:13).'” Elisha says that Moab will be delivered into the hands of the kings. It’ll be a total defeat, and a victory on the part of the Israelites. “And they demolished the cities, and each one threw his stone on every fertile field and filled it up, and they stopped up every water spring and they felled every good tree until they left over its stones only in Kir Hareshseth; and the catapultists surrounded and struck it (Kings II 3:25).” Moab is destroyed in this campaign, so at least for now, it seems like the alliance is working.

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