In this comprehensive commentary on the third chapter of the second book of Kings, we delve deep into the intricate narrative weaved by the inspired authors. This chapter offers pivotal insights into the kingdom of Israel’s history, the rule of King Jehoram, international relations of the time and divine intervention in human affairs, portraying a vivid picture of God’s interaction with humanity.
Drawing from a Charismatic Christian perspective, this commentary seeks to connect the historical and theological truths found in 2 Kings Chapter 3, with the overarching narrative of the Bible – God’s salvation plan and His engagement with mankind (Ephesians 1:9-10).
Indeed, the supernatural elements that punctuate this chapter can be expounded upon in light of the charismata, or spiritual gifts, central to Charismatic Christian theology (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Style: Informative.
- Introduction: Unpacking the Narratives of 2 Kings Chapter 3
- An Examination of Jehoram's Reign and the Moab Rebellion (2 Kings 3:1-3)
- Jehoshaphat To the Rescue: The Pact Between the Kings (2 Kings 3:4-9)
- Elisha's Divine Intervention and the Message for Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 3:10-27)
- Reflections on Faith, Prophecy, and Obedience in 2 Kings Chapter 3
Introduction: Unpacking the Narratives of 2 Kings Chapter 3
The third chapter of 2 Kings brings to light several critical issues and prophetic contributions within the biblical narrative. These include the alliances amongst the kings, the rebellion of the tributary Moab, and the distinctive prophetic role of Elisha in the Israelite monarchy. In this discussion, attention will be drawn on the broader theological and social dimensions reflected in these narratives.
Within the context of the alliances among the kings, we probe into three major rulers of the era who form an alliance due to a common objective; Jehoram, the new king of Israel, Jehoshaphat of Judah, and the king of Edom (2 Kings 3:6-7).
They aim to punish the rebellious Moabites led by their King Mesha (2 Kings 3:4-5). This incident establishes the concept of unity in war despite personal dissensions, reflecting the strength of collective effort in face of common opposition.
- “Then King Jehoram sent a message to Jehoshaphat king of Judah: ‘The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go with me to battle against Moab?’ And he said, ‘I will go. I am as you are, my people as your people, my horses as your horses.’” 2 Kings 3:7
The following section of the account emphasizes the prophetic role of Elisha, the protegé of the legandary prophet Elijah, in Israel’s history. In a dire moment of despair following the kings’ misguided journey through the desert, it’s Elisha who brings hope to the desperate kings (2 Kings 3:11-20).
This role of prophecy in guiding, correcting, and comforting rulers, is reestablished through Elisha’s actions. It speaks about the unique relationship between the spiritual and political realms, where divine intervention via prophetic utterances and actions is crucial during difficult episodes.
- “And Jehoshaphat said, ‘Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may inquire of the LORD by him?’ One of the king of Israel’s servants answered, ‘Elisha the son of Shaphat is here, who poured water on the hands of Elijah..’” 2 Kings 3:11
An Examination of Jehoram’s Reign and the Moab Rebellion (2 Kings 3:1-3)
In the second book of Kings, Jehoram takes the reigns as king of Israel following the death of his brother. Jehoram, a king with a character much tainted by idolatry and whose reign was marked by rebellion and war, is an interesting study in scriptural leadership. Nevertheless, 2 Kings 3:1-3 tells us that Jehoram did away with the sacred stone of Baal, which his father had made. This reflects a certain duality in Jehoram’s religious disposition.
Although Jehoram removed the sacred stone of Baal, the Scripture mentions he “…held on to the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit; he did not turn away from them” (2 Kings 3:3). Several key elements can be drawn from this:
- Continuity of Sin: Jehoram continued in the ways of his father and predecessor, which God did not approve.
- Resilience of Idolatry: Despite removing some key aspects of idolatry, Jehoram still clung onto the practices that kept Israel away from Godly worship.
- Failure to Eradicate Sin Completely: Jehoram’s selective eradication of idolatry signals a failure to surrender fully to God.
This underscores the importance of a leader not only abolishing sinful practices but also modeling godly behavior. Without a complete change of heart, old sinful habits can persist.
In terms of the rebellion led by the Moabites, this event marked a significant turning point in Jehoram’s reign. The king of Moab, a vassal, who annually delivered a significant amount of wool to the king of Israel, revolted after Ahab’s death (2 Kings 3:4-5).
Jehoram’s response to the rebellion, seeking an alliance with Judah and Edom to quell the rebellion, illustrates his reliance on military strategy rather than seeking counsel from God. This disregard for divine guidance could arguably have contributed to the challenges he faced during his reign.
Jehoshaphat To the Rescue: The Pact Between the Kings (2 Kings 3:4-9)
King Jehoshaphat of Judah and the newly crowned King of Israel, Jehoram, joined forces to rebel against the King of Moab, Mesha, who had ceased to make regular tribute to Israel after Ahab’s death (2 Kings 3:4-5). This marked a significant shift for the men because alliances were strategically developed in the ancient Near East not just for political power, but also for the survival of their people.
It’s worth recalling that Jehoshaphat had already formed an alliance through marriage with the house of Ahab. Yet, despite the political ties, Jehoshaphat remains faithful to Yahweh and openly confronts any act of idolatry, setting a powerful example of righteous leadership.
In their rebellion, Jehoshaphat and Jehoram collectively seek divine guidance, which speaks volumes about their dependence on God over their kingly powers. But Jehoshaphat is insistent, and he calls for a prophet, through whom God might make His will known (2 Kings 3:11).
This is not merely for show, but a sincere acknowledgment of God’s sovereignty, reinforcing Jehoshaphat’s characterization as a righteous and faithful king. He understands that any human plan without divine approval is fruitless. His actions are also a reminder for us today to seek God in our decision-making processes.
Interestingly, Elisha, the chosen prophet, initially shows reluctance to prophesy before Jehoram due to Jehoram’s idolatrous past and allegiance to the house of Ahab (2 Kings 3:13). But because of Jehoshaphat’s presence – a man of Yahweh– Elisha consents to speak God’s message.
Elisha’s acquiescence reveals the respect and standing that Jehoshaphat has in the prophetic community. Moreover, Elisha’s prophecy of water appearing from Edom, leading to victory over Moab (2 Kings 3:16-18), signifies the divine intervention that comes with being obedient and faithful to God. It confirms the promise in Proverbs 16:7, “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
Elisha’s Divine Intervention and the Message for Jehoshaphat (2 Kings 3:10-27)
2 Kings 3:10-27 paints an inspiring picture of Elisha’s divine intervention amidst Israel’s conflict with Moab. During Jehoshaphat’s reign, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel, leading to an intense three-king alliance formed by Israel, Judah and Edom to quell the uprising. However, the alliance found themselves in the desert without water for their troops and animals, and it seemed as though they were on the verge of defeat (2 Kings 3:10).
In distress, Jehoshaphat sought a word from the Lord and God’s prophet Elisha was consulted. Elisha delivered a prophetic message of hope and divine intervention. He prophesied of an abundance of water flowing from Edom and a sweeping victory against Moab (2 Kings 3:16-18). Three significant signs of God’s intervention were prophesied:
- God would make the valley full of pools
- God will deliver Moab into their hands
- They are to destroy every fortified city and every tree, stop all springs of water, and ruin every good piece of land with stones
By morning, water miraculously flowed, providing for the thirsty alliance and catching Moab off guard, making way for a decisive victory, just as Elisha had prophesied.
The passage concludes with a desperate act by the king of Moab, who sacrificed his first-born son on the wall of the city. The intense wrath against Israel following this act caused them to withdraw and return to their homeland (2 Kings 3:27). The divine intervention and the delivered prophetic word from Elisha show us the power and mercy of God, not only providing for His people in a time of immediate need but also directing and empowering them for victory against their adversaries.
Such compassion is echoed in Psalm 145:8, “The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.” This passage is a powerful reminder of God’s active involvement in the affairs of His children, His power over natural elements, and His Promise of victory over enemies for those who believe and obey His instructions.
Reflections on Faith, Prophecy, and Obedience in 2 Kings Chapter 3
The narrative of 2 Kings Chapter 3 is an amalgam of faith, prophecy, and obedience. It revolves around the kings of three nations: Israel, Judah, and Edom, and their encounter with Prophet Elisha. The story rightly kindles an insightful discourse on the aforementioned themes.
From the faith perspective, we observe a striking contrast between the faith of the Israelite King Jehoram and the Judean King Jehoshaphat. Jehoram is depicted as a king who “did evil in the sight of the LORD” (2 Kings 3:2), seeped in idolatry and faithlessness. On the other end of the spectrum is Jehoshaphat, known for his unwavering faith in God.
When confronted with a dire dilemma, it’s Jehoshaphat’s faith that persuades the kings to seek prophetic counsel. His actions highlight the significance of faith in the face of crisis.
- Prophecy: Herein lays the enchantment of the story. Elisha, the faithful servant of God, emerges as the figure of prophecy. Despite his initial reluctance, he agrees to seek God’s counsel due to his respect for Jehoshaphat’s faith (2 Kings 3:14). Elisha prophesizes that God will provide water and victory over Moab, both of which powerfully manifest (2 Kings 3:20, 3:24). Elisha’s role underlines the intrinsic link between faith and prophecy.
- Obedience: Obedience, as a theme, permeates through the narrative. The obedience of the kings to the prophetic voice and later their obedience to God’s strategy of victory (2 Kings 3:16-17) shapes their eventual triumph. It showcases how obedience to the divine is a pathway to deliverance.
In conclusion, the tale of 2 Kings Chapter 3 is a holy grail of lessons on faith, prophecy, and obedience. These elements beautifully interweave to unveil the sovereign control of God over circumstances, reiterating the blessing of faith, the potency of prophecy, and the vitality of obedience in our spiritual pilgrimage.
In conclusion, this commentary on the Book of 2 Kings chapter 3, as derived from the New King James Version of the Bible, sheds fresh and insightful light on an often overlooked part of the Old Testament. We have glimpsed the power of prophecy in the form of Elisha as he faithfully delivers God’s message to kings, navigated the murky waters of political alliances as seen in the bond formed between the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom, and beheld, with awe, the miraculous provision of water that resulted in triumph over the Moabites.
The intent behind understanding these narratives is not merely for historical knowledge or curiosity, but to delve deeper into understanding God’s character and sovereignty amid the tribulations of life.
The events recorded in 2 Kings 3 serve as a timely reminder about the significance of absolute trust and obedience to God, even when situations appear dire. When the kings faced an impossible situation, Elisha instructed them to make valley full of ditches (2 Kings 3:16 NKJV), a seemingly irrational act given their desperate need for water. Yet, in doing so, they experienced a divine breakthrough – water arrived, and their enemy was overcome.
Let us, therefore, take this lesson in faith and obedience to heart, reflecting on how we can trust God more fully in our own lives. Like the kings in this chapter, there may be times when God’s instructions may seem perplexing. Yet, His ways are higher than ours and are always purposed for ultimate good. Whatever the circumstance, in obedience to God’s word, we can move in certainty that He will forge a way where there seems to be none.
In our deeper exploration of 2 Kings 3, we have unearthed valuable spiritual nuggets. It is my hope that this commentary engages and challenges you to thoroughly study, comprehend, and apply fundamental biblical truths in your spiritual journey. May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all (2 Corinthians 13:14 NKJV). God bless!