2 Reis 3

1 Joram son of Ahab became king of Israel in the eighteenth year of the reign of King Jehoshaphat of Judah. He ruled in Samaria for twelve years.

2 Though he was not as bad as his father or his mother Jezebel; he sinned against Jehovah. He removed the image his father had made for the worship of Baal.

3 Like King Jeroboam son of Nebat before him, he caused Israel to sin. He would not turn away from sin.

4 King Mesha of Moab raised sheep. Yearly he gave as tribute to the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool from one hundred thousand sheep.

5 When King Ahab of Israel died Mesha rebelled against Israel.

6 At once King Joram mobilized his troops and left Samaria.

7 He sent this message to King Jehoshaphat of Judah: »The king of Moab rebelled against me. Will you join me to war against Moab?« King Jehoshaphat replied: »I will. I am on your side. My men and horses are at your disposal.

8 »Which way shall we go to the attack?« Joram answered: »We will go the long way through the wilderness of Edom.«

9 King Joram and the kings of Judah and Edom assembled. After marching seven days, they ran out of water. There was none left for the men or the pack animals.

10 »Alas, all is done,« King Joram exclaimed. »Has Jehovah called us together to be at the mercy of the king of Moab?«

11 King Jehoshaphat asked: »Do we have a prophet here to consult Jehovah?« An officer of King Joram's forces answered: »Elisha son of Shaphat is here who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.«

12 »The word of Jehovah is with him,« King Jehoshaphat said. So the three kings went to Elisha.

13 »Why should I have anything to do with you?« Elisha said to the king of Israel. »Go consult the prophets your father and mother consulted.« »No!« Joram king of Israel replied. »It is Jehovah who placed us three kings at the mercy of the king of Moab.«

14 Elisha answered: »By the living God Jehovah, whom I serve, I swear that I would have nothing to do with you if I did not respect your ally, King Jehoshaphat of Judah.

15 »Now bring me a musician. As the musician played his harp, the power of Jehovah came on Elisha.«

16 He said: »This is what Jehovah says: ‘Dig ditches all over this dry streambed wadi.

17 »You will not see any rain or wind. This streambed will be filled with water and you and your animals will have plenty to drink.«

18 Elisha continued: »This is an easy thing for Jehovah to do. He will also give you victory over the Moabites.

19 »You will conquer all their beautiful fortified cities. You will cut down all their fruit trees, stop all their springs, and ruin all their fertile fields by covering them with stones.«

20 The next morning when the sacrifice was offered water came flowing from the direction of Edom. It covered the ground.

21 The Moabites heard that the three kings came to attack them. All the young and old men who could bear arms were called out and stationed at the border.

22 They got up the next morning. The sun was shining on the water. It looked as red as blood.

23 They said: »It is blood! The three armies fought and killed each other! Let us go and loot their camp!«

24 When they came to the camp the Israelites attacked them and drove them back. The Israelites kept up the pursuit, killing the Moabites.

25 They destroyed their cities. As they passed by a fertile field, every Israelite would throw a stone on it until finally all the fields were covered with stones. They also stopped up the springs and cut down the fruit trees. At last only the capital city of Kir Heres was left. The slingers surrounded it and attacked it.

26 The king of Moab realized that he was losing the battle. So he took seven hundred swordsmen with him and tried to force his way through the enemy lines and escape to the king of Edom. However they failed.

27 He took his oldest son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him on the city wall as a sacrifice to the god of Moab. The Israelites were terrified and so they drew back from the city and returned to their own country.