Daily Arts Web Nucleus


Discover the Arts! Each day a different image from the Literary, Performing, or Visual Arts representing a portion of Scripture
plus an explanation with links

2014 August 23

Image 1: Valley With Blood-Like Deposits
National Geographic Photo (via HitFix)
National Geographic Photography
Image Source: HitFix


Image 2: The Sacrifice of Iphigenia (c. 1749)
Francesco Fontebasso (1707-1769)
Late-Baroque Also Called Rococo Style
Private Collection
Image Source: Web Gallery of Art

     Explanation: The chief event of 2 Kings 3 is the defeat of Moab by the combined forces of Israel, Judah, and Edom. The illustrations above depict two of the key features of that battle. The first illustration is of a valley that seems to be full of blood. The second illustration is of a human sacrifice which was given to appease the gods -- a female sacrifice in the painting, and a male sacrifice in the Scriptures. [Kings of Judah and Israel Chart]. [Chronologically and Thematically Related Scriptures: 2 Kings 1:17; 2 Kings 1:1].
     Jehoram, King of Israel, put away the Baal image of his father Ahab; but he clung to the sins of Jeroboam (1-3). Mesha, King of Moab, rebelled against Jehoram after Ahab died. So Jehoram asked Jehoshaphat, King of Judah to join him in fighting Mesha. They also included the King of Edom among their forces (4-8). As their forces advanced they came to a place where they had no water for themselves or their animals. Jehoshaphat suggested that they seek the counsel of Elisha. For Jehoshaphat's sake Elisha consented to consult the LORD on their behalf (9-14). A minstrel helped Elisha to enter a frame of mind in which he more receptive to hearing from the LORD. And, through Elisha, the LORD told the assembled kings to make the valley full of ditches which he would fill with water without using rain so that they and their animals could drink. He also promised to enable them to defeat the Moabites. He instructed them to bring the land to ruin. In the morning the land filled with water with a flow which came from Edom (15-20). When the Moabites saw the water, the morning sun was shining on it, making it look like blood. They presumed that the armies of three kings had slain one another; and they went to take the spoil. However, they fell into the hands of three kings who slaughtered them and devastated their land. The king of Moab took 700 elite forces and tried to break through to the king of Edom, but could not. So, in desperation, he sacrificed his eldest son to his god Chemosh upon the wall. "And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land." The commentators have various ideas about the source and nature of the "indignation" mentioned in the preceding sentence. Some think that the indignation is from the LORD; some think that the Israelites and Judah were indignant with themselves; some think that Edom was indignant with Israel and perhaps with Judah. As for the nature of the indignation, there is general agreement that it came because the king of Moab was driven to the extremity of sacrificing his son. However, a natural reading of the text is that those who departed (Judah and Edom) did so because of the indignation, whether it was their indignation or the LORD's indignation that cause this reaction. But the LORD wanted severe measures to be brought against Moab, so it seems unlikely that the LORD was indignant. My conclusion is that the human sensibilities (rather than the divine) were stirred to the point of indignation, causing Judah and Edom to depart from Israel. I believe that their indignation was out of accord with the divine and righteous sensibilities of the LORD, whose underlying intent with Moab and all of Israel's enemies was to rid the land of them.

2 Kings 3

     1 Now Jehoram the son of Ahab began to reign over Israel in Samaria the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned twelve years. 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. 3 Nevertheless he cleaved unto the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which made Israel to sin; he departed not therefrom.
     4 And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool. 5 But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. 6 And king Jehoram went out of Samaria the same time, and numbered all Israel. 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. 8 And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.
     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. 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! 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. 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. 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. 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, nor see thee.
     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. 16 And he said, Thus saith the LORD, Make this valley full of ditches. 17 For thus 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. 18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand. 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. 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.
     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. 22 And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood: 23 And they said, This is blood: the kings are surely slain, and they have smitten one another: now therefore, Moab, to the spoil. 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. 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 trees: only in Kirharaseth left they the stones thereof; howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it. 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. 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.

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