2 Kgs 3: 1-27
After Ahaziah‘s death, Jehoram – Ahab’s son reigned in its stead. Jehoram was no better than those before him as he also continued in the sins of Jeroboam. Meanwhile Mesha, the king of Moab at this point rebelled against the king of Israel, and stopped rendering hundred thousand lambs he used to give the king of Israel.
So, Jehoram enlisted Jehoshaphat‘s support, as well as that of the king of Edom, to fight against Mesha. However as they passed through the wilderness of Edom, there was no water for their host, and Jehoram feared that God would deliver all three kings to Moab. Jehoshaphat was however of a different mind, just like he did in Ahab’s case, he asked if there were no prophet of the Lord around to ask of God’s will. At this inquest a servant recommended Elisha, and jehoshaphat acknowledged him as a man of God.
On reaching Elisha, the man of God queried Jehoram, asking why he didn’t go to his prophets for help instead. He also made him know that it was his respect for Jehoshaphat that allowed him to give the kings audience. After this, Elisha called for a minstrel, and declared God’s word – there would be water and the Moabites would also be delivered into the kings’ hands.
Water indeed came as Elisha prophesied, the Moabites were also smitten en masse and they retreated to their cities. When Mesha saw that the battle was so fierce he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through the king of Edom, but he could not. He eventually sacrificed his eldest son, heir to the throne, and at this point there was great indignation against Israel and they departed from him.
It was quite striking that the sacrifice of the first son of Mesha resulted in indignation against Israel that this barbaric and gross act displeased them so much that they left, or it was feared what could happens as god’s law had strictly forbidden human sacrifice. Whatever the reason, I believe a principle was also in play. though this was in a negative light, when men do give that which is most important and precious to them things do happen – you could ask Abraham in Isaac’s case, as well as God in Jesus’s case.
Some verses to remember
vs 11: But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD, that we may enquire of the LORD by him?
vs 17-18: 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. And this is but a light thing in the sight of the LORD: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.
vs 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.