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King Joram of Israel

Joram,[a] son of Ahab, became king of Israel in Samaria during Jehoshaphat’s eighteenth year as king of Judah. He ruled for 12 years. He did what Yahweh considered evil, but he didn’t do what his father or mother had done. He put away the sacred stone that his father had set up and dedicated to Baal. But he would not give up the sins that Jeroboam (Nebat’s son) led Israel to commit. Joram would not turn away from those sins.

King Mesha of Moab Defeated

King Mesha of Moab raised sheep. Each year he had to pay the king of Israel 100,000 male lambs and the wool from 100,000 rams. But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the new king of Israel. King Joram immediately left Samaria to prepare Israel’s army for war. He sent this message to King Jehoshaphat of Judah: “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you fight Moab with me?”

Jehoshaphat answered, “I’ll go. I will do what you do. My troops will do what your troops do. My horses will do what your horses do.”

Joram asked, “Which road should we take?”

Jehoshaphat answered, “The road through the desert of Edom.”

So the king of Israel, the king of Judah, and the king of Edom took an indirect route to Moab. After seven days they ran out of water for the army and the animals. 10 The king of Israel said, “Oh no! Yahweh has put the three of us at the mercy of the people of Moab.”

11 But Jehoshaphat asked, “Isn’t there a prophet of Yahweh whom we could ask?”

One of the officials of the king of Israel answered, “Elisha, the son of Shaphat, is here. He used to be Elijah’s assistant.”[b]

12 Jehoshaphat said, “Yahweh’s word is with him.” So King Jehoshaphat of Judah, the king of Israel, and the king of Edom went to Elisha.

13 Elisha asked the king of Israel, “Why did you come to me? Go to your father’s prophets or your mother’s prophets.”

The king of Israel answered him, “No. Yahweh has called the three of us in order to put us at Moab’s mercy.”

14 Elisha answered, “I solemnly swear, as Yahweh Tsebaoth whom I serve lives, I wouldn’t even bother to look at you or notice you if it weren’t for my respect for King Jehoshaphat of Judah. 15 But get me someone to play some music.”

While the musician was playing, Yahweh’s power came over Elisha. 16 He said, “This is what Yahweh says: Make this valley full of ditches. 17 You will not see wind or rain, but this valley will be filled with water. You, your cattle, and your other animals will drink. 18 Yahweh considers that an easy thing to do. In addition, he will put Moab at your mercy. 19 You will defeat every walled city and every important city. You will cut down every good tree, seal all the wells, and use rocks to ruin every good piece of land.”

20 That is what happened in the morning. At the time of the grain offering, water flowed from Edom and filled the countryside.

21 All the people of Moab heard that the kings had come to fight them. So all men old enough to bear arms were called to fight. They stood at the border. 22 When the Moabites got up early in the morning as the sun was rising over the water, they saw the water from a distance. It was as red as blood. 23 They said, “It’s blood! The kings have been fighting one another and have killed each other. Now, Moabites, let’s take their goods!”

24 So when the Moabites came to Israel’s camp, the Israelites attacked them, and they fled from the Israelites. Israel went after the Moabites and defeated them. 25 Then Israel tore down the cities, each man throwing rocks on every good field until it was covered. They sealed every well and cut down every good tree. Only the stones in the walls of Kir Hareseth were left. Soldiers surrounded Kir Hareseth and attacked it with slings and stones. 26 When the king of Moab saw he was losing the battle, he took 700 swordsmen to try to break through to the king of Edom. But they couldn’t do it. 27 Then he took his firstborn son, who would have succeeded him as king, and sacrificed him on the wall as a burnt offering. There was bitter anger against the Israelites. So they went home to their own country.


  1. 2 Kings 3:1 In the Masoretic Text this king of Israel is also called Jehoram, a longer form of Joram.
  2. 2 Kings 3:11 Or “He used to pour water on Elijah’s hands.”