Explaining 2 Kings 3:27

Q. Can you explain what happens on 2 Kings 3:27.  Did the God of Israel or the god of the Moabites give great wrath to the Israelites ?

A. There’s a lot of discussion over this verse and no real agreement.  The language is so vague that a clear translation has eluded scholars.  We know that Chemosh, the god of the Moabites was a false god, and even the demons behind him lacked sufficient power to overcome the Israelites in opposition to God’s will.  And yet it doesn’t seem likely that God would release His wrath against the Israelites for fulfilling a prophecy that He has just given them through Elisha (2 Kings 3:15-19) especially since He had just provided water for them and their animals.

Therefore the wrath came neither from Chemosh nor God.  Many scholars feel it seems reasonable to use a lesser meaning of the Hebrew word translated wrath and interpret the verse to mean that having completely fulfilled Elisha’s prophecy, and seeing the desperation of the Moabite King in sacrificing his son and heir, the Israelites in effect were displeased with themselves, lost heart, and disengaged from the battle.

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