|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
3:6-19 The king of Israel laments their distress, and the danger they were in. He called these kings together, yet he charges it upon Providence. Thus the foolishness of man perverteth his way, and then his heart fretteth against the Lord, Pr 19:3. It was well that Jehoshaphat inquired of the Lord now, but it had been much better if he had done it before he engaged in this war. Good men sometimes neglect their duty, till necessity and affliction drive them to it. Wicked people often fare the better for the friendship and society of the godly. To try their faith and obedience, Elisha bids them make the valley full of pits to receive water. Those who expect God's blessings, must dig pools for the rain to fill, as in the valley of Baca, and thus make even that a well, Ps 84:6. We need not inquire whence the water came. God is not tied to second causes. They that sincerely seek for the dew of God's grace, shall have it, and by it be made more than conquerors.
Verse 8. - And he said, Which way shall we go up? Jehoram asked Jehoshaphat's advice as to the plan of campaign. There 'were two ways in which Moab might be approached - the direct one across the Jordan and then southward through the country east of the Dead Sea to the Amen, which was the boundary between Moab and Israel; and a circuitous one through the desert west of the Red Sea, and across the Arabah south of it, then northwards through Northern Edom, to the brook Zered, or Wady-el- Ahsy, which was the boundary between Moab and Edom. If the former route were pursued, Moab would be entered on the north; if the latter, she would be attacked on the south. Jehoshaphat recommended the circuitous route. And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom; probably for two reasons: Edom, though under a native king, was a dependency of Judah (1 Kings 22:47), and on passing through the Edomite country, an Edomite contingent might be added to the invading force; Moab, moreover, was mere likely to be surprised by an attack on this quarter, which was unusual, and from which she would not anticipate danger.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And he said, which way shall we go up.... That is, Jehoram said so to Jehoshaphat, consulting with him which was the best way to take to the land of Moab, whether the shortest way, over Jordan; or some other:
and he answered, the way through the wilderness of Edom; which bordered upon it, and the same through which the Israelites passed; for Kadesh was on the extreme border of Edom, whither they came, Numbers 20:1 and this Jehoshaphat proposed, partly that they might come upon Moab unawares, and attack them where they were weakest, and not on their guard; and partly, to take the king of Edom with them, who was no other than Jehoshaphat's deputy, and so be assisting to them, and prevent him from revolting, which otherwise he might take this opportunity of doing.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8-12. Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom—This was a long and circuitous route, by the southern bend of the Dead Sea. Jehoshaphat however preferred it, partly because the part of the Moabite territory at which they would arrive, was the most defenseless; and partly because he would thereby enlist, in the expedition, the forces of the king of Edom. But, in penetrating the deep, rocky valley of Ahsy, which forms the boundary between Edom and Moab, the confederate army was reduced, both man and beast, to the greatest extremities for want of water. They were disappointed by finding the wady of this valley, the brook Zered (De 2:13-18) [Robinson], dry. Jehoram was in despair. But the pious mind of Jehoshaphat inquired for a prophet of the Lord; and, on being informed that Elisha was at hand, the three kings "went down to him"; that is, to his tent, which was either in the camp, or close by it. He had been directed thither by the Spirit of God for this special purpose. They went to him, not only as a mark of respect, but to supplicate for his assistance.
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