2 Kings 3:19
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.
Jump to: BarnesBensonBICambridgeClarkeDarbyEllicottExpositor'sExp DctGaebeleinGSBGillGrayGuzikHaydockHastingsHomileticsJFBKDKingLangeMacLarenMHCMHCWParkerPoolePulpitSermonSCOTTBWESTSK
(19) And ye shall smite . . . shall fell . . .—These verbs are continuative of those in the last verse, i.e., they do not command a course of action, but foretell it. (Comp. 2Kings 8:12-13.) Taken as commands, they appear to conflict with Deuteronomy 20:19, where the felling of an enemy’s fruit trees for the purposes of siege-works is forbidden. Keil, however, explains that the law relates to Canaanite territory which the Israelites were to occupy, whereas Moab’s was an enemy’s country, and therefore not to be spared.

Fenced city . . . choice city.—There is a paronomasia, or play on words of similar sound, in the Hebrew: ‘îr mibçār . . . ‘îr mibhôr.

Every good tree—i.e., fruit-bearing trees.

Stop.Genesis 26:15; Genesis 26:18.

Mar.—Literally, make to grieve: a poetical expression. An unfruitful land is said to mourn (Isaiah 24:4; Jeremiah 12:4).

Every good piece of land.All the good demesne (literally, portion, allotment).

2 Kings 3:19. Ye shall smite, &c. — If this command seem severe, it must be considered that the Moabites were a very wicked people, perfidious, cruel, and implacable enemies to God’s people upon all occasions, and now in a state of rebellion. But these words are rather to be considered as a prediction of their success, than as a command, enjoining them to do all these things; and thus understood, they imply that their victory should be so full and complete, that they should have it in their power to lay the country of the Moabites waste with fire and sword.

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.Ye shall fell every good tree - This is not an infringement of the rule laid down in Deuteronomy 20:19-20. The Israelites were not forbidden to fell the fruit trees in an enemy's country, as a part of the ravage of war, when they had no thoughts of occupying the country. The plan of thus injuring an enemy was probably in general use among the nations of these parts at the time. We see the destruction represented frequently on the Assyrian monuments and mentioned in the inscriptions of Egypt.

And stop all wells of water - The stoppage of wells was a common feature of ancient, and especially Oriental, warfare (compare Genesis 26:15-18).

Mar ... with stones - The exact converse of that suggested in Isaiah 5:2. The land in and about Palestine is so stony that the first work of the cultivator is to collect the surface stones together into heaps. An army marching through a land could easily undo this work, dispersing the stones thus gathered, and spreading them once more over the fields.

17. Ye shall not see wind—It is common in the East to speak of seeing wind, from the clouds of straw, dust, or sand, that are often whirled into the air, after a long drought. This is either, first, A command; and then the last clause is an exception from that law, Deu 20:19, which being delivered by a prophet, might be obeyed. And if this command seem severe, it must be considered that the Moabites were a very wicked people, perfidious, cruel, implacable enemies to God’s people upon all occasions, and now in a state of rebellion. Or rather, secondly, A prediction of their success, that they should have so full and complete a victory, that they should be able to do all which is here expressed.

And ye shall smite every fenced city and every choice city,.... That is, the inhabitants of them with the sword, and demolish them also, 2 Kings 3:25, and shall fell every good tree; which seems contrary to the law in Deuteronomy 20:19, but that may respect trees belonging to a city when besieged only, or only to Canaanitish cities; or the law was now dispensed with, and that for this time only, to make the punishment of Moab the greater, for their rebellion and other sins:

and stop all wells of water; which must be very distressing to those that survived the calamity of the sword:

and mar every good piece of land with stones; as that it could not be ploughed and sowed, nor anything spring up and grow upon it.

And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and {n} mar every good piece of land with stones.

(n) Though God bestows his benefits for a time on the enemies, yet he has his seasons, when he will take them away to the intent they might see his vengeance which is prepared for them.

19. and shall fell every good tree] Some persons have seen in Elisha’s language here a contradiction to Deuteronomy 20:19, where in the siege of a city the Israelites are forbidden to cut down the fruit trees. But in that place the reference is to the trees of Canaan, where the people were themselves to settle and live. The land of Moab was not to be occupied by them, therefore they were bidden to destroy everything in it. In Deuteronomy it is expressly said, ‘Thou shalt not destroy them, for thou mayest eat of them’.

stop all wells [R.V. fountains] of water] As water in the east is mostly reached by digging, what is here meant is that all such places should be filled up, so that the work of obtaining water might have all to be done over again. The R.V. gives ‘fountains’ in verse 25 also.

Mark every good piece of land] The verb, when used elsewhere, signifies ‘to give, or have, pain’. So Job 5:18, ‘He maketh sore’. Ezekiel 13:22, ‘I have not made sad’. The LXX. translates here, ‘ye shall render useless’. The expression is somewhat poetical, representing the land as mourning because it is rendered unfruitful. But a similar figure, though not the same word, is found Jeremiah 12:4, ‘How long shall the land mourn, and the herbs of every field wither?’

Verse 19. - And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city. The LXX. omit the second clause, perhaps because they could not reproduce in Greek the assonance of the Hebrew, where the words for "fenced" and "choice" (מִבְצֶר and מִבְחור) have nearly the same sound. And shall fell every good tree. It has been said that the Law forbade this, and argued

(1) that Elisha did not here utter a command, but only a prediction (Pool), not bidding the Israelites to cut down the trees, but only telling them they would do so;

(2) that Elisha intentionally excepted the Moabites from the merciful provision of the Law (Deuteronomy 20:19, 20), having authority to do so, and regarding the Moabites as exceptionally wicked (Keil); and

(3) that the Mosaic Law was not observed under the kings, and that Elisha himself had forgotten the provision about fruit trees (Geddes). But a careful examination of the passage in Deuteronomy will show

(1) that there is no general prohibition of the cutting down of fruit trees, but only a prohibition of their being cut down for siege works;

(2) that the prohibition rests on prudential, not on moral, grounds, and is thus practically limited to cases where the conquest of the country attacked, and its occupation by the conquerors, are looked forward to. The words are, "When thou shalt besiege a city.... thou shalt not destroy the trees thereof by forcing an axe against them: for thou mayest eat of them." The destruction of the fruit trees in an enemy's country was a common feature of the wars of the period, and was largely practiced, both By the Assyrians and the Egyptians (see Layard's 'Monuments of Nineveh,' first series, p. 73; second series, pl. 40; 'Nineveh and Babylon,' p. 588; and 'Records of the Past,' vol. 2. pp. 5, 51, etc.). And stop all wells of water. The stoppage of springs and wells was another common practice in ancient times, often employed against enemies and aliens. The Philistines stopped the Hebrew wells in the days of Isaac (Genesis 26:18). Hezekiah stopped the springs of water outside Jerusalem, when he expected to be besieged By the Assyrians (2 Chronicles 32:3, 4). The Scythians, when Darius invaded their country, stopped all their own wells as they retired before him (Herod., 4:120). Arsaces III. partly stopped, and partly poi-ached, the Persian wells in his war with Antiochus the Great (Polyb., 10:28. § 5). The practice was regarded as quite legitimate. And mar every good piece of land with stones; literally, grieve every good piece of land. To clear the stones off a piece of ground was the first step towards preparing it for cultivation in the stony regions on either side of the Jordan. The clearance was generally effected by collecting the stones into heaps. When it was wished to "mar the land," the stones were there to be spread over it afresh. 2 Kings 3:19Elisha continued: "and this is too little for Jehovah (the comparative force of נקל is implied in the context, especially in the alternating combination of the two clauses, which is indicated by ו...ו, see Ewald, 360, c.): He will also give Moab into your hand, and ye will smite all the fortified and choice cities, fell all the good trees (fruit-trees), stop up all the springs of water, and spoil all the good fields with stones." מבצר and מבחור are intended to produce a play upon words, through the resemblance in their sound and meaning (Ewald, 160, c.). In the announcement of the devastation of the land there is an allusion to Deuteronomy 20:19-20, according to which the Israelites were ordered to spare the fruit-trees when Canaan was taken. These instructions were not to apply to Moab, because the Moabites themselves as the arch-foes of Israel would not act in any other way with the land of Israel if they should gain the victory. הכאב, to add pain, is a poetical expression for spoiling a field or rendering it infertile through the heaping up of stones.
2 Kings 3:19 Interlinear
2 Kings 3:19 Parallel Texts

2 Kings 3:19 NIV
2 Kings 3:19 NLT
2 Kings 3:19 ESV
2 Kings 3:19 NASB
2 Kings 3:19 KJV

2 Kings 3:19 Bible Apps
2 Kings 3:19 Parallel
2 Kings 3:19 Biblia Paralela
2 Kings 3:19 Chinese Bible
2 Kings 3:19 French Bible
2 Kings 3:19 German Bible

Bible Hub

2 Kings 3:18
Top of Page
Top of Page