2 Kings 3:21
And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armour, and upward, and stood in the border.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(21) And when . . . heard . . . they gathered.Now all the Moabites had heard . . . and had gathered themselves: literally, had been summoned, called together (Judges 7:23).

All that were able to put on armour.From every one girding on a girdle, and upwardsi.e., all of adult age, all who could bear arms. It was a levy en masse of the male population for the defence of the country.

Stood in.Had taken their stand on the frontier.

2 Kings 3:21. All that were able to put on armour and upward — That is, from youths, that were but just able to put on armour, to those that were far advanced in life; so that none were exempted. And stood in the border —

Of their country, intending to defend themselves, but not to march out of their country to give the enemy battle.

3:20-27 It is a blessing to be favoured with the company of those who have power with God, and can prevail by their prayers. A kingdom may be upheld and prosper, in consequence of the fervent prayers of those who are dear to God. May we place our highest regard upon such as are most precious in his account. When sinners are saying Peace, peace, destruction comes upon them: despair will follow their mad presumption. In Satan's service and at his suggestion, such horrid deeds have been done, as cause the natural feelings of the heart to shudder; like the king of Moab's sacrificing his son. It is well not to urge the worst of men to extremities; we should rather leave them to the judgment of God.And stood in the border - On the north side of the wady, ready to defend their territory. 20-24. when the meat offering was offered—that is, at the time of the morning sacrifice, accompanied, doubtless, with solemn prayers; and these led, it may be, by Elisha on this occasion, as on a similar one by Elijah (1Ki 18:36).

behold, there came water by the way of Edom—Far from the Israelitish camp, in the eastern mountains of Edom, a great fall of rain, a kind of cloudburst, took place, by which the wady was at once filled, but they saw neither the wind nor the rains. The divine interposition was shown by introducing the laws of nature to the determined end in the predetermined way [Keil]. It brought not only aid to the Israelitish army in their distress, by a plentiful supply of water, but destruction on the Moabites, who, perceiving the water, under the refulgent rays of the morning sun, red like blood, concluded the confederate kings had quarrelled and deluged the field with their mutual slaughter; so that, rushing to their camp in full expectation of great spoil, they were met by the Israelites, who, prepared for battle, fought and pursued them. Their country was laid waste in the way, which has always been considered the greatest desolation in the East (2Ki 3:24).

To put on armour, Heb. to gird on a girdle, i.e. a military girdle, to which the sword was fastened, 2 Samuel 20:8 1 Kings 2:5.

In the border, or, in that border, to wit, of their country, which was towards Edom, which way they understood the kings came. Here they stood probably to defend the passages into their country.

And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them,.... The kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom:

they gathered all that were able to put on armour, and upward; that were of an age capable of that, and all who were more grown; or "girt on a girdle" (l), a military one, with which the sword was girt, who were at age to wear and knew how to wield a sword: and stood in the border; of their land, between Edom and them, to defend themselves and their country against these invaders.

(l) "eingente cingulo", Montanus.

And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they gathered all that were able to put on armor, and upward, and stood in the border.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
21. And [R.V. Now] when all the Moabites heard] By the circuitous journey which the armies had made their march would be less observed, and it would only be at the time of their appearance on the frontier that the object of their expedition would become known. But the casting off the yoke of Israel, and the freeing of their land from such a burdensome tribute made the war popular in Moab, and all were prepared to do their duty against the invaders.

come up] See above on verse 7.

they gathered all that were able to put on armour] R.V. they gathered themselves together, all &c. The verb is literally, ‘they called themselves together’. The expression indicates the enthusiasm with which each man appealed to his neighbour. ‘To put on armour’ is literally ‘to gird themselves with a girdle’, for to the girdle the weapon was attached.

and stood in the border] This would naturally be a height dividing their country from the land of Edom.

21–27. The Moabites attack the allied armies, but are defeated. The king of Moab sacrifices his eldest son (Not in Chronicles)

Verse 21. - And when all the Moabites heard that the kings were come up to fight against them. The Hebrew has no pluperfect tense; but the verbs have here a pluperfect force. Translate, When all the Moabites had heard that the kings were come up to fight against them, they had gathered all that were able, etc. The muster of the troops had long preceded the storm. They gathered all that were able to put on amour; literally, there had been gathered together all that girded themselves with girdles; i.e. all the male population of full age. And upward - i.e., and all above the age when the girdle was first assumed - and stood in the border; took up a position near the extreme border of their territory, on the northern bank of the Wady-el-Ahsy. 2 Kings 3:21The water came in the morning at the time of the morning sacrifice (see 1 Kings 18:36), to indicate that the Lord was once more restoring His favour to the people on account of the sacrifice presented to Him in His temple.

The help of God, which preserved the Israelitish army from destruction, also prepared destruction for the Moabites. 2 Kings 3:21-23. On hearing the report of the march of the allied kings, Moab had raised all the men that were capable of bearing arms, and stationed them on the frontier. In the morning, when the sun had risen above the water, the Moabites saw the water opposite to them like blood, and said: "That is blood: the (allied) kings have destroyed themselves and smitten one another; and now to the spoil, Moab!" Coming with this expectation to the Israelitish camp, they were received by the allies, who were ready for battle, and put to flight. The divine help consisted, therefore, not in a miracle which surpassed the laws of nature, but simply in the fact that the Lord God, as He had predicted through His prophet, caused the forces of nature ordained by Him to work in the predetermined manner. As the sudden supply of an abundance of water was caused in a natural way by a heavy fall of rain, so the illusion, which was so fatal to the Moabites, is also to be explained in the natural manner indicated in the text. From the reddish earth of the freshly dug trenches the water collected in them had acquired a reddish colour, which was considerably intensified by the rays of the rising sun, so that when seen from a distance it resembled blood. The Moabites, however, were the less likely to entertain the thought of an optical delusion, from the fact that with their accurate acquaintance with the country they knew very well that there was no water in the wady at that time, and they had neither seen nor heard anything of the rain which had fallen at a great distance off in the Edomitish mountains. The thought was therefore a natural one, that the water was blood, and that the cause of the blood could only have been that their enemies had massacred one another, more especially as the jealousy between Israel and Judah was not unknown to them, and they could have no doubt that Edom had only come with them as a forced ally after the unsuccessful attempt at rebellion which it had made a short time before; and, lastly, they cannot quite have forgotten their own last expedition against Judah in alliance with the Edomites and Ammonites, which had completely failed, because the men composing their own army had destroyed one another. But if they came into collision with the allied army of the Israelites under such a delusion as this, the battle could only end in defeat and in a general flight so far as they were concerned.

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