2 Kings 3:22
And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:
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(22) They rose up early.—The Moabite camp on the frontier mountains.

And the sun shone upon the water.—A parenthesis (now the sun had risen upon the water). The red sunrise tinged the water with the same colour.

On the other side.Min-nèged, “opposite,” “over against them” (2Kings 2:7; 2Kings 2:15). The sun rose behind the Moabites.

Red.—’Adōm. There may be an allusion to the red earth of the locality (Edom), which would further redden the water.

2 Kings 3:22-23. The sun shone upon the water, &c. — They stood in such a situation, when they looked at the water, that those rays of the sun which gave a red colour, were reflected from the water to their eyes; or the light of the morning sun shining upon the water, through the vapours that arose from the earth, gave it a reddish appearance; so that they imagined it to be blood, which they were the more inclined to suppose, because they knew very well there was no water there before. And they said — The kings are surely slain, &c. — As they concluded what they saw could be nothing but blood, so they could not conceive it could be any other blood than that of the army of the three kings, who they thought had fallen out among themselves, vexed at the straits into which they had brought one another. Now therefore, Moab, to the spoil — Easily believing what they wished, they imagined they had nothing to do but to go and take the spoil, having no need to fight at all. Therefore they sent no scouts, but marched thither with their whole army, and that in great disorder: wherein, also, there was a divine hand, strengthening them in their mistakes, and hardening them to their destruction.

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).

Because of the morning sun, which meeting with the vapours that arose from the earth, and shining through them upon the water, gave it a reddish tincture. God also so ordered things, that their senses and fancies were disturbed, or the air so disposed, that it might seem of this colour. And they might more easily mistake this for blood, because they knew that that ground was generally dry, and without any trenches or streams of water, now especially in this dry season, there being no noise of wind and rain, 2 Kings 3:17. And they might justly think that the three kings being divided in their religion and interests, and discontented for want of water, might fall into dissensions, and heats, and mutual slaughters, of which they had a late example, 2 Chronicles 20:22,23.

And they rose up early in the morning,.... To watch the motions of their enemies, and be upon their guard against them:

and the sun shone upon the water; with which the valley was filled:

and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood; so it appeared through the rays of the sun reflected on it.

And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:
22. they rose up early in the morning] When the rays of the sun would be shining obliquely on the water, and would cause it to have an unusual colour.

the water on the other side] R.V. over against them. See above on 2 Kings 2:7as red as blood] This would be partly due to the slanting rays of the sun, and partly perhaps to the redness of the land through which the water had flowed. It was impossible for the Moabites to think what they saw to be water, for no signs of rain had been observable.

Verse 22. - And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood. The red hue of the water is ascribed by Ewald to "the red tinge of the soil" in the part of Edom where the rain had fallen ('History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 88); by Keil, to "the reddish earth of the freshly dug trenches," or pits ('Commentary on 2 Kings,' p. 305); but the only cause of the redness mentioned either in Kings or in Josephus is the ruddy hue of the sunrise. A ruddy sunrise is common in the East, more especially in stormy weather (see Matthew 16:3); and the red light, falling upon the water in the pits, and reflected thence to the opposite side of the wady, would quite sufficiently account for the mistake of the Moabites, without supposing that the water was actually stained and discolored. The Moabites concluded that the red-looking liquid was blood, from knowing that the wady was dry the day before, and from not suspecting that there had been any change in the night, as the storm which had caused the change was at such a distance. 2 Kings 3:22The 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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