2 Kings 3:24
And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.
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(24) Smote the Moabites.—Who were unprepared for resistance.

But they went forward smiting . . . country.—The Hebrew text (Kethib) has, and he went (way-yābô, spelt defectively, as in 1Kings 12:12) into it (i.e., the land of Moab), and smote (literally, smiting an infinitive for a finite form) Moab. This is better than the Hebrew margin (Qeri), and they smote it (i.e. Moab), or the reading of some MSS. and the Targum and Syriac, “and they smote them, and smote Moab,” which is tautologous. The original reading is perhaps represented by that of the LXX., καὶ ἐπάταξαν εἰσπορευόμενοι καὶτύπτοντες τὴν Μωαβ, “and they entered the country, destroying as they went on.” (In Hebrew the participles would be infinitives.)

2 Kings 3:24. They went forward, smiting the Moabites, even in their country — They pursued them to their own country, and entered it with and after them; the passes, which the Moabites had before defended, being now open to them.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.The sun had risen with a ruddy light, as is frequently the case after a storm (compare Matthew 16:3), nearly over the Israelite camp, and the pits, deep but with small mouths, gleaming redly through the haze which would lie along the newly moistened valley, seemed to the Moabites like pools of blood. The preceding year, they and their allies had mutually destroyed each other 2 Chronicles 20:23. It seemed to them, from their knowledge of the jealousies between Judah, Israel, and Edom, not unlikely that a similar calamity had now befallen their foes. 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).

They pursued them to their own country, and entered it with and after them; the passes, which before the Moabites defended, being now open for them. And when they came to the camp of Israel,.... Not in an orderly regular manner, in rank and file, as an army should march, but in a confused manner, everyone striving who should get thither first, and have the largest share of the booty:

the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them; being prepared for them, they fell upon them sword in hand, and soon obliged them to flee:

but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country; they pursued them closely, and slew them as they fled, and followed them not only to their borders, but into their own country: though Schultens (m), from the use of the word in the Arabic language, renders the passage, "and they blunted their swords in it (in that slaughter), even by smiting the Moabites".

(m) De Defect. Hod. Ling. Heb. sect. 26.

And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them: but they {p} went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country.

(p) Meaning, they followed them into the towns.

24. the Israelites rose up and smote the Moabites] The hasty and irregular manner in which the Moabites rushed forward, with no thought but of an easy booty, gave the Israelites an opportunity which otherwise they would not have had. Before their assailants could gather themselves for resistance they were able to put them to a confused flight. And the discovery of their mistake would paralyse the Moabites and make victory certain for Israel and their allies.

but they went forward smiting the Moabites, even in their country] R.V. they went forward into the land smiting the Moabites. The Hebrew text presents some difficulty here. The word which R.V. has represented by ‘into the land’ is literally ‘into it’. But as Moab (translated Moabites) has been mentioned in the previous clause the pronoun may fairly be referred to it. The verb ‘they went forward’ is not of the usual form and for יכאו = יכו the marginal reading of the Massoretic text suggests יכו = they smote, and this the margin of A.V. translates, ‘and they smote in it, even smiting’. But the suggestion seems unnecessary. The LXX. read יכו for they give εἰσῆλθον εἰσπορευόμενοι, apparently having taken the preposition and pronoun בה for the verb בוא.Verse 24. - And when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up. The first rush of the main body would be upon the camp, where they would expect to find the richest spoil. It was near at hand; and the occupants kept themselves concealed in it, expecting the disorderly attack which actually took place. They then "rose up," and fell upon the crowd of assailants, who were off their guard, and expecting nothing less. A confused rout followed. And smote the Moabites, so that they fled before them. Josephus says, "Some of the Moabites were cut to pieces; the others fled, and dispersed themselves over their country." But they went forward, smiting the Moabites even in their country. There are two readings here, ויבו and ויכו. The former is to be preferred, and is to be pointed וַיָּבו (for וַיָּבוא, as in 1 Kings 12:12). This gives the meaning of the text. The marginal translation follows the Keri וַיַּכוּ, which is (as Keil says) "a bad emendation." Elisha 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.
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