2 Kings 3:25
And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees: only in Kirharaseth left they the stones thereof; however, the slingers went about it, and smote it.
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(25) And they beat down the cities.—Rather, And the cities they would overthrow, describing what happened again and again.

On every . . . filled it.—Literally, And every good plot, they would cast each man his stone, and fill it; and every fountain of water they would stop, and every good tree they would fell. All this as Elisha foretold, 2Kings 3:19.

Only in Kir-haraseth left they the stones thereof.—Literally, as margin, until one left her stones in Kir-harèseth. This clause connects itself with the opening statement, “And the cities they would overthrow (or, kept overthrowing) until her stones were left in Kir-harèseth,” i.e., the work of destruction stopped before the walls of this, the principal strong-hold of the country. In the other cities the invaders had not left one stone upon another.

Kir-haraseth.—Called “Kir-moab,” Isaiah 15:1, and “Kir-hères,” Isaiah 16:11. The Targum on Isaiah 15 calls it “Kerak (castle) of Moab,” and it still bears that name. It stands upon a steep cliff of chalk.

Howbeit the slingers went about it.And the slingers went round, surrounded it.

And smote iti.e., shot at the men on the walls with deadly effect.

2 Kings 3:25. They stopped all the wells of water, &c. — These, in all probability, are hyperbolical expressions, signifying the great devastation which they made. Only in Kir-haraseth left they the stones thereof — This was the royal city of Moab, into which the remnant of the Moabites were gathered, and where also their king was with them. The wall and buildings of this city only were left; their whole country being destroyed. Howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it — By slinging stones, they drove those from the wall who defended it, and by raising batteries against it, made great breaches therein, by which they might enter the city and take it.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.Kir-Haraseth, also Kir-Hareseth, is identified almost certainly with the modern Kerak, a strong city on the highland immediately east of the southern part of the Dead Sea. It was the great fortress of Moab, though not the capital, which was Rabbath or Rabbah. It was an important strong-hold at the time of the Crusades, and is still a place of great strength. Kir seems to have meant "fortress." It is found in Cir-cesium, Car-chemish, etc.

Kir-Haraseth resisted all the attempts to dismantle it; but the slingers found places on the hills which surrounded it, from where they could throw their stones into it and harass the garrison, though they could not take the town.

25. Kir-haraseth—(now Kerak)—Castle of Moab—then, probably, the only fortress in the land. Cast every man his stone: the stones which haply had been with great care and pains picked out of the land, and laid in heaps after the manner, they dispersed again, and slew the people, who should have cleansed them again.

Kir-haraseth was the royal and strongest city of the Moabites, Isaiah 16:7,11, into which the remnant of the Moabites were gathered, where also their king was with them.

The stones thereof: the walls and buildings of this city only were left; other cities, and in a manner their whole country, being utterly destroyed.

The slingers; either, first, such as slung small stones against those that stood upon the wall to defend it; or rather, secondly, Such as slung great stones against the walls to break them down, according to the manner of those times.

Smote it, i.e. made breaches in the walls, by which they might enter into the city, and take it. And they beat down the cities,.... Demolished the walls of them, and houses in them, wherever they came:

and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; which they had taken out of the walls and houses they pulled down; or which they picked up in the highway, as they passed along, being a stony country; or which being laid in heaps, gathered out of the fields, they took and scattered them all over them:

and they stopped all the wells of water; with stones and dirt:

and felled all the good trees; fruit bearing ones; See Gill on 2 Kings 3:19,

only in Kirharaseth left they the stones thereof; not able to demolish it, it being a strong fortified city, the principal of the kingdom, and into which the king of Moab had thrown himself, and the remains of his forces; of which see Isaiah 16:7,

howbeit, the slingers went about it, and smote it; smote the soldiers that appeared upon the walls of it; though Kimchi, and other Jewish writers, understand it of engineers, who cast out large stones from a sort of machines then in use, to batter down and break through the walls of cities.

And they beat down the cities, and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone, and filled it; and they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees: only in {q} Kirharaseth left they the stones thereof; howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it.

(q) Which was one of the principle cities of the Moabites, in which they left nothing but the walls.

25. cast every man his stone] Thus ensuring that the ground should be made, for a long time to come, useless for the pasturage of flocks.

only in Kirharaseth left they the stones thereof] R.V. until in Kirhareseth only they left the stones thereof. It will be seen from the margin of A.V. that the R.V. approaches more nearly to the literal sense of the Hebrew. What is meant to be expressed is that the only town of which the stone walls were allowed to remain was this capital city of Moab. Probably it was the only city with any solidity of walls. A pastoral people, such as the Moabites were, have very little need for fenced towns. Kirhareseth (for so the name is pointed) is the same which in Isaiah 15:1 is called Kir of Moab, and in Jeremiah 48:31; Jeremiah 48:36 Kir-heres. As Kir signifies ‘wall’ or ‘fortress’, there appears much probability that this was the only very great stronghold in the land, though Ar of Moab is mentioned as a fortified town (Numbers 21:28; Isaiah 15:1). The other village-like settlements were easily dismantled, and their stones served to strew and ruin the pastures. All that was attempted on the stronger place was to clear its walls of their defenders by means of slingers.Verse 25. - And they beat down the cities - i.e. destroyed them - leveled them with the ground - and on every good piece of land cast every man his stone (see ver. 19 and the comment ad loc.), and filled it [with stones]. And they stopped all the wells of water, and felled all the good trees - i.e. the fruit trees, δένδρα ἥμερα (Josephus) - only in Kir-haraseth left they the stones thereof; literally, until in Kir-haraseth - i.e., in Kir-haraseth only - left he the stones thereof. He (i.e. the commander, or the army) went on destroying and leveling the cities, until he came to Kir-haraseth, which proved too strong for him. There he was obliged to leave the stones untouched. Kir-haraseth, which is not mentioned among the early Moabite towns, nor even upon the Moabite Stone, and which is therefore thought to have been a newly constructed fortress (Ewald), was, in the later times, one of the most important of the strongholds of Moab (see Isaiah 15:1; Isaiah 16:7, 11; Jeremiah 48:36). It was sometimes called Kir-Moab, "the fortress of Moab." At what time it got the name of Kerak is uncertain; but we find it spoken of as Kerak-Moab by Ptolemy (about A.D. ), and by Stephen of Byzantium (about A.D. ). It was a place of much importance in the time of the Crusades. The situation is one of great strength. The fortress is built upon the top of a steep hill, surrounded on all sides by a deep arid narrow valley, which again is completely enclosed by mountains, rising higher than the fort itself. It is undoubtedly one of the strongest positions within the territory anciently possessed by the Moabites. Howbeit the slingers went about it, and smote it. Ewald thinks that by "slingers" are meant, not mere ordinary slingers, but persons who worked more elaborate engines, as catapults and the like ('History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 89, note, Eng. trans.). He is undoubtedly correct in saying that "all sorts of elaborate modes of attacking fortifications were very early known in Asia;" but it is very questionable whether the Hebrew word used (הַקַּלָּעִים) can mean anything but "slingers" in the usual sense. The LXX. translate by σφενδονῆται. The situation is one which would allow of "slingers," in the ordinary sense, sending their missiles into the place, and grievously harassing it. 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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