And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even to the king of Edom: but they could not.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The battle was too sore for him.—The garrison was giving way under the destructive fire of the slingers.
To break through even unto the king of Edom.—Because the Edomite contingent seemed to be the most vulnerable point in the allied army, or because he hoped that these unwilling allies of Israel would allow him to escape through their ranks.2 Kings 3:26. He took with him seven hundred men — to break through, &c. — He made a sally with seven hundred stout men, upon the quarter of the king of Edom, which he thought the weakest side, hoping to break through and escape. But they were repulsed, and compelled to retreat.2 Kings 3:8 note). 2 Chronicles 20:22.
he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords; men expert in war, bold and daring:
to break through even unto the king of Edom; through his quarters, and so escape, he lying nearest to the city, and perhaps the weakest body of men with him; or he might think he was not so hearty in the cause of the kings, and would make but a feeble resistance, and let him pass:
but they could not; break through they met with a greater opposition than was expected perhaps the Edomites remembered how they had lately used them, which made them fight more desperately against them, see 2 Chronicles 20:23.And when the king of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him, he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the king of Edom: but they could not.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)26. he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords] R.V. sword. In this phrase the singular is of the more frequent occurrence in A.V. The Moabite king desired to cut his way through the besiegers and so to escape, and he made the attempt in the direction of the king of Edom’s troops, either because that was the weaker side of the allied host, or else because he thought he might be received by the Edomite king, and that they together might turn against the combined forces of Israel and Judah. Josephus suggests the former reason, saying he made his sally where the guard was relaxed. The expression ‘break through unto the king of Edom’ seems to hint that he thought to find there an ally.Verse 26. - And when the King of Moab saw that the battle was too sore for him - i.e. that he could not hope to maintain the defense much longer, but would be forced to surrender the fortress - he took with him seven hundred men that drew swords, to break through even unto the King of Edom. Perhaps he regarded the King of Edom as the weakest of the three confederates, and the least likely to offer effectual resistance; perhaps he viewed him as a traitor, since Edom had been his ally a little earlier (2 Chronicles 20:10, 22), and wished to wreak his vengeance on him. But they could not. The attempt failed; Edom was too strong, and he was forced to throw himself once more into the beleaguered town. 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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