And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)And he said—i.e., Jehoram said.
Which way.—They might cross the Jordan, and attack the northern frontier of Moab, or they might round the southern end of the Dead Sea, and invade Moab from the side of Edom. The former was the shortest route for both kings. But Moab’s strongest defences were on the north frontier, and the allies would be liable to attacks from the Syrians in Ramoth-gilead (2Kings 8:28). The longer and more difficult southern road may have been chosen partly on these grounds, and partly because Jehoshaphat wished to march as far as might be within his own territory, and to get a contingent from Edom, which was at this time subject to him (1Kings 22:48), and perhaps to hold it in check. Moreover, the Moabites were less likely to be on their guard on the southern border, which was more difficult of access.
And he answered.—Said—i.e., Jehoshaphat.2 Chronicles 20:22; and they would come upon the Moabites unprepared. He said; either Jehoshaphat; or rather, Jehoram; for the following answer may seem to be Jehoshaphat’s.
Through the wilderness of Edom; which though it was much the longer way, yet they thought it best; partly to secure the king or viceroy of Edom, of whom they might have some suspicion, from that passage, 2 Chronicles 20:22, and to carry both him and his soldiers along with them into the war, both to get their assistance, and to prevent them from, making a war of diversion against Judah, whilst Jehoshaphat was engaged against Moab; and partly that they might invade Moab on their weakest side, and where they least expected them. God also thus disposed their hearts to make way for the following miracle.
and he answered, the way through the wilderness of Edom; which bordered upon it, and the same through which the Israelites passed; for Kadesh was on the extreme border of Edom, whither they came, Numbers 20:1 and this Jehoshaphat proposed, partly that they might come upon Moab unawares, and attack them where they were weakest, and not on their guard; and partly, to take the king of Edom with them, who was no other than Jehoshaphat's deputy, and so be assisting to them, and prevent him from revolting, which otherwise he might take this opportunity of doing.And he said, Which way shall we go up? And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. And he said, Which way shall we go up?] These are the words of Jehoram, who leaves to his ally, the elder monarch, the decision of the line of march. They might have crossed the Jordan to the north of the Dead Sea and so come upon Moab from the north, but they would have had more difficulty then in bringing the king of Edom and his army along with them. The LXX. has ‘Which way shall I go up?’
through the wilderness of Edom] It would seem from 1 Kings 22:47 (see note there) that the Edomite royal family had come to an end, and that Jehoshaphat claimed the rights over that land which had been held in former times by Solomon. Hence the ‘deputy’ spoken of in that passage as ‘king of Edom’ would be one set up and maintained on his throne by the king of Judah. We can see from this how the way through Edom would be easy and would commend itself to Jehoshaphat.Verse 8. - And he said, Which way shall we go up? Jehoram asked Jehoshaphat's advice as to the plan of campaign. There 'were two ways in which Moab might be approached - the direct one across the Jordan and then southward through the country east of the Dead Sea to the Amen, which was the boundary between Moab and Israel; and a circuitous one through the desert west of the Red Sea, and across the Arabah south of it, then northwards through Northern Edom, to the brook Zered, or Wady-el- Ahsy, which was the boundary between Moab and Edom. If the former route were pursued, Moab would be entered on the north; if the latter, she would be attacked on the south. Jehoshaphat recommended the circuitous route. And he answered, The way through the wilderness of Edom; probably for two reasons: Edom, though under a native king, was a dependency of Judah (1 Kings 22:47), and on passing through the Edomite country, an Edomite contingent might be added to the invading force; Moab, moreover, was mere likely to be surprised by an attack on this quarter, which was unusual, and from which she would not anticipate danger. 2 Kings 3:1, see at 2 Kings 1:17. Joram or Jehoram was not so ungodly as his father Ahab and his Mother Jezebel. He had the statue or pillar of Baal, which his father had erected in Samaria, removed; and it was only to the sin of Jeroboam, i.e., the calf-worship, that he adhered. Joram therefore wished to abolish the worship of Baal and elevate the worship of Jehovah, under the image of the calf (ox), into the region of his kingdom once more. For the singular suffix ממּנּה see Ewald, 317, a. He did not succeed, however, in exterminating the worship of Baal. It not only continued in Samaria, but appears to have been carried on again in the most shameless manner (cf. 2 Kings 10:18.); at which we cannot be surprised, since his mother Jezebel, that fanatical worshipper of Baal, was living throughout the whole of his reign (2 Kings 9:30).
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