The Moabites were the descendants of Lot the nephew of Abraham (see Genesis 19:30-37). This particular group of people usully had problems with the Israeli people. When the kingdom of Israel had split in half, Jeroboam (leader of the northern kingdom of Israel) subdued the Moabites once again. The kingdom revolted later while they were under an Israeli king named Omri, who had to take control of Moab once again. The Moabite still refused to stay under an Israeli yoke, and they rebelled against another king named Ahaziah. This time around the Moabites joined forces with the people of Ammon, and they made war against King Jehoshaphat of Judah. This event is placed on the Biblical Timeline during the reign of Kings of the Divided Kingdom.
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King Jehoshaphat was the fourth king of Judah since its split with Israel and according to God he was considered a good ruler. He started his rule when he was 35, but he didn’t remove every last trace of the Golden Calf cult started by Jeroboam. He had peace with the kings of Israel during his reign.
Jehoshaphat and Israel
Since King Jehoshaphat had a good relationship with Israel the king of Israel (Joram) asked him for his aid with defeating the Moabites. King Jehoshaphat had helped in an earlier campaign against Ramoth Gilead. Since Jehoshaphat was a God fearing man, he always sought out the advice of the Lord to see if it was a good idea to fight against a certain group of people.
Shortly after Ahab had died King Joram was in charge and the Moabite King Mesha decided he no longer wanted to pay tribute to the Israelites. Mesha asked the Ammonites to join forces with him in his rebellion. So King Joram gathered his forces and then asked King Jehoshaphat to fight with him against King Mesha and his forces. Jehoshaphat agreed to fight with him, but he still wanted to know God’s thoughts on the matter. So he sought out prophet that could inform him about what God would say about the matter and the prophet Elisha gave them a favorable report.
The Moabites believe they are Victorious
The Moabites thought that the Israelites were dead when they saw a river that had water that looked like blood. They foolishly went ahead to plunder the Israelis belongings, and they were routed by the Israeli army. The Moabites were beaten back to their homeland, and the King of Moab had sacrificed his son on a wall to try to turn the battle back in his favor, but it didn’t work. The Moabites were subjected once again to King Jehoshaphat and King Joram and the Ammonites were defeated.
God Gives Victory to a Righteous King
God knew that Jehoshaphat wasn’t perfect, but he was a king that believed in him. This is one of the reasons as to why King Jehoshaphat was able to defeat the powerful Moabite army. When Kings Jehoshaphat and Joram had met with Elisha, the prophet told them that he would tell them to get out of his face if it wasn’t for the fact that he respected Jehoshaphat. Elisha’s words help to point out the fact that God did think that Jehoshaphat was committed to his cause and him.
- 1 Kings 12:20 Jeroboam subdues the Moabites.
- 2 Kings 1:1 Moab revolted again from Judah and had to be brought back under control by King Omri.
- 2 Kings 3:5 Moabites rebel under Ahaziah.
- 1 Kings 22:41-44 These scriptures explain Jehoshaphat’s rule.
- 1 Kings 22:1-28 King Jehoshaphat teams up with King Joram to fight against Romoth Gilead.
- 2 Kings 3:14-19 The prophet Elisha tells King Jehoshaphat that he will be victorious over the Moabites.
- 2 Kings 3:21-23 The Moabites wrongly believes that the Israelites are dead and lets down their guard.
- 2 Kings 3:24-27 The Moabites were defeated the Israelites, and they lost many of their home cities and territories.