Biblical Hermeneutics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for professors, theologians, and those interested in exegetical analysis of biblical texts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

2 Kings 3:24-27

24 But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites. 25 They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered. They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree. Only Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it.

26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle had gone against him, he took with him seven hundred swordsmen to break through to the king of Edom, but they failed. 27 Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.

If I am understanding the text correctly, King of Moab has sacrificed the first son causing fury against Israel, and the army of Israel withdraws. My question is who is furious against Israel? The people? God? Or someone else? How does this cause them to withdraw?

share|improve this question

migrated from Feb 26 '14 at 13:33

This question came from our site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more.

My Dutch translation (NBV) translates basically as 'this dismayed/shocked the Israelites so much they withdrew', which suggests the Israelites where the ones being furious. But I have no idea if/how that translation is justified. – AVee Feb 18 '15 at 23:30

Then the king of Moab took his oldest son, who would have been the next king, and sacrificed him as a burnt offering on the wall. So there was great anger against Israel, and the Israelites withdrew and returned to their own land. (2 Kings 3:27, NLT)

I'd interpret this as saying that the king sacrificed his son which then fuelled the rage of the Moabites - it showed how passionate their king was, and it perhaps suggested to them what would happen to all of their children if they didn't get the Israelites to leave. So they then convinced the Israelites to leave, probably by arming the entire city making their army much larger.

share|improve this answer

I found this and thought it would be useful:

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary (2 Kings 3:27):

took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering, &c.— By this deed of horror, to which the allied army drove the king of Moab, a divine judgment came upon Israel; that is, the besiegers feared the anger of God, which they had incurred by giving occasion to the human sacrifice forbidden in the law (Le 18:21; 20:3), and hastily raised the siege.

share|improve this answer

I think the point you all are missing is a correct translation is "a divine anger" which means a God sent out an anger against Israel. Why would YHVH sent anger against them when he sent them to begin with. I think more it was Chemosh that sent the anger and this being one scripture admitting directly that other Gods existed, in the minds of the people of Israel.

share|improve this answer

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

Welcome to Stack Exchange, we are glad you are here. Please consider registering an account to fully take advantage of what this site has to offer. Also, be sure to check out the site tour and in particular what constitutes a good answer. We aren't a discussion board, so answers are expected to do more than just state your opinion. Please revise your post to either cite references that back your position or to more thoroughly explain how you get this interpretation from the text itself. – ThaddeusB Sep 15 '15 at 22:04

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.