I’d ask you read the whole chapter to get context

Essentially Israel asks Judah and Edom to join in a conquest of Moab because Moab stopped paying their tributes to Israel.

They get a prophetic word from prophet Elisha.

“He said, "Thus says the LORD, 'Make this valley full of trenches.' For thus says the LORD, 'You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, so that you shall drink, both you and your cattle and your beasts. This is but a slight thing in the sight of the LORD; He will also give the Moabites into your hand. Then you shall strike every fortified city and every choice city, and fell every good tree and stop all springs of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.'"” ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭3:16-19‬ ‭NASB‬‬

And they fulfill it to the T

“But when they came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites arose and struck the Moabites, so that they fled before them; and they went forward into the land, slaughtering the Moabites. Thus they destroyed the cities; and each one threw a stone on every piece of good land and filled it. So they stopped all the springs of water and felled all the good trees, until in Kir-hareseth only they left its stones; however, the slingers went about it and struck it.” ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭3:24-25‬ ‭NASB‬‬

until... the king of Moab...

“Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place, and offered him as a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel, and they departed from him and returned to their own land.” ‭‭2 Kings‬ ‭3:27‬ ‭NASB‬‬

The three armies travelled seven days to get to the battle ground, almost died of thirst, experienced miracles and prophecies fulfilled, were given instructions in prophecy, fulfilled it and then a human sacrifice caused them to return empty handed, no tributes, no spoils of war, no bounty, seven day journey back home without the Moabites lifting another sword.

Please interpret verse 27. Especially in light of human sacrifice trumping prophecy. How can The Almighty promise in prophecy ”He will also give the Moabites into your hand“, after meticulous obedience from the three armies and it be overruled by a human sacrifice that generated a wrath, that evidently made them flee in terror without cause. (Moabites into your hand without spoils or objective being met to my mind is not into your hand.)

  • 1
    Duplicate of this.
    – Lucian
    Jan 9, 2019 at 9:42
  • That link you sent me to, Lucian, was exactly what I needed. The reason Elisha’s prophecy was “overturned” was because Israel had entered into covenant with Chemosh(or Moloch one and the same) and G -d as a general rule doesn’t overstep contracts that are in vigor. Israel had an open door due to their worship of Chemosh and they didn’t break off his authority over them through repentance. So when Moab called upon Chemosh, Chemosh exploited his position in the divine council and was granted permission to bring wrath on Israel. In this way the prophecy was suspended due to a legal technicality. Jan 9, 2019 at 18:21

6 Answers 6


In the Septuagint, 2 Kings 3:27 is translated literally as follows (using English word order):

"And he took his first-born son, whom he gave reign instead of him, and offered him as a whole burnt (offering) upon the wall. And it came to pass a great repentance in Israel. And they departed from him, and returned to the land."

However, the Hebrew and Syriac text do not agree with the Greek reading regarding Israel's repentance. Instead, the interpretation of those readings depends on the words "his" in reference to a first-born son (whose first-born son?), and the source of the "wrath" against Israel (whose wrath?). There's nothing in the text here that indicates an interpretation that God's wrath was involved. The context of Edom is possible from the previous verse.

Biblical scholar, Dr. Steven Anderson, posts the following explanation on truthonlybible.com:

"After Mesha’s attempt to break through to the king of Edom was unsuccessful, he retreated back into the city and performed an extreme act of desperation. His whole land had just been completely destroyed, and the Israelite army was about to break into his sole remaining city and kill both him and his army. This desperate situation prompted Mesha’s despicable act in v. 27. Mesha took the the king of Edom’s oldest son onto the height of the wall and burned his body (alive?) in full view of the attacking armies—which is what is meant by “offered (lit., ‘presented’) him as a burnt-offering.” When the Edomites saw that Israel’s assault had resulted in the death of the heir to their throne, they became enraged with Israel to the point of launching an attack, forcing the Israelite army to withdraw immediately to avoid a major battle."

The Israelites did have Moab "in their hands" as Elisha prophesied. But instead of continuing to trust in God who previously saved them from a Moabite attack, the Israelites gave up and went home.

  • Interesting angle, it’s a very curious angle I must say. Especially since it’s implying what was not said namely that thenMoabites picked up courage like the 300 Spartans or something. Granted I don’t buy it because Moab’s king had 1) retreated into the city or on the wall and 2) had only 700 warriors left. If his whole army could not defeat the three kings and their armies 700 exhausted wrathful men far less of a chance. Human sacrifices were offered to the gods and it’s not mentioned but implied that this fallen elohim or god was able to put the fear of god in Israel that they fled. Jan 8, 2019 at 5:52
  • My question is not directed at what happened but how the god could overrule a prophecy from the mouth of a prophet of G d and what role did human sacrifice have in all this? Jan 8, 2019 at 5:54
  • The short answer is that God didn't overrule anything. Neither did the Israelites flee. The problem is that you're making way too many assumptions about what's actually written in the text.
    – Dieter
    Jan 9, 2019 at 2:22
  • I said god not G-d seemingly overruled G-d’s prophecy through Elisha. also I take your point they didn’t flee, some wrath came over them and they walked back home... I’m not asking you to share my view just like I don’t share your view that it has no spiritual implication as if to say only the body and soul were in play. Where does it say that it was the only heir? We are both reading into it because there’s not a lot there. Jan 9, 2019 at 2:41
  • @MrConstantin, We now come to the point. It doesn't (or shouldn't) matter on the Biblical Hermeneutics forum whether you agree or disagree with anyone's position. That's completely irrelevant. What matters is how well you support your position using other scripture references, historical translations, scholarly commentary or papers, archaeological evidence, and so on. In my response, I included the Septuagint, tried to find it in the Dead Sea Scrolls, referenced the Syriac Peshitta, and included a scholar's commentary. Do you understand what I'm getting at? :-)
    – Dieter
    Jan 9, 2019 at 6:07

the reason why the great indignation against Israel: the scriptures cannot be broken for it is written when I see the blood I will pass over you. God is trying to show His people that sacrifice is a great weapon used to overturn battle. deliverance isbeyond prayer, it is transactional. That's why the blood of Jesus is very powerful

  • Hi Ifeoma, welcome to BHSE. Please take the Site Tour when you get a chance. This answer could be improved by showing more references and explanation for how you have reached the above conclusion. Have a great week.
    – Steve can help
    Feb 25, 2020 at 10:06

Seems pretty simple to me. The purpose of invading Moab was to depose the king and install his "son" as the new leader.
They should have waited for the king to die naturally.


First of all, one has to understand that the term "indignation" stresses extreme emotional regret or anger as a result of watching/witnessing an evil/unjust action being mented against another person. With this in mind, Israel's recognition of the Moabite king committing the heinous act of burning his son alive in the war( recorded in 2Kings chapter 3) totally killed their spirits to pursue the Moabite any more. They somehow even blamed themselves for pressing the defeate of their enemies to the extreme of the Moabites having to commit this wicked sacrifice just for the survival of the remaining few of their men.

After all, they had already prevailed against Moab in every way foretold by the prophet: they had devastated their's territory completely, discomfitted their fighting force altogether, blocked up all of the rivers and cut down all food bearing trees of Moab. So why keep pressing on with the war until someone had to die such a death before they could realize that they had won the war was the indignation that came upon them to discontinue the war.


I wrote this for a video regarding "The god who defeated Yahweh", I thought it might be helpful to you guys. Yahweh remains Undefeated. This is not an overturned prophecy, but rather the fulfillment of 1 prophecy, 2 Kings 3:10-20.and an example of God keeping his word from Deuteronomy 2:9. not sure which translation you're using but the KJV reads 2 Kings 3:10-20 10 And the king of Israel said, Alas! that the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab!

11 But Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the Lord, that we may enquire of the Lord by him? And one of the king of Israel's servants answered and said, Here is Elisha the son of Shaphat, which poured water on the hands of Elijah.

12 And Jehoshaphat said, The word of the Lord is with him. So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat and the king of Edom went down to him.

13 And Elisha said unto the king of Israel, What have I to do with thee? get thee to the prophets of thy father, and to the prophets of thy mother. And the king of Israel said unto him, Nay: for the Lord hath called these three kings together, to deliver them into the hand of Moab.

14 And Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee.

15 But now bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.

16 And he said, Thus saith the Lord, Make this valley full of ditches.

17 For thus saith the Lord, Ye shall not see wind, neither shall ye see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water, that ye may drink, both ye, and your cattle, and your beasts.

18 And this is but a light thing in the sight of the Lord: he will deliver the Moabites also into your hand.

19 And ye shall smite every fenced city, and every choice city, and shall fell every good tree, and stop all wells of water, and mar every good piece of land with stones.

20 And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered, that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom, and the country was filled with water.

You'll see in verse 19 "He will deliver the MOABITES also INTO YOUR HAND" NOT "hand Moab over to you" as is shown in the cherry picked translation used to present this arguement online, and in this video. What happens to Israel or what Israel does after they(THE MOABITES NOT MOAB) have been delivered into their hand is irrelivent to the prophecy. Period. 2 Kings 3:27 says this was king Meshas son who was to rule in his stead, If Israel had Killed King Mesha and taken Moab, Moab would have belonged to Israel as a property which God forbids in Deuteronomy 2:9 9 And the Lord said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.

So it should come as no surprise that a great indignation from God should come against Israel for attempting to take possession of Moab. Their beef was with King Mesha who refused to continue paying them. Please forgive my formatting, spelling, and grammar, I'm not a writer. At 5:12 into the video the narrator says "The Moabites claiming victory and attributing it to Chemosh isn't quite enough to say that Yahweh was defeated by Chemosh, and a struggle between people isn't quite a struggle between the gods,(and he's right) BUT WE HAVE THE BIBLE" except you don't. there was no over turned prophecy because the prophecy was carried out to the letter in the KJV. The Bible refers to a great Indignation against Israel, Indignation is considered the only form of anger that isn't sinful and is typically attributed to Gods anger. They left because their God was angry at them, it's pretty clear. Whether it's because he didn't want them to posses Moab, or perhaps the sacrifice Mesha was pushed towards reminded God of the sacrifice He'd one day make for us (or as the Talmud suggests, it mirrored the sacrifice Abraham was willing to make of Isaac(which mirrors Christ's sacrifice)) isn't made clear to us in the Biblical text What is clear is that they left because of THEIR GOD, not Chemosh.

What we have here is a case of he said she said, King Mesha in the Moabite stone says Chemosh helped him swamp the Israelites from the get go, and the Bible says Elishas prophecy of Israel smiting every fenced and choice city, and felling the trees, stopping wells, and having THE MOABITES delivered INTO THEIR HAND, came to pass. However Kings who have lost have chosen to monumnetize false victories throughout history such as Egypt creating monuments for their victory in the 1973 Yom Kippur War which they lost, and that was recent back in the day a Moabite king could write down whatever history he wanted. I suppose the same could be said for the Bible. However, The Moabite Stone also proves the historical accuracy of multiple locations and people mentioned in the Bible thought to be non historical , because the stone actually proved the Bible to be an accurate source of info on some subjects odds weigh heavily in favor that The Biblical account is factual, were King Mesha was allowed to live on and write the story as he saw fit, depicting his and his gods false victory over their enemy as you might expect.

Between about 7:00 and around 7:24ish the narrator is explaining the biblical description of the battle then he just goes ahead and says "Chemosh enters the battle and over turns Yahwehs prophecy", that information comes from King Meshas Moabite stone, not the Bible.

There are hundreds of debates about Biblical accuracy left to be had this is but one claim that turned out to be false, I encourage all of you to continue to question everything but don't just assume that because someone did some research on stuff other people researched that it's the whole story or the truth. I don't expect the narrator to change his mind about his beliefs or his stance on possible Biblical inaccuracies but I hope this insight helped him recognize that this particular example is not an example of Prophecy over turned or unfulfilled and is not a reliable example of Yahweh being defeated. I realize that many atrocities have been committed in the name of Christianity by so called "Christians" but this goes against Christs teachings, most of you wouldn't slander anyone's religious beliefs yet for some reason think it's ok to blatantly slander Christians? Many of you have likely been scoffed at and ridiculed by "Christians" for your beliefs, that's not what the Bible teaches either. I hope that anyone who read this far is wise enough not to ridicule anyone for their beliefs including Christians. I'm sure the narrator has many excellent videos about the various pantheons of gods and I'm looking forward to checking them out since I take a great interest in all of them.

He's right in saying most Christians call these other gods false gods or demons, or outright don't believe in them, the Bible teaches they're mostly fallen angels whom God has bestowed the task to watch over the nations, and who disobey him leading people to believe they are their creators and providers, teachers and demand to be worshiped as gods (exactly as you'd expect higher beings who fell to do). God allows this because he wants us to choose him, he gave us free will and that includes the angels, they are free to seduce humanity and we're free to follow them, just as we're free to kill if we choose, we're not and they're not exempt from repercussions. Many of these angels are still allowed a place on the Divine council as seen in the book of Job, and whether benevolent or malevolent all of them answer his beckon call including satan. I believe your gods are real, because the Bible says so. Just as a death, and jail time for murder is a result of actions, so is the corruption of humanity and the punishment of the rebellious angels and non repentant sinners the result of satans and our actions, regardless of the subversion of Gods original plan for humanity, we'll all end up where we belong. Thanks for reading, this last paragraph was intended to clear up the Christian slander at the start of the video, and share a misunderstood part of what myself and other Bible believing Christians believe. You're all free to choose any god you want, I'm not trying to impose my beliefs with this writing but please don't ridicule Christians for their beliefs or anyone for that matter. Peace and Grace to you all, and God bless you! Please don't delete my comment, also I do feel like because this is not accurate information you really should take the video down, knowing what we know now, it's doing your viewers a disservice, looking forward to keeping my mouth shut and checking out some of your other videos.

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    What video are you referring to and how is anyone on this site supposed to take it down when this is not a site with videos? Mar 15, 2021 at 21:52

This is a wrong claim that king of Moab defeated Israel, the Bible clearly says that Moab was defeated in verse 2 Kings 3:24 and also, the Mesha stele shows that Moab king rebuilt the cities destroyed by Israel. For a nation to be destroyed, withdrawing from opponent city is not defeat, the opponent in this case Moab must ransack Jerusalem, Israels, capital, which is not the case, also proved by Mesha Stele as it doesnt claim vioctory over Jerusalem or Israel

2 Kings 3:24 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."

Coming to the point that God of the Bible wanted the sacrifice is just absurd, Mesha king of Moab is a pagan, he is sacrificing his son on his city wall, Moabs cheif god was Chemosh(similar to Baal), so a sacrifice to another God, Chemosh shouldnt be taken as a sacrifice offered or promoted by God of Bible. Only arguement that can be made is that they lost the battle, but not the war mostly because they lost faith or got scared of the human sacrifice by the Moab king

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