2 Kings 3:4–27 (The Jerusalem Bible)

4Mesha king of Moab was a sheep-breeder and used to pay the king of Israel a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams in tribute. 5But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.

6At once King Jehoram went out of Samaria and mustered all Israel. 7After this he sent word to the king of Judah,a “The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you join with me fighting Moab?” “I will” he replied. “I am as ready as you, my men as your men, my horses as your horses,” 8and added “which way are we to attack?” “Through the wilderness of Edom” the other answered.

9So they set out, the king of Israel, the king of Judah and the king of Edom. They followed a devious route for seven days, until there was no water left for the troops or for the beasts in their baggage train. 10“Alas!” the king of Israel exclaimed, “Yahweh has summoned us three kings, only to put us into the power of Moab.” 11But the king of Judahb said, “Is there no prophet of Yahweh here for us to consult Yahweh through him?” One of the king of Israel’s servants answered, “Elisha son of Shaphat is here, who used to pour water on the hands of Elijah.” 12“The word of Yahweh is with him” the king of Judahc said. So they went to him, the king of Israel, the king of Judahd and the king of Edom. 13But Elisha said to the king of Israel “What business have you with me? Go to the prophets of your father and your mother.” “No,” the king of Israel answered, “Yahweh has summoned us three kings, only to put us into the power of Moab.” 14Elisha replied, “As Yahweh Sabaoth lives, whom I serve, if I did not respect Jehoshaphat king of Judah, I should not take any notice of you, or so much as look at you. 15Now bring me someone who can play the lyre.” And as the musician played, the hand of Yahweh was laid on him 16and he said, “Yahweh says this, ‘Dig ditch on ditch in this wadi,’ 17for Yahweh says, ‘You shall see neither wind nor rain, but this wadi shall be filled with water, and you and your troops and your baggage animals shall drink.18But this is only a little thing in the sight of Yahweh, for he will put Moab itself into your power. 19You shall storm every fortified town and every choice city, fell every sound tree, block every water-spring, ruin all the best fields with stones.” 20Next morning at the time when the oblation was being offered, water came from the direction of Edom, and the country was filled with it.

21When the Moabites learned that the kings had come up to fight against them, all who were of age to bear arms were called up; they took up position on the frontier. 22In the morning when they got up, the sun was shining on the water; and in the distance the Moabites saw the water as red as blood. 23“This is blood!” they said. “The kings must have fought among themselves and killed one another. So now for the booty, Moab!”

24But when they reached the Israelite camp, the Israelites launched their attack and the Moabites fled before them, and as they advanced they cut the Moabites to pieces. 25They laid the towns in ruins, and each man threw a stone into all the best fields to fill them up, and they blocked every water-spring and felled every sound tree. In the end, there was only Kir-hareseth left, which the slingers surrounded and bartered. 26When the king of Moab saw that the battle had turned against him, he mustered seven hundred swordsmen in the hope of breaking a way out and going to the king of Edom,e but he failed. 27Then he took his eldest son who was to succeed him and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. There was bitter indignation against the Israelites, who then withdrew, retiring to their own country.