And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone on the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)They rose up early.—The Moabite camp on the frontier mountains.
And the sun shone upon the water.—A parenthesis (now the sun had risen upon the water). The red sunrise tinged the water with the same colour.
Red.—’Adōm. There may be an allusion to the red earth of the locality (Edom), which would further redden the water.2 Kings 3:22-23. The sun shone upon the water, &c. — They stood in such a situation, when they looked at the water, that those rays of the sun which gave a red colour, were reflected from the water to their eyes; or the light of the morning sun shining upon the water, through the vapours that arose from the earth, gave it a reddish appearance; so that they imagined it to be blood, which they were the more inclined to suppose, because they knew very well there was no water there before. And they said — The kings are surely slain, &c. — As they concluded what they saw could be nothing but blood, so they could not conceive it could be any other blood than that of the army of the three kings, who they thought had fallen out among themselves, vexed at the straits into which they had brought one another. Now therefore, Moab, to the spoil — Easily believing what they wished, they imagined they had nothing to do but to go and take the spoil, having no need to fight at all. Therefore they sent no scouts, but marched thither with their whole army, and that in great disorder: wherein, also, there was a divine hand, strengthening them in their mistakes, and hardening them to their destruction.
behold, there came water by the way of Edom—Far from the Israelitish camp, in the eastern mountains of Edom, a great fall of rain, a kind of cloudburst, took place, by which the wady was at once filled, but they saw neither the wind nor the rains. The divine interposition was shown by introducing the laws of nature to the determined end in the predetermined way [Keil]. It brought not only aid to the Israelitish army in their distress, by a plentiful supply of water, but destruction on the Moabites, who, perceiving the water, under the refulgent rays of the morning sun, red like blood, concluded the confederate kings had quarrelled and deluged the field with their mutual slaughter; so that, rushing to their camp in full expectation of great spoil, they were met by the Israelites, who, prepared for battle, fought and pursued them. Their country was laid waste in the way, which has always been considered the greatest desolation in the East (2Ki 3:24).2 Kings 3:17. And they might justly think that the three kings being divided in their religion and interests, and discontented for want of water, might fall into dissensions, and heats, and mutual slaughters, of which they had a late example, 2 Chronicles 20:22,23.
and the sun shone upon the water; with which the valley was filled:And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. they rose up early in the morning] When the rays of the sun would be shining obliquely on the water, and would cause it to have an unusual colour.
the water on the other side] R.V. over against them. See above on 2 Kings 2:7as red as blood] This would be partly due to the slanting rays of the sun, and partly perhaps to the redness of the land through which the water had flowed. It was impossible for the Moabites to think what they saw to be water, for no signs of rain had been observable.Verse 22. - And they rose up early in the morning, and the sun shone upon the water, and the Moabites saw the water on the other side as red as blood. The red hue of the water is ascribed by Ewald to "the red tinge of the soil" in the part of Edom where the rain had fallen ('History of Israel,' vol. 4. p. 88); by Keil, to "the reddish earth of the freshly dug trenches," or pits ('Commentary on 2 Kings,' p. 305); but the only cause of the redness mentioned either in Kings or in Josephus is the ruddy hue of the sunrise. A ruddy sunrise is common in the East, more especially in stormy weather (see Matthew 16:3); and the red light, falling upon the water in the pits, and reflected thence to the opposite side of the wady, would quite sufficiently account for the mistake of the Moabites, without supposing that the water was actually stained and discolored. The Moabites concluded that the red-looking liquid was blood, from knowing that the wady was dry the day before, and from not suspecting that there had been any change in the night, as the storm which had caused the change was at such a distance. 1 Samuel 16:16, and Passavant's Untersuchungen ber den Lebens-magnetismus, p. 207 (ed. 2). - As the minstrel was playing, the hand of the Lord came upon him (והיה according to the later usage for ויהי, as in 1 Samuel 17:48, etc.; compare Ewald, 345, b., and יהוה יד as in 1 Kings 18:46), so that he said in the name of the Lord: "Make this valley full of trenches (עשׂה, inf. abs. for the imperative; for גּבים גּבים see Ges. 108, 4); for thus saith the Lord, ye will see neither wind nor rain, and this valley will be filled with water, that ye may be able to drink, and your flocks and your cattle." גּבים are trenches for collecting water (vid., Jeremiah 14:3), which would suddenly flow down through the brook-valley. This large quantity of water came on the (following) morning "by the way of Edom" (2 Kings 3:20), a heavy fall of rain or violent storm having taken place, as is evident from the context, in the eastern mountains of Edom, at a great distance from the Israelitish camp, the water of which filled the brook-valley, i.e., the Wady el Kurahy and el Ahsy (see at 2 Kings 3:9) at once, without the Israelites observing anything either of the wind, which always precedes rain in the East (Harmar, Beobb. i. pp. 51, 52), or of the rain itself. מקניכם are the flocks intended for slaughtering, בּהמתּכם the beasts of burden.
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