2 Kings 3:20 MEANING

2 Kings 3:20
(20) When the meat offering was offered.--Comp. 1 Kings 18:29; 1 Kings 18:36. A more exact definition of the time. The reckoning by hours was unknown before the captivity. According to the Talmud, the morning sacrifice was offered in the Temple the moment it became light. (Ewald assumes that "the meat offering" was offered on this occasion in the camp.) That help came to the distressed army just at the hour of morning worship was a striking coincidence. (This allusion to the law of Exodus 29:38, seq., may be an indirect hit at the northern kingdom.)

There came water.--Water was coming from the way (direction) of Edom. It would seem that a sudden storm of rain had fallen on the mountains of Seir, at some distance from the camp (Josephus says at a distance of three days' march); and the water found its natural outlet in the dry wady. Reuss thinks this explanation "superfluous," in the face of "the author's intention to describe a miracle;" but there are different kinds of miracle, and, in the present instance, the miraculous element is visible in the prophet's prediction of the coming help, and in the coincidence of the natural phenomena with the needs of the Israelites. (Comp. 2 Kings 7:1-2, seq.) [This statement seems to preclude also the naturalistic explanation founded on the meaning of the Arabic name of the locality. Hisyun, hasyun, hasan, mean water which gathers on a hard bottom under the sand in certain localities, and which the Arabs get at by scooping holes in the ground. See Lane, Arab. Eng. Lex. s.v.]

Verse 20. - And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered - i.e. about sunrise, which was the time of the morning sacrifice - that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom. The Wady-el- Ahsy drains a portion of Southern Moab, and also a considerable tract of Northern Edom. The nocturnal storm had burst, not in the Moabite country, where it would have attracted the attention of the Moabites, but in some comparatively distant part of the Idumaean territory, so that the Moabites were not aware of it. Josephus says that the storm burst at a distance of three days' journey from the Israelite camp ('Ant. Jud.,' 9:3. § 2); but this can only be his conjecture. And the country was filled, with water. By "the country" (ha-arets) must be meant here the bed or channel of the water-course. This was suddenly filled with a rushing stream, which, however, rapidly ran off, leaving the water-course dry, excepting where the pits had been made by the Israelites. But this supply was ample for the army.

3:20-27 It is a blessing to be favoured with the company of those who have power with God, and can prevail by their prayers. A kingdom may be upheld and prosper, in consequence of the fervent prayers of those who are dear to God. May we place our highest regard upon such as are most precious in his account. When sinners are saying Peace, peace, destruction comes upon them: despair will follow their mad presumption. In Satan's service and at his suggestion, such horrid deeds have been done, as cause the natural feelings of the heart to shudder; like the king of Moab's sacrificing his son. It is well not to urge the worst of men to extremities; we should rather leave them to the judgment of God.And it came to pass in the morning, when the meat offering was offered,.... At Jerusalem; which always went along with the daily burnt offering of the lamb, which might not indeed be offered before break of day, yet quickly after; for no sacrifice could be offered before that; see Gill on Exodus 29:39,

that, behold, there came water by the way of Edom; not from the heavens, but it may be out of some rock, rolling along on the earth from the hills and mountains, down into the valleys, where the armies were:

and the country was filled with water; all round about them. Who has not heard of the "thundering" legion, as it was called by the Emperor M. Aurelius, who, when the army under him was about to engage with the Germans and Sarmatians, and sadly distressed with thirst, fell down on their knees and prayed, upon which a large shower of rain came down to the refreshment of the army, and thunder bolts, which annoyed and put the enemy to flight (i)? at the battle of the Romans with Jugurtha, a sudden and unexpected shower of rain fell, to the refreshment of the Romans, in intolerable thirst (k).

(i) Euseb. Hist. Eccl. l. 5. c. 5. Orosii Hist. l. 7. c. 15. p. 120. (k) Orosii Hist. l. 5. c. 15. p. 77.

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