For many years, Moab was controlled by Israel and paid them high taxes. When Ahab died, the king of Moab refused to pay Israel any more taxes.
Ahab’s son, King Joram organized his army and prepared to march against Moab. He sent a message to Jehoshaphat, king of Judah. “Please join me in our campaign against the king of Moab. He has rebelled against me.”
Jehoshaphat agreed and the two armies marched south of the Dead Sea and into Edom. The Edomite army joined them. So all three continued their march toward Moab.
Soon they realized there wasn’t enough water in that desert for all their men and animals. Joram said, “I think the Lord has led us here so we could all be captured by the Moabites.”
Jehoshaphat said, “Do we have a prophet of God with us?”
One of the officers said, “Yes, Elisha is here.”
The three kings went to him. When he saw Joram, he said, “Why are you coming to me? Why don’t you talk to one of your idols?”
Joram said, “Please, I think the Lord your God has led us here so we would be captured by the Moabites.”
Elisha said, “If it was just you, I wouldn’t give you the time of day. But I have great respect for King Jehoshaphat, so send someone with a harp.”
As the harp played, the Lord gave Elisha a message for Joram. “Dig ditches in this dry riverbed. You won’t see a storm, but this riverbed will fill up with plenty of water. There will be enough for you and your animals. This is an easy thing for the Lord to do. He will also help you defeat the Moabite army, and you’ll be able to capture their cities.”
The next morning, the water suddenly started flowing, so much so that it flooded the land. The Moabite army got up early and looked in the direction of the three kings. The sun was shining on the water and made it look red. They shouted, “Look at all that blood. The armies of the three kings have turned and killed one another. Come! Let’s go collect the spoils from their camps.”
When they got to Israel’s camp, the Israelite army attacked them. They chased them back into Moab, and started taking city after city. Finally, there was only one left that hadn’t been defeated.
Israel surrounded it. The king of Moab tried to escape by taking 700 of his key soldiers and breaking through the front lines. The plan failed, so he grabbed his oldest son and sacrificed him as an offering on the city wall. The sight of this was so horrible that the Moabite soldiers went into a frenzy of rage. Seeing this, the three armies withdrew and went home.