Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:3
kg2 3:3The sins - The worship of the calves: which all the kings of Israel kept up as a wall of partition between their subjects and those of Judah. So that altho' he had a little religion, yet he had not enough to over - rule this policy.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:4
kg2 3:4A sheep - master - A man of great wealth (which in those times and places consisted much in cattle) which enabled and emboldened him to rebel against his sovereign.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:7
kg2 3:7He said - He joins with him in this war; because the war was just in itself, and convenient for Jehoshaphat, both in the general, that revolters should be chastised: lest the examples should pass into his dominions, and the Edomites be encouraged to revolt from him, as they did from his son; and in particular, that the Moabites should be humbled, who had invaded his land before this time, Ch2 20:1, and might do so again if they were not brought low; for which a fair opportunity now offered.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:9
kg2 3:9King of Edom - That is, the vice - roy under Jehosaphat, Kg1 22:47, here called king: because that word is sometimes used for any prince or chief ruler. Seven days - Because they made a great army, which could move but slowly; and they fetched a greater compass than was usual, for some advantage which they expected by it. No water - A frequent want in those parts; and now, it seems, increased by the extraordinary heat and dryness of the season.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:11
kg2 3:11Is there not, &c. - This he should have asked before, when they first undertook the expedition, as he did in a like case, Kg1 22:5, and for that neglect he now suffers; but better late than never: his affliction brings him to the remembrance of his former sin, and present duty. Poured water - Who was his servant; this being one office of a servant: and this office was the more necessary among the Israelites, because of the frequent washings which their law required. Probably it was by a special direction from God, that Elisha followed them, unasked, unobserved. Thus does God prevent us with the blessings of his goodness; and provide for those who provide not for themselves.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:12
kg2 3:12The word, &c. - He is a true prophet. Which Jehoshaphat might easily understand, because being a good man, many would be ready to inform him of. Went - To his tent; which was either in the camp, or not far from it: they did not send for him, but went to him, that by giving him this honour, they might engage him to give them his utmost assistance.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:13
kg2 3:13What have I, &c. - I desire to have no discourse with thee. Get thee - To the calves, which thou after thy father's example dost worship; and to the Baals which thy mother yet worshippeth by thy permission; let these idols whom thou worshippest in thy prosperity, now help thee in thy distress.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:14
kg2 3:14Jehoshaphat - Whom I reverence and love for his piety. It is good being with those who have God's favour, and the love of his people. Wicked men often fare the better, for the friendship and society of good men.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:15
kg2 3:15Minstrel - One that can sing and play upon a musical instrument. This he requires, that his mind which had been disturbed at the sight of wicked Jehoram, might be composed, and that he might be excited to more fervent prayer whereby he was prepared to receive the prophetic inspiration. Those that desire communion with God must keep their spirits quiet and serene. All hurry of spirit, and all turbulent passions, make us unfit for divine visitations. The hand, &c. - The spirit of prophecy, so called, to note that it was no natural nor acquired virtue inherent in him; but a singular gift of God, given to whom and when he pleased.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:19
kg2 3:19Ye shall smite - And if this command seem severe, it must be considered, that the Moabites were a very wicked people, perfidious, cruel, implacable enemies to God's people upon all occasions, and now in a state of rebellion.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:20
kg2 3:20The meal - offering - That is, the morning sacrifice: which doubtless was attended with the solemn prayers of God's people. At this time Elisha joined his prayers with the prayers of God's people, especially those at Jerusalem. And this time God chose to answer their prayers, and to work this miracle, that thereby he might determine the controversy between the Israelites and the Jews, about the place and manner of worship, and give a publick testimony from heaven for the Jews, and against the Israelites. God that commands all the waters both above and beneath the firmament, sent them abundance of water on a sudden.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:21
kg2 3:21The border - Of their country, to defend the passage.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:25
kg2 3:25Kir - haraseth - This was the royal city of the Moabites, into which the remnant of the Moabites were gathered, where also their king was with them. The stones - The walls and buildings of this city only were left; their whole country being destroyed. The slingers - Such as slung great stones against the walls to break them down, according to the manner of those times. Made breaches in the walls, by which they might enter the city, and take it.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:26
kg2 3:26To break thro' - That he might make an escape: which he chose to do on the king of Edom's quarter; because he thought his was the weakest side.
4 Kings (2 Kings) 3:27
kg2 3:27His son - Or rather, his own son: whom he sacrificed; partly, to obtain the favour of his god, according to the manner of the Phoenicians and other people in publick calamities; and partly, to oblige the Israelites to quit the siege out of compassion; or, as despairing to conquer (at least without greater loss of men than it was worth) him who was resolved to defend the city to the utmost extremity. On the wall - That the besiegers might see it, and be moved by it. There was, &c. - Or, great trouble or repentance upon Israel, the Israelitish king and people (who was the first cause of the war, and had brought the rest into confederacy with him) were greatly grieved for this barbarous action, and resolved to prosecute the war no farther.