1. Jehoram son of Ahab became king of Israel in Samaria in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat king of Judah, and reigned for twelve years.
2. He did what is displeasing to Yahweh, though not like his father and mother, for he did away with the pillar to Baal which his father had made.
3. Nonetheless, he continued to practise the sins into which Jeroboam son of Nebat had led Israel and did not give them up.
4. Mesha king of Moab was a sheep-breeder and used to pay the king of Israel in tribute a hundred thousand lambs and a hundred thousand rams with their wool.
5. But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.
6. At once King Jehoram left Samaria and mustered all Israel.
7. After this he sent word to the king of Judah, 'The king of Moab has rebelled against me. Will you go to war with me against Moab?' 'I will,' he replied. 'I will be as you, my men as yours, my horses as yours,'
8. and added, 'Which way are we to attack?' 'Through the desert of Edom,' the other answered.
9. So they set out, the king of Israel, the king of Judah and the king of Edom. They carried out a flanking movement for seven days, until there was no water left for the troops or for the beasts of 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.'
11. But the king of Judah 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 Judah said. So the king of Israel, the king of Judah and the king of Edom went to consult him.
13. But Elisha said to the king of Israel, 'What business have you with me? Go to your father's and your mother's prophets.' 'No,' the king of Israel answered, 'Yahweh is the one who has summoned us three kings, only to put us into the power of Moab.' Elisha replied,
14. 'By the life of Yahweh Sabaoth whom I serve, if I did not respect the king of Judah, I would take no notice of you, nor so much as look at you.
15. Now bring me someone who can play the lyre.' And as the musician played, the hand of Yahweh came on him
16. and he said, 'Yahweh says this, "Dig in this valley ditch after ditch,"
17. for Yahweh says, "You will see no wind, you will see no rain, but this valley will become full of water, and you and your troops and your baggage animals will drink."
18. But this is only a trifle in Yahweh's eyes, for he will put Moab itself into your power.
19. You will storm every fortified town, fell every productive tree, block every water-hole, ruin all the best fields with stones.'
20. Next morning at the time when the oblation was being offered, water came from the direction of Edom, and the whole terrain was flooded.
21. When the Moabites learned that the kings were advancing to fight them, all those of an age to bear arms were mobilised; they took up position on the frontier.
22. In 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!'
24. But 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.
25. They 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-hole and felled every productive tree. In the end, there was only Kir-Hareseth left, which the slingers surrounded and bombarded.
26. When 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 Aram, but he failed.
27. Then he took his eldest son who was to succeed him and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. Alarmed at this, the Israelites withdrew and retired to their own territory.