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2 Kings 3:16-20

Context
3:16 and he said, “This is what the Lord says, ‘Make many cisterns in this valley,’ 1  3:17 for this is what the Lord says, ‘You will not feel 2  any wind or see any rain, but this valley will be full of water and you and your cattle and animals will drink.’ 3:18 This is an easy task for the Lord; 3  he will also hand Moab over to you. 3:19 You will defeat every fortified city and every important 4  city. You must chop down 5  every productive 6  tree, stop up all the springs, and cover all the cultivated land with stones.” 7 

3:20 Sure enough, the next morning, at the time of the morning sacrifice, water came flowing down from Edom and filled the land. 8 

1 tn Heb “making this valley cisterns, cisterns.” The Hebrew noun גֵּב (gev) means “cistern” in Jer 14:3 (cf. Jer 39:10). The repetition of the noun is for emphasis. See GKC 396 §123.e. The verb (“making”) is an infinitive absolute, which has to be interpreted in light of the context. The translation above takes it in an imperatival sense. The command need not be understood as literal, but as hyperbolic. Telling them to build cisterns is a dramatic way of leading into the announcement that he would miraculously provide water in the desert. Some prefer to translate the infinitive as an imperfect with the Lord as the understood subject, “I will turn this valley [into] many pools.”

2 tn Heb “see.”

3 tn Heb “and this is easy in the eyes of the Lord.”

4 tn Heb “choice” or “select.”

5 tn Elisha places the object first and uses an imperfect verb form. The stylistic shift may signal that he is now instructing them what to do, rather than merely predicting what would happen.

6 tn Heb “good.”

7 tn Heb “and ruin every good portion with stones.”

8 tn Heb “and in the morning, when the offering is offered up, look, water was coming from the way of Edom, and the land was filled with water.”



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