• Kemosh 1 : Yahweh 0

     

    One of my favourite stories from the Old Testament is found in 2 Kings Chapter 3.  Have a read – it’s absolutely fascinating!

    The story goes like this.  Mesha, the king of Moab, was one of Israel’s vassals.  But, when King Ahab of Israel died, Mesha decided it was time to stop paying his tribute.  Upset with this, the new Israelite king, Joram, decided to attack Moab.  He enlisted the help of Judah and Edom.  But, most importantly, he had Yahweh’s assurance that he would defeat Moab:

    “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands.  You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town.  You will cut down every good tree, stop up all the springs, and ruin every good field with stones.”  (2 Kings 3:18-19)

    It could not be clearer – Yahweh has promised to deliver Moab into Joram’s hands.  As the Israelites approached, the Moabites went out to fight the allied attackers.  Things were not going well for them; the Israelites were clearly getting the better of the battle:

    “But when the Moabites came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled.  And the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites.  They destroyed the towns, and each man threw a stone on every good field until it was covered.  They stopped up all the springs and cut down every good tree.  Only Kir Hareseth was left with its stones in place, but men armed with slings surrounded it and attacked it.”  (2 Kings 3:24-25)

    By this time, the Moabite king realised the battle was getting away from him.  After a failed attempt to break through with a company of swordsmen, he decided there was only one option left:

    “Then he took his firstborn son, who was to succeed him as king, and offered him as a sacrifice on the city wall. The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land.”  (2 Kings 3:27)

    Wow!  King Mesha sacrificed his own son, the heir to his throne, to the Moabite god.  (Other sources identify this god as Kemosh; see Numbers 21:29, Jermiah 48:7,13,46, and the very interesting Mesha Stele.)  But, most importantly, the sacrifice worked!  Even though the Moabites had been all but decimated by the Israelites, the tide turned as soon as Mesha sacrificed his son to Kemosh.  Despite Yahweh’s clear promises to defeat the Moabites, Israel was defeated.

    Now, what do we learn from this interesting story?  That Kemosh is a real god, and really defeated Yahweh in battle?  No, of course not.  What we do learn is that the author(s) of this part of the Old Testament believed:

    1. that Yahweh was just one of a number of (real) gods,
    2. that human sacrifice was effective in enticing a god to help you out, and
    3. that not even Yahweh could defeat other gods if a human sacrifice had been made.

    Naturally, conservative evangelical scholars attempt to reinterpret this story in a variety of ways in order to deny the three points above.  It is not my intention here to argue against these positions, since this has already been done.  Instead, I’d like to direct my readers to the writings of Thom Stark.  Stark discusses the 2 Kings 3 passage in his book The Human Faces of God (in the context of Israelite polytheism on pp78-80, and in the context of human sacrifice on pp91-92).  But far more thorough is the treatment in his freely available online book Is God a Moral Compromiser? (pp65-89), in which he engages with conservative scholars like Paul Copan and Richard Hess, decisively showing that their attempts to deny the three conclusions above are entirely inadequate.  After more than 20 pages of demolishing every single attempt to make the very clear words of 2 Kings 3 say something they do not, Stark concludes:

    “The fact is, the text says that Yahweh promised Israel victory, but Mesha trumped them with a human sacrifice, and Kemosh beat Yahweh.”  (Stark, Is God a Moral Compromiser?, pp88-89)

    Conservative Christians want to maintain the view that polytheism in the Bible is limited to the Israelites going astray, that Yahweh was always understood to be the only true God.  But modern scholarship has shown that the Old Testament as we have it today is the result of centuries of editing and revising.  Israelite religion was thoroughly polytheistic in its original form, with Yahweh only one of a pantheon of gods, one of the several sons of Elyon (see especially Psalm 82 and Deuteronomy 32, and Thom Stark’s article on this).  Only later, when subsequent biblical authors began to embrace monotheism, were the original writings suppressed.  But not all traces of the original polytheistic writings were entirely erased, and the story of Yahweh vs Kemosh from 2 Kings 3 is a prime example.

    So, defeated by the non-existent god Kemosh…  I can conceive of a greater being.

    Category: BibleGodHuman SacrificePolytheism

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    Article by: Reasonably Faithless

    Mathematician and former Christian
    • NoCrossNoCrescent

      Still my favorite example of the limited powers of the LORD: being defeated by tribesmen with iron chariots in Judges. The superior technology of the day beats God any day!

      • Reasonably Faithless

        Technology and legislation, according to some modern Christians who think God being “kicked out of schools” renders him unable to stop gunmen.

    • i used to support Kemosh, until the 7-1 demolition by Baal. Now I’m Baal all the way. Although, I do find the supporters to be such Philistines…

      • ToonForever

        Glory hunter *wink*

    • DRC

      I read Stark’s book a while ago, but I forgot about this incredible story. It might be time for a re-read.

      It also seems Yahweh didn’t deliver on his promise “This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands.” The Israelites inflicted some damage but at the end of the day they retreated. This is a very different message to the conservative evangelicals who say that God is completely trustworthy, with an immutable will.

    • Excellent. Somehow I have managed to avoid knowing about this particular passage until now but this is really very interesting stuff!

      • Reasonably Faithless

        There are so many hidden gems – the Bible is full of great stuff 🙂

    • JohnM

      There’s nothing in the text to suggest that the sacrifice turned the tide of war. That’s wishful thinking. The text says that they withdrew and returned to their own land. A withdraw is not a retreat after a defeat.

      Also, keep in mind why they were there in the first place.. They were there to put down the rebellion and bring Moab under their rule once again.

      So the obvious explanation is, that after having seen the wicked deed of the king of Moab, they decided that they wanted nothing to do with these wicked people, and so they withdrew, rather than conquering them and bringing them under the rule of Israel.

      • Reasonably Faithless

        Oh dear, John. It is clear as anything that you are the one reading your own wishful thinking into the passage. It is completely obvious what the passage says – that the Israelites were doing great, then the opposing king sacrificed his son, and that “the fury against Israel was great” so they had to withdraw from their campaign – without accomplishing what Yahweh had promised they would accomplish.

        There is nothing in the passage to say “they wanted nothing to do with these wicked people, and so they withdrew”. You are reading that into the story. Since when did the Israelites stop attacking people if they thought they were wicked?? Wasn’t the point of virtually all the conquest narratives that the Israelites were destroying loads of cities *precisely because* the people were evil? Do you really think the Israelites had no idea that the surrounding nations participated in human sacrifices? (This is to say nothing of the fact that the Israelites did this too.) Do you really think they would want to even give the impression to these surrounding nations that human sacrifices worked? This would seem the obvious message the Moabite king would take away from your version of the story.

        • JohnM

          Wasn’t the point of virtually all the conquest narratives that the Israelites were destroying loads of cities *precisely because* the people were evil?

          No, you need to read the context..

          2 Kings 3 : 4 – 6
          Now Mesha king of Moab raised sheep, and he had to pay the king of Israel a tribute of a hundred thousand lambs and the wool of a hundred thousand rams. But after Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. So at that time King Joram set out from Samaria and mobilized all Israel.

          And Moab certainly were delivered into their hands. They just didn’t go though with it.

          So the claim that God did not do, what the text said he would, is false.

          The only way to read the text, is that Israel backed out and withdrew, despite having the upper hand in battle, after having seen the king of Moab sacrifice his son.

          The reason for why they withdrew can be discussed, but I think it’s pretty clear, if one knows what the old testament says about human sacrifice.

          • Reasonably Faithless

            You have missed the point, John. You claim it is obvious the Israelites turned back because they were appalled at the human sacrifice. My point is that the Israelites had never before decided to stop attacking a city because they were too wicked. And I am right to say that most of the conquest narratives support this assertion.

            As for context, all you have done is provide the background to why they were going to attack Moab (and I’m sure you would agree that Moab’s rebellion against Israel would not be considered a particularly good deed). But the context of the battle is that Yahweh had previously promised that he would cause the Israelites to “overthrow every fortified city and every major town”. Well, they clearly did not do that, as evidenced by the survival of the Moabite king and the fortified city on whose walls he sacrificed his son. Even if you wish to (erroneously) claim that the Israelites left because they were appalled at the human sacrifice, this still leaves God (at best) being guilty of making a false prophesy. (By the way, this argument of yours was not considered worthy of attention by the Christian scholars Stark critiques in his book.)

            Your final comment reveals that you do not know what critical scholars say about human sacrifice in ancient Israelite religion. Please have a good read of Thom Stark’s chapter on human sacrifice (chapter 9, pp52-93) in this book:

            http://thomstark.net/copan/stark_copan-review.pdf

            Human sacrifice was very much a part of early Israelite religion.

            But you still have not addressed the key point at all – that Israel turned back as a result of the ***great fury against Israel*** that came on them after the human sacrifice was made to Kemosh. If Israel just didn’t like the sacrifice, and so went home instead of defeating th Moabite king, can you explain what the ***great fury against Israel*** was?

            • JohnM

              Human sacrifice was very much a part of early Israelite religion.

              That’s a subject worthy of a whole thread. But I can’t be bothered to respond to that claim. I’ll just disagree at this point.

              My point is that the Israelites had never before decided to stop attacking a city because they were too wicked. And I am right to say that most of the conquest narratives support this assertion.

              Let’s grant you that claim for a moment..

              “The Israelites, never ever stopped before, and therefore they didn’t do it in this case either.”

              You should be able to spot the flawed logic.. It’s a bit like a suspect telling a policeman, at a crime scene, “Well I never ever killed anyone before, so therefore I didn’t do this one either”.

              As for context, all you have done is provide the background to why they were going to attack Moab (and I’m sure you would agree that Moab’s rebellion against Israel would not be considered a particularly good deed).

              The background is very important, as it sets the stage for the invasion of Moab and gives us clues about their motives for invading Moab. Keep in mind that Moab was paying tribute, before the rebellion. Then Moab rebelled, and the king of Israel lost his tribute, so he invaded. Why would the king of Israel keep waging war against the people of Moab to the bitter end? Then they would have been wiped out, and he would have lost his tribute anyway. The most sensible thing to do, would be to put down the rebellion, and get the tribute going again.

              But the context of the battle is that Yahweh had previously promised that he would cause the Israelites to “overthrow every fortified city and every major town”. Well, they clearly did not do that, as evidenced by the survival of the Moabite king and the fortified city on whose walls he sacrificed his son.

              Cause the Israelites? The text says nothing of that sort..

              2 Kings 3 : 18
              This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord; he will also deliver Moab into your hands. You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town.

              It’s very clear from the text, that the Israelites had to do their part of it, as well. And God did his part. The Israelites didn’t finish their part. So if you want to claim that God failed somehow, you would have put forward and defend the claim, that God did not deliver Moab into their hands.

              And if you want to defend your original claim in the article, that Israel was defeated, then you have to pull out a white rabbit, because the text clearly states, that they withdrew from the battlefield. That is not consistent with a defeat. Had they been defeated, then they would have fled from the battlefield.

            • Reasonably Faithless

              “The Israelites, never ever stopped before, and therefore they didn’t do it in this case either.”

              Those are your words, not mine. It is also not the point I was making. So why would you put quotes around them and respond to them as if they were my words? Since you seem not to have understood me, let me make the point again.

              You claimed that the Israelites stopped attacking Midian because “they wanted nothing to do with these wicked people”. In other words, *you* made the claim that the Israelites would not attack a group of people that was sufficiently wicked. And I refuted this claim by pointing out that there were numerous occasions in which the Israelites were reported to have done just the opposite. I did not claim that this proves that “therefore they didn’t do it in this case either”. I simply demonstrated that your claim does not fit the data.

              Your claim is also refuted by the fact that the Israelites did indeed perform human sacrifice themselves. And yes, this will indeed be the topic of a future blog post. This story is, in fact, evidence that the early Israelites did believe that human sacrifice was a very effective way of getting a god to fight on their side.

              Next you say:

              “The background is very important, as it sets the stage for the invasion of Moab and gives us clues about their motives for invading Moab. Keep in mind that Moab was paying tribute, before the rebellion. Then Moab rebelled, and the king of Israel lost his tribute, so he invaded. Why would the king of Israel keep waging war against the people of Moab to the bitter end? Then they would have been wiped out, and he would have lost his tribute anyway. The most sensible thing to do, would be to put down the rebellion, and get the tribute going again.”

              Yes, and I did not ever say the background is not important. But you seem to be indicating that the fact that Moab was paying tribute to Israel somehow means that it doesn’t matter that the Israelites did not accomplish the thing Yahweh is recorded to have promised they would. The relevant context in which to assess the claim that Yahweh’s words to Israel were true is to look at Yahweh’s words to Israel. And Yahweh said he would “deliver Moab into your hands” and that they would “overthrow every fortified city and every major town.”

              ***But they didn’t***

              You might say that “the Israelites didn’t finish their part”, and I agree that the text says they didn’t. But this means that Yahweh’s words (whether you think of them as a promise to help them, or a prophesy) were not true. He did not say “I command you guys to overthrow every fortified city and every major town”, he said “You will overthrow every fortified city and every major town”.

              ***But they didn’t***

              “Why would the king of Israel keep waging war against the people of Moab to the bitter end?”

              Because Yahweh supposedly said that they would do so.

              Regarding your last paragraph, I do not need to pull out a rabbit from my hat, because I have already placed an elephant in front of you, and you are simply claiming it is invisible. I have repeatedly pointed out to you that the Israelites left the battlefield ***because a great fury came upon them*** after the Moabite king sacrificed his son to Kemosh. The story makes this very clear. Everything was going fine for Israel. Then King Mesha sacrificed his son to Kemosh. And then: “The fury against Israel was great; they withdrew and returned to their own land”. Israel left the battle field ***because a great fury came upon them***. They did not accomplish their task. They did not bring Moab back under their command. They left the battle field ***because a great fury came upon them***. In other words, they were not able to accomplish their task, and so they left. This means they were defeated. And the text makes it abuntantly clear *how* they were defeated – by the fury of the god Kemosh.

              Finally, this conversation is becoming quite futile. You are addressing straw man versions of the points I am making, rather that responding to specific things I have said. You are completely ignoring other points (such as the great fury that came against Israel). Any further responses that continue to do the same thing will be deleted. So, if you wish to comment further, please take the time to carefully read what I have written, and only respond if you have something relevant to say.

            • JohnM

              Many of the things you write, I have already commented on, and you add nothing new.

              In other words, they were not able to accomplish their task, and so they left. This means they were defeated.

              Not at all. At best, it’s Moab narrowly avoiding a total defeat.

              I have repeatedly pointed out to you that the Israelites left the battlefield ***because a great fury came upon them*** after the Moabite king sacrificed his son

              Do you even know what that means? Please enlighten me with your understanding of that part of the text.

            • Reasonably Faithless

              “At best, it’s Moab narrowly avoiding a total defeat.”

              No. At best, it’s Israel failing to accomplish what Yahweh said they would accomplish – even if they came close.

              “Do you even know what that means? Please enlighten me with your understanding of that part of the text.”

              According to the story that, after the Moabite king sacrificed his son to Kemosh, a great fury came upon the Israelites, and they were forced to retreat. This makes it abundantly clear that the author intended to convey that Kemosh unleashed his fury on the Israelites, and they could not keep fighting. This is the plain sense of the reading. If you read Stark’s treatment, which I have linked you to, you will find a much more significant argument. If you wish to demonstrate that the plain sense reading of the text should be rejected for some other reading, you are welcome to make your case. (Before you do, please make sure you read all the interpretations that Stark refutes.)

              “Many of the things you write, I have already commented on, and you add nothing new.”

              No. I have repeated myself quite a bit, but this is because you have responded to nearly nothing of what I said in my previous messages. You are very close to being blacklisted from my blog for such tactics (and I have seen you do it elsewhere on many occasions). I’m happy to discuss things with people of different opinions, but I have no desire to type a lot of words, only for most of them to be ignored.

            • JohnM

              A plain sense reading would be A wrath.

              If you’re reading THE wrath of Chemosh, then that’s a clearly interpretation beyond what the text actually says in plain words.

              Would you agree?

            • Reasonably Faithless

              “*The* fury against Israel was great.”

              Come back after you’ve read Stark.

            • JohnM

              I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say. There’s no “The” as such, in the text. http://biblos.com/2_kings/3-27.htm

              As for the cause of “great wrath”, there are many options that one should consider. A sacrifice to Chemosh, is far from the only option on the table.

              Maybe the king of Moab actually sacrificed his son to the God of the invading Israelites to try and appease him?

              Maybe God accepted it and caused the Israelites to withdraw and return?

              Maybe God rejected it and caused the Israelites to abandon the siege, and return, so that they would not rule these wicked people?

              Maybe the burning of the kings son, desecrated the place in the eyes of the Israelites, and made them not want anything to do with it?

              Of course one can argue, that they would have conquered it anyway and left it waste, but is disagree… Who for example, would wage war over radioactive wasteland?

            • Reasonably Faithless

              “I don’t really understand what you’re trying to say. There’s no “The” as such, in the text. http://biblos.com/2_kings/3-27…”

              Read Stark for a very comprehensive linguistic analysis.

              “As for the cause of “great wrath”, there are many options that one should consider. A sacrifice to Chemosh, is far from the only option on the table.”

              Again, read Stark, who covers all these. But, I’ll deal with your options myself…

              “Maybe the king of Moab actually sacrificed his son to the God of the invading Israelites to try and appease him?

              Maybe God accepted it and caused the Israelites to withdraw and return?”

              So God accepts human sacrifices? Do you really think this? Somehow I doubt it.

              “Maybe God rejected it and caused the Israelites to abandon the siege, and return, so that they would not rule these wicked people?”

              Do you think the Moabites had ever performed human sacrifices before? If so, do you think God knew about it? If so, then, given that God was apparently perfectly happy for Israel to rule over the Midianites before, your argument fails. Otherwise, you would have to demonstrate that either (a) the Midianites had never performed human sacrifices, or (b) they had, God didn’t know about it.

              “Maybe the burning of the kings son, desecrated the place in the eyes of the Israelites, and made them not want anything to do with it?”

              Again, do you think the place had not previously been “desecrated” by the Moabites during Israel’s previous rule? For this argument to have any force, you would have to demonstrate that the Moabites had never performed a human sacrifice before this, or that the Israelites did not know about it. In any case, their purpose was to destroy the walled cities, not live there themselves.

              “Of course one can argue, that they would have conquered it anyway and left it waste, but is disagree… Who for example, would wage war over radioactive wasteland?”

              As I said, they were supposed to destroy the city, not live in it.

              You have basically attempted what Stark refers to a “scatter gun approach”. You’ve thrown out a bunch of “maybe this” and “maybe thats”. Each of them is easily refuted. And besides, you will find a far more comprehensive refutation in Stark’s book which, it seems, you still have not read.

            • JohnM

              If they are easily refuted, why didn’t you just refute them?

            • Reasonably Faithless

              Because they already have been refuted.

            • John’s up to his usual tricks, I see!

            • JohnM

              What do you mean “tricks”?

              I’m just pointing out that there are many options on the table, and that there’s no basis in the text for going “Oh that’s a sacrifice to Chemosh”. It’s an interpretation, that has to be held up against all the other possible interpretations.

            • By tricks, I mean things (it comes from ‘how’s tricks?’ meaning how’s things?, old prostitution slang). I don’t mean that you are actually playing tricks on people here. However, I do think you are successfully playing tricks on yourself!

          • Nerdsamwich

            Darn right it’s clear: Check out Abraham. Held up as an example of perfect faith and obedience because he didn’t even hesitate to sacrifice his son.

      • Thank you JohmM, That is precisely what crossed my mind the very first time I heard about and later read this passage.

        Israel withdrew because they found nothing worthwhile in relating with these people and terrible worship of a human-blood thirsty idol because in the light of Leviticus 18:21 which also precedes the event in 2 King 3, God had warned His people to steer clear from any form human sacrifice. Obviously keeping these people as subjects will in time become a snare to Israel which eventually happened in their journey.

        • How do you explain “The fury against Israel was great” if (as in your interpretation) Israel simply saw the Moabite king being bad, and decided they’d better go back home? And in any case, if that’s what they thought, why would they retreat rather than wipe out the evil Moabites?

          I also have a few issues with your use of Leviticus 18:21. First, you claim that this was written before the event from 2 Kings 3 – what is your evidence for this? See the wiki entry on Leviticus:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Book_of_Leviticus

          It states the majority view regarding composition:

          “The traditional view is that Leviticus was compiled by Moses, or that the material in it goes back to his time, but internal clues suggest that the book developed much later in Israel’s history and was completed either near the end of the Judean monarchy in the late seventh century BCE or in the exilic and post-exilic period of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. Scholars debate whether it was written primarily for Jewish worship in exile that centered on reading or preaching, or was aimed instead at worshipers at temples in Jerusalem and Samaria. Scholars are practically unanimous that the book had a long period of growth, that it includes some material of considerable antiquity, and that it reached its present form in the Persian period (538–332 BCE).”

          So, if you wish to claim that the verse you quoted precedes the story from 2 Kings 3, then you have some work to do to verify your claim.

          Second, Leviticus is very specific in that it forbids Israelites from sacrificing their children to Molek – it says nothing about Moabites sacrificing their children to Kemosh. I’m sure Yahweh (if he existed) would have been against the idea, but this says nothing about whether Moabites sacrificing children to Kemosh would be effective. In any case, it says nothing at all about “steer[ing] clear from any form of human sacrifice” – in particular, it does not rule out human sacrifice to Yahweh.

          I highly recommend you read Thom Stark’s chapter on human sacrifice (starting on p52) in his book “Is God a Moral Compromiser?”, freely available here:

          http://thomstark.net/copan/stark_copan-review.pdf

          In fact, Stark makes the same point I did above, on the first page of that chapter:

          “First, Copan points out that Lev 18:21 and 20:2-5, as well as
          Deut 12:31 and 18:10, roundly condemn human sacrifice. Well,
          first, let’s cross the Leviticus texts off the list, because they con-
          demn sacrificing children to Molech, not sacrificing children to
          Yahweh. Nobody argues that it was ever acceptable in Israel to
          sacrifice a child to a god other than Yahweh. Biblical scholars ar-
          gue, rather, that it was for a long time acceptable to sacrifice hu-
          mans to Yahweh.”

          (He then goes on to explain that the Deuteronomy passages are later compositions than 2 Kings 3.)

          I hope you’ll have a good think about all this.

    • Cilliers van Niekerk

      Actually, it’s Kemosh 1 : Elisha 0; but don’t let that spoil a good story.

      • Really? Have another read of the passage!

        • Cilliers van Niekerk

          Having followed your good advice, I must conclude that we are both wrong: I thought at first reading that Elisha (who was God’s prophet, not the other way around) had erred in prophecy, and that this error was faithfully reported, in 2 Kings 3, to its credit; thus Elisha 0 : Whoever 1.

          But no, closer reading of the entire chapter reveals that Jehoram, the instigator of the campaign, was an asshole, and thus not entitled to favours, in this particular game. So that God was quite right to teach him a lesson, first point.

          Furthermore, Elisha, far from being in error, and properly contemptuous of Jehoram, prophesied most accurately, about dry streams being filled, etc., down to the last tree felled. He said nothing of victory, to the asshole and companions.

          So that the scribe was quite right proudly to mark up victories alike for God, who improved the character of Jehoram (who had thought he was going to die of thirst, army and all, remember); and for Elisha, who was right; and for Mesha (or Kemosh, if you insist) who gained what I understand to be a just victory, for a heathen, because he, another asshole, killed his son for Kemosh, and very properly lost everything of value including all his good trees, and, of course, because Jehoram his opponent was also an asshole.

    • RJ – return to the faith

      I think the real question to ask is the following…. who? had ‘fury / Indignation’ against Israel. I dont believe it was the moabite god And his ‘celestial intervention or response’, but instead I believe the fury came from the supporting armies…. the armies of Judah and Edom. Of course the moabites had indignation against Israel, as many of their men had died defending their country, and now the ‘sacrifice’ of the heir to the kingdom. But what could the moabite people do at this point??as they were defeated and many of their men had been killed.

      Remember – God was with Judah in this effort and also with Elisha, but Edom and Judah and Elisha could care less about Israel collecting its ‘tax’ from the moabite people. The true followers of Yahweh detested the entire concept of human sacrifice, but the intentions of the King of Israel were most likely revealed and understood at that moment, when the King of Moab did the most detesteble act ever…. sacrificing a Prince amd future King on the city walls for all to see…..