I would like to ask a question related to another question posted.

Looking at 2 Kings 3:27 the wrath was caused after the sacrifice to an idol, yet it caused the Israelites to draw back, while they were the stronger party, and HaShem supported them. How come that the sacrifice seemed to have worked, how come it leaded to a wrath which made the Israelites withdraw?

So what I would like to know is how the sacrifice caused a wrath, and secondly how this wrath caused the Israelites to retreat?

1 Answer 1


Rashi points out

and there was great wrath: For their iniquities were remembered, that they too worship pagan deities and are not worthy of miracles.

That is that here a nonJew was so dedicated to his idol that he was willing to emulate Avraham but the Bnai Yisrael were not only abandoning Hashem, but were not even dedicated to the idols. The wrath was that of Hashem against Bnai Yisrael for their worshiping of idols. Also this abandonment of Hashem was in order to be able to allow themselves the pleasures of the world and not from conviction. This was hypocrisy of the first order.

Radak says

ויקח את בנו הבכור – פי׳ אדוני אבי ז״ל כי בן מלך אדום הראוי למלוך תחתיו היה ברשות מלך מואב ומפני זה בא עם שני המלכים כי חשב להוציא בעזרתם בנו מתחת יד מלך מואב וכשחשב מלך מואב להבקיע אל מלך אדום ולא יכול לקח בקצפו את בן מלך אדום והעלהו על החומה ושרפו לעיני אביו זהו ויעלהו עולה ששרפו כמו ששורפין העולה.

The son of the King of Edom (Israel's ally) was the hostage of the King of Moav. He (the king of Moav) sacrificed the Prince of Edom. The King of Edom became so enraged at Israel for getting him into the situation that he withdrew from the battle and caused the siege to break up.

As the ר'י קרא explicitly says

ויקח את בנו הבכור אשר ימלך תחתיו ויעלהו עלה – מלך אדום הניח בנו בערבון ביד מלך מואב שלא יפשע בו כיון שראה מלך מואב שעלה עליו מלך אדום לעזור את ישראל להלחם בו לקח מלך מואב את בנו של מלך אדום שעתיד למלוך תחתיו והעלהו עולה על החומה כדי שיראהו מלך אדום.

ויהי קצף גדול על ישראל – מלך אדום קצף על ישראל שאיבד את בנו בשבילם.

There was a great wrath on Bnai Yisrael - The King of Edom was angry at Bnai Yisrael that his son had been lost because of them

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