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Holman Bible Dictionary [1]

 2 Kings 3:25 Isaiah 16:7 2 Kings 3:25  Isaiah 16:11 Jeremiah 48:31 48:36 Isaiah 16:11  Isaiah 15:1Kir

During the reign of Jehoram of Israel, Mesha, king of Moab, rebelled against Israel ( 2 Kings 3:4-27 ). The kings of Judah (Jehoshaphat) and Edom joined Israel in the resulting war. The forces allied against Mesha crushed the rebellion, but they were unsuccessful in capturing Mesha. He took refuge in Kir-Hareseth—a well fortified and impregnable city. After Mesha tried unsuccessfully to break through the besiegers, he offered his son as a sacrifice upon the city walls. As a result, “there came a great wrath upon Israel” ( 2 Kings 3:27 NRSV); and the allied forces withdrew, leaving Mesha alive in Kir-Hareseth (  2 Kings 3:4-27 ). Apparently, the forces of Israel and Judah feared the power of the Moabite god, Chemosh, and gave up the victory that lay within their grasp. Jehoram and Jehoshaphat did not have faith that Yahweh would give them victory over the people of Chemosh.

The prophets would later correct this view. Isaiah ( Isaiah 15:1;  Isaiah 16:7 ,Isaiah 16:7, 16:11 ) and Jeremiah ( Jeremiah 48:31 ,Jeremiah 48:31, 48:36 ) prophesied that Kir-Hareseth was no match for the power of God. All human kingdoms are ultimately subject to God. Kir-Hareseth was destroyed by the Babylonians whom the prophets described as God's instrument of punishment (see  Jeremiah 4:5-31;  Jeremiah 6:1-8 ,  Jeremiah 6:22-26;  Jeremiah 25:1-14 ).

Kir-Hareseth is identified with modern khirbet Karnak, about 50 miles southeast of Jerusalem and 11 miles east of the Dead Sea.

Phil Logan

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

KIR-HARESETH (  Isaiah 16:7 ), Kir-haraseth (  2 Kings 3:25 AV [Note: Authorized Version.] [pausal form]), Kir-heres (  Jeremiah 48:31;   Jeremiah 48:36 ), Kir-haresh (  Isaiah 16:11 AV [Note: Authorized Version.] [pausal form]). A place of great strength and importance in Moab; generally regarded as identical with Kir of Moab (wh. see). The LXX [Note: Septuagint.] and Vulg. [Note: Vulgate.] take these names as phrases, and translate them on some more or less fanciful Hebrew etymology. The Targum on Isaiah renders Kerak tokpehon , which suggests that haraseth may be connected with the Assyrian hurshu , ‘a cliff,’ etc., but the word may be Moabite or Canaanite, and seems to occur in ‘Harosheth of the Gentiles’ (  Judges 4:2;   Judges 4:13;   Judges 4:16 ). The modern Kasr harasha , 35 minutes’ walk above Dera’a, preserves a similar title.

C. H. W. Johns.