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Then he took his eldest son that should have reigned in his stead, and offered him for a burnt offering upon the wall. And there was great indignation against Israel: and they departed from him, and returned to their own land.

New Defender's Study Bible Notes

3:27 his eldest son. There has been some uncertainty by the scribes as to whether Mesha, the king of Moab (II Kings 3:4, 26) sacrificed his own son in an attempt to persuade his god (Chemosh) to intervene against Israel, or had somehow captured the son of the king of Edom and sacrificed him, as an act of vengeance against Edom for siding with Israel. In either case, the semi-pagan Israelites were so disturbed by this development, which had evidently infuriated both the Moabites and Edomites against them, that they simply abandoned the campaign against Moab and went home.

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