KIR-HARESETH (keer-hehr' eh ssehth) Place name meaning, “city of pottery.” Known by various names in various texts and various versions of the Old Testament: Kir-Hareseth (2 Kings 3:25; Isaiah 16:7), Kir-Haraseth (2 Kings 3:25 KJV), Kir-Heres (Isaiah 16:11; Jeremiah 48:31,Jeremiah 48:36), and Kirharesh (Isaiah 16:11 KJV). Perhaps also the same as Kir of Moab in Isaiah 15:1. See Kir 1.
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 16:11) and Jeremiah (Jeremiah 48:31,Jeremiah 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.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.