We find a new king in Israel, the north, whose name is Jehoram who was slightly better than his dad in that he tore down the high places of Baal which were put in place by his father. So he is slightly better, but still clung to the sin of going to foreign gods instead of worshiping the one Lord. Moab comes into the picture as the king senses a weakness and becomes antagonistic against Israel and this new king.
So the new king gathers up any allies which he may have which includes the king of Judah, so the southern kingdom, and the king of Edom. They seek out counsel not from the foreign gods, but actually from the Lord and wonder if there might be a prophet who could give them counsel as to whether they should attack or not. They find Elisha.
Elisha is not very excited to see the king of Israel, the new one, and asks him why he doesn’t seek out the gods of his father? He has a great answer and says that the Lord has summoned them so he is asking of the Lord’s prophets for advice. Did you see what Elisha did next? He asks for a musician. He needs the presence of music, at least in this case, in order to feel the presence of God. Yes, I said feel the presence of God. That is pretty unique in this situation. David used to play the harp for Saul and it would drive the evil spirits away. Here Elisha uses music to discern the will of God.
He says that the battle will be favorable, and it was. The king of Moab finds himself up against the wall, literally, and as a result he decides that maybe if he goes to the extreme then his gods will win the battle. He sacrifices his eldest son and the Israelites are horrified by this action and retreat back to their cities. In effect, the king of Moab saves his life by sacrificing his son. It is the exact opposite of what we see in the sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave of his life in order to save all of humanity.