An important city of Moab, probably a onetime capital. The Aramaic Targum consistently refers to Kir (of Moab), Kir-hareseth, and Kir-heres as Karak, indicating that these are but alternative names for the same place. “Kir of Moab” is therefore usually identified with modern Karak. (Isa 15:1) This city is situated on a small plateau over 900 m (3,000 ft) above sea level and about 35 km (22 mi) S of Dibon. Steep valleys separate most of Karak from the loftier neighboring mountains.
Toward the close of the tenth century B.C.E. the allied forces of Israel, Judah, and Edom attacked Kir-hareseth. If the site is correctly identified with Karak, it was doubtless from the nearby mountains that slingers bombarded the city with stones. Although Kir-hareseth evidently was not taken, the battle went hard against the king of Moab. For some unstated reason he, along with 700 warriors, sought to break through the battle lines in order to reach the king of Edom but was unsuccessful. As a last resort, it appears that the king of Moab publicly sacrificed his own firstborn son, probably to appease the god Chemosh. (2Ki 3:5, 9, 25-27) The Hebrew text (2Ki 3:27) may also be understood to refer to the firstborn son of the king of Edom, and some suggest that this is alluded to at Amos 2:1. But this is less likely.
Isaiah’s prophecy indicated that the Moabites would mourn for Kir-hareseth’s raisin cakes, perhaps a principal product of the city’s trade. (Isa 16:6, 7) Isaiah also spoke of his being boisterous like a harp over Moab and Kir-hareseth. As the strings of a harp vibrate with sound, so Isaiah’s inward parts were moved by the message of woe for Kir-hareseth.—Isa 16:11; see also Jer 48:31, 36.