54. THE MOABITE STONE.
This ancient monument was discovered by the Rev. F. Klein in 1868 at
Diban (the Dibon of the O.T.) in Moab.
The inscription consists of thirty-four lines (the last two being undecipherable),
and was written by Mesha king of Moab to commemorate his successful revolt
from the yoke of Israel, recorded in 2Kings 1:1 and chapter 3; and to honor
his god Chemosh, to whom he ascribed his successes.
The writing is in the ancient Hebrew characters, which continued in
use down to quite 140, 139 B.C., but was gradually replaced by the modern
square Hebrew characters which are in use to-day.
The inscription is proved to be genuine by the Bible account, the two
throwing light on each other. See the notes on 2Kings 3.
The following translation, by Dr. Neubauer, is taken from Records of the Past (New Series), Vol. II, pp. 200, &c. :
- "I, Mesha son of Chemosh-Melech king of Moab, the Di-
- bonite. My father reigned over Moab thirty years and
- ed after my father. I made this monument to Chemosh at
Korkhah. A monument of sal-
- vation, for he saved me from all invaders, and let me see my
desire upon all my enemies. Om-
- ri [was] king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab many days, for
Chemosh was angry with his
- land. His son followed him, and he also said :
I will oppress Moab. In my days Che[mosh] said;
- I will see my desire on him and his house. And Israel
surely perished for ever. Omri took the land of
- Medeba (*1) and [Israel] dwelt in it during his days and half
the days of his son (*2), altogether forty years. But there dwelt
- Chemosh in my days. I built Baal-Meon (*3) and made therein
the ditches; I built
- Kirjathaim (*4). The men of Gad dwelt in the land of
Ataroth (*5) from of old, and built there the king of
- Israel Ataroth; and I made war against the town and seized
it. And I slew all the [people of]
- the town, for the pleasure of Chemosh and Moab : I captured
from thence the Arel (*6) of Dodah and tore
- him before Chemosh in Kerioth (*7) : And I placed therein
the men of Sh(a)r(o)n, and the men
- of M(e)kh(e)rth. And Chemosh said to me : Go,
seize Nebo (*8) upon Israel; and
- I went in the night and fought against it from the break of
dawn till noon : and I took
- it, and slew all, 7,000 men, [boys?], women, [girls?]
- and female slaves, for to Ashtar-Chemosh I devoted them.
And I took from it the Arels (*6) of Yahveh, and tore them before Chemosh.
And the king of Israel built
- Jahaz (*9), and dwelt in it, while he waged war against me;
Chemosh drove him out before me. And
- I took from Moab 200 men, all chiefs, and transported them
to Jahaz, which I took,
- to add to it Dibon. I built Korkhah, the wall of the
forests and the wall
- of the citadel : I built its gates, and I built its
- I built the house of Moloch, and I made sluices of the water-ditches
in the middle
- of the town. And there was no cistern in the middle
of the town of Korkhah, and I said to all the people, Make for
- yourselves every man a cistern in his house. And I dug
the canals for Korkhah by means of the prisoners
- of Israel. I built Aroer (*10), and I made the road
in [the province of] the Arnon. [And]
- I built Beth-Bamoth (*11), for it was destroyed. I built
Bezer (*12), for in ruins
- [it was. And all the chiefs] of Dibon were 50, for all
Dibon is subject; and I placed
- one hundred [chiefs] in the towns which I added to the land
: I built
- Beth-Medeba and Beth-diblathaim (*13), and Beth-Baal-Meon
(*14), and transported thereto the [shepherds]?...
- and the pastors] of the flocks of the land. And at Horonaim
(*15) dwelt there
- ...And Chemosh said to me, Go down, make war upon Horonaim.
I went down [and made war]
- ...And Chemosh dwelt in it during my days. I went up
(*1) Num. 21:30; Isa. 15:2.
(*2) "son" = successor.
(*3) Now, Tell M'ain, Num. 32:38. Josh. 13:17.
(*4) Num. 32:37. Josh. 13:19.
(*5) Num. 32:3. Josh. 16:2.
(*6) Arel, two lions, or, lion-like men (?) Cp. 2Sam. 23:20.
(*7) Now, Khan el Kureitin (?); Jer. 48:24. Amos
(*8) Num. 32:3, 38. Isa. 15:2.
(*9) Isa. 15:4.
(*10) Now, 'Ar'air, Deut. 2:36; 3:12; 4:48.
(*11) Num. 21:19. Isa. 15:2. (A.V. "high places"),
cp. Josh. 13:17.
(*12) Deut. 4:43.
(*13) Jer. 48:22.
(*14) Josh. 13:17. Jer. 48:23.
(*15) Isa. 15:5. Jer. 48:3, 5, 34.
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