The Mesha Stele (popularized in the 19th century as the "Moabite Stone") is a black basalt stone, bearing an inscription by the 9th century BC Moabite King Mesha, discovered in 1868 at Dhiban (biblical "Dibon," capital of Moab). The inscription of 34 lines is written in the Moabite language. It is the most extensive inscription ever recovered that refers to ancient Israel. It was set up by Mesha, about 850 BC, as a record and memorial of his victories in his revolt against the Kingdom of Israel, undertaken after the death of his overlord, Ahab. The stone is 124 cm high and 71 cm wide and deep, and rounded at the top. It was discovered at the ancient Dibon now Dhiban, Jordan, in August 1868, by Rev. F. A. Klein, a German missionary in Jerusalem. "The Arabs of the neighborhood, dreading the loss of such a talisman, broke the stone into pieces; but a squeeze had already been obtained by Charles Simon Clermont-Ganneau, and most of the fragments were recovered and pieced together by him". A squeeze is a papier-mâché impression. The squeeze (which has never been published) and the reassembled stele (which has been published in many books and encyclopedias) are now in the Louvre Museum. What the Moabite Stone says’
I am Mesha, son of Kemoshmelek, the king of Moab, the Dibonite. My father was king over Moab for thirty years, and I became king after my father. And I made this high place for Kemosh in Qarhar . . . because of the deliverance of Mesha, and because he has saved me from all the kings and because he caused me to see [my desire] upon all who hated me. Omri, king of Israel -- he oppressed Moab many days, because Chemosh was angry with his land. And his son succeeded him, and he also said I will oppress Moab. In my day he spoke according to this word, but I saw my desire upon him and upon his house, and Israel utterly perished forever. Now Omri had possessed all the land of Medeba and dwelt in it his days and half the days of his son, forty years, but...
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