Sunday, December 28, 2014

Bonus 36 - Mesha Stele

The Mesha Stela (or Moabite Stone).
Louvre Museum, Departement of Oriental
Antiquities, Sully, ground floor, room D.
Public Domain. Photo by Mbzt 2012
The Mesha Stela (or Moabite Stone) is a basalt slab inscription that was discovered near Dibon (modern  Dhiban, Jordan) in 1868 by Frederick Augustus Klein. It dates to 850-840 BC and speaks to the Moabite/Israelite relations in the 9th century BC the time of King Ahab and King David. It is presently housed in the Louvre Museum, Department of Oriental Antiquities (AP 5066).

This is the time of Elisha. “The land of Moab lay east of the Dead Sea, and was roughly 600 miles long by 25-30 miles wide.  David and Solomon subdued it as a vassal state, but after 930 BC it threw off the yoke of Israel.  However, the Bible records that by 853 BC (the Year Ahab died) Moab had long been subdued once again by Israel, and was preparing for a second attempt at independence. 2 Kings 3:4-5 tells us… It names the Israelite kings of Omri and Ahab, and provides a list of the accomplishments of Mesha, King of Moab.  In 39 lines of writing he tells us:
‘I am Mesha…king of Moab…As for Omri, King of Israel, he humbled Moab many years…and his son [Ahab]…also said, I will humble Moab.  In my time he thus spoke, but I have triumphed over him…’
“I am Mesha, son of Chemosh, the king of Moab … As for Omri the king of Israel, and he humbled Moab for many years, … And his son reigned in his place: and he also said, “I will oppress Moab!” In my days he said so. But I triumphed over him and over his house, and Israel has perished; it has perished forever!”
Masters states:
The Moabite Stone goes on to speak of the taking of other districts from Israel, and of the building of reservoirs and townships.  It is certainly a most significant confirmation of the accuracy of the historical details in the Bible.1.
  • 1. Peter Masters, Heritage of Evidence in the British Museum. London, Wakeman Trust, 2004, 28.
For Further Studies
  • Albright, William F. “Palestinian Inscriptions: Moabite Stone.” The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures. Edited by James B. Pritchard, (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2010), 287.
  • Bonder, B. “Mesha's Rebellion Against Israel,” Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University 3 (1970-71), 83-87.
  • Dearman, John A. and G. L. Mattingly, “Mesha Stele,” Edited by David Noel Freedman, Gary A. Herion, David F. Graf, and John David Pleins. Anchor Bible Dictionary (New York, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1996), 4.708-710.
  • Dearman, John A. ed. Studies in the Mesha Inscription and Moab. Archaeology and Biblical Studies 2. Atlanta, Scholars Press, 1989.
  • Ginsberg, Christian. The Moabite Stone A Facsimile of the Original Inscription. Reeves and Turner. 1871.
  • Green, Douglas J. “I Undertook Great Works”: The Ideology of Domestic Achievements in West Semitic Royal Inscriptions. Leiden: Mohr Siebeck, 2010, 95-135.
  • Emerton, J. A. “The Value of the Moabite Stone as an Historical Source,” Vetus Testamentum 52 no. 4 (2002): 483-92.
  • Horn, Siegfried H. “Why the Moabite Stone Was Blown to Pieces: 9th-Century B.C. Inscription Adds New Dimension to Biblical Account of Mesha’s Rebellion,Biblical Archaeology Review  (May/June 1986): 50-61.
  • King, James. Moab’s Patriarchal Stone: being an account of the Moabite stone, its story and teaching. Palestine Exploration Fund. London, U.K.: Bickers and Son, 1878.
  • Lemche, Niels Peter. The Old Testament Between Theology and History: A Critical Survey. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster/Knox, 2008.
  • Lipiński, Edward. On the Skirts of Canaan in the Iron Age: Historical and Topographical Researches. Leuven: Peeters, 2006.
  • Liver, J. “The Wars of Mesha, King of Moab,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 99 (1967), 14-31.
  • Michèle Daviau, P. M. and Paul-Eugène Dion, “Moab Comes to Life,Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2002.
  • Mitchell, T. C. The Bible in the British Museum: Interpreting the Evidence. Mahwah, N.J.: Paulist, 2004, 56.
  • Mykytiuk, Lawrence J. Identifying Biblical Persons in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions of 1200-539 B.C.E.. Atlanta, Ga.: Society of Biblical Literature, 2004.
  • Na’aman, Nadav. “The Campaign of Mesha against Horonaim,” Biblische Notizen 73 (1974), 27-30.
  • Parker, Simon B. Stories in Scripture and Inscriptions: Comparative Studies on Narratives in Northwest Semitic Inscriptions and the Hebrew Bible. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1997.
  • Rainey, Anson F.. “Mesha and Syntax.” In The Land That I Will Show You. Ed. Dearman, J. Andrew; Graham, M. Patrick. Sheffield Academic Press Supplement Series, no. 343 Sheffield, U.K.: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001, 287-307.
  • Rendsburg, G. “A Reconstruction of Moabite and Israelite History,” Journal of the Ancient Near Eastern Society of Columbia University 13 (1981), 67-73.
  • Rollston, Chris A. Writing and Literacy in the World of Ancient Israel: Epigraphic Evidence from the Iron Age. Atlanta, Ga.: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010.
  • Schmidt, Brian B. “Neo-Assyrian and Syro-Palestinian Texts I: the Moabite stone”. In The Ancient Near East: Historical Sources in Translation. Ed. by Mark William Chavalas. Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley & Sons, 2006.
  • Stern, P. D. “Of Kings and Moabites: History and Theology in 2 Kings 3 and the Mesha Inscription,” Hebrew Union College Annual 64 (1993), 1-14.

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