THE MESHA STELE (The Moabite Stone)

HOME | Story

"Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder;
and he had to deliver annually to the king of Israel a hundred thousand lambs,
and the wool of a hundred thousand rams.
But when Ahab died,
the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. ... "

The story (in part): 2 Kings 3.1-27.

Moabite Stone. c.890bce. Height 1.1metre. Mus.du Louvre, Paris.
It is the only royal inscription written in Hebrew yet discovered.
The MOABITE STONE, bearing an inscription of Mesha, king of Moab, who reigned at the beginning of the ninth century BC.
He here records his wars with Israel, and other deeds.
The Moabite stone was discovered by the Rev. F Klein, at Dibhan, in the land of Moab, on August 19th, 1868.
It measures 3ft. 10in. by 2ft. by 1ft. 2in., and is inscribed with thirty-four lines of text, each word of which is separated by a dot.
About a year after its discovery the Arabs, hearing of its contemplated removal, broke it into a number of fragments; but a paper squeeze of the inscription had already been made, and thus, fortunately, almost the whole of the text has been preserved.
A copy of the inscription in Hebrew letters, as transcribed by Prim and Socin, and a translation are here given:- 

translation:   hebrew transcript:
I am Mesha, son of Chemosh-melek, the king of Moab,
. אנכ. משע. בנ. כמש. . מלכ. מאב. הד
man of the Dibon.
My father reigned over Moab thirty years, and I sat on the throne
יבני | אבי. מלכ. על. מאב. שלשנ. שת. ואנכ. מלכ
after my father.
And built a high place for Chemosh in Korha,
תי. אחר. אבי | ואעש. הבמת. זאת. לכמש. בקרחה | ב[נס. י]
a place of salvation for Mesha.
For he hath delivered me from all monarchs, and he hath let me look with scorn upon all mine enemies.
Now Omri
שע. כי. השעני. מכל. המלכנ. וכי. הראני. בכל. שנאי | עמר
was King over Israel, and he oppressed Moab for many days, for that Chemosh was wroth with 5.
י. מלכ. ישראל. ויענו. את. מאב. ימנ. רבן. כי. יאנפ. כמש. באר
the land.
His son
(i.e. Ahab) reigned in his stead, and he said, 'I will oppress Moab.'
Thus spake he even in my days;
צה | ויחלפה. בנה. ויאמר. גמ. הא. אענו. את. מאב | בימי. אמר. כ[...]
but I have gained the victory over him and over his house,
and Israel is laid waste for ever. Omri took possession of the land of
וארא. בה. ובבתה | וישראל. אבד. אבד. עלמ. וירש. עמרי. את א[ר]
Medeba and he dwelt therein in his own days and somewhile in the days of his son, even forty years.
But Chemosh
צ. מהדבא | וישב. בה. ימה. וחצי. ימי. בנה. ארבענ. שת. ויש
in my time gave back the land unto me.
Then did I build Baal-Meon, and I made ..... and I built
בה. כמש. בימי | ואבנ. את. בעלמענ. ואעש. בה. האשוח. ואבנ
The people of Gad had dwelt in the land of Ataroth from days of old; and the king of Israel built
את. קריתנ | ואש. גד. ישב. בארצ. עטרת. מעלמ. ויבנ. לה. מלכ. י
the city of Ataroth.
And I assaulted the city and I slew all the people
שראל. את. עטרת | ואלתחמ. בקר. ואחזה | ואהרג. את. כל. העמ. [מ]
thereof in the sight of Chemosh and Moab; And I carried away the ariel (i.e. shrine) of David, And I dragged it on the ground 12.
הקר. רית. לכמש. ולמאב | ואשב. משמ. את. אראל. דודה. ואס
before the face of Chemosh in Kerioth.
And I carried away the people of Saron and the people of .....
חבה. לפני. כמש. בקרית | ואשב. בה. את. אש. שרנ. ואת. אש
And Chemosh said unto me, 'Go, carry Nebo over Israel.'
And I
מחרת | ויאמר. לי. כמש. לכ. אחז. את. נבה. על. ישראל | וא
went up by night, and fought against it from dawn even unto noon.
And I
הלכ. הללה. ואלתחמ. בה. מבקע. השחרת. עד. הצהרמ | ואח
took it, and slew every man, even seven thousand men,
and children, and women, and maidens,
זה. ואהרג. כלה. שבעת. אלפנ. גברנ. ו[גר]נ | וגברת. וגר
and slaves, and I dedicated them unto Ishtar-Chemosh. 17.
ת. ורחמת | כי. לעשתר. כמש. החרמתה | ואקח. משמ. א[ת. כ]
I carried away from thence the arials of YHWH, and dragged them on the ground before the face of Chemosh.
And the King of Israel had built
לי. יהוה. ואסחב. המ. לפני. כמש | ומלכ. ישראל. בנה. את
Yahas and dwelt therein after that he had fought before me; but Chemosh drove him forth before me. 19.
יהצ. וישב. בה. בהלתחמה. בי | ויגרשה. כמש. מפני | ו
I led forth two hundred of the men of Moab, and I led them up to Yahas, And I took it 20.
אקח. ממאב. מאתנ. אש. כל. רשה | ואשאה. ביהצ. ואחזה.
that I might join it unto Dibhon.
I built Korha, and the forest wall, and the ... wall,
לספת. על. דיבנ | אנכ. בנתי. קרחה. חמת. היערנ. וחמת
I built the doors and the towers thereof. 22.
העפל | ואנכ. בנתי. שעריה. ואנכ. בנתי. מגדלתה | וא
I built the royal palace, and I digged the sluices for the water-cisterns in the city. 23.
נכ. בנתי. בת. מלכ. ואנכ. עשתי. כלאי. האש[וח למי]נ. בקרב
There was no well in the city of Korha; therefore I said unto the people, 'Let every man dig him 24.
הקר | ובר. אנ. בקרב. הקר. בקרחה. ואמר. לכל. העמ. עשו. ל
a well in his own house'; And I digged the watercourses even unto Korha by the hands of the captives (?) 25.
כמ. אש. בר. בביתה | ואנכ. כרתי. המכרתת. לקרחה. באסר
of Israel.
I built Aroer. I made the road unto Arnon,
[י]. ישראל | אנכ. בנתי. ערער. ואנכ. עשתי. המסלת. בארננ.
I built again Beth-Bamoth, which was ruined. I built bosor ..... 27.
אנכ. בנתי. בת. במת. כי. הרס. הא | אנכ. בנתי. בצר. כי. עינ
I added 28.
... ש. דיבנ. חמשנ. כי. כל. דיבנ. משמעת | ואנכ. מלכ
one hundred cities unto the land of Moab. I built 29.
ת[י] ... מאת. בקרנ. אשר. יספתי. על. הארצ | ואנכ. בנת
Medaba and Beth-Baal-Meon ..... 30.
[י. את. מה]דבא. ובת. דבלתנ | ובת. בעלמענ. ואשא. שמ. את. [...]
... צאנ. הארצ | וחורננ. ישב. בה. ב
And Chemosh said unto me: 'Go down and fight against Horonayim,' and 32.
... אמר. לי. כמש. רד. הלתחמ. בחורננ | וארד
I went down and fought against it ..... 33.
... [ויש]בה. כמש. בימי. ועל[...]. משמ. עש
... and I ... 34.
... שת. שדק | וא

Illustration - (Left): 'Picture Archive of the Bible.' Lion Publishing Plc. 1987. (Right): 'New Bible Atlas.' IVP. 1985.
Description: 'Helps to the Study of the Bible.' Oxford University Press. Undated.