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THE MOABITE STONE OR MESHA STELE 9th century B.C.
The   Moabite   Stone   is   also   called   the   ‘stèle   de   Mesha’   (French)   or   Mesha   Stele.   What   is   special   about   this   archaeological discovery is that it was not found during digging. When the stone was found it was laying on the surface.  
Facsimile made by B. Bonte
There   are   several   stories   about   its   history.   According   to   the   book   "On   stone   and   clay"   by   Henri   Michaud,   the   stone   was discovered   by   German   missionary   F.   A.   Klein   in   Dibon   (now   Dibhan)   in   the   year   1868.   But,   evidently   the   true   finder   must have   been   Clermont-Ganneau.   At   that   time   he   was   working   for   the   French   consulate   in   Jerusalem.   He   had   heard   people talking   about   the   stone   and   ordered   a   copy   to   be   made   of   part   of   the   text.   This   copy   can   now   be   seen   in   the   Louvre, together   with   the   Moabite   stone.   He   understood   that   the   stone   must   have   been   of   great   value   and   so   ordered   the imprint   to   be   made.   Although   it   was   done,   the   imprint   was   torn   to   pieces   by   a   fight   amongst   the   population.   Clermont- Ganneau    wanted    to    buy    the    stone    but    the    Arabs    were    suspicious.    He    was    too    eager.    The    population    could    not understand   why   he   wanted   to   buy   a   'worthless'   stone.   They   thought   there   must   be   a   treasure   hidden   inside   it.   In   search of   the   treasure,   they   lit   a   fire   around   the   stone.   When   the   stone   was   very   hot,   they   poured   cold   water   over   it.   The difference   in   temperature   broke   the   stone   to   pieces.   There   was   no   hidden   treasure.   Clermont-Ganneau   was   able   to   buy the   pieces   and   they   are   now   in   possession   of   the   Louvre   museum.   The   stele   is   now   made   of   both   original   pieces   and pieces made out of plaster, according to the copy that had been made. The   material   of   the   stone   is   basalt,   3½   feet   long   by   2   feet   wide.   The   language   is   Phoenician.   The   stone   is   dated   around 800   B.C.   On   this   stone   Mesha,   king   of   Moab,   relates   the   story   of   his   uprising   against   Israel.   In   order   to   better   understand the account, it should be mentioned that Chemosh is the God whom he worshiped.   The stone reads:
“I   am   Mesha,   son   of   Chemosh   king   of   Moab,   the   Daibonite.   My   father   reigned   over   Moab   for   thirty   years,   and   I   reigned   after   my father.   And   I   made   this   high-place   for   Chemosh   in   Kerekhoh   a   high-place   of   salvation,   because   he   had   saved   me   from   all   assailants, and   because   he   had   let   me   see   my   pleasure   upon   all   them   that   hated   me.   Omri   was   king   of   Israel   and   he   afflicted   Moab   for   many days,   for   Chemosh   was   being   angry   with   his   land.   And   his   son   succeeded   him,   and   he   also   said,   I   will   afflict   Moab.   In   my   days   said   he thus,   and   I   saw   my   pleasure   on   him   and   his   house.   And   Israel   perished   with   an   everlasting   destruction;   now   Omri   had   taken possession   of   the   land   of   Mehdeba.   And   it   dwelt   there   in   his   days   and   half   the   days   of   his   son,   forty   years;   and   Chemosh   restored   it in   my   days.   And   I   built   Baal   Meon   and   I   made   in   it   the   reservoir,   and   I   built   Kiryathen.   Now   the   men   of   Gad   had   dwelt   in   the   land   of Ataroth   from   of   old.   And   the   king   of   Israel   built   for   himself   Ataroth.   And   I   warred   against   the   city   and   seized   it.   And   I   slew   all   the people   of   the   city,   a   gazing-stock   to   Chemosh   and   to   Moab.   And   I   captured   thence   the   altar-hearth   of   Daedoh   and   I   dragged   it   before Chemosh   in   Keriyyoth   .   And   I   settled   there   in   to   men   of   Sheren   and   the   men   of   Makharath.   And   Chemosh   said   unto   me,   “Go,   take Nebo   against   Israel”.   And   I   seized   it,   and   slew   by   night   and   warred   against   it   from   the   break   of   dawn   unto   noon.   And   I   seized   it,   and slew   all   of   it,   7,000   men   and   male   sojourners   and   women   and   female   sojourners   and   maidens.   For   to   Ashtor-Chemosh   had   I   devoted it.   And   I   took   thence   the   vessels   of   JHWH,   and   I   dragged   them   before   Chemosh.   Now   the   king   of   Israel   had   built   Jahas   and   dwelt   in   it, when   he   warred   against   me.   And   Chemosh   drove   him   out   from   me.   And   I   took   of   Moab   200   men,   all   its   chiefs.   And   I   brought   it against   Jahas,   and   seized   it,   to   add   it   into   Daibon.   I   built   Kerekhoth,   the   wall   of   the   Woods   and   the   wall   of   the   Mound.   And   I   built   its gates   and   I   built   its   towers.   And   I   built   the   King’s   house,   and   I   made   the   two   reservoirs   of   water   in   the   Midst   of   the   city.   Now   there was   no   cistern   in   the   midst   of   all   the   city,   in   Kerekhoth,   and   I   said   to   all   the   people,   make   you   every   man   a   cistern   in   his   house.   And   I cut   out   the   cutting   of   Kerekhoth   with   the   prisoners   of   Israel.   And   I   built   Aroer,   and   I   made   the   highway   by   the   Arnon.   I   built   Beth- Bamoth,   for   it   was   overthrown.   I   built   Beser   for   ruins   had   it   become.   And   the   chiefs   of   Daibon   were   fifty,   for   all   Daibon   was   obedient. And   I   reigned   over   one   hundred   chiefs   in   the   cities   which   I   added   to   the   land.   And   I   built   Mehdeba   and   Beth-Diblathen.   And   Beth- Baal-Meon.   And   I   took   thence   the   sheep-masters...   the   sheep   of   the   land.   And   as   for   Horonen,   there   dwelt   there   in...And   Chemosh said unto me, Go down, fight against Horonen. And I went down...And Chemosh restored it in my days.”..
Further than that the text is too damaged to translate.    In   ancient   Hebrew   words   were   made   up   of   consonants   separated   by   dots.   A   sentence   was   separated   by   two   vertical   dots. One   read   from   the   right   side   to   the   left.   The   language   of   the   Moabite   stone   looks   very   much   like   Hebrew.   This   is   to   be expected because the Moabites where descendants of Abraham's nephew Lot. As   concerns   the   Divine   Name,   the   right   side   of   the   stone   is   very   important.   On   the   18th   line   we   see   written   'YHWH'.   The Divine Name in the form of YHWH was well known too Mesha and his contemporaries.    
It   is   interesting   that   the   Bible   account   found   in   2   Kings   chapter   3   happened   during   the   same   time.   Mesha   is   even   mentioned in   verse   4:   "And   Mesha   king   of   Moab   was   a   sheep-master,   and   he   rendered   to   the   king   of   Israel   a   hundred   thousand   lambs, and a hundred thousand rams, [with] wool" (Young's Literal translation). To   quote   the   book   'Het   verhaal   van   de   bijbel'   (translated:   'The   story   of   the   Bible')   page   32-34   (published   by   the   Belgian   Bible Society   1985):   "In   2   Kings   3   it   is   mentioned   that   an   allied   army   from   Israel,   Judah   and   Edom   enters   the   land   of   Moab,   when Mesha   was   uprising.   According   to   this   story   Moab   was   destroyed   and   Mesha   was   locked   in   a   stronghold.   Only   by   sacrificing his son, could he prevent a total defeat". The Biblical account is very different with the report Mesha put on his stone.