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This stela was made known to Western scholars in the 1868 largely intact, but rivalry between European powers and failure to negotiate with the Bendoiun resulted in its destruction. Fortunately a squeeze was taken of the inscription before its destruction and the several of the pieces with the inscription were recovered. It is thought to have been originally located in Dibon, the capital of Moab during the time of Mesha. Mesha, the 9th century king who commissioned this inscription—which may have been a building inscription—tells of his oppression by Omri and his son, only to rise up and defeat Israel and carry off an altar-hearth of Yahweh in the process. The stela is famous for its mention of Yahweh as well as Israel and the name of the Israelite king Omri. The depiction of Kemosh allowing the land of Moab to be oppressed because of his anger fits well with the biblical conception of divine activity in political events. The stela is also important for knowledge of both Hebrew and regional dialects of Canaanite during the Iron age, as well as paleography. Although Mesha’s subjugation by Israel is mentioned in the HB, there are some historiographic issues about which time period and under which king to place Mesha’s revolt.

BibliographyEdit

S. B. Parker, "Non-Israelite Written Sources: Syro-Palestinian," Dictionary of the Old Testament Historical Books