Moab

In 1868, a stone was uncovered in the biblical city of Dibon, on which were recorded victories over the Israelites by Mesha, king of Moab.

The Mesha stele or the Moabite stone described how Moab was conquered by Omri, King of Israel, as the result of the anger of the god Kemosh. Mesha’s victories over Omri’s son, over the men of Gad at Ataroth and at Nebo and Jehaz. Also it described Mesha’s public buildings, restoring the fortifications of his strong places and building a palace and reservoirs for water

The first few lines are dedicated to Mesha’s father, Kemosh. His influences to Mesha and how he helped him develop into the great warrior and conqueror that he was.

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He particularly described Israel and its king and how he defeated them in a series of his exploits. For a long time, Israel through his king Omri and his successors oppressed Moab to which Moab through Mesha intercession of Kemosh, revolted successfully.

Their successful revolt was followed by Mesha’s strong conviction to bring down Israel and conquer all the states under its control. It can be seen in the lines describing Mesha’s victory over Omri’s son and over the men of Gad at Ataroth, and at Nebo and Jehaz that Mesha was dedicated in conquering the states that fell under the control of Israel and adding those teritorries to Moab.

As can be seen in the beginning of the text, lines in the inscription indicate that Mesha attributed his feats and victories to Kemosh.  In line three, it was said that Mesha made a high place for Kemosh, since Kemosh gave Mesha victory over his enemies. It can be seen in line nine that Mesha also believed that Kemosh gave Moab back her territory.  In several lines it can be seen that his actions were indeed greatly influenced by Kemosh as when Mesha slew the people of Ataroth to satisfy Kemosh and when Mesha dragged the altar-hearth of Ataroth before Kemosh.

And when he answered to Kemosh’s direction to attack the town of Nebo and after his victory he devoted the inhabitants of Nebo to Kemosh. Also, the altar-hearths of Yahweh from Nebo were dragged before Kemosh. In line eighteen and nineteen, Mesha believed that it was Kemosh who drove the king of Israel out of Jahaz. Mesha also believed that it was Kemosh who directed him to fight against Horanaim in which battle Kemosh gave him victory over Horanaim. His strong belief on the great powers of Kemosh which helped him in his feats, it can be seen that they are no different to other early civilizations which are also centered to their deities and gods.

Mesha through his success in conquering hundreds of territories which he appended to Moab was able to create a state so vast and rich under his control. Not only did he conquer territories he was passionate dedicated in the development and progress of his state. As can be seen in the inscriptions n the rest of the inscription , Mesha tells of restoring and fortifying cities that rightfully belonged to Moab, he built gates and towers in Qarcho ; of building a palace for himself; of constructing reservoirs for water; of building cisterns ; and of constructing a military road. His dedication in building for the progress of the state which he created is indication of his visionary plans for the state. To take a territory and not develop it would have meant dissatisfaction from the conquered, but Mesha made it a point that all that was appended to Moab were rightfully developed and maintained.

As can be deduced from the inscriptions, Moab has been in constant feud with Israel. In the account of the stone, Mesha has unceasingly pursued Israel in vengeance for the oppression they have suffered under Israel. According contemporary accounts(MidEast Web, 2007), Palestine has been in conflict with Israel since the return of the Hebrews from Egypt during the time of Moses, in modern times this was repeated when British issued the Balfour Declaration, viewed by Jews and Arabs as promising a “National Home” for the Jews in Palestine.

Reference:
Mideast Web. 2007 Canaan/Palestine/Israel: A Brief Early History in Maps. 3 May 2007 <http://www.mideastweb.org/palmaps.htm>

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