This ancient monument was discovered by the Rev.
F. Klein in 1868 at Diban
(the Dibon of the Old Testament) in Moab.
The inscription consists of thirty-four lines
(the last two being undecipherable),
and was written by Mesha king of Moab to commemorate
his successful revolt from the yoke of Israel,
and chapter 3; and to honour his god Chemosh,
to whom he ascribed his successes.
The writing is in the ancient Hebrew characters,
which continued in use down to quite 140, 139
but was gradually replaced by the modern square
Hebrew characters which are in use to-day.
The inscription is proved
to be genuine by the Bible account,
the two throwing light on each other.
See the notes on
The following translation,
by Dr. Neubauer, is taken from
Records of the Past
(New Series), Vol. II, pp. 200, etc.:
Mesha son of Chemosh-Melech king of Moab,
My father reigned over Moab thirty years and I reign-
after my father.
I made this monument to Chemosh at Korkhah.
A monument of sal-
for he saved me from all invaders,
and let me see my desire upon all my enemies.
[was] king of Israel,
and he oppressed Moab many days,
for Chemosh was angry with his
His son followed him,
and he also said:
I will oppress Moab.
In my days Che[mosh] said;
will see my desire on him and his house.
And Israel surely perished for ever.
Omri took the land of
- Medeba 1
and [Israel] dwelt in it during his days and half the days of his
altogether forty years.
But there dwelt in it
in my days. I built
and made therein the ditches;
The men of Gad dwelt in the land of
from of old,
and built there the king of
and I made war against the town and seized it.
And I slew all the [people of]
for the pleasure of Chemosh and Moab:
I captured from thence the
of Dodah and tore
before Chemosh in
And I placed therein the men of Sh(a)r(o)n,
and the men
And Chemosh said to me:
upon Israel; and
went in the night and fought against
it from the break of dawn till noon:
and I took
and slew all, 7,000 men,
[boys?], women, [girls?]
for to Ashtar-Chemosh I devoted them.
And I took from it the
and tore them before Chemosh.
And the king of Israel built
and dwelt in it,
while he waged war against me;
Chemosh drove him out before me.
took from Moab 200 men,
and transported them to Jahaz,
which I took,
add to it Dibon.
I built Korkhah,
the wall of the forests and the wall
I built its gates,
and I built its towers.
built the house of Moloch,
and I made sluices of the water-ditches in the middle
And there was no cistern in the middle of the town of Korkhah,
and I said to all the people,
every man a cistern in his house.
And I dug the canals for Korkhah by means of the prisoners
and I made the road in [the province of] the Arnon.
for it was destroyed.
for in ruins
And all the chiefs] of Dibon were 50,
for all Dibon is subject;
and I placed
hundred [chiefs] in the towns which I added to the land:
and transported thereto the
[shepherds]? . . .
the [pastors] of the flocks of the land.
- . . . And
Chemosh said to me,
make war upon Horonaim.
I went down [and made war]
- . . . And
Chemosh dwelt in it during my days.
I went up from thence . . ."
2 "son" = successor.
3 Now, Tell M'ain, Numbers
4 Numbers 32:37.
5 Numbers 32:3.
two lions, or, lion-like men (?) Compare
Khan el Kureitin (?);
9 Isaiah 15:4.
(Authorized Version "high places"),
14 Joshua 13:17.
15 Isaiah 15:5.
Jeremiah 48:3, 5, 34.