- Included in Eastons: Yes
- Included in Hitchcocks: No
- Included in Naves: Yes
- Included in Smiths: No
- Included in Websters: No
- Included in Strongs: Yes
- Included in Thayers: No
- Included in BDB: Yes
The designation of a tribe descended from Moab, the son of Lot (Genesis 19:37). From Zoar, the cradle of this tribe, on the south-eastern border of the Dead Sea, they gradually spread over the region on the east of Jordan. Rameses II., the Pharaoh of the Oppression, enumerates Moab (Muab) among his conquests. Shortly before the Exodus, the warlike Amorites crossed the Jordan under Sihon their king and drove the Moabites (Numbers 21:26-30) out of the region between the Arnon and the Jabbok, and occupied it, making Heshbon their capital. They were then confined to the territory to the south of the Arnon.
On their journey the Israelites did not pass through Moab, but through the "wilderness" to the east (Deuteronomy 2:8; Judges 11:18), at length reaching the country to the north of the Arnon. Here they remained for some time till they had conquered Bashan (see SIHON; OG). The Moabites were alarmed, and their king, Balak, sought aid from the Midianites (Numbers 22:2-4). It was while they were here that the visit of Balaam (q.v.) to Balak took place. (See MOSES.)
After the Conquest, the Moabites maintained hostile relations with the Israelites, and frequently harassed them in war (Judges 3:12-30; 1 Samuel 14). The story of Ruth, however, shows the existence of friendly relations between Moab and Bethlehem. By his descent from Ruth, David may be said to have had Moabite blood in his veins. Yet there was war between David and the Moabites (2 Samuel 8:2; 23:20; 1 Chronicles 18:2), from whom he took great spoil (2 Samuel 8:2, 11, 12; 1 Chronicles 11:22; 18:11).
During the one hundred and fifty years which followed the defeat of the Moabites, after the death of Ahab (see MESHA), they regained, apparently, much of their former prosperty. At this time Isaiah (15:1) delivered his "burden of Moab," predicting the coming of judgment on that land (comp. 2 Kings 17:3; 18:9; 1 Chronicles 5:25, 26). Between the time of Isaiah and the commencement of the Babylonian captivity we have very seldom any reference to Moab (Jeremiah 25:21; 27:3; 40:11; Zephaniah 2:8-10).
A basalt stone, bearing an inscription by King Mesha, which was discovered at Dibon by Klein, a German missionary at Jerusalem, in 1868. It was 3 1/2 feet high and 2 in breadth and in thickness, rounded at the top. It consisted of thirty-four lines, written in Hebrew-Phoenician characters. It was set up by Mesha as a record and memorial of his victories. It records (1) Mesha's wars with Omri, (2) his public buildings, and (3) his wars against Horonaim. This inscription in a remarkable degree supplements and corroborates the history of King Mesha recorded in 2 Kings 3:4-27.
With the exception of a very few variations, the Moabite language in which the inscription is written is identical with the Hebrew. The form of the letters here used supplies very important and interesting information regarding the history of the formation of the alphabet, as well as, incidentally, regarding the arts of civilized life of those times in the land of Moab.
This ancient monument, recording the heroic struggles of King Mesha with Omri and Ahab, was erected about B.C. 900. Here "we have the identical slab on which the workmen of the old world carved the history of their own times, and from which the eye of their contemporaries read thousands of years ago the record of events of which they themselves had been the witnesses." It is the oldest inscription written in alphabetic characters, and hence is, apart from its value in the domain of Hebrew antiquities, of great linguistic importance.
In the year 1868 Rev. F. Klein, of the Church Missionary Society at Jerusalem, found at Dhiban (the biblical Dibon), in Moab, a remarkable stone, since called the Moabite Stone. It was lying on the ground, with the inscription uppermost, and measures about 3 feet 9 inches long, 2 feet 4 inches wide and 1 foot 2 inches thick. It is a very heavy, compact black basalt. An impression was made of the main block, and of certain recovered parts broken off by the Arabs. It was broken by the Arabs, but the fragments were purchased by the French government for 32,000 francs, and are in the Louvre in Paris. The engraved face is about the shape of an ordinary gravestone, rounded at the top. On this stone is the record in the Phoenician characters of the wars of Mesha, king of Moab, with Isr'l. (2 Kings 3:4) It speaks of King Omri and other names of places and persons mentioned in the Bible, and belongs to this exact period of jewish and Moabite history. The names given on the Moabite Stone, engraved by one who knew them in daily life, are, in nearly every case, identical with those found in the Bible itself, and testify to the wonderful integrity with which the Scriptures have been preserved. "The inscription reads like a leaf taken out of a lost book of Chronicles. The expressions are the same; the names of gods, kings and of towns are the same."
(See Rawlinson's "Historical Illustrations;" American Cyclopedia ; and Bibliotheca Sacra , Oct. 20, 1870.
Descendants of Lot through his son Moab
Called the people of Chemosh
Children of Israel commanded not to distress the Moabites
Refuse passage of Jephthah's army through their territory
Balak was king of
David takes refuge among, from Saul
1 Samuel 22:3-4
Prophecies concerning judgments upon
2 Kings 24:48