Mesha

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Mesha Stele in the Louvre Museum.

King Mesha of Moab was a king of Moabites around the 9th century BC, known most famous for writing the Mesha stele.

The books of Samuel record that Moab was conquered by David (floruit c.1000-970 BCE) and retained in the territories of his son Solomon (d. 931 BCE). Later, King Omri of Israel reconquered Moab after Moab was lost subsequent to King Solomon's reign. The Mesha Stele, erected by Mesha, indicates that it was Omri, king of the northern kingdom of Israel, who conquered his land. The Mesha Stele records Mesha's liberation of Moab c.850 BCE.

2 Kings 3:4 reports the same events from the point of view of the Israelites, stating that "King Mesha of Moab ... used to deliver to the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs, and the wool of one hundred thousand rams", before rebelling against Jehoram (the Mesha Stele does not name the king against whom Mesha rebelled). 2 Kings and the Mesha Stele differ in their explanation for the success of the revolt: according to Mesha, "Israel has been defeated", but 2 Kings says the Israelites withdrew when Mesha sacrificed the eldest son of the Edomite king to his god Chemosh, causing Edom to withdraw from the coalition. Aside from these attestations, references to Mesha are scanty, if extant.

The name "Mesha" is based on the Hebrew root meaning "to save", but some scholars have suggested that it seems to have been etymologically equivalent to the Hebrew "Moshe" (Moses).[1]

Further reading[edit]

  • "The Cambridge Ancient History", Vol. III Pt. i, 2nd Ed.; Boardman, Edwards, Hammond & Sollberger eds.; Cambridge University Press, 1982
  • "Reading the Old Testament"; Lawrence Boadt; Paulist Press, 1984
  • "The History and Religion of Israel"; G.W. Anderson; Oxford University Press, 1966

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lemaire, André (2007), "The Mesha Stele and the Omri Dynasty" in Crabbe, Lester L. "Ahab Agonistes: The Rise and Fall of the Omride Dynasty" (T&T Clark)