Moabite Stone

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.