The Mesha Stele
Does the Moabite Stone contain the same record of king Mesha's war with Israel in the Bible?
The Moabite Stone also known as the Mesha Stele is an interesting story. The Bible says in 2 Kings 3:5 that Mesha the king of Moab stopped paying tribute to Israel and rebelled and fought against Israel and later he recorded this event. This record from Mesha has been discovered. The Moabite Stone was discovered in 1868 in Moab, at Dibon, 20 miles east of the Dead Sea. It was actually discovered by a German Missionary named F.A. Klein. It is a black and blue basalt stone standing 4 feet high, 2 feet wide and 14 inches thick. It was purchased for a large sum of money by the French Consulate in Jerusalem. It is interesting that the local Arabs believed that it contained a treasure and therefore broke it in large pieces by lighting it on fire and then pouring cold water over it. The inscription is summarized with these words:
"I Mesha, king of Moab, made this monument to Chemosh, to commemorate deliverance from Israel. My father reigned over Moab 30 years, and I reigned after my father. Omri, king of Israel oppressed Moab many days, and his son (Ahab) after him. But I made war against the king of Israel and drove him out, and took his cities, Medeba, Ataroth, Nebo, and Jahaz, which he built while he waged war against me. I destroyed his cities, and devoted the spoil to Chemosh, and the women and girls to Ashtar. I built Qorhah with prisoners from Israel."
The Moabite Stone discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology. It is the actual record of Mesha, king of Moab rebelling against the king of Israel. This stone is one of the places where Israel is mentioned in ancient times outside of the Bible.
"And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool. But it came to pass, when Ahab was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel." - 2 Kings 3:4-5