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The Bible and Archaeology

What is the Mesha Stele?

Also known as the Moabite Stone, the Mesha Stele is a black basalt stone slab that dates from around 850 B.C.E., and was discovered in 1868 in Jordan. The stele measures about 44” × 27.” The text is written in the Moabite language. In addition to bearing descriptions of several building projects, the stele bears an inscription describing how King Mesha paid tribute to the Israelites, but stopped suddenly. Now King Mesha of Moab was a sheep breeder, who used to deliver to the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs, and the wool of one hundred thousand rams. But when Ahab died, the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. So King Jehoram marched out of Samaria at that time and mustered all Israel. The inscription goes on to say that King Meshah seized the holy “vessels of YHWH,” and that “Israel perished everlastingly.” King Jehoram was ruler of the kingdom of Judah at this time.


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