The Mesha stele and the House of David

In 1868, a stone was uncovered in the Biblical city of Dibon which recorded victories by Mesha, the king of Moab, over the Israelites. 

Battles between Israel and this same Mesha are also recorded in the Bible. It is uncertain whether the victories on the stone were recorded before or after the kings of Israel and Judah fought against king Mesha as recorded in 2 Kings 3:4-26, in which Israel, with Gods help, was victorious.

The following is a translation of the text taken from the Mesha stone:

1) I Mesha, son of Chemosh, Meshas king, the

2) Dibonite. My father governed Moab for 30 years, then I reigned

3) after my father. I made a high place for Chemosh in Qarhoh,

4) for he protected me from all the kings and caused me to triumph over all my enemies.

5) As for Omri king of Israel, he oppressed Moab for many years, for Chemosh was furious with his

6) country. And his son followed in his footsteps, and he also said: "I will cast down Moab." In my days, he spoke,

7) but I triumphed over his house. And Israel has passed away forever. Omri occupied Medebas land.

8) And he lived in it during his time and in the days of his sons; 40 years; yet Chemosh

9) reinstalled it in my days. And I built Baal-meon, and I made a water supply in it; and I built

 10) Qaryaten. And the men of Gad dwelt in the land of Atarot from of old, and Israels king built

11) Atarot for them; but I fought against that city and I slew all the people of

12) the city as revenge for Chemosh and Moab. And I brought forward the altar-hearth of his beloved, and I carted

13) it before Chemosh in Kerioth. And I established the men of Sharon and the men of Maharith in it.

14) And Chemosh said to me: "Go! Bring Nebo against Israel.

15) So I went by night and fought from sunrise until noon.

16) taking it and slaying all 7,000 men, boys, women, girls,

17) and maidservants, because I dedicated them to Ashtar-Chemosh. And I took from there the altar-

18) hearths of YHWH, dragging them before Chemosh. Israels king built

19) Jahaz, and settled there while he did battle with me; but Chemosh drove him out before my eyes.

20) I took with me two hundred men from Moab, all chief warriors, and sent them to Jahaz; and I

21) added it to Dibon. I constructed Qarhoh with the wall of the forest and the wall

22) of the acropolis; along with its gates and towers.

23) I built the house of the king; and its water reservoirs for inside

24) the city; for there was no water inside the town of Qarhoh, so I said to the residents: "Make for yourself

25) a cistern in every house"; I cut trees for use in Qarhoh with the prisoners

26) of Israel. I built Aroer and a roadway through the Arnon.

27) I built Beth-bamoth, for it was in ruins; and I built Bezer, for it was desolate.

28) And the men of Dibon were loyal to my rule. And I reigned

29) over hundreds of villages which I added to my country. I built

30) the temple of Medeba and the temple of Diblaten and the temple of Baal-meon; and I introduced there

31) [. . .] sheep of the land. The house of David inhabited Horonaim.

32) [. . .] and Chemosh said to me: "Go down! Attack Horonaim." So I advanced against it, and

33) Chemosh reestablished it in my days.

A) LINES 1-3 mentions king Mesha, a Dibonite who ruled over Moab. He also worshiped a Moabite god called Chemosh, to whom he attributes his victories to.

The Bible in 2 Kings 3:4-5 verifies Mesha was the king of Moab during their revolt against Israel. The Bible also states in Numbers 21:29-30; that Dibon was a city in the land of Moab and mentions their god, Chemosh.

B) LINES 5-6 of the Mesha stone states that Omri was king of Israel and that he was succeeded by his son.

THE BIBLE confirms this in 1 Kings 16:23 & 28: "In the thirty-first year of Asa king of Judah, Omri became king over Israel . . . Then Ahab his son reigned in his place."

C) LINES 7 & 9 say that King Omri of Israel took possession of the land of Medeba and that Mesha took it back. Mesha then built Baal-meon.

THE BIBLE states that this land belonged to the tribe of Reuben who along with the tribe of Gad and half-tribe of Manassah did not cross over into the promised land, but settled on the eastern side of the Jordan river as recorded in Numbers chapter 32. This territory, Moab, is described in Joshua 13:15-17:

"And Moses had given to the tribe of the children of Reuben an inheritance according to their families. Their territory was from Aroer, which is on the bank of the River Arnon, and the city that is in the midst of the ravine, and all the plain by Medeba; Heshbon and all its cities that are in the plain: Dibon, Bamoth Baal, Beth Baal Meon . . .

D) LINE 8 says that Omri and his sons (bloodline relatives) ruled for 40 years. The BIBLE says the same thing starting in 1 Kings 16:23.

Omri ruled for twelve years, six of those years he co-reined with Tibni. So, for 6 years he ruled alone as king of Israel, then his son Ahab took over and ruled for another 22 years (1 Kings 16:29), then Ahab's son Ahaziah became the next king and he ruled for 2 years (1 Kings 22:51). Ahab's last son Jehoram, ruled 10 years, a total of 40 years. Jehoram was killed by Jehu in his eleventh year as king (2 Kings 9:14-29.) Jehu then ascended to the throne, but he was not related to Omri.

E) LINE 9 says that after Omri and his sons were in the land for 40 years, the territory was restored to him. It is interesting to note that during the reign of the following king of Israel, Jehu, THE BIBLE says in 2 Kings 10:32-33:

"In those days the LORD began to cut off parts of Israel; and Hazael conquered them in all the territory of Israel from the Jordan eastward: all the land of Gilead; Gad, Reuben, and Manasseh; from Aroer, which is by the River Arnon, including Gilead and Bashan." LINE 26 mentions Aroer as a city in the hands of Mesha. Thus it is very possible that the events mentioned on the Mesha stone may have occurred during Jehu's rule as king.

F) LINE 10 mentions one of the twelve tribes of Israel, Gad, and says that they dwelt in the land of Atarot (Ataroth) from of old. THE BIBLE says:

"So Moses gave to the children of Gad . . . the cities of the surrounding country. The children of Gad built Dibon, Ataroth, and Aroer." Numbers 32:33

G) LINE 13 refers to the men of Sharon. This land is mentioned in 1Chronicles 5:16:

"And the Gadites dwelt in Gilead, in Bashan and in its villages, and in all the common-lands of Sharon within their borders.

H) LINE 14 mentions the city of Nebo. THE BIBLE mentions Nebo in Numbers 32:38 as territory Moses gave to the tribe of Reuben, who along with Gad, settled in the land. Jeremiah the prophet also mentions Nebo as a town of Moab in Jeremiah 48:22.

I) LINE 17 speaks of another Moabite god, Ashtar-Kamosh. THE BIBLE says:

"Then the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab . . . " Judges 10:6

J) LINE 18 makes a reference to the altar hearths of YHWH. YHWH is the Hebrew word for God (Yahweh), spelled just as it is in the Hebrew Bible.

Psalms 68:4 says "Sing to God, sing praises to His name; Extol Him who rides on the clouds, By His name YHWH (YAHH), And rejoice before Him.

K) LINE 19 mentions the city of Yahaz. THE BIBLE mentions this Moabite city in Isaiah 15:4: "Heshbon and Elealeh will cry out, Their voice shall be heard as far as Jahaz; Therefore, the armed soldiers of Moab will cry out"

L) LINE 21 mentions the city of Dibon. THE BIBLE says: "Gad built Dibon . . . Numbers 32:34

M) LINE 26 says "I built Aroer and a roadway through the Arnon." THE BIBLE says: "And the children of Gad built Dibon and Ataroth and Aroer." Numbers 32:34

"And this land, which we possessed at that time, from Aroer, which is by the River Arnon, ... I gave to the Reubenites and the Gadites. Deuteronomy 3:12

N) LINE 27 mentions the town of Bezer. Originally this town was controlled by the tribe of Reuben according to The Bible, which says:

". . . the tribe of Reuben, Bezer with its common-land, Jahaz with its common-land, . . . Joshua 21:36

O) LINE 30 speaks of the temples of Medeba, Diblaten, and Baal-meon, which were built by this Moabite king. The PROPHET ISAIAH forecast the destruction of these pagan temples:

"He has gone up to the temple and Dibon, to the high places to weep. Moab will wail over Nebo and over Medeba; On all their heads will be baldness, And every beard cut off." Isaiah 15:2

P) LINE 30 & 31 says that Mesha introduced there . . . sheep of the land. The Bible confirms that Mesha raised sheep: "Now Mesha king of Moab was a sheep breeder, and he regularly paid the king of Israel one hundred thousand lambs and the wool of one hundred thousand rams." 2 Kings 3:4

Q) LINE 31 says: "And the House of David inhabited Horonaim." Here is found one of the first references outside the Bible to King David and his descendants, who were from the tribe of Judah.

Mesha also makes a distinction between the men of Israel and the House of David. This is exactly how the Bible states Israel was divided as a kingdom during this time. Jehosophat was king of Judah from the house of David, while Joram was the king of Israel, according to 2Kings chapter 3.

The town of Horonaim is also mentioned in Jeremiah 48:3-7: "A voice of crying shall be from Horonaim: 'Plundering and great destruction! "Moab is destroyed; . . . And Chemosh shall go forth into captivity, His priests and his princes together."

Conclusion: Once again the Bible has been proven to be 100% reliable.


"Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one! "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength." Deuteronomy 6:4-5

"You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD." Leviticus 19:18

Then one of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, and saying, "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"

Jesus said to him," 'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' "This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' "On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets." Matthew 22:35-40

This article on God and The House of David is taken from our 4 volume book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.

Next Chapter - King Jeroboam

Sources used in compiling data and illustrations for this article:

Mesha Stela Photo Link

The Holy Bible, Author: The Lord God. Scripture is taken from the New King James Version unless noted.

Biblical Archaeology Review, May/June 1994 Issue, Pg.31-37 (Mesha Stela Inscription)

Archaeology and Bible History Author: Joseph P. Free - Howard F. Vos, ISBN 0-310-47961-4

Pg.152 (Chart of the reign of Israel's & Judah's kings.)

Photograph: Moabite stone Illustrated in Book of History Volume 4 0" (The Near East Section) pg.1731, publisher: Grolier Society.

Artwork: Sheep Illustration from Dover DesktopGallery - 3,800 Early advertising Cuts pg. 515, Publisher: Zedcor Inc.

Copyright © 2021 All Rights Reserved. No permission is granted to download these images.