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The Moabite Stone

The Moabite Stone (aka Mesha stele in archaeological circles) refers to “Omri, King of Israel,” saying that Moab was oppressed by Omri and that Mesha won a great victory against his son. Mesha is mentioned in 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).

The Moabite Stone inscription says: “I am Mesha, son of Kemosh [a Moabite god] and king of Moab, a Dibonite. My father was king over Moab for thirty years, and I became king after my father. And I made this high-place for Kemosh in Qarcho … Omri was the king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab for many days, for Kemosh was angry with his land. And his son reigned in his place; and he also said, “I will oppress Moab!” In my days he said so. But I looked down on him and on his house, and Israel has been defeated; it has been defeated forever! And Omri took possession of the whole land of Medeba, and he lived there in his days and half the days of his son: forty years.”

Note that the inscription says that the house of Omri held sovereignty over Moab for forty years. According to the corrected chronology of the Hebrew kings in my book Sacred Chronology of the Hebrew Kings, Omri reigned over the northern kingdom of Israel for only twelve years, so his reign and those of his son and grandson were needed to produce that forty-year total. If Omri reasserted authority over Moab at the time he began his reign, in the year 914 BCE, subtracting forty years gives the year 874 BCE as the end point of the forty years. That is exactly the mid-point year in the reign of Joram of Israel.

So, the inscription is actually referring to the mid-point year of the twelve-year reign of Omri’s grandson Joram (i.e., Ahab’s son, as 2 Kings 3:4-5 correctly records), not to his son Ahab, with the sixth year (“half his days”) of Joram occurring in 874 BCE, the fortieth year mentioned on the stele. (see pages 46-50 of Sacred Chronology). This is just another example of the accuracy of the Bible’s chronological details.

On Wikipedia, go to: Mesha Stele

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