2 Kings Chapter 3
and the Mesha Stela
2 Kings chapter 3 recounts a war between the kingdoms of Israel, Judah, and Edom and the kingdom of Moab, whose king was Mesha. Though they were successful in several battles, they were not able to dislodge Mesha from his throne and so they returned home. The rest of the story can be found on a stele found in 1868 in Diban, Jordan. The stele resides in the Louvre in Paris.
1. I am Mesha, son of Chemosh[-yatti], the king of Moab, the Dibonite.
2. My father (had) reigned over Moab for thirty years, and I reigned
3. after my father. And I made this high-place for Chemosh in Qarcho . . .
4. because he has delivered me from all kings, and because he has made me triumph over all my enemies. As for Omri
5. the king of Israel, and he humbled Moab for many years (days), for Chemosh was angry with his land.
6. And his son reigned in his place; and he also said, "I will oppress Moab!" In my days he said so.
7. But I triumphed over him and over his house, and Israel has perished; it has perished forever! And Omri took possession of the whole land of Medeba,
8. and he lived there in his days and half the days of his son (Ahab): forty years.
9. But Chemosh restored it in my days. And I built Baal Meon, and I built a water reservoir in it. And I built
10. Qiryaten. And the men of Gad lived in the land of Atarot from ancient times; and the king of Israel
11. built Atarot for himself, and I fought against the city and captured it. And I killed all the people of
12. the city as a sacrifice for Chemosh and for Moab. And I brought back the fire-hearth of his uncle from there; and I brought it
13. before the face of Chemosh in Qerioit, and I made the men of Sharon live there, as well as the men of Maharit.
14. And Chemosh said to me, "Go, take Nebo from Israel."
15. And I went in the night and fought against it from the daybreak until midday, and I took it
16. and I killed the whole population: seven thousand male subjects and aliens, and female subjects, aliens, and servant girls.
17. For I had devoted them to destruction for (the god) Ashtar Chemosh. And from there I took the
18. vessels of Yahweh, and I presented them before the face of Chemosh. And the king of Israel had built
19. Yahaz, and he stayed there throughout his campaign against me; and Chemosh drove him away before my face. And
20. I took two hundred men of Moab, all first class (warriors), and I led it up to Yahaz. And I have taken it
21. in order to add it to Dibon. I have built Qarcho, the wall of the woods and the wall of
22. the citadel; and I have built its gates; and I have built its towers; and
23. I have built the house of the king; and I have made the double reservoir for the spring in the innermost part of the city.
24. Now the innermost part of the city had no cistern, in Qarcho, and I said to all the people, "Each one of you shall make
25. a cistern in his house." And I cut the moat for Qarcho by using Israelite captives.
26. I have built Aroer, and I constructed the military road in Arnon (valley).
27. I have built Beth-Bamot, for it had been destroyed. I have built Bezer, for it lay
28. in ruins. And the men of Dibon stood in battle formation, for all Dibon were in subjection. And I am the king
29. over the hundreds in the towns which I have added to the land. And I have built
30. Beth-Medeba and Beth-Diblaten and Beth-Baal-Meon, and I brought there . . .
31. flocks of the the land. And the House of [Da]vid dwelt in Hauranen, . . .
32. Chemosh said to me, "Go down, fight against Hauranen!" I went down . . . and Chemosh restored it in my days . .