MOABITE INSCRIPTION (KAI 181)
Louvre AO 5066
This English translation was prepared for the students in this course by three of my advanced Semitic languages students: William Downing, Gloria Campbell, and Jeff Couick. They used the photograph of the inscription found in René Dussaud, Les monuments palestiniens et judaïques (Paris: Ernest Leroux, 1912) and the transcriptions and lexical aids supplied in H[erbert]. Donner and W[olfgang]. Röllig, Kanaanäische und aramäische Inschriften (3 vols.; Wiesbaden: O. Harrassowitz, 1962-64), and J. C. L. Gibson, Textbook of Syrian Semitic Inscriptions, Volume I: Hebrew and Moabite Inscriptions (Oxford: Clarendon, 1971).
[…] enclose conjectural restorations or illegible damage
(…) enclose words not present in the text but which improve the English sense
I am Meš‘a, son of Kmš[yt], king of Moab, the Dibeonite. My father was king over Moab (for) thirty years, and I assumed kingship after my father. I constructed this sanctuary to (the deity) Kemoš in Qeriho, a shrine of deliverance, because he delivered me from all who would cast (me) down, and because he granted me revenge against all my enemies.
Omri was king of Israel, and he oppressed Moab (for) many days because Kemoš was angry with his land. His son succeeded him, and he said “Behold, I too will afflict Moab.” During my time he said [this?]. But I took vengeance upon him and upon his house, and Israel was utterly annihilated forever.
Omri had taken possession of the whole of the land of Me(h)deba’, and he dwelt there (during) his days and (during) a portion of his son’s days—forty years. But Kemoš restored it (to me) during my days. And I built Baal-Me‘on, and I fashioned a cistern within it, and I rebuilt Kiryatayin.
The people of Gad had dwelt in the land of ‘Ataroth from of old, and the king of Israel rebuilt ‘Ataroth for himself. I did battle with the city and I captured it, and I killed all the people […] the city became (?) a possession of Kemoš and Moab. Then I removed from there its ’r’l dwdh and I dragged it before Kemoš at Kiryoth, and I settled within it the people of Šrn and the people of Mhrt.
And Kemoš commanded me, “Go, seize Nebo from Israel!” I traveled by night and did battle with them from the break of day until noon. I seized it and slew everyone within it: seven thousand m[e]n […] and women […] and maidens because they were vowed as an offering to ‘Ashtar-Kemoš. I took from there [… ves]sels of (the deity) Yhwh and I dragged them before Kemoš.
Then the king of Israel fortified Yahatz and he remained there while preparing for his battle with me. But Kemoš drove him out before me. I took two hundred men from Moab, all its elite troops (?), and I led it (i.e., this force) against Yahatz and captured it, adding it to Dibon.
I rebuilt Qeriho: the wall of the forests (?) and the wall of the hill. I rebuilt its gates and I rebuilt its towers and I rebuilt the royal palace, and I fashioned containers (?) (as) a ciste[rn for wat]er in the midst of the city. But there was no well within the city of Qeriho, so I commanded all the people, “Each one of you dig a pit in his house!” And I dug trenches (?) at Qeriho using Israelite prisoners.
I rebuilt Aroer and I constructed the highway by the ’Arnon. I rebuilt the Beth-Bemoth because it was destroyed. I rebuilt Betzer because (it was) ruins with fifty men of Dibon, for all of Dibon was obedient (to me). I reigned as king over the hundreds in the towns which I annexed to the land (of Moab). I rebuilt […Mehd]eba, Beth-Dibalthim, and Beth Baal-Meon, and I raised up there my […..] [……] the land and in Horanain he settled in her […].
Kemoš said to me, “Go down, do battle with Horanain!” So I went down [….] [……………] And Kemoš restored [it to me] during my days. And […] from there […] remainder illegible