The Inscription on the Stele of Méšaʿ/Translation

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III. Translation.

Words in italics are required by English idiom: they are not in the original. The transliteration of proper names is in accordance with the notation in the Hebrew Grammar of Gesenius. Words and letters within square brackets are restored conjecturally. Words within curved brackets are alternative renderings, &c.

1I am Méšaʿ son of Kemôš ? king of Mōʾāḇ the Da-
2-ibonite. My father reigned over Mōʾāḇ thirty years and I reign-
3-ed after my father. And I made this high place for Kemôš in Ḳrḥh.[1] [High place of sal-]
4-vation, for he had saved me from all the assailants (?), and because he had caused me to look upon[2] all my foes. ʿOmr-
5was king of Yisrāʾēl, and he afflicted Mōʾāḇ days many, for Kemôš was angry with his la-
6-nd. And his son succeeded him, and he too said I will afflict Mōʾāḇ. In my days he said s[o],
7and I looked upon[2] him and upon his house. And Israel utterly perished everlastingly. And ʿOmrî possessed the [la-]
8-nd of Mehēḏeḇā. And (Israel) dwelt therein, his days and half the days of his son, forty years; and
9Kemôš restored it in my days. And I built Báʿal-méôn and I made therein the reservoir (?), and I built
10Ḳiryāṯēn. Now the men of Gaḏ had dwelt in the land of ʿǎṭarôṯ from of old; and the king of Yi[srāʾēl (beginning of line 11)] built for himself
11ʿǎṭarôṯ. And I fought against the city and took it. And I slew all the people [from]
12the city, a gazing-stock for Kemôš and for Mōʾāḇ. And I restored (or captured) from thence the altar-hearth (?) of Dāwḏôh (or its tutelary spirit?), and I drag-
13-ged it before Kemôš in Ḳeriyyôṯ. And I placed therein the men of Šrn[3] and the men of
14Mḥrṯ.[4] And Kemôš said unto me Go, seize Neḇôh against Yisrāʾēl. And I
15went by night, and fought against it from dawn unto noon. And I sei-
16-zed it and slew all of it, 7000 men and men-sojourners[5] and women & [women-sojourner-][5]
17-s, and damsels; for to ʿaštar-Kemôš had I devoted it. And I took from thence the [ves-]
18-sels of Yahweh, and dragged them before Kemôš. Now the king of Yisrāʾēl had built
19Yáhaṣ, and dwelt therein while he fought against me. And Kemôš drove him away from before me, and
20I took from Mōʾāḇ 200 men, all the head-men thereof; and I brought them up against Yáhaṣ, and seized it
21to add unto Daiḇôn. I built Ḳrḥh,[6] the wall of Yeʿārîn (or the woods), and the wall of
22ʿōel (or the Aoropolis). And I built the gates thereof, and I built the towers thereof. And
23I built the king's house, and I made the two reser[voirs? for wa]ter in the middle of
24the city. Now cistern there was none in the middle of the city, in Ḳrḥh.[7] And I said to all the people, Make to
25you every man a cistern in his house. And I cut out the cutting for Ḳrḥh[7] by means of the prisoner-
26[-s captured from] Yisrāʾēl. I built ʿǎrōʿēr and I made the high-road by the Arnon.
27I built Bēṯ-bāmôṯ for it was destroyed. I built Béṣer for ruins
28[had it become. And the head-me]n of Daiḇôn were 50, for all Daiḇôn was loyal. And I reign-
29-ed [over] 100 in the cities which I added to the land. And I buil-
30-t Mahēḏe[ḇ]ā and Beṯ-diḇlāṯēn, and Beṯ-báʿal-meʿôn; and I brought thither the sheep-masters (?)[8]
31. . . . . . . sheep of the land. And Ḥôrōnēn, there dwelt therein ? ?
32. . . . . . . . [And] Kemôš said unto me, Go down, fight against Ḥôrōnēn. And I went down
33. . . . . and Kemôš [resto]red it in my days. And . . . . . from thence
34. . . . . . . . . And I . . . . .

  1. line 3. Perhaps "Ḳerēḥah" or "Ḳorḥāh"
  2. 2.0 2.1 lines 4, 7. "Look upon," i.e., with exultation over a fallen foe. Cf. Ps. lix. 10 E.V.
  3. line 13. Šārōn (?)
  4. line 14. Maḥarāṯ (?)
  5. 5.0 5.1 line 16. I.e., recognised settlers. Cf. 2 Sam. i. 13.
  6. line 21. See note, line 3.
  7. 7.0 7.1 lines 24, 25. See note, line 3.
  8. line 30. See 2 Kings iii. 4.