Moabite @ the designation of a tribe descended from Moab, the son of Lot Genesis:19:37). From Zoar, the cradle of this tribe, on the south-eastern border of the Dead Sea, they gradually spread over the region on the east of Jordan. Rameses II., the Pharaoh of the Oppression, enumerates Moab (Muab) among his conquests. Shortly before the Exodus, the warlike Amorites crossed the Jordan under Sihon their king and drove the Moabites Numbers:21:26-30) out of the region between the Arnon and the Jabbok, and occupied it, making Heshbon their capital. They were then confined to the territory to the south of the Arnon. On their journey the Israelites did not pass through Moab, but through the "wilderness" to the east Deuteronomy:2:8; Judges:11:18), at length reaching the country to the north of the Arnon. Here they remained for some time till they had conquered Bashan (see SIHON; OG). The Moabites were alarmed, and their king, Balak, sought aid from the Midianites Numbers:22:2-4). It was while they were here that the visit of Balaam (q.v.) to Balak took place. (See MOSES.) After the Conquest, the Moabites maintained hostile relations with the Israelites, and frequently harassed them in war Judges:3:12-30; 1Samuel:14). The story of Ruth, however, shows the existence of friendly relations between Moab and Bethlehem. By his descent from Ruth, David may be said to have had Moabite blood in his veins. Yet there was war between David and the Moabites ( 2Samuel:8:22Samuel:23:20; 1Chronicles:18:2), from whom he took great spoil ( 2Samuel:8:22Samuel:8:11, 12; 1Chronicles:11:221Chronicles:18:11). During the one hundred and fifty years which followed the defeat of the Moabites, after the death of Ahab (see MESHA), they regained, apparently, much of their former prosperty. At this time Isaiah (15:1) delivered his "burden of Moab," predicting the coming of judgment on that land (comp. 2Kings:17:32Kings:18:9; 1Chronicles:5:25-26). Between the time of Isaiah and the commencement of the Babylonian captivity we have very seldom any reference to Moab Jeremiah:25:21Jeremiah:27:3Jeremiah:40:11 ; Zephaniah:2:8-10). After the Return, it was Sanballat, a Moabite, who took chief part in seeking to prevent the rebuilding of Jerusalem Nehemiah:2:19Nehemiah:4:1Nehemiah:6:1 ).
Moabite Stone @ a basalt stone, bearing an inscription by King Mesha, which was discovered at Dibon by Klein, a German missionary at Jerusalem, in 1868. It was 3 1/2 feet high and 2 in breadth and in thickness, rounded at the top. It consisted of thirty-four lines, written in Hebrew-Phoenician characters. It was set up by Mesha as a record and memorial of his victories. It records (1) Mesha's wars with Omri, (2) his public buildings, and (3) his wars against Horonaim. This inscription in a remarkable degree supplements and corroborates the history of King Mesha recorded in 2Kings:3:4-27. With the exception of a very few variations, the Moabite language in which the inscription is written is identical with the Hebrew. The form of the letters here used supplies very important and interesting information regarding the history of the formation of the alphabet, as well as, incidentally, regarding the arts of civilized life of those times in the land of Moab. This ancient monument, recording the heroic struggles of King Mesha with Omri and Ahab, was erected about B.C. 900. Here "we have the identical slab on which the workmen of the old world carved the history of their own times, and from which the eye of their contemporaries read thousands of years ago the record of events of which they themselves had been the witnesses." It is the oldest inscription written in alphabetic characters, and hence is, apart from its value in the domain of Hebrew antiquities, of great linguistic importance.