MESHA STELE, an inscribed basalt stele, measuring about 40 inches (one meter) high and about 28 inches (70 centimeters) wide, erected by *Mesha, king of Moab, at Dibon (today, Dhībân), probably in the third quarter of the ninth century, B.C.E. The shape of the stele, with a flat base and rounded top, is characteristic of those erected by kings of that period. Unlike many other memorial inscriptions, the Mesha stele has no relief on the upper part. It was found at Dibon in 1868 by F.A. Klein, a Prussian missionary. Prior to its acquisition by the Louvre, it was smashed by Bedouins, who, observing the great interest it aroused among Europeans, assumed that it contained a treasure or ghost. The inscription was deciphered with
A.H. Van Zyl, The Moabites (1960), 247ff., incl. bibl.; W.F. Albright, in: JQR, 35 (1944/45), 247–70; EM, 4 (1962), 925–9, incl. bibl.; Pritchard, Texts, 320–1; H. Donner and W. Roellig, Kanaanaeische und aramaeische Inschriften, 1 (1962), 33; 2 (1964), 168–79.
Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.