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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [1]

MESHA. 1. Son of Shaharaim, a Benjamite (  1 Chronicles 8:2 ). 2. Firstborn of Caleb (  1 Chronicles 2:42 ).

MESHA. A king of Moab in the 9th cent. b.c. According to an inscription (on the ‘ Moabite Stone ’ discovered at Dibon in 1868) describing his deeds, he expelled the Israelitish inhabitants from northern Moab, or from a portion of the debatable land between the two monarchies east of the northern third of the Dead Sea. Under Omri, the builder of Samaria, the border of Israel had been extended southwards to near its ancient limits (  Numbers 21:24 ff.); and Mesha reclaimed it by vindictive warfare, from Kiriathaim as far as Nebo.   2 Kings 3:1-27 also deals with the relation between northern Israel and Mesha, and it is difficult to reconcile the two accounts in every detail. The matter can best be dealt with here by giving the most probable order of the events: (1) the conquest by Omri [Inscription, lines 4, 5] about b.c. 880; (2) the expulsion of the Hebrews by Mesha in the time of Ahab [Inscr. 1. 8 ff.] about b.c. 855, Mesha’s ‘forty years’ being, as also often in Hebrew narrative, a round number; (3) the refusal of Mesha to again submit, which is all that the Hebrew of   2 Kings 1:1;   2 Kings 3:5 (EV [Note: English Version.] ‘rebelled’) necessarily implies; (4) the unsuccessful expedition by Joram and his allies to reduce Mesha to submission, recorded in   2 Kings 3:6-27 .

J. F. M‘Curdy.

MESHA is mentioned as marking one of the boundaries of the territory ascribed to the descendants of Joktan in   Genesis 10:25 . Its position has not yet been satisfactorily identified. The proposed identification with the late territory of Mesene at the head of the Persian Gulf is improbable. A better case can be made out for identifying it with Mash or Mashu, a general term in the Assyrian inscriptions for the Syro-Arabian desert; though the passage suggests that a single place, or tribe, rather than so vast a region, is referred to. If the vowel points be emended the word may be read as Massa , the name of a son of Ishmael in   Genesis 25:14 and   1 Chronicles 1:30 . Traces of this latter tribe have been sought in place names in central Arabia, but no identification yet suggested can be regarded as certain.

L. W. King.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [2]

1. King of Moab. (See Dibon on his victorious campaign against Israel, and confirmation of Scripture.) Revolted at Ahab's death ( 2 Kings 1:1;  2 Kings 3:4-5). Being "sheepmasters" the Moabites had rendered tribute to Israel ever since David's days ( 2 Samuel 8:2) in flocks, 100,000 lambs, and 100,000 rams with the wool. Isaiah ( Isaiah 16:1) counsels Moab to resume payment, "send the lamb to the ruler ... from Sela unto ... Zion." (See Jehoram , Jehoshaphat, Elisha, Engedi, Chemosh on the confederacy against Mesha and the superstitions indignation raised against Israel because of their reducing him to such desperation that he sacrificed his own son ( Micah 6:7), so that the allies departed to their own land.)

2. Firstborn of Jerahmeel's brother Caleb; father, i.e. founder, of Ziph ( 1 Chronicles 2:42).

3. A descendant of Benjamin, born in Moab, son of Shaharaim and Hodesh ( 1 Chronicles 8:8-9).  1 Chronicles 8:4. Joktan's descendants "dwelt from Mesha, as thou goest unto Sephar a mount of the East." The western port of Arabia; Muss (Bothart), Mesene ("a fluviatile island") at the mouth of the Tigris and Euphrates, near Bassora (Gesenius) ( Genesis 10:30); Beishe in the N. of Yemen (Knobel).

Easton's Bible Dictionary [3]

  • Heb. id, a king of Moab, the son of Chemosh-Gad, a man of great wealth in flocks and herds ( 2 Kings 3:4 ). After the death of Ahab at Ramoth-Gilead, Mesha shook off the yoke of Israel; but on the ascension of Jehoram to the throne of Israel, that king sought the help of Jehoshaphat in an attempt to reduce the Moabites again to their former condition. The united armies of the two kings came unexpectedly on the army of the Moabites, and gained over them an easy victory. The whole land was devastated by the conquering armies, and Mesha sought refuge in his last stronghold, Kir-harasheth (q.v.). Reduced to despair, he ascended the wall of the city, and there, in the sight of the allied armies, offered his first-born son a sacrifice to Chemosh, the fire-god of the Moabites. This fearful spectacle filled the beholders with horror, and they retired from before the besieged city, and recrossed the Jordan laden with spoil ( 2 Kings 3:25-27 ).

    The exploits of Mesha are recorded in the Phoenician inscription on a block of black basalt found at Dibon, in Moab, usually called the "Moabite stone" (q.v.).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Mesha'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

    Me'sha. (Freedom).

    1. The name of one of the geographical limits of the Joktanites, when they first settled in Arabia.  Genesis 10:30.

    2. The king of Moab, who was tributary to Ahab,  2 Kings 3:4, but when Ahab fell at Ramoth-gilead, Mesha refused to pay tribute to his successor, Jehoram. When Jehoram succeeded to the throne of Israel, one of his first acts was to secure the assistance of Jehoshaphat, his father's ally, in reducing the Moabites to their former condition of tributaries.

    The Moabites were defeated, and the king took refuge in his last stronghold, and defended himself with the energy of despair. With 700 fighting men, he made a vigorous attempt to cut his way through the beleaguering army, and when beaten back, he withdrew to the wall of his city, and there, in sight of the allied host, offered his first-born son, his successor in the kingdom, as a Burnt Offering to Chemosh, the ruthless fire-god of Moab.

    His bloody sacrifice had so far the desired effect that the besiegers retired from him to their own land. (At Dibon, in Moab, has lately been discovered the famous Moabite Stone, which contains inscriptions concerning King Mesha and his wars, and which confirms the Bible account. - Editor).

    3. The eldest son of Caleb, the son of Hezron, by his wife Azubah, as Kimchi conjectures.  1 Chronicles 2:42.

    4. A Benjamite, son of Shabaraim, by his wife Hodesh, who bore him in the land of Moab.  1 Chronicles 8:9.

    Holman Bible Dictionary [5]

     2 Kings 3:4-27 2 Kings 3:4  2 Kings 1:1  2 Kings 3:4

    2. Descendant of Benjamin living in Moab ( 1 Chronicles 8:9 ).  3 . Descendant of Caleb ( 1 Chronicles 2:42; RSV follows early Greek translation in reading Mareshah). 4. Place name meaning, “debt.” City in the territory of the Joktanites ( Genesis 10:30 ), most likely to be identified with Massa ( Genesis 25:14;  Proverbs 31:1 ), located between the head of the gulf of Aqaba and the Persian Gulf. This Massa is identified with the Assyrian Mash and the Persian Maciya .

    Chris Church

    Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

    1. One of the limits of the Joktanites,  Genesis 10:30; probably in the S.E. Perhaps Musa on the Red Sea.

    2. King of Moab, described as a sheep-master: a pastoral prince rich in flocks and herds. He was tributary to Ahab, but rebelled and suffered an entire defeat from Jehoram, Jehoshaphat, and the king of Edom. With 700 men he endeavoured to break through the allied forces but failed. In desperation he offered his eldest son as a sacrifice on the wall.   2 Kings 3:4-27 .

    3. Eldest son of Caleb the brother of Jerahmeel.   1 Chronicles 2:42 .

    4. Son of Shaharaim, a Benjamite.   1 Chronicles 8:9 .

    People's Dictionary of the Bible [7]

    Mesha ( Mç'Shah ), Deliverance. 1. A king of Moab who refused to pay tribute to Jehoram, king of Israel. Jehoram determined to punish him; but Mesha made the horrible sacrifice of his eldest son to some idol god, openly upon the wall, in sight of the Israelites, who fearing that they might incur the anger of God by having given occasion to a human sacrifice, retreated to their own country.  2 Kings 3:4-27. A most wonderful corroboration of the Scripture history is found In the famous Moabite stone. See Moab. 2. A son of Caleb, and brother of Mareshah.  1 Chronicles 2:42. S. A Benjamite, son of Shaharaim.  1 Chronicles 8:9.

    American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [8]

    1. A place on the eastern frontier of the territory of Joktan,  Genesis 10:30 , supposed to have been in the region of Bassora, at the northwest end of the Persian Gulf.

    2. A king of Moab, who paid an enormous tribute to Ahab king of Israel, but revolted at his death,  2 Kings 1:1;  3:4-27 . Joram the son of Ahab, with the aid of Judah and Edom, made war upon him, and besieged him in his capital. Unable to force his way through the besieging host, King Mesha sought the aid of his gods by sacrificing his own son on the city wall; and the besiegers, horrorstruck at this atrocious act, withdrew in terror, lest some curse should fall on them.

    Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [9]

    King of Moab,  2 Kings 3:4. The name hath been thought to signify burden.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

    the name of a place and of three men, differently written in the Heb.

    1. (Hebrews Mesha , מֵשָׁא , probably of Arabic origin; Sept. Μασσῆ , Vulg. Messq .) A place mentioned in describing the boundaries of that part of Arabia inhabited by the descendants of Joktan ( Genesis 10:30), where it is stated that "their dwelling was from Mesha even unto Sephar, (and beyond even unto) a mount of the east." In this passage it has been assumed by. many that "the mountain of the east" ( הִר הִקֶּדֶם ) is not put by apposition in conjunction with Sephar, but is some third locality to which the boundary extends, as Saadias interprets; and, if so, it is doubtless none other than the chain running across the middle of Arabia from the region of Mecca and Medina as far as the Persian Gulf, now called Nesjd, the highlands (see Jomard, Notice sur le pays de l'A rabie centale, Paris, 1823). Sephar would then be the modern Sephr, the chief city of the district Shehr in the province of Hadramant. (See Sephar) .

    Bochart ( Phaleg , 2:20) thinks that Mesha, from which the boundary extends, is the Musa or Muza ( Μοῦσα , Ptol. 6:8; Μοῦζα , Arrian, Peripl .; Muza , Pliny, 6:23) spoken of as a maritime city on the western coast of Arabia, not far from Mocha, where Muzaa (Niebuhr, Arabien, p. 223; Janaen, Hist. Jemance, p. 286), or rather Mausi (Niebuhr, p. 224, 225; Mannert, Geogr. 6:1, p. 63), now stands. It was a town of note in classical times, but has since fallen into decay, if the modern Musa be the same place. The latter is situated in about 130 40' N. lat., 43 ° 20' E. long., and is near a mountain called the Three Sisters, or Jebel Musa, in the Admiralty Chart of the Red Sea, drawn from the surveys of captain Pullen, RN. But as neither of these Arabic names can well be compared with that of Mesha, it may be better (with J. D. Michaelis, Spicileg. ii, p. 214; Suppl. No. 1561) to understand Mesene or Meisan, situated among the mouths of the Tigris (in the Shat el- Arab) on the Persian Gulf- a place described by Philostogius (iii. 7; comp. Dion Cass. 68. 28.; Asseman. Bibl. Orient. 3:2, p. 430, 603; Abulfeda in Tab. Iracce ap. Michael. in Spicil. 1. c.; D'Anville, l'Euphrate et le Tigre, p. 135), the name perhaps signifying the river island, from its being enclosed by the. branches of the Tigris, as often alluded to by the Greek geographers (see Steph. Byz. s.v. Orathra and Messene; Pliny, v. 27,31; Cellar. Notit. ii, p. 749; D'Anville, p. 130, 131). The sacred writer would thus in his description begin with the eastern limits of the Joktanidse, and end with the western and northern, Sephar being sought between them. "But it is very doubtful whether the island, which has been formed by the deposits of the river, was in existence in the days of Moses; and it is still more doubtful whether such a spot could at that early period have attained to any political or geographical notoriety. Besides, it is not likely that an accurate writer would describe a purely Arabian territory as commencing on the east side of the Tigris.

    The theory of Mr. Forster is much more probable than either of the preceding. He identifies Mesha with a mountain-range called Zames by Ptolemy (vi. 7), which commences near the Persian Gulf, and runs in a south-western direction nearly across the peninsula. It is an undoubted fact that the various Joktanitic tribes, or Beni- Kahtan, as they are called by Arab writers, are still found, and have been from the earliest period, in the wide region extending from Mount Zames to the Indian Ocean and Red Sea; and that this range separates them from the Ishmaelitish Arabs (Forster, Geography of Arabia, 1:95 sq.). Forster further conjectures that the name Zames is radically identical with Mesha, the syllables being inverted, as is very common in Arabic words -thus Mesza= Mesha. The Zames range is now called by the general name of the Nejd Mountains,' and the country extending thence to the Indian Ocean on the east, and the Red Sea in the south,. embraces the most fertile part of Arabia the classic Arabia Felix, now called Yemen (Ritter, Erdkunde, 12:708 sq.). The mountains of Nejd are famous for their pastures and for their horses, which are considered the best in Arabia (Ritter, p. 918- 1035; Fresnel, Lettres sur la Geog. de l'Arabie, in Journ. Asiat. vol. "The position of the early Joktanitic colonists is clearly made out from the traces they have left in the ethnology, language, and monuments of Southeri Arabia; and, without putting too precise a limitation upon the possible situation of Mesba and Sephar, we may suppose that these places must have fallen within the south-western quarter of the peninsula; including the modern Yemen on the west, and the districts of Oman, Mahreh, Shihr, etc., as far as Hadramaut, on the east. These general boundaries are strengthened by the identification of Sephar with the port of Zafari, or Dhafari; though the site of Sephar may possibly be hereafter connected with the old Himyeritic metropolis in the Yemen, but this would not materially alter the question. In Sephar we believe we have the eastern limit of the early settlers, whether its site be the sea-port or the inland city; and the correctness of this supposition appears from the Biblical record, in which the migration is apparently from west to east, from the probable course taken by the immigrants, and from the greater importance of the known western settlements of the Joktanites, or those of Yemen."

    2. (Hebrews Meysha , מֵישָׁע , Deliverance ; Sept. Μαρισάς v. r. Μαρισά , Vulg. Mesa .) The eldest son of Caleb or Chelubai (brother of Jerahmeel and son of Hezron), and the father (founder) of Ziph, of the tribe of Judah ( 1 Chronicles 2:42). BC. cir. 1618.

    3. (Hebrews Meysha , מֵישָׁא , Retreat ; Sept. Μωσά v. r. Μισά , Vulg. Mosa .) One of the sons of Shaharaim of the tribe of Benjamin, by the latter of his two wives, Baara or Hodesh ( 1 Chronicles 8:9). BC. cir. 1612. (See Shaharaim).

    4. (Hebrews Meysha , מֵישִׁע , Deliverance ; Sept. Μεσά v. r. Μωσά , Vulg. Mesa .) A king of Moab, who possessed an immense number of flocks and herds ( 2 Kings 3:4). Probably the allegiance of Moab, with that of the tribes east of the Jordan, was transferred to the northern kingdom of Israel upon the division of the monarchy, for there is no account of any subjugation of the country subsequent to the war of extermination with which it was visited by David, when Benaiah displayed his prowess ( 2 Samuel 23:20), and " the Moabites became David's servants, bearers of gifts" ( 2 Samuel 8:2). When Ahab had fallen in battle at Ramoth Gilead, Mesha seized the opportunity afforded by the confusion consequent upon this disaster, and the feeble reign of Ahaziah, to shake off the yoke of Israel, and free himself from the burdensome tribute of a "hundred thousand lambs and a hundred thousand rams with their wool."

    These numbers may seem exaggerated if understood as the amount of yearly tribute. It is therefore more probable that the greedy and implacable Ahab had at some one time levied this enormous impost upon the Moabites; and it is likely that it was the apprehension of a recurrence of such ruinous exactions which incited the revolt ( 2 Kings 1:1;  2 Kings 3:5). The country east of the Jordan was rich in pasture for cattle ( Numbers 22:1), the chief wealth of the Moabites consisted in their large flocks of sheep, and the king of this pastoral people is described as noked ( נוֹקֵד ), "a sheepmaster," or ownerof herds. About the signification of this word Noked there is not much doubt, but its origin is obscure. It occurs but once besides in  Amos 1:1, where the prophet Amos is described as "among the Herdmen ( נוֹקְדַים , Nokedim ) of Tekoah." On this Kim-chi remarks that a herdsman was called Noked , because most cattle have black or white spots (comp. נָקוֹד , Nakod ,  Genesis 30:32, AV. "speckled"), or, as Buxtorf explains it, because sheep are generally marked with certain signs so as to be known. But it is highly improbable that any such etymology should be correct, and Furst's conjecture that it is derived from an obsolete root, signifying to keep or feed cattle, is more likely to be true (Concord . s.v.). (See Herd).

    When, upon the death of Ahaziah, his brother Jehoram succeeded to the throne of Israel, one of his first acts was to secure the assistance of Jehoshaphat, his father's ally, in reducing the Moabites to their former condition of tributaries, The united armies of the two kings marched by a circuitous route round the Dead' Sea, and were joined by the forces of the king of Edom. (See Jehoram). The disordered soldier of Moab, eager only for spoil, were surprised by the warriors of Israel and their allies, and became an easy prey. In the panic which ensued they were slaughtered without mercy, their country was made a desert, and the king took refuge in his last stronghold and defended himself with the energy of despair. With 700 fighting men he made a vigorous attempt to cut his way through the beleaguering army, and, when beaten back, he withdrew to the wall of his city, and there, in sight of the allied host, offered his first-born son, his successor in the kingdom, as a burnt-offering to Chemosh, the ruthless fire- god of Moab.

    There appears to be no reason for supposing that the son of the king of Edom was the victim on this occasion, whether, as R. Joseph Kimchi supposed, he was already in the power of the king of Moab, and was the cause of the Edomites joining the armies of Israel and Judah; or whether, as R. Moses Kimchi suggested, he was taken prisoner in the sally of the Moabites, and sacrificed out of revenge for its failure. These conjectures appear to have arisen from an attempt to find in this incident the event to which allusion is made. in  Amos 2:1, where, the Moabite is charged with burning the bones of the king of Edom into lime. It is more natural, and renders the narrative more vivid and consistent, to suppose that the king of Moab, finding his last resource fail him, endeavored to avert the wrath and obtain the aid of his god by the most costly sacrifice in his power. On beholding this fearful sight, the besiegers withdrew in horror, lest some portion of the monstrous crime might attach to their own souls (comp. Josephus, Ant. 9:3, 2; Ewald, Isr. Gesch. iii,.226 sq.). By this withdrawal they, however, afforded the king the relief he desired, and this was, no doubt, attributed by him to the efficacy' of his offering, anti to the satisfaction of his god therewith. The invaders, however, ravaged the country as they withdrew. and returned with much spoil to their own land ( 2 Kings 3:25-27). BC. cir. 891. (See Moabite) .

    The exploits of "Mesha, son [i.e. votary] of Chemosh, king of Moab," are recorded in the Phoenician inscription lately discovered by M. Ganneau on a block of black basalt at Dibon in Moab (see Quarterly Statement, No, 5, of" The Palestine Exploration Fund," Lond. 1870); which, according to the decipherment given by him in the Revue Archeologique (Jan. and June, 1870), is as below (see the Wesleyan. Magazine, April, 1870). Prof. Neubauer has published the text in modern Hebrew characters in Gratz's Monatschrift, and Prof. J. Derenbourg a translation in the Revue Israelite (April 8, 1870), substantially as below. See also the Church Gazette, N. Y. 1871, No. 6. Several other commentaries have been published upon it, especially by Dr. Deutsch of the British Museum. See also Noldeke, Inschrift des Mesa (Kiel, 1870); Schlottman, Siegessaule Mesa's (Halle, 1870); De Costa, The Moabite Stone (NY. 1871). The fullest exhibit, together with the literature of the subject, is that of Dr. Ginsburg (2d ed. Lond. 1871).

    1. I, Mesha, son of Chemosh,. King of Moab, [son]

    2. of Yabni My father reigned over Moab (thirty years), and I reigned

    3. after him; I made this altar for Chemosh at Karhah on account

    4. of the assistance he gave me in all battles, and because he made me successful against my enemies the men

    5. of the King of Israel, who oppressed Moab a long time, for Chemosh was angry against

    6. his land. His son succeeded him, and he also said, I will oppress Moab. In my days he (Chemosh) said, [I will go]

    7. and appear (be favorable) to Moab and his temple; then Israel wasted continually. Omri took [the plain of]

    8. Mahdeba and dwelt in it built forty [and dwelt].

    9. Chemosh. there in my days. I built Baal-Meon and made (sacrifices) there and I [built]

    10. Kiryathan. The men of Gad [dwelt] in [this] land from early times, and there built the King

    11. of Israel [Yazer]; I besieged the city, took it, and killed all [who dwelt]

    12. in the city, to the gratification of Chemosh and Moab; I made captive there...

    13. [and brought] it to Chemosh at Keriyoth. I remained here with the chiefs and [the soldiers until]

    14. the next day. Then Chemosh bade me go and take Nebo from Israel. I arose and]

    15. went in the night and fought against it from the break of day till noon: I

    16. took it, killed all, seven thousand . . [to please Astor].

    17. for Chemosh devoted to Astor:.. I took from there all

    18. the vessels of Jehovah, and Coffered] them to Chemosh. And the King of Israel built

    19. Yahaz, and dwelt there, when I made war upon him. Chemosh drove him out from thence; I ..

    20. took from Moab two hundred men, all chiefs, transferred them to Yahaz, and began

    21. to make war against Dibon. I built Kirhah, Hamath-ha-Yearim, and Hamath.

    22. I constructed their gates and their towers I

    23. built the palace, and I made aqueducts'(?) in the interior

    24 . of the town. There were no cisterns in the interior of the town of Kirhah, and I said to all the people, Make,

    25. every one a cistern in his house. And I made a ditch round Kirhah with [the men]

    26. of Israel. I built (Aro)ir, and I made the passage over the Arnon.

    27. I built Beth-Bamoth, which had been overthrown, and Bezer, which had been destroyed.

    28. I fortified Dibon to hold it in subjection, and I constructed

    29. fortresses in the towns which I added to [my] land. I built

    30. Beth-Diblathan, Beth-Ball-Meon, and transported thither [Moabites]

    31. [in order to take possession of] the land. AtHoronan dwelt [the children of Reuben] ..

    32. Chernosh told me, Go, fight against Horonan [I fought against it and took it],

    33. [and there dwelt] Chemosh in my days.

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [11]

    mē´sha  :

    (1) ( מישׁע , mēshā‛  ; Codex Vaticanus, Μαρισά , Marisá  ; Codex Alexandrinus, Μαρισάς , Marisás ): Caleb's firstborn son, the father of Ziph, probably the ancestor of the Ziphites (  1 Chronicles 2:42 ).

    (2) ( מישׁא , mēshā'  ; Codex Vaticanus, Μισά , Misá  ; Codex Alexandrinus, Μωσά , Mōsá ): A B enjamite, son of Shaharaim by his wife Hodesh, born in the land of Moab ( 1 Chronicles 8:9 ).

    (3) ( מישׁע , mēsha‛  ; Μωσά , Mōsá ): A king of Moab. All the Biblical information regarding this monarch is contained in   2 Kings 3 . Here we gather that Mesha was contemporary with Ahab, Ahaziah and Jehoram. He was tributary to Israel, his annual contribution consisting of 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams. after the death of Ahab he asserted his independence. Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and the king of Edom joined forces with Jehoram in an attempt to quell the rebellion at the instance of Elisha, who accompanied the host, water was miraculously provided when the army of the allies was ready to perish of thirst. Mesha came out against them and fell upon the camp. His attack was repulsed with heavy slaughter, and the defeated king was chased by the victors until he took refuge in the great fortress of Kir-hareseth. A vigorous siege was begun. Seeing that his case was desperate, Mesha attempted, with 700 men, to break through the lines. Failing in this, he offered his firstborn as a burnt offering upon the wall. Then "there came great wrath upon Israel" (by which, probably, panic is meant), and the besiegers retired, leaving their conquest incomplete.

    In his inscription - see Moabite Stone - M esha gives an account of his rebellion, naming the places captured and fortified by him. It is not surprising that he says nothing of his defeat by Jehoram and his allies. There is, however, one serious discrepancy. The time Moab was under the supremacy of Israel, during the reign of Omri and half the reign of Ahab, he puts at 40 years. According to Biblical chronology, Omri and Ahab together reigned only 34 years. If, with Mesha, we deduct half the reign of Ahab, the period is reduced to 23 years. It is impossible to add to the length of either reign. So great a difference cannot be explained by the use of round numbers. Why Mesha should wish to increase the time of his people's subjection is not clear, unless, indeed, he thought in this way to magnify the glory of their deliverer.

    In Mesha the sentiment of patriotism was wedded to some measure of military capacity. Judging by his inscription, he was also a deeply religious man according to his lights. Substitute "Yahweh" for "Chemosh," and his phraseology might be that of a pious Hebrew king. The sacrifice of his son is at once the mark of the heathen and an index of the strength of his devotion.

    (4) ( משׁא , mēshā'  ; Μασσῆ , Massḗ ): This appears to mark the western boundary of the land occupied by the descendants of Joktan (  Genesis 10:30 ). No certain identification is possible, but several more or less probable have been suggested: e.g. ( a ) The Greek Mesene, on the Persian Gulf, not far from the mouth of the Tigris and the Euphrates; ( b ) the Syro-Arabian desert, called Mashu in the Assyrian inscriptions; the name here, however, could hardly cover such a vast tract as this; more probably it denoted a place; ( c ) Dillmann would alter the vowels and identify it with Massā' , a branch of the Ishmaelite stock ( Genesis 25:14;  1 Chronicles 1:30 ). This, however, furnishes no clue to the locality, the territory of that tribe being also unidentified.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [12]

    Mesha, 1

    Me´sha, a place mentioned in describing that part of Arabia inhabited by the descendants of Joktan [See Nations, Dispersion Of]

    Mesha, 2

    Mesha (deliverance), a king of Moab, who possessed an immense number of flocks and herds, and appears to have derived his chief wealth from them. In the time of Ahab, he being then under tribute, 'rendered unto the king of Israel 100,000 lambs, and 100,000 rams, with the wool' . These numbers may seem exaggerated, if understood as the amount of yearly tribute. It is, therefore, more probable that the greedy and implacable Ahab had at some one time levied this enormous impost upon the Moabites; and it is likely that it was in the apprehension of a recurrence of such ruinous exactions, that they seized the opportunity for revolt, which the death of Ahab seemed to offer . The short reign of Ahaziah afforded no opportunity for reducing them to obedience; but after his death his brother and successor, Jehoram, made preparations for war; and induced Jehoshaphat to join him in this expedition. The result, with the part taken by Elisha the prophet, has been related under other heads [[[Elisha; Jehoram; Jehoshaphat]]] King Mesha was at length driven to shut himself up, with the remnant of his force, in Areopolis, his capital. He was there besieged so closely, that, having been foiled in an attempt to break through the camp of the Edomites (who were present as vassals of Judah), he was reduced to extremities, and, in the madness of his despair, sought to propitiate his angry gods by offering up his own son, the heir of his crown, as a sacrifice, upon the wall of the city. On beholding this fearful sight, the besiegers withdrew in horror, lest some portion of the monstrous crime might attach to their own souls. By this withdrawal they, however, afforded the king the relief he desired, and this was, no doubt, attributed by him to the efficacy of his offering, and to the satisfaction of his gods therewith. The invaders, however, ravaged the country as they withdrew, and returned with much spoil to their own land [MOABITES].