MOAB (Heb. מוֹאָב), a land E. of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, one of Israel's neighbors in biblical times. The highland of Moab extends southward to the Zered River (Wādī al-Ḥasāʾ), eastward to the desert, and westward to the Dead Sea. Its northern boundary was much disputed; sometimes it was limited by the river Arnon and sometimes it extended north of the Dead Sea (cf. the "plains of Moab" in Num. 26:3). The area of Moab is mountainous in the south, with ridges up to 4,000 ft. (1,250 m.), leveling off to a plateau in the north (the biblical mishor, "tableland"). The decline to the desert is gradual; that to the Dead Sea steep. The area was traversed by the "King's Highway." Its economy was mainly pastoral (cf. ii Kings 3:4).
The People and the Country
Archaeological surveys have established that after a period of pre-Moabite settlement in the last centuries of the third millennium, Moabite tribes settled the country in about the mid-14th century b.c.e., not long before the Exodus. They were of Semitic stock, closely akin to the Israelites.
According to the tradition in Genesis 19:30–38, Moab (lxx: Μωαβ) was born to Lot by his elder daughter in the vicinity of the town of Zoar, at the southeastern tip of the Dead Sea. The meaning of the name, according to Targum Jonathan and the Septuagint, is "from my father" (cf. Gen. 19:37). Other than this tradition, there is no further information on the origin of the Moabites and the process of their formation into a national kingdom in Transjordan. The story of the birth of Moab and Ammon to Lot, son of Haran, the brother of Abraham, was intended to explain, in a popular midrashic manner, the names Moab and Ammon. However, the tradition of ethnic kinship between the children of Lot and Israel, echoes of which occur elsewhere in the Bible, is not based merely on the geographical proximity of these peoples to Israel. Biblical tradition and especially the Moabite language and the conjectured time of their settlement in Transjordan suggest that the Moabites were among the tribes of the sons of Eber, who spread out from the Syrian-Arabian desert in the second millennium b.c.e., and established national kingdoms throughout the Fertile Crescent. The Moabites, like the *Ammonites and *Edomites, were not among the pre-Israelite inhabitants of the land of Canaan (Gen. 10:15–20; 15:18–21; et al.). According to Deuteronomy (2:10–11), the Emim formerly occupied the land of Moab – "a people great, and many, and tall, like the Anakim" (see *Rephaim) – but it does not indicate when and in what circumstances they were driven out by the Moabites. Egyptian lists of the Middle and New Kingdoms (until the end of the 14th century) do not mention Moab as a people, state or territorial region. The archaeological survey of N. Glueck has revealed an interruption in the continuity of settlement in the Transjordanian plateau from the 19th until the 14th centuries b.c.e. During this period central and southern Transjordan were occupied by nomadic tribes. The mention of the sons of Seth in Transjordan (Num. 24:17) almost certainly refers to the nomadic Shutu tribes mentioned in Egyptian and Akkadian sources of the second millennium b.c.e. Only a few wellfortified settlements, such as Ader, Balūʿa, Aroer, and Khirbat al-Madayyina, near Wādī al-Thamad, southeast of *Dibon, had the strength to withstand the raids from the east, while the other settlements were destroyed. It may be assumed, following Glueck, that the renewal of permanent settlement in Transjordan at the close of the 14th century, and the appearance of a new agricultural society, is connected with the penetration of West Semitic tribes, including the Moabites, from the east. After the Moabites were in possession of Transjordan, they founded a state that embraced regions on both sides of the Arnon (Wādī al-Mawjib). North of the Arnon, Moab extended to "the tableland" (Deut. 4:43; Josh. 13:9; Jer. 48:21), to the valley of Heshbon (Wādī Ḥisbān) and to "the plains of Moab" opposite Jericho (Num. 22:1). The "tableland" is a plateau rising to approximately 2,400 ft. (800 m.) above sea level. It is rich in pasturage and fertile farmland (cf. Num. 32:1–4). South of the Arnon, the land of Moab extended over a mountainous plateau, which is suitable for cattle raising; it rises to approximately 3,750 ft. (1,250 m.) above sea level. The Zered River (Wādī al-Ḥasāʾ) marked the border between Moab and *Edom. Moab was bounded on the west by the Dead Sea and the southernmost part of the Jordan up to the Nimrin Valley. "The mountains of Abarim" and "the slopes of Pisgah" (Num. 27:12; Deut. 3:17) refer to the steep slopes of the Moabite plateau which descend to the Dead Sea. The Moabite plateau terminates on the east in shelving slopes which descend to the desert that marked the eastern border of Moab.
Throughout the entire area of Moab, there have been discovered the remains of numerous settlements which existed from the 13th to the sixth centuries b.c.e. The capital of Moab was Kir-Hareseth or Kir of Moab (ii Kings 3:25; Isa. 15:1, 16:11; Jer. 48:31, 36), modern Karak, in the heart of Moabite territory south of the Arnon. However, most of the large settlements were situated in the fertile tableland (Num. 32; Josh. 13:16–27). Prominent in their importance were: Aroer (Khirbat ʿArāʿir), overlooking the fords of the Arnon, Dibon (Dhībān), Ataroth (Khirbat ʿAṭṭārūs), Medeba (Mādabā), and Nebo (Muḥayyiṭ). The topographical conformation of Moab does not favor easy communications. The many wadis flowing into the Dead Sea have sawed deep ravines that make passage difficult. Only in the northern plateau region, in the territory of Medeba, was there a wide, convenient road, which connected the regions on both sides of the Jordan. Great importance was attached to the "King's Highway," the international route which connected Arabia and Egypt with Syria and Mesopotamia, and of which a section passed through the Moabite plateau.
The geographical and economic conditions of Moab made it easy for the Moabites to achieve a suitable blend of their desert heritage with the values of an urban and rural society; this is to be attributed to Moab's position on the border of the desert and to its economy, which was based, on the one hand, upon agriculture, and on the other, upon cattle raising and trade conducted along the desert routes. Living in a border country, the Moabites, like the Edomites and Ammonites, were in need of effective defense against sudden attacks by raiders from the desert, as well as against invasion by the regular armies of neighboring countries. For this reason, the Moabites organized themselves into a national kingdom administered from a single center at the beginning of their settlement in Moab; only a permanent and strong leadership was capable of establishing a system of border fortresses, of setting up a permanent force able to match itself against external dangers, and of organizing guards for protection of the section of the "King's Highway" which passed through Moab. The archaeological survey of Moab and the excavations at Aroer and Dibon, as well as the epigraphic material, have revealed the technical skill of the Moabites in the building of strongholds, watchtowers, walled cities, and installations for collecting water. They built fortresses along the borders. On the eastern border, along the edge of the desert, strong and impressive forts have been discovered; the most prominent are Khirbat al-Madayyina, overlooking the Zered River, Maḥāy, Mudaybīʿ, al-Madyyina, overlooking one of the southern tributaries of the Arnon, Qaṣr Abu al Kharaq, and Qaṣr al-ʿĀl, overlooking the fords of the Arnon on the south. These are only some of the fortresses which guarded entry into Moab from the east. In the service of the king of Moab were garrisons stationed in fortresses and troops trained for field combat and siege. He was assisted by a staff of officers who held various positions, such as that of scribe; one of the Moabite seals carries the name of "Chemosʿam [son of] Chemoshʾel ha-sofer."
Most of the Moabite population obtained its livelihood from agriculture and cattle raising. *Mesha, king of Moab, was called a sheep-master (ii Kings 3:4). In areas unsuitable for agriculture, chiefly in the easternmost part of the country, the settlers lived in temporary dwellings (huts or tents), and continued to lead a seminomadic way of life, either as shepherds or as escorts of the merchant caravans that made their way along the nearby desert routes. Moabite culture, to the extent that it is revealed by the finds, most of which are from the Middle Iron Age, was influenced by various other cultures, chiefly by Aram in the north and Arabia in the south. Despite the eclectic character of Moabite culture, the Moabites developed a style of their own, which is particularly conspicuous in the pottery. Pottery sherds defined as Moabite have been discovered in large quantities in many settlements in the land of Moab proper and in localities north of the Arnon.
Moabite religion was essentially idolatrous and was national in character. *Chemosh was the national god of Moab (i Kings 11:7, et al.), and was worshiped on high places and in temples. The god's name was used as a theophoric component in Moabite personal names. Proscription (ḥerem, Mesha stele, line 17), burnt offerings – either of an animal or, in special circumstances, of a human being (Num. 23:1, 14, 29; ii Kings 3:27) – and circumcision (Jer. 9:24–25) were features of Moabite cultic practices. The polytheism of Moabite religion is attested by the names "ʿAshtar-Chemosh" (Mesha stele, line 17), "Beth-Baal-Peor" (cf. Num. 25), "Bamoth-Baal", and apparently also by the noun ʾariʾel ("altar hearths"; ii Sam. 23:20; in Mesha stele, line 12, it is the name of an Israelite person or object), as well as by the many clay figurines found at various Moabite settlements, especially at Khirbet al-Madayyina near Wādī al-Thamad.
The language and script of the Moabites is known first and foremost from the *Mesha Stele, found in Mesha's native Dibon in 1868, as well as from two stele fragments (one found at Dibon and the other at Karak), from seals and from Moabite personal names. The language belongs to the northwest Semitic family and is close to the northern dialect of Hebrew. The Moabite script does not differ essentially from the Canaanite-Hebrew alphabetic script and, by the middle of the ninth century b.c.e., it had already attained a fine form. The length of the Mesha inscription and its content, style and form testify to a developed tradition of writing.
The History of Moab and its Relation with Israel
The first period of Moabite history bears the marks of Egyptian influence, as expressed in the stele found at Khirbat Balūʿa in Moab. Its estimated date is approximately 1200 b.c.e. The relief on the monument depicts a figure, perhaps of the local ruler, in the presence of a god and goddess. Above the relief can be seen traces of several lines of writing in a script as yet undeciphered. Both the relief and the inscription contain clearly Egyptian characteristics. (According to some scholars, the Balūʿa stele may be regarded as one of the earliest monuments of a Moabite tradition of writing.)
The land of Moab (m-ʾ-b) is mentioned in the geographical list of Ramses ii (13th century b.c.e.). Ramses ii undertook an expedition to Transjordan and captured cities in Moab, including Dibon. In the days of the first king of Moab, in the 13th century b.c.e., the Moabites were driven from the region north of the river Arnon by the Amorite king *Sihon, who ruled in Heshbon (Num. 21:27–35; cf. Isa. 15–16; Jer. 48). A short time later, Sihon's entire kingdom, from Wadi Jabbok to the Arnon, fell into the hands of the Israelites (Num. 21:13, 15, 24; 22:36; 33:44, et al.), who had reached the tableland by way of the desert east of Moab, because the king of Moab refused to allow them passage through his country. Fearing that they would now attack his land from the north, *Balak son of Zippor, the king of Moab, hired *Balaam to curse them but, on yhwh's order so goes the tradition, Balaam blessed them instead. Their inhospitality and their spite made the reasons for a prohibition against admitting Moabites and Ammonites "into the assembly of the Lord forever" (Deut. 23:4–8; Neh. 13:1). However, the enmity between Israel and Moab, echoes of which are also found in prophecies about the nations, was not the result of a single incident but grew out of a bitter and protracted struggle over disputed areas in Transjordan. With the conquest of the land of Sihon, the tribes of Reuben and Gad were settled in the tableland (Num. 32; Josh. 13), and the Arnon marked the border between Israel and Moab (Deut. 2:36, 3:8; Judg. 11:20, et al.). However, it is clear that a Moabite population remained north of the Arnon even after the conquest of the tableland from Sihon by the Israelites. An echo of the relations between the Moabites and Israelites in the tableland is the story of the affair of Baal-Peor in Shittim in the plains of Moab (Num. 25). The course of events following the Israelite conquest clearly shows that the Moabites did not surrender the tableland, and the region became a focus of strife between Israel and Moab as the border moved northward to the plains of Moab or southward to the Arnon, in accordance with the balance of power between Israel and Moab. The first attempt by Moab to reconquer the areas it had lost is the aforementioned incident of Balak and Balaam (Num. 22; cf. Micah 6:5). Numbers 22:6 and Joshua 24:9 suggest that Balak, with the support of the Midianites, waged war against the Israelites in an attempt to drive them from the tableland (but cf. Judg. 11:25–26). In the time of *Eglon, king of Moab (Judg. 3), the Moabites succeeded in thrusting northward across the Arnon. They imposed their rule on the tribes of Reuben and Gad,
and perhaps also upon the Ammonites, and even penetrated by way of the plains of Moab and Jericho to the center of the country on the western side of the Jordan, within the bounds of the territory of Ephraim and Benjamin. The Israelites were obliged to pay tribute and to bring a gift to the king of Moab. *Ehud son of Gera of the tribe of Benjamin saved Israel from the Moabites. In the time of *Jephthah the tableland was in the possession of Israel (Judg. 11:26). The datum in Genesis 36:35 according to which Hadad son of Bedad king of Edom smote Midian in the field of Moab (c. 1100 b.c.e.), is explained by some commentators as evidence of Edomite or, more plausibly, Midianite rule over Moab. The narrative in the Book of Ruth concerning the immigration of a Judean family to Moab when a severe drought struck Judah indicates that the history of relations between Israel and Moab included periods of tranquility and peace (cf. also i Chron. 4:22, 8:8).
The attacks by Moab on Israel at the end of the period of the Judges and in the time of Saul (Ps. 83:7, 9; i Sam. 14:47), and perhaps in the time of his son Eshbaal as well, served as a justification for David to wage war against Moab and to subdue it (ii Sam. 8:2; 23:20; cf. Num. 24:17), despite the friendly ties that had developed between David, a descendant of Ruth the Moabite, and the king of Moab (i Sam. 22:3–5). The actions taken by David against Moab after he had subjugated them (ii Sam. 8:2, i Chron. 18:2), although not sufficiently clarified, are indicative of the intense enmity that prevailed between Israel and Moab. David did not abolish the monarchy in Moab but contented himself with its subjection (ii Sam. 8:2; i Chron. 18:2). After the division of Solomon's kingdom, Moab came under the domination of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. As indicated by the stele of Mesha, king of Moab, it is probable that a long time before the death of Ahab, the Moabites threw off the rule of Israel and seized control over areas north of the Arnon (cf. ii Kings 1:1, 3:5). The rise to power of Aram-Damascus immediately after the death of Solomon and its pressure on Israel (i Kings 15:16–20), the expedition of *Shishak against the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, and the intense struggle between the house of Jeroboam son of Nebat and the house of David, especially in the time of Baasha and Asa, presented an opportunity to throw off the domination of Israel. The Moabites seized control of the tableland up to Medeba. Since Mesha called himself "king of Moab, the Dibonite," it is possible that his father, whose name, as far as can be seen, was Chemoshyatti (?), had already established Dibon as the royal capital. The period of Moab's independence came to an end when the political and military situation of Israel improved under the rule of Omri. Omri "took possession" of the land of Medeba, but out of political and military considerations did not conquer the region of Dibon from Moab. Instead, he imposed his authority on the king of Moab, who resided in Dibon. The subjection continued throughout the days of Omri "and part of the days of his son," apparently Ahab. When the pressure of the Arameans on Israel in the time of Ahab increased, Mesha withheld tribute from Ahab. The king of Moab took steps to strengthen his kingdom against the expected attack by the king of Israel. Mesha first secured communications between the region of Moab south of the Arnon and the region of Dibon by fortifying Aroer and building roads along the Arnon. He strengthened his city of residence, built an acropolis in it and prepared the city to withstand a protracted siege. Ahab did not turn his attention to Moab but satisfied himself with fortifying Jericho (i Kings 16:34), which commanded the fords of the Jordan. Mesha, who had rebelled against Israel, chose not to participate in the joint campaign of Aram and Israel against Shalmaneser iii in the year 853 b.c.e. (battle of *Karkar). Only after the death of Ahab did Mesha find the time ripe to begin the conquest of the entire tableland. He conquered Ataroth and the land of Ataroth, inhabited by the tribe of *Gad, Beth-Diblathaim, and the strong fortress of Jahaz on the border of the desert. He then continued northward, conquering Medeba and the land of Medeba, together with the large fortress of Bezer. The capture of Medeba opened the road to the plains of Moab for the Moabites; Mesha continued in a northwesterly direction to the plains of Moab by way of Wādī al-Harī, and seized control of the largest Israelite city of *Nebo, which he consecrated to ʿAshtar-Chemosh. Toward the end of the inscription, Mesha mentions an expedition to Horonaim in southern Moab, close to Zoar (cf. Isa. 15:5; Jer. 48:5, 34). Thus Mesha succeeded in restoring the borders of the Moabite kingdom from the tip of the Dead Sea in the south to the vicinity of the plains of Moab in the north. He rebuilt cities in the tableland and settled Moabites in them. Some scholars hold that the expedition of Mesha to Horonaim is connected with the narrative in ii Kings 3 of the joint campaign of *Jehoram, king of Israel, *Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and the king of *Edom. The campaign of the three kings was carried out by way of Edom in order to attack Moab from the south, since the way to Moab from the plains of Moab was held by Mesha and was well defended by Moabite garrisons. In the battle that took place on the southern border of Moab, Jehoram and his allies defeated the Moabite army (ii Kings 3:20–24). Subsequently the allied armies penetrated into the heart of Moab and besieged the capital Kir-Hareseth (3:24–26). From the biblical description, it appears that the armies of Israel and Judah withdrew from Moab without succeeding in conquering the capital. According to ii Kings 3:27, the king of Moab, in an act of despair, sacrificed his firstborn son upon the wall as a burnt offering, an act that brought "great wrath upon Israel." Despite this, the great destruction caused to the cities of Moab in the campaign of the three kings weakened Moab and undermined Moabite rule in the tableland. Although Moabite bands were still able to make raids into Israel west of the Jordan (ii Kings 13:20), almost all of the tableland returned to Israelite possession, as is suggested by ii Kings 10:32–33, which is concerned with Hazael's seizure of Transjordan down to the Arnon. Still later, in the time of Jeroboam, son of Jehoash king of Israel, Israelite rule in the tableland was consolidated (ii Kings 14:25; Amos 6:14), and Moab may have recognized the rule of Israel. Moab apparently never again attained full independence. Before it could benefit from the decline and fall of the kingdom of Israel, it was forced to recognize the sovereignty of the Assyrian empire.
The Moabites under Assyrian and Babylonian Rule and the End of their Kingdom
The expedition of *Tiglath-Pileser iii to Israel in 734–733 b.c.e. brought the states of Transjordan under the rule of the Assyrian Empire. In one of his inscriptions, Tiglath-Pileser iii mentions Salaman the Moabite (Sa-la-ma-nu kur Ma-ʾ-ba-ai) among the kings of Syria and Israel who brought him tribute, apparently in 732 b.c.e. The paying of tribute was an expression of recognition of Assyrian rule. Acceptance of Assyrian sovereignty was generally bound up with the payment of tribute at fixed times, the offering of a gift on appointed occasions, bond service, and military aid to the Assyrian king for his expeditions. The Assyrians usually appointed an inspector (qēpu) to work alongside the local ruler and placed Assyrian garrison troops in fortresses and citadels, both in the provinces and in the domain of the vassal king. Aianūr of the land of Tabeel, who reported the raid of the men of Gidir into Moab to the Assyrian king, was apparently responsible to the latter for the state of affairs in Moab. An Assyrian letter from Nimrud of the last third of the eighth century b.c.e. mentions a delegation from Moab which came to the city of Calah (Nimrud) to present a gift of horses to the Assyrian king. The king of Moab did not heed the words of incitement of Iamani, king of Ashdod, to rebel against Sargon ii in 713 b.c.e. When Sennacherib conducted a military campaign against Hezekiah in 701 b.c.e., Chemosh-nadab the Moabite (Kam-mu-suna-ad-bi kur Ma-ʾ-ba-ai) came to meet him, bearing many gifts. In approximately 677 b.c.e., Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, ordered "the 22 kings of Ḥatti, the sea coast and within the sea" to drag cedar and pine beams from the mountains of Lebanon and Sirion to the capital Nineveh in order to build his palace. Included among these kings is Muṣuri, the king of Moab (Mu-ṣur-i šar kur Ma-ʾa-ab). Ashurbanipal also relates that "22 kings of the seacoast, of the islands of the sea and of the mainland, servants subject to me" brought him numerous gifts and accompanied him with their troops on his first expedition to Egypt in 667 b.c.e. It is highly probable that Muṣuri the Moabite was among these kings. An Assyrian list of tribute from the time of Esarhaddon or Ashurbanipal states that the Moabites tendered "one gold mina" as tribute to Assyria. The kings of Transjordan bore Assyrian sovereignty without attempting to throw it off because they were aware that the Assyrian government, in the prevailing circumstances, was of greater benefit than harm. The Assyrian government usually defended loyal vassal kings from neighboring enemies. Danger to the peace of the countries of Transjordan came chiefly from the inhabitants of the desert, whose pressure on the border countries increased, beginning in the eighth century b.c.e. From the description of the wars of Ashurbanipal against the Arabs, it is clear that the Assyrians stationed garrisons along the border of the desert in order to prevent attempts by the nomadic tribes to penetrate into the cultivated areas. The Assyrians were interested in strengthening the border countries against the desert raiders and consequently the former were included in the defense system of the empire. The defeat of Amuladi, king of Kedar, by Chemosh-halta, king of Moab (Ka-ma-as-ḥal-ta-a šar kur Ma-ʾa-ab), is merely one episode in a chain of similar events that are no different from that which occurred 500 years previously, when Hadad son of Bedad the Edomite defeated the tribes of Midian in the field of Moab (Gen. 36:35). Furthermore, under the Assyrian rule, the peoples of Transjordan extended the borders of their kingdoms into areas with an Israelite population, and they enjoyed economic prosperity. The Assyrians managed the defense of the desert caravan routes that connected Egypt and Arabia with Syria and Mesopotamia. Echoes of Moab's economic prosperity and of the extent of its territory appear in the prophecies about Moab (Isa. 25:10–12; Jer. 48, chiefly verses 7 and 29; Ezek. 25:9; Zeph. 2:8).
The passage from Assyrian to Babylonian rule did not involve a great change in the status of the kingdom of Moab. The king of Moab was apparently numbered with "all the kings of the land of Ḥeth [Ḥatti]" who brought tribute to Nebuchadnezzar when the Chaldean king campaigned against Ashkelon (C. 604/3 b.c.e.). Moabite and Ammonite troops were in the service of the king of Babylon when the revolt of Jehoiakim was crushed (ii Kings 24:1–2; cf. Ezek. 25:6–8). However, a few years later a change in the policy of Moab toward Babylon is noticeable. In the fourth year of Zedekiah of Judah (594 b.c.e.), the king of Moab participated in a scheme to form a conspiracy against Babylon (Jer. 27:3). While there is no explicit information about the fate of the conspiracy, Moab apparently did not come to the aid of Zedekiah but stood aside when the Chaldean army drew near. A Babylonian punitive expedition against the countries of Transjordan was undertaken in the fifth year of the destruction of Jerusalem, i.e., the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign. Josephus states that in that year, the Chaldean king proceeded against the army of Syria and defeated it, and that he also fought against the Ammonites and Moabites (Jos., Ant., 10:181; cf. Jer. 40:11; 48:7). Although there is no certain information that it was the Babylonian empire which brought about the end of the kingdom of Moab and turned it into a Babylonian province, the lack of information about Moab as an independent or semi-independent kingdom after the period of Babylonian rule, as well as a reference to the province of Moab (Ezra 2:6) during the first period of Persian rule in Israel, indicate that Moab was made a Babylonian province in the time of Nebuchadnezzar or a short time after his death. Glueck's archaeological survey testifies to a decline of settlement in Transjordan which ended with complete destruction in the sixth century b.c.e. The destruction was apparently a result of the collapse of the defense system on the desert front, which desert nomads broke through in order to raid Transjordan (e.g., the sons of Kedar and Nebaioth), damaging cultivated lands and destroying permanent settlements. Many Moabites were driven from the region south of the Arnon. Some of them concentrated in the region of the plateau, a region that was later known as Moabitis, and some dispersed to near and distant countries. The Moabite population remaining in Moab was assimilated among the Arabian tribes who took possession of the land. The punishment of the kingdoms of Transjordan cited by Ezekiel (25:4–10, 35:15) faithfully reflects the disaster that befell the settlements in Transjordan, and points to the settling in of nomads and shepherds from the east. The lament on the destruction of Moab in Numbers 21:27–35, which is echoed in Isaiah 15–16 and Jeremiah 48, is an old fragment of Moabite poetry. Moab achieved an additional period of prosperity in the Hellenistic-Roman period, but by then it had already been taken over by the Nabatean tribes, and was included in the Nabatean kingdom. In Hasmonean times, Alexander Yannai conquered the area, which was returned to the Nabateans by Hyrcanus ii. It was later incorporated into Provincia Arabia.
H. Tristram, The Land of Moab (1873); A.H. Van Zyl, The Moabites (1960); A. Musil, Arabia Petraea, 1 (1907); Aharoni, Land, index; em, s.v. (incl. bibl.); N. Glueck, in: aasor, 14 (1934), 1–114; 15 (1935), 1–202; 18–19 (1939), 1–288; 25–28 (1951), 1–423; H.L. Ginsberg, in: Alexander Marx Jubilee Volume (1950), 347–68; R.E. Murphy, in: cbq, 15 (1953), 409–17; W.L. Reed and F.V. Winnett, in: basor, 172 (1963), 1–9; F.V. Winnett and W.L. Reed, in: aasor, 36–37 (1964), 1–79; W.H. Ward and M.F. Martin, in: adaj, 8–9 (1964), 5–29; J. Liver, in: peq, 99 (1967), 14–31.
In 19th-century slang, Moab was used for a kind of turban-shaped hat; the reference being to Psalms 40:8, ‘Moab is my washpot’ referring to the shape of the hat.
Moabite Stone a monument erected by Mesha, king of Moab, in c.850 bc which describes (in an early form of the Hebrew language) the campaign between Moab and ancient Israel (2 Kings 3), and furnishes an early example of an inscription in the Phoenician alphabet. It is now in the Louvre in Paris.
Moab (mō´ăb), ancient nation located in the uplands E of the Dead Sea, now part of Jordan. The area is unprotected from the east, hence its history is a chain of raids by the Bedouin. The Moabites were close kin to the Hebrews, and the language of the Moabite stone is practically the same as biblical Hebrew. The relations of Moab with Judah and Israel are continually mentioned in the Bible. As a political entity, Moab came to an end after the invasion (c.733 BC) of Tiglathpileser III. Its people were later absorbed by the Nabataeans. The Moabite religion was much like that of Canaan. Archaeological exploration in Moab has shown that settlements first occurred in the 13th cent. BC