DIMON, Isa 15:9, and DI-BON-GAD, Nu 33:45-46, a town of Gad, Nu 32:34, but afterwards of Reuben, Jos 13:17. It lay in a plain just north of the Arnon, and was the first encampment of the Israelites upon crossing that river. Later we find it in the hands of the Moabites, Isa 15:2; Jer 48:22. Traces of it remain at a place now called Diban.
pining; wasting. (1.) A city in Moab (Nu 21:30); called also Dibon-gad (Nu 33:45), because it was built by Gad and Dimon (Isa 15:9). It has been identified with the modern Diban, about 3 miles north of the Arnon and 12 miles east of the Dead Sea. (See Moabite Stone.)
1. Originally a town of Moab. Taken by Sihon, king of the Amorites (Nu 21:30). Taken from Sihon with his other possessions by Israel, and assigned to Gad (Nu 32:33-34); mentioned also as belonging to Reuben (Jos 13:9), the two pastoral tribes less strictly defining their boundaries than settled populations would. Gad rebuilt it and gave it the name Dibon-Gad (Nu 33:45). It was in Moab's possession in Isaiah's time (Isa 15:2; Jer 48:18,22,24). Also called Dimon, the Hebrew letter Mem (?) and the Hebrew letter Bet[h] (?) being often interchanged. Dibon was probably the modern Dhiban, on low ground three miles N. of the Arnon; translated in Isa 15:2, "Dibon (the people of Dibon) is gone up to the high places," the usual places of sacrifice.
F. A. Klein, of the Church Missionary Society, in traveling from Es-Salt to Kerak was informed by a sheikh of the Beni Hamide of the now well-known basalt stone of Dibon, with its remarkable inscription by King Mesha. It was 3 1/2 ft. high, and 2 ft. in width and 2 ft. in thickness; rounded off at both ends. Unfortunately, the Arabs, in jealousy of the Turkish government which demanded the surrender of the stone, broke it in pieces by lighting a fire around and throwing cold water on it; but not before M. Ganneau had secured an impression of the inscription. Captain Warren obtained another impression and fragments of the stone. Ganneau and Warren subsequently obtained most of the fragments; so that only one-seventh of the whole is missing. It is now in the Louvre at Paris. Of 1,100 letters 669 have been secured. The first part (lines 1-21) records Mesha's wars with Omri, king of Israel (i.e. his successors); the second (line 21-31) his public buildings; the third part (31-34) his wars against Horonaim with the help of Chemosh, "the abomination (idol) of Moab."
The Moabite stone confirms the connection of Israel with Moab, founded on their common descent through Lot and Abraham, and afterward renewed through Ruth and her descendant David. The language of the stone is almost identical with that of the historical portions of the Hebrew Bible. The Aleph (?), He[h] (?) Vav [or Waw] (?), and Yod[h] (?) are used (just as in the Old Testament) as "matres lectionis", to express vowel sounds, and the He[h] (?) at the end of a word; confirming the Masoretic text. The alphabet is almost the same as the Phoenician one. It has the 22 letters of the earliest Hebrew, except Tet[h] (?), which probably is on the missing fragments. The present square Hebrew characters, which we find in our Hebrew Bibles, are probably of Chaldean origin, and resemble those in the inscriptions at Palmyra.
The Greeks borrowed their alphabet from the Phoenicians. In Isa 15:2 Dibon is termed a "high place"; Mesha on the stone terms it his birthplace, and chose it as the site of his monument. The phrase of "Mesha" (named on the stone just as we read it 2Ki 3:4-27), "Chemosh let me see my desire upon all my enemies," is word for word, substituting Jehovah for the idol of apostate Moab, David's phrase (Ps 59:10). The revolt of Mesha (recorded on the stone) from Judah, to which he had paid a tribute of 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams (2Ki 3:4; Isa 16:1), was probably in Ahaziah's reign, who died 896 B.C., so that as early as nine centuries B.C. the alphabet was so complete as it appears on the stone. As this tribute seems enormous for so small a country it was probably imposed temporarily as compensation for damages sustained in the revolt of Moab after Ahab's death.
Or if the revolt followed the tragic end of the confederacy of Judah, Israel, and Edom against Moab (2Ki 3:26-27), the date of the stone is but little later, and the completeness of the alphabet on it shows it was then no recent invention. (See ALPHA.) Jehoshaphat's own territory had been previously invaded by Moab (2 Chronicles 20). Hence, he was ready to ally himself to Ahaziah (2Ch 20:37); then to Jehoram and Edom against Moab. Mesha's words on the stone imply that he had more than Israel alone to contend with: "he let me see my desire upon all my enemies" (line 4). A confirmation of the Scripture account of Mesha's defeat by the three confederates appears in the Black Obelisk from Nimrud, of the same age as the Moabite stone. Moab is omitted in the list of Syrian independent states confederate with Benhadad of Damascus against Shalmaneser of Nineveh.
Scripture explains why; Moab was then subject to Judah. In later Assyrian lists, when Moab had recovered its independence, three distinct Moabite kings are named. The circuitous route taken by the three confederates to invade the E. of Moab is probably accounted for by the fact recorded on the Moabite stone; Mesha was carrying all before him in the W., and it would have been dangerous to have assailed him in that quarter. The stone notices expressly Israel's oppression of Moab in the reign of "Omri king of Israel and his son (and 'his son's son' is to be supplied in one gap of the inscription) forty years," and Mesha's breaking off the yoke; after which it says "all Dibon was loyal"; whereas previously "the men of Gad dwelt in the land of Ataroth" (compare Nu 32:42), and "the king of Israel fortified" it. The 40 years would be the round number for the 36 during which Omri, Ahab, and Ahaziah reigned.
The Moabite stone probably takes up the narrative broken off at 2Ki 3:27. There we read "Israel departed from the Moabite king, and returned to their own land;" ultimately, the Dibon stone informs us Mesha took town after town of Gad, "Medeba, Jahaz, Dibon, and Kir." Thus is explained how these towns in Isaiah 15; 16 (150 years later), are assigned to Moab, though David (2Sa 8:2) had long before so effectually subjugated the nation. From the time of Mesha, Israel was from time to time subjected to Moabite invasions (2Ch 20:1; 2Ki 13:20).
Mesha, according to the Dibon stone, "built (i.e. rebuilt and fortified) Baalmeon, Kiriathaim, and Nebo," all once in Reuben's hands; also "Bezer" (De 4:43). Mesha says in the inscription on the basalt stone, "I made this high place a stone of salvation;" compare Ebenezer, "the stone of help," 1Sa 7:12 margin See "The Moabite Stone," by W. P. Walsh. In three points the Dibon stone confirms Scripture:
(1) The men of Gad dwelt, in the land of old.
(2) Moab's successes caused the confederacy of Israel, Judah, and Edom.
(3) Moab's successes in the N.W. forced the allies to take the circuitous route S.E.
2. Dibon, reinhabited by men of Judah, returned from Babylon (Ne 11:25) equates to Dimonah.
1. A city east of the Dead Sea and north of the Arnon, in the land which, before the coming of the Israelites, Sihon, king of the Amorites, had taken from a former king of Moab (Nu 21:26,30). The Israelites dispossessed Sihon, and the territory was assigned to Reuben (Jos 13:9,17), but the city Dibon is mentioned among those built (or rebuilt) by Gad (Nu 32:3,34), hence the name Dibon-gab by which it is once called (Nu 33:45). The children of Israel were not able to retain possession of the land, and in the time of Isaiah Dibon is reckoned among the cities of Moab (Isa 15). In Isa 15:9 Dimon is supposed to he a modified form of Dibon, adopted in order to resemble more closely the Heb. word for blood (dam), and support the play on words in that verse. The modern name of the town is Dhiban, about half an hour N. of 'Ara'ir, which is on the edge of the Arnon Valley. It is a dreary and featureless ruin on two adjacent knolls, but has acquired notoriety in consequence of the discovery there of the Moabite Stone.
1. City on the east of the Jordan in Moab, afterwards possessed by Gad; but near the time of the captivity it was again seized by Moab. Jos 13:9,17; Nu 21:30; 32:3,34; Isa 15:2; Jer 48:18,22. Also called DIBON-GAD in Nu 33:45-46. Identified with Dhiban, 31 30' N, 35 45 'E.
2. City inhabited on the return from exile, Ne 11:25: perhaps the same as DIMONAH. Not identified.
1. A town on the east side of Jordan, in the rich pastoral country, which was taken possession of and rebuilt by the children of Gad.
From this circumstance it possibly received the name of DIBON-GAD.
Its first mention is in
and from this it appears to have belonged originally to the Moabites. We find Dibon counted to Reuben in the lists of Joshua.
In the time of Isaiah and Jeremiah, however, it was again in possession of Moab.
comp. Jere 48:24 In modern times the name Dhiban has been discovered as attached to extensive ruins on the Roman road, about three miles north of the Arnon (Wady Modjeb).
2. One of the towns which were reinhabited by the men of Judah after the return from captivity,
identical with DIMONAH.