the seed of the father, or, according to others, the desirable land, the eldest son of Lot (Ge 19:37), of incestuous birth.
(3.) The land of Moab (Jer 48:24), called also the "country of Moab" (Ru 1:2,6; 2:6), on the east of Jordan and the Dead Sea, and south of the Arnon (Nu 21:13,26). In a wider sense it included the whole region that had been occupied by the Amorites. It bears the modern name of Kerak.
In the Plains of Moab, opposite Jericho (Nu 22:1; 26:63; Jos 13:32), the children of Israel had their last encampment before they entered the land of Canaan. It was at that time in the possession of the Amorites (Nu 21:22). "Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah," and "died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the Lord" (De 34:5-6). "Surely if we had nothing else to interest us in the land of Moab, the fact that it was from the top of Pisgah, its noblest height, this mightiest of the prophets looked out with eye undimmed upon the Promised Land; that it was here on Nebo, its loftiest mountain, that he died his solitary death; that it was here, in the valley over against Beth-peor, he found his mysterious sepulchre, we have enough to enshrine the memory in our hearts."
("from father"), i.e. the incestuous offspring of Lot's older daughter, near Zoar, S.E. of the Dead Sea (Ge 19:37). Originally the Moabites dwelt due E. of the Dead Sea, from whence they expelled the Emims. Their territory was 40 miles long, 12 wide, the modern Belka or Kerak (De 2:10-11). Afterward, Sihon king of the Amorites drove them S. of the river Amon, now wady el Mojib (Nu 21:13,26-30; Jg 11:13,18), which thenceforward was their northern boundary. Israel was forbidden to meddle with them (Jg 11:9,19) on account of the tie of blood through Lot, Abraham's nephew, for Jehovah gave Ar unto the children of Lot, having dispossessed the giant Emims. It was only when Moab seduced Israel to idolatry and impurity (Numbers 25), and hired Balaam to curse them, that they were excluded from Jehovah's congregation to the tenth generation (De 23:3-4). Ammon was more roving than Moab and occupied the pastures to the N.E. outside the mountains.
Moab was more settled in habits, and remained nearer the original seat Zoar. Its territory after the Amorite conquest was circumscribed, but well fortified by nature (Nu 21:20, margin); called "the field of Moab" (Ru 1, and "the corner of Moab" (Nu 24:17; Jer 48:45). The country N. of Arnon, opposite Jericho reaching to Gilead, was more open; vast prairie-like plains broken by rocky prominences; "the land of Moab" (De 1:5; 32:49). Besides there was the Arboth Moab, "plains (rather deep valley) of Moab," the dry sunken valley of Jordan (Nu 22:1). Outside of the hills enclosing Moab proper on the S.E. are the uncultivated pastures called midbar, "wilderness," facing Moab (Nu 21:11). Through it Israel advanced. The song (Ex 15:15) at the Red Sea first mentions the nation, "trembling shall take hold upon ... the mighty men of Moab."
Israel's request for a passage through Edom and Moab, and liberty to purchase bread and water, was refused (Jg 11:17; Nu 20:14-21). In Israel's circuitous march round the two kingdoms they at last, when it suited their own selfish ends and when they could not prevent Israel's march, sold them bread and water (De 2:28-29; 23:3-4). The exclusion of a Moabite from the congregation only forbade his naturalization, not his dwelling in Israel nor an Israelite marrying a Moabitess. Ruth married Naomi's son, but became a proselyte. The law of exclusion it is clear could never have been written after David's time, whose great grandmother was a Moabitess. Israel was occupying the country N. of Arnon which Moab had just lost to Sihon, and which Israel in turn had wrested from him, and with its main force had descended from the upper level to the Shittim plains, the Arboth Moab, in the Jordan valley, when Balak, alarmed for his already diminished territory, induced the Midianite "elders" to join him and hired Balak; virtually, though never actually, "warring against Israel" (Jos 24:9; Jg 11:25).
The daughters of Moab, mentioned in Nu 25:1, were those with whom Israel "began whoredom," but the main guilt was Midian's, and on Midian fell the vengeance (Nu 25:16-18; 31:1-18). Moab's licentious rites furnished the occasion, but Midian was the active agent in corrupting the people. Balak (contrast, "the former king of Moab," Nu 21:26) was probably not hereditary king but a Midianite; the Midianites taking advantage of Moab's weakness after Sihon's victories to impose a Midianite king. Zippor ("bird"), his father, reminds us of other Midianite names, Oreb "crow," Zeeb "wolf"; Sihon may have imposed him on Moab. The five "princes" or "kings" of Midian were vassal "dukes of Sihon dwelling in the country" (Jos 13:21; Nu 31:8). The licentiousness of the neighboring cities of the plain and Moab's origin accord with the more than common licentiousness attributed to Moab and Midian in Numbers 25. Eglon king of Moab, with Ammon and Amalek, smote Israel and occupied Jericho, but was slain by the Benjamite Ehud (Jg 3:12-30). (See EGLON.)
Saul fought Moab successfully, himself also a Benjamite (1Sa 14:47). David moved away to Moab the land of his ancestry, fleeing from Saul, his and Moab's enemy, and committed to the king his father and mother (1Sa 22:3-4). Probably some act of perfidy of Moab, as the murder or treacherous delivering of his parents to Saul, caused David 20 years afterward to slay two thirds of the people, and make bondmen and tributaries of the rest (2Sa 8:2; in this war Benaiah slew two lion-like men, 2Sa 23:20; compare also Ps 60:8, "Moab is my washpot"; yet among David's heroes was "Ithmah the Moabite," 1Ch 11:22,46), fulfilling Balaam's prophecy, Nu 24:17,19; "out of Jacob shall come he that shall destroy him that remaineth of Ar" (Hebrew, namely, of Moab). Among Solomon's foreign concubines were Moabitish women, to whose god Chemosh he built "a high place on the hill before (facing) Jerusalem" (1Ki 11:1,7,33), where it remained until Josiah defiled it four centuries afterward (2Ki 23:13).
At the severance of Israel from Judah Moab was under Israel, because the Jordan fords lay within Benjamin which in part adhered to the northern kingdom. At Ahab's death Mesh and Dibon, who had paid for the time the enormous tribute, 100,000; lambs and 100,000 rams with the wool, revolted (2Ki 1:1; 3:4-5). (See MESH; DIBON.) His first, step was, he secured the cooperation of Ammon and others enumerated in Ps 83:7-8, in an invasion of Judah, which was before Jehoshaphat's alliance with Ahaziah (2Ch 20:1-35), therefore still earlier than the invasion of Moab by the confederate kings of Edom, Israel (Jehoram, Ahaziah's son), and Judah (2 Kings 3). (See JEHOSHAPHAT; JEHORAM; ELISHA; EDOM.) Mutual dissension, under God, destroyed this heterogeneous mass. Then followed the joint invasion of Moab by Jehoshaphat of Judah, Jehoram of Israel, and the king of Edom (2 Kings 3).
The Septuagint states that the Moabite king assembled all old enough to bear a sword girdle. His mistaking the water glowing red with the morning sun for the mutually shed blood of the invaders (which observe he remembered had happened to his own and the allied forces attacking Jehoshaphat) caused Moab to rush forward for spoil, only to be slaughtered by the allies. At Kirhareseth or Kerak his immolation of his own son struck superstitious fear into the besiegers so that they retired (2Ki 3:27; compare Mic 6:5-8); and then followed all the conquests which Mesha records on the Moabite stone. Then too Moah, indignant at his former ally Edom having joined Israel against him, when Israel and Judah retired, burned the king of Edom alive, reducing his bones to lime; or, as Hebrew tradition represents, tore his body after death from the grave and burned it (Am 2:1). Moabite marauding "bands" thenceforward at intervals invaded Israel, as under Jehoahaz (2Ki 13:20).
A century and a half later, in Isaiah's "burden of Moab" (Isaiah 15-16) Moab appears possessing places which it had held in the beginning N. of Arnon, and which had been vacated by Reuben's removal to Assyria (1Ch 5:25-26). Compare also Jeremiah 48, a century later, about 600 B.C. Isaiah (Isa 16:14) foretells, "within three years, as the years of an hireling (who has a fixed term of engagement, so Moab's time of doom is fixed) ... the glory of Moab shall be contemned." Fulfilled by Shalmaneser or Sargon, who destroyed Samaria and ravaged the whole E. of Jordan (725-723 B.C.). As Ammon, so Moab probably, put itself under Judah's king, Uzziah's protection, to which Isaiah (Isa 16:1, "send ye the lamb (the customary tribute) to the ruler ... unto ... Zion") refers (2Ch 26:8; 2Sa 8:2; 2Ki 3:4). Moab contrasts with Ammon, Edom, Philistia, Amalek, Midian, as wealthy, abounding in vineyards, fruitful fields, and gardens, and civilized to a degree next Israel.
Hence flowed "pride (he is exceeding proud), loftiness, arrogance, and haughtiness of heart" (Jer 48:26,29; Isa 16:6-7). This sin is what brought on Moab destruction, "for he magnified himself against the Lord," boasting against God's people that whereas Israel was fallen Moab remained flourishing (Jas 5:6). In Isa 25:10-12 Moab is the representative of Israel's and the church's foes, especially antichrist, the last enemy. Jehovah, as a "swimmer," strikes out ri
Mo'ab Moabites. Mo'abites
Son of Lot and his eldest daughter; his descendants; and the land which they inhabited. Ge 19:37. No account is given of Moab personally. The territory of his descendants was on the east of the Salt Sea. When the tribe of Reuben obtained their possession, their boundary on the south was the river Arnon, which river was the northern boundary of the Moabites, for they had been driven south by the Amorites before the arrival of Israel. Nu 21:11-30. When the Israelites approached the promised land they were directed not to distress nor contend with Moab, De 2:9, so they passed to the east of them. The Moabites were however filled with terror when they heard that the Amorites had been smitten, and Balak their king hired Balaam to curse Israel. Balaam was compelled by God to bless them instead of cursing them, but he gave to Balak the fatal advice to try to weaken them by seductive alliances (which would cause them to fall under the Lord's discipline), and this, alas, was only too successful: cf. Re 2:14. It was in a valley in the land of Moab that Moses was secretly buried. De 34:6.
In the time of the judges God used Eglon king of Moab to punish Israel, and they served the Moabites eighteen years; but when they cried unto the Lord, He delivered them, and ten thousand of the Moabites were slain. Jg 3:12-30. The relations of Israel with the Moabites were varied. In the prophecy of Isaiah 16 Moab is characteristic of the world in which outcast Israel is hidden: Elimelech and Naomi fled thither from the famine, and David, when Saul was persecuting him, entrusted to their king his father and mother. During his subsequent reign David defeated them and made them tributary. 1Sa 22:3-4; 2Sa 8:2; 1Ch 18:2.
In the time of Jehoshaphat the children of Moab, Ammon and mount Seir attacked Judah, but God made the battle His own and caused them to attack one another. 2Ch 20:1-23. During Ahab's reign they were again tributary, but at his death they threw off their allegiance, but were completely subdued by the united forces of Israel, Judah and Edom. In desperation the king of Moab offered up his eldest son as a sacrifice. 2Ki 3:4-27. They revived to some extent, but were again subdued by Nebuchadnezzar. Jer 27:1-11.
Ruth was a MOABITESS, and so also were some of Solomon's wives, for whom he introduced into Jerusalem the worship of Chemosh the idol of Moab. 2Ki 23:13. The Moabites were not allowed to be received into the congregation of the Lord for ever. De 23:3. The numerous ruins extant in the country of the Moabites show that it was once populously occupied, and it must have been wealthy to have annually paid Israel 100,000 lambs and 100,000 rams with the wool.
Moab is denounced in the prophets: it had reproached God's people, and He declared that it should be as Sodom, as the breeding of nettles and saltpits, and a perpetual desolation. Zep 2:8-9. This is its state at present. In the future the king of the north shall enter "into the glorious land, and many countries shall be overthrown: but these shall escape out of his hand, even Edom, and Moab, and the chief of the children of Ammon," Da 11:40-41; these will be left for Israel to punish: cf. Isa 11:14.
THE MOABITE STONE. In connection with Moab an interesting monument was discovered in 1868 at Dibon (Dhiban) in the land of Moab. It was a stone 3ft. 10in. by 2ft., and contained 34 lines of inscription in the Phoenician character. When the Arabs discovered that two or three nations were desirous of possessing the stone they thought they should gain more by breaking it into pieces: a fire was kindled beneath it, and, when heated, cold water was poured on the top, which broke it. Eventually about two thirds of these pieces were obtained, and are now in the Museum of the Louvre in Paris: a paper cast is in the British Museum. A paper impression had been taken of the stone before it was broken, which, with the pieces recovered, renders it possible to give a nearly complete translation of the inscription.
It is dedicated to Chemosh, the god of Moab, by Mesha. He admits that Chemosh was angry with his land, and that Omri king of Israel took it, and he and his son oppressed them forty years. Then Chemosh had mercy on it, and the king was able to rescue some of the cities, kill the people, and take the spoil, and he built others, of which he gives the names. There can be no doubt that the Mesha of the stone is the same as the Mesha, of scripture. The son of Omri would be Ahab; and in 2Ki 3:5 it says that on the death of Ahab the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel. Ahaziah succeeded Ahab, but it was not he that attacked Moab: his reign (called two years) and the beginning of the reign of Jehoram, would give Mesha time to strengthen himself against Israel and attack some of the outlying cities. Scripture is thus confirmed by this interesting monument.
(of his father), Mo'abites. Moab was the son of the Lot's eldest daughter, the progenitor of the Moabites. Zoar was the cradle of the race of Lot. From this centre the brother tribes spread themselves. The Moabites first inhabited the rich highlands which crown the eastern side of the chasm of the Dead Sea, extending as far north as the mountain of Gilead, from which country they expelled the Emims, the original inhabitants,
but they themselves were afterward driven southward by the warlike Amorites, who had crossed the Jordan, and were confined to the country south of the river Arnon, which formed their northern boundary.
The territory occupied by Moab at the period of its greatest extent, before the invasion of the Amorites, divided itself naturally into three distinct and independent portions:-- (1) The enclosed corner or canton south of the Arnon was the "field of Moab."
etc. (2) The more open rolling country north of the Arnon, opposite Jericho, and up to the hills of Gilead, was the "land of Moab."
De 1:5; 32:49
etc. (3) The sunk district in the tropical depths of the Jordan valley.
etc. The Israelites, in entering the promised land, did not pass through the Moabites,
but conquered the Amorites, who occupied the country from which the Moabites had been so lately expelled. After the conquest of Canaan the relations of Moab with Israel were of a mixed character, sometimes warlike and sometimes peaceable. With the tribe of Benjamin they had at least one severe struggle, in union with their kindred the Ammonites.
The story of Ruth, on the other hand, testifies to the existence of a friendly intercourse between Moab and Bethlehem, one of the towns of Judah. By his descent from Ruth, David may be said to have had Moabite blood in his veins. He committed his parents to the protection of the king of Moab, when hard pressed by Saul.
But here all friendly relations stop forever. The next time the name is mentioned is in the account of David's war, who made the Moabites tributary.
At the disruption of the kingdom Moab seems to have fallen to the northern realm. At the death of Ahab the Moabites refused to pay tribute and asserted their independence, making war upon the kingdom of Judah.
... As a natural consequence of the late events, Israel, Judah and Edom united in an attack on Moab, resulting in the complete overthrow of the Moabites. Falling back into their own country, they were followed and their cities and farms destroyed. Finally, shut up within the walls of his own capital, the king, Mesha, in the sight of the thousands who covered the sides of that vast amphitheater, killed and burnt his child as a propitiatory sacrifice to the cruel gods of his country. Isaiah, chs.
predicts the utter annihilation of the Moabites; and they are frequently denounced by the subsequent prophets. For the religion of the Moabites see CHEMOSH; MOLECH; PEOR.
See also Tristram's "Land of Moab." Present condition. --(Noldeke says that the extinction of the Moabites was about A.D. 200, at the time when the Yemen tribes Galib and Gassara entered the eastern districts of the Jordan. Since A.D. 536 the last trace of the name Moab, which lingered in the town of Kir-moab, has given place to Kerak, its modern name. Over the whole region are scattered many ruins of ancient cities; and while the country is almost bare of larger vegetation, it is still a rich pasture-ground, with occasional fields of grain. The land thus gives evidence of its former wealth and power. --ED.)
Moab was the son of Lot, and of his eldest daughter,Ge 19:31, &c. He was born about the same time as Isaac, A.M. 2108, and was father of the Moabites, whose habitation lay beyond Jordan and the Dead Sea, on both sides of the river Arnon. Their capital city was situated on that river, and was called Ar or Areopolis, or Ariol of Moab, or Rabbah Moab, that is, the capital of Moab, or Kirharesh, that is, a city with brick walls. This country was originally possessed by a race of giants called Emim, De 2:11-12. The Moabites conquered them, and afterward the Amorites took a part from the Moabites, Jg 11:13. Moses conquered that part which belonged to the Amorites, and gave it to the tribe of Reuben. The Moabites were spared by Moses, for God had restricted him, De 2:9. But there always was a great antipathy between the Moabites and the Israelites, which occasioned many wars between them. Balaam seduced the Hebrews to idolatry and uncleanness, by means of the daughters of Moab, Nu 25:1-2; and Balak, king of this people, endeavoured to prevail on Balaam to curse Israel. God ordained that the Moabites should not enter into the congregation of his people, because they had the inhumanity to refuse the Israelites a passage through their country, nor would they supply them with bread and water in their necessity. Eglon, king of the Moabites, was one of the first that oppressed Israel after the death of Joshua. Ehud killed Eglon, and Israel expelled the Moabites, Jg 3:12, &c. Hanun king of the Ammonites having insulted David's ambassadors, David made war against him, and subdued Moab and Ammon; under which subjection they continued till the separation of the ten tribes. The Ammonites and the Moabites continued in subjection to the kings of Israel to the death of Ahab. Presently after the death of Ahab the Moabites began to revolt, 2Ki 3:4-5. Mesha, king of Moab, refused the tribute of a hundred thousand lambs, and as many rams, which till then had been customarily paid, either yearly, or at the beginning of every reign; which of these two is not clearly expressed in Scripture. The reign of Ahaziah was too short to make war with them; but Jehoram, son of Ahab, and brother to Ahaziah, having ascended the throne, thought of reducing them to obedience. He invited Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, who with the king of Edom, then his vassal, entered Moab, where they were near perishing with thirst, but were miraculously relieved, 2Ki 3:16, &c.
It is not easy to ascertain what were the circumstances of the Moabites from this time; but Isaiah, at the beginning of the reign of King Hezekiah, threatens them with a calamity, which was to happen three years after his prediction, and which probably referred to the war that Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, made with the ten tribes and the other people beyond Jordan. Am 1:13, &c, also foretold great miseries to them, which, probably, they suffered under Uzziah and Jothan, kings of Judah, or under Shalmaneser, 2Ch 26:7-8; 27:5; or, lastly, in the war of Nebuchadnezzar, five years after the destruction of Jerusalem. This prince carried them captive beyond the Euphrates, as the prophets had threatened, Jer 9:26; 12:14-15; 25:11-12; 48:47, &c; 49:3, 6, 39; 50:16; and Cyrus sent them home again, as he did the rest of the captives. After their return from captivity they multiplied, and fortified themselves, as the Jews did, and other neighbouring people, still in subjection to the kings of Persia. They were afterward conquered by Alexander the Great, and were in obedience to the kings of Syria and Egypt successively, and finally to the Romans. There is a probability, also that in the later times of the Jewish republic they obeyed the Asmonean kings, and afterward Herod the Great. The principal deities of the Moabites were Chemosh and Baal-peor.
The prophecies concerning Moab are numerous and remarkable. There are, says Keith, abundant predictions which refer so clearly to its modern state, that there is scarcely a single feature peculiar to the land of Moab, as it now exists, which was not marked by the prophets in their delineation of the low condition to which, from the height of its wickedness and haughtiness, it was finally to be brought down.
The land of Moab lay to the east and south-east of Judea, and bordered on the east, north-east, and partly on the south of the Dead Sea. Its early history is nearly analogous to that of Ammon; and the soil, though perhaps more diversified, is, in many places where the desert and plains of salt have not encroached on its borders, of equal fertility. There are manifest and abundant vestiges of its ancient greatness: the whole of the plains are covered with the sites of towns, on every eminence or spot convenient for the construction of one; and as the land is capable of rich cultivation, there can be no doubt that the country now so deserted once presented a continued picture of plenty and fertility. The form of fields is still visible; and there are the remains of Roman highways, which in some places are completely paved, and on which there are mile stones of the times of Trajan, Marcus Aurelius, and Severus, with the number of the miles legible upon them. Wherever any spot is cultivated the corn is luxuriant; and the riches of the soil cannot perhaps be more clearly illustrated than by the fact, that one grain of Heshbon wheat exceeds in dimensions two of the ordinary sort, and more than double the number of grains grow on the stalk. The frequency, and almost, in many instances, the close vicinity of the sites of the ancient towns, prove that the population of the country was formerly proportioned to its natural fertility. Such evidence may surely suffice to prove that the country was well cultivated and peopled at a period so long posterior to the date of the predictions, that no cause less than supernatural could have existed at the time when they were delivered, which could have authorized the assertion with the least probability or apparent possibility of its truth, that Moab would ever have been reduced to that state of great and permanent desolation in which it has continued for so many ages, and which vindicates and ratifies to this hour the truth of the Scriptural prophecies. The cities of Moab were to be "desolate without any to dwell therein;" no city was to escape: Moab was to "flee away." And the cities of Moab have all disappeared. Their place, together with the adjoining part of Idumea, is characterized, in the map of Volney's Travels, by the ruins of towns. His information respecting these ruins was derived from some of the wandering Arabs; and its accuracy has been fully corroborated by the testimony of different European travellers of high respectability and undoubted veracity, who have since visited this devastated region. The whole country abounds with ruins; and Burckhardt, who encountered many difficulties in so desolate and dangerous a land, thus records the brief history of a few of them: "The ruins of Eleale, Heshbon, Meon, Medaba, Dibon, Aroer, still subsist to illustrate the history of the Beni Israel." And it might with equal truth have been added, that they still subsist to confirm the inspiration of the Jewish Scriptures, or to prove that the seers of Israel were the prophets of God; for the desolation of each of these very cities was a theme of a prediction. Every thing worthy of observation respecting them has been detailed, not only in Burckhardt's "Travels in Syria," but also by Seetzen, and, more recently, by Captains Irby and Mangles, who, along with Mr. Bankes and Mr. Leigh, visited this deserted district. The predicted judgment has fallen with such truth upon these cities, and upon all the cities of the land of Moab far and near, and they are so utterly "broken down," that even the prying curiosity of such indefatigable travellers could discover among a multiplicity of ruins only a few remains so entire as to be worthy of particular notice. The subjoined description is drawn from their united testimony: Among the ruins of El Aal (Eleale) are a number of large cisterns, fragments of buildings, and foundations of houses. At Heshban, (Heshbon,) are the ruins of a large ancien