Written in Stone: Proof for Bible Truth
Two hundred years ago, an amazing archaeological discovery was made in an area which is now modern day Jordan.
The weathered rock lay undisturbed for over 2 millennia, its secrets hidden on its mysterious black surface until 1868, when a passing German missionary was alerted to its presence by a friendly local Sheik.
The four-by-two foot black basalt stone contains a record of King Mesha, ruler of the nation to the east of the ancient Kingdom of Israel, the Kingdom of Moab.
The ancient stone memorializes a successful revolt against Israel in about 850 BC: “I am Mesha, son of Chemosh, king of Moab … As for Omri king of Israel, he oppressed Moab many days … And his son succeeded him, and he also said: I will cast down Moab. In my days, he spoke, but I triumphed over his house. And Chemosh said to me: Go! Bring Nebo against Israel. So I went by night and fought from sunrise until noon. taking it and slaying all…”
This same event told of by the stele can actually be found in the Bible in 2 Kings 3: “And Mesha king of Moab was a sheepmaster, and rendered unto the king of Israel an hundred thousand lambs, and an hundred thousand rams, with the wool. But it came to pass, when Ahab [the son of Omri] was dead, that the king of Moab rebelled against the king of Israel.” (2 Kings 3:4,5)
Significantly, this Moabite stone mentions several Biblical characters, including Omri and David, kings of Israel, and YHWH the God of their nation (1 Kings 16:23; 2 Samuel 8:2). These are characters Bible readers have taken for granted, but even outside of the Bible they are still as real as ever.
The language of the Mesha Stele bears few differences from the language of the Israelites, Hebrew, and carries the same grammar, language idioms and even syntax. This isn’t surprising, as the Bible tells us that the Moabites and the Israelites are in fact distantly related; the Moabites were descendants of a man named Lot, and this Lot was the nephew of the patriarch Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel (Genesis 19:30, 37; Genesis 12:5).
This important find was almost lost when the precious stone was broken into many pieces soon after the missionary discovered it. Thankfully, however, prior to this, an imprint of the text had been made, from which the message of the stone could be translated. Over time, most of the fragments were recovered and pieced together with the help of the imprint.
Today, the restored stone can be seen in the Louvre museum in Paris, an exciting piece of evidence testifying quietly, yet resoundingly, of Bible truth.