Q&A: What is the Moabite word for “Israel” in the Mesha Stele?

Exactly as in Hebrew—Yisrael ישראל (blue rectangle below)—as evident at the start of the third sentence (line 5), in which he describes how Omri king of Israel had oppressed Moab:

Top of Mesha Stele (b&w rendering) Source: en.wikipedia.com https://images.app.goo.gl/jzFsMqXUisxZAVFo8
Source: en.wikipedia.com https://images.app.goo.gl/jzFsMqXUisxZAVFo8

Moabite in the ninth century BCE was still very similar to Hebrew (about the same as Norwegian and Swedish today)—and certainly almost entirely mutually understandable. And of course the script was the same script used throughout the Holy Land and its vicinity (modern-day Jordan, southern Syria, and Lebanon).

The sentence in question (transcribed in Square Hebrew script) says:

עמרי מלך ישראל, ויענו את מאב ימן רבן, כי יאנף כמש בארצה

which transliterates phonetically:

Omri melekh Yisrael, veyaanu et Moav yamin rabin, ki ye’enaf Kemosh be’artzo

meaning: “Omri king of Israel, and they oppressed Moav many days, so that Kemosh’s wrath was kindled in his land.”

1 thought on “Q&A: What is the Moabite word for “Israel” in the Mesha Stele?

  1. Pingback: Q&A: What is the Moabite word for “Israel” in the Mesha Stele? — Notes by Autumn Light | Talmidimblogging

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