The Mesha or Moabite Stone was discovered in 1868 and is currently on display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.
The monument, which is 3.8 feet (1.15 meters) high, provides a description of the battle, from a Moabite perspective, that King Mesha had with Israel, an event recorded in 2 Kings 3.
Discovered 17 miles east of the Dead Sea, the stone was heavily damaged after discovery but not before researchers created a paper mache copy.
Since its discovery, the stone has been extensively studied, because of its connection to the Biblical story.
Many claimed it actually referred to King David, Jehovah and the altar of David.
However, due to the damage, this has been disputed, because in several instances letters were missing, and researchers were left filling in the blanks with educated guesses.
There are some archaeologists who don’t believe that King David and King Solomon actually existed, and this stone provided concrete evidence they did.
In 2015, researchers from the University of California’s West Semitic Research Project took Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) scans of both the restored stone and the paper mache.
The process involved taking images from multiple angles to create a three D scan of the image allowing the researchers to pick up faint traces of any missing letters.
In 2018, these images were compiled and as those missing letters emerged, it confirmed what the researcher had been saying for years, that the Moabite stone did refer to the House of David.
The researchers also discovered that being Semitic, the Moabite language was also similar to Hebrew.
According to the Biblical account, King Mesha was paying an annual tribute to Israel because King Ahab had brought him to submission.
When Ahab died and his son Omri came to the throne, Mesha used this change in government to quit paying. This led Omri to try to reassert his control by convincing the King of Judah and the King of Edom to join Israel to attack Moab.
The three armies routed Mesha, forcing him and his remaining 700 men back to his castle for one last stand.
But in a final act of desperation, Mesha sacrificed his eldest son on the castle wall causing Israel, Judah, and Edom to withdraw from the battle.
26 When the king of Moab saw that the battle was going against him, he took with him 700 swordsmen to break through, opposite the king of Edom, but they could not. 27 Then he took his oldest son who was to reign in his place and offered him for a burnt offering on the wall. And there came great wrath against Israel. And they withdrew from him and returned to their own land. (2 Kings 3:26-27 ESV)
The Moabite Stone not only confirmed the existence of King Omri, the House of David and this Biblical story, but Mesha also credited his god for helping him in the battle.
According to the World History Encyclopedia, on this memorial, Mesha claimed “because he (Chemosh, the Moabite deity; also written as Kemoš) delivered me from all assaults and because he let me see my desire upon all my adversaries.”
It is difficult to know what took happened in that battle because Mesha was on the verge of defeat.
But in Deuteronomy 32:16-17, we are told that there were demons behind these idols. I suspect after Mesha sacrificed his son, the satanic realm unleashed a spirit of fear on the kings of Israel, Judah, and Edom causing them to flee.