Moab, the ancient name of a region on the E. shore of the Dead sea and the E. bank of the Jordan, about 50 m. long by 20 broad. It is designated in Scripture as the land of Moab. The plains are well watered and very productive. The uplands consist of a rolling plateau about 3,200 ft. above the sea, which descends at angles of 45 and 50° into the Dead sea. The great chasm of Wady Mojeb, the Amon of Scripture, divides them into two Oistricts, of which the northern is called by the modern Arabs El-Belka, and extends as far N. as the mountain of Gilead; while the southern is known as El-Kerak, and reaches southward to the wady of that name. The village of Kerak is supposed to stand upon the site of one of the ancient capitals of Moab, called in the Old Testament Kir-IIaraseth (2 Kings iii. 25), Kir-Uareseth (Isa. xvi. 7), Kir-Haresh (Isa. xvi. 11), Kir-Heres (Jer. xlviii. 31, 36), or Kir-Moab, an earlier one having been Ar, or Kabbath-Moab. It is built on the top of a steep hill surrounded by a deep and narrow valley. The land is now inhabited by a few scattered Arab tribes, but is covered with ruined villages and towns.

According to the Biblical account, Moab was a child of Lot, and his descendants conquered before the time of the exodus a gigantic tribe called Emim, and took possession of their land; but they lost a portion of it to the Amorites, from whom it was taken by Moses. Balak, king of Moab, formed an alliance with the Midianites to resist the invading Hebrews, and sought to persuade Balaam the seer to curse them; but Balaam by divine direction blessed them. Subsequently Balaam seduced the Hebrews to join in the worship of Baal-peor. The Midianites were thereupon attacked by command of the Lord, and suffered great losses, but the Moabites were spared. Moses died and was buried in the land of Moab, in a ravine facing Beth-peor, the house of Baal-peor. During the time of the judges Eglon, king of Moab, united with the Ammonites and Amalekites and subjugated the Israelites; but after ruling and receiving tribute in Jericho for 18 years, he was killed by Ehud the Benjamite, and the Moabites were driven back to their own territory. Moab was conquered by Saul, and David made it a tributary state. After the division of the Hebrew state, the Moabites revolted against Ahab, king of Israel, whose son Jehoram tried in vain to reconquer their territory.

They subsequently made various incursions into the Hebrew possessions, and appear in later times to have reoccupied the land between the Jabbok and Arnon, probably after the exile of the ten tribes, and they also assisted the Babylonians in their invasion of Palestine. But they, too, were subdued by the conquerors. Their name, like those of Amnion and Edom, was finally lost under that of the Arabians. Their licentious and bloody idolatry of Baal-peor and Chemosh made them an object of national detestation to the Hebrews, no less than their frequent hostilities, and they are often contemptuously spoken of in the prophets. - The discovery in 1868, at Dhiban in Moab, of a monument of black basaltic granite, with an inscription of 34 lines in Hebrew-Phoenician characters, attracted renewed attention to this country. The only European who saw the Moabite stone in a complete state was the Rev. Mr. Klein, of the Jerusalem mission society. The negotiations set on foot to obtain possession of it unfortunately resulted in quarrels among the Arab tribes, and led them to believe that the Turks would make the stone a pretext for interfering in the government of the country.; they therefore lighted a tire on it, and 'when it was hot threw water upon it, which broke it into three large and several small fragments.

The three large pieces were obtained by Clermont-Ganneau, dragoman of the French embassy at Constantinople, who had also procured an imperfect paper impression of the text before the stone was broken. Some of the smaller fragments, obtained by Capt. Warren, came into the possession of the Palestine exploration society. Ganneau published a partially restored text, with a translation, in the Revue archeolo-gique for March and June, 1870. The alphabet of the inscription is Hebrseo-Phoenician, the oldest known form of Semitic. The language closely resembles Hebrew, and it is believed that the inscription dates from about 920 B. C. Owing chiefly to the fragmentary condition of the inscription, the decipherment cannot be regarded as finally established; but the labors of Ganneau, Neubauer, Noldeke, Hitzig, Kiimpf, Derenbourg, Hang, Schlottmann,Deutsch, Gins-burg, Levy, Harkavy, Wright, Lenormant, and others have doubtless determined its general contents. It appears that the stone was set up by Mesha or Mesa, king of Moab, son of Chemosh-Gad, who, speaking in the first person, records his wars with Omri, king of Israel, and his successors. Mesha fortified Baal-meon, made a successful attack on Kiriathaim, took Ashtaroth, and put all the inhabitants to death.

He then assaulted Nebo, slew 7,000 men, and devoted the women to Ashtar-Che-mosh, and the vessels of Jehovah to the same god. The king of Israel fortified Jahaz and attacked Mesha, but was defeated and lost the city, which was thereupon occupied by Moab-ites. Subsequently Mesha restored Korhah, rebuilt Aroer, Beth-bamoth, Bezer, Beth-ga-mul, Beth-diblathaim, and Beth-Baal-meon. In continuation Mesha narrates his successful wars against the Edomites. The fragments of the stone were purchased by the French government for 32,000 francs, and were transported to the Louvre in Paris. Recent travellers in Moab report that the Arabs are now afflicted with a mania for "written stones," and offer many for sale which are only covered with tribe marks, or at best fragmentary Nabathrean inscriptions. - See Clermont-Gan-neau, La stele de Mesa (Paris, 1870); Hayes, in the "Bibliotheca Sacra " (Andover, October, 1870); Ginsburg, "The Moabite Stone" (London, 1870; 2d ed., revised and enlarged, 1871); Palmer, " The Desert of the Exodus" (London, 1872); and Tristram, "The Land of Moab " (London, 1873).