Dibon, part of Reuben’s tribal allotment in Joshua (13:15-23), but according to Num 32:34) initially built by Gad. But it is associated with Moab in most other places in the HB. It is here that the Mesha stela is supposed to have been found. In this inscription, Mesha the king of Moab, himself a “Daybonite” claims to build a sanctuary and a palace in Qarḥoh, usually thought to be the acropolis or new section of Dibon and it is assumed this is where the stela was placed. Archaeological exavations began in the 1950’s by F. V. Winnett, and resumed again in the 2000’s. The earliest occupation layer is EB, but the settlement does not resume until the Iron age and there has been an Iron II gate and wall discovered, along with a large public building that may have been a palace and its east end may have been a sanctuary based on figurines found there. Mesha is said to have constructed extensive water-works in Dibon building anʾšwḥ (a large underground reservoir that collects rain and water run-off) as well as a mrktt (possibly similar to northern water-works that dig down to the groundwater or aquifer). Mesha also directed its inhabitants to make individual cisterns (br). Archaeological excavations have not provided conclusive evidence for identifying Mesha’s water-works at Dibon.


ABD II:194-196; NIDB II:121-122; Kaplan, Jonathan. “The Mesha Inscription and Iron Age II Water Systems.” JNES 69 (2010): 23–29. Steen, Eveline J. Van Der, and Klaas A. D. Smelik. “King Mesha and the Tribe of Dibon.” JSOT 32 (2007): 139–162.

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