Easton's Bible Dictionary
middle district, Vulgate, Messa.
(1) A plain in that part of the boundaries of Arabia inhabited by the descendants
of Joktan ( Genesis 10:30 ).
(2) Hebrew meysh'a, "deliverance," the eldest son of Caleb ( 1 Chronicles 2:42
), and brother of Jerahmeel.
(3) Hebrew id, a king of Moab, the son of Chemosh-Gad, a man of great wealth in
flocks and herds ( 2 Kings 3:4 ). After the death of Ahab at Ramoth-Gilead, Mesha
shook off the yoke of Israel; but on the ascension of Jehoram to the throne of
Israel, that king sought the help of Jehoshaphat in an attempt to reduce the Moabites
again to their former condition. The united armies of the two kings came unexpectedly
on the army of the Moabites, and gained over them an easy victory. The whole land
was devastated by the conquering armies, and Mesha sought refuge in his last stronghold,
Kir-harasheth (q.v.). Reduced to despair, he ascended the wall of the city, and
there, in the sight of the allied armies, offered his first-born son a sacrifice
to Chemosh, the fire-god of the Moabites. This fearful spectacle filled the beholders
with horror, and they retired from before the besieged city, and recrossed the
Jordan laden with spoil ( 2 Kings 3:25 - 27 ).
The exploits of Mesha are recorded in the Phoenician inscription on a block of
black basalt found at Dibon, in Moab, usually called the "Moabite stone" (q.v.).
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
(1) The name of one of the geographical limits of the Joktanites when they first
settled in Arabia. ( Genesis 10:30 )
(2) The king of Moab who was tributary to Ahab, ( 2 Kings 3:4 ) but when Ahab
fell at Ramoth-gilead, Mesha refused to pay tribute to his successor, Jehoram.
When Jehoram succeeded to the throne of Israel, one of his first acts was to secure
the assistance of Jehoshaphat, his fathers ally, in reducing the Moabites to their
former condition of tributaries. The Moabites were defeated, and the king took
refuge in his last stronghold, and defended himself with the energy of despair.
With 700 fighting men he made a vigorous attempt to cut his way through the beleaguering
army, and when beaten back, he withdrew to the wall of his city, and there, in
sight of the allied host, offered his first-born son, his successor in the kingdom,
as a burnt offering to Chemosh, the ruthless fire-god of Moab. His bloody sacrifice
had so far the desired effect that the besiegers retired from him to their own
land. (At Dibon in Moab has lately been discovered the famous Moabite Stone, which
contains inscriptions concerning King Mesha and his wars, and which confirms the
Bible account. --ED.)
(3) The eldest son of Caleb the son of Hezron by his wife Azubah, as Kimchi conjectures.
( 1 Chronicles 2:42 )
(4) A Benjamite, son of Shabaraim by his wife Hodesh, who bore him in the land
of Moab. ( 1 Chronicles 8:9 )
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
(1) (mesha'; Codex Vaticanus, Marisa; Codex Alexandrinus, Marisas):
Caleb's firstborn son, the father of Ziph, probably the ancestor of the Ziphites
(1 Chronicles 2:42).
(2) (mesha'; Codex Vaticanus, Misa; Codex Alexandrinus, Mosa):
A Benjamite, son of Shaharaim by his wife Hodesh, born in the land of
Moab (1 Chronicles 8:9).
(3) (mesha'; Mosa):
A king of Moab. All the Biblical information regarding this monarch is contained
in 2 Kings 3. Here we gather that Mesha was contemporary with Ahab, Ahaziah and
Jehoram. He was tributary to Israel, his annual contribution consisting of 100,000
lambs and 100,000 rams. after the death of Ahab he asserted his independence.
Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, and the king of Edom joined forces with Jehoram in
an attempt to quell the rebellion at the instance of Elisha, who accompanied the
host, water was miraculously provided when the army of the allies was ready to
perish of thirst. Mesha came out against them and fell upon the camp. His attack
was repulsed with heavy slaughter, and the defeated king was chased by the victors
until he took refuge in the great fortress of Kir-hareseth. A vigorous siege was
begun. Seeing that his case was desperate, Mesha attempted, with 700 men, to break
through the lines. Failing in this, he offered his firstborn as a burnt offering
upon the wall. Then "there came great wrath upon Israel" (by which, probably,
panic is meant), and the besiegers retired, leaving their conquest incomplete.
In his inscription (see MOABITE STONE) Mesha gives an account of his rebellion,
naming the places captured and fortified by him. It is not surprising that he
says nothing of his defeat by Jehoram and his allies. There is, however, one serious
discrepancy. The time Moab was under the supremacy of Israel, during the reign
of Omri and half the reign of Ahab, he puts at 40 years. According to Biblical
chronology, Omri and Ahab together reigned only 34 years. If, with Mesha, we deduct
half the reign of Ahab, the period is reduced to 23 years. It is impossible to
add to the length of either reign. So great a difference cannot be explained by
the use of round numbers. Why Mesha should wish to increase the time of his people's
subjection is not clear, unless, indeed, he thought in this way to magnify the
glory of their deliverer.
In Mesha the sentiment of patriotism was wedded to some measure of military capacity.
Judging by his inscription, he was also a deeply religious man according to his
lights. Substitute "Yahweh" for "Chemosh," and his phraseology might be that of
a pious Hebrew king. The sacrifice of his son is at once the mark of the heathen
and an index of the strength of his devotion.
(4) (mesha'; Masse):
This appears to mark the western boundary of the land occupied by the descendants
of Joktan (Genesis 10:30). No certain identification is possible, but several
more or less probable have been suggested: e.g.
| (a) The Greek Mesene, on the Persian Gulf, not far from the mouth of the
Tigris and the Euphrates;
(b) The Syro-Arabian desert, called Mashu in the Assyrian inscriptions; the name
here, however, could hardly cover such a vast tract as this; more probably it
denoted a place;
(c) Dillmann would alter the vowels and identify it with Massa', a branch of the
Ishmaelite stock (Genesis 25:14 ; 1 Chronicles 1:30). This, however, furnishes
no clue to the locality, the territory of that tribe being also unidentified.
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