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Moab, Moabites

Moh´ab, moh´uh-bits

Lot’s son born from an incestuous relationship with his elder daughter (Gen 19:30-38) and the people descended from him. They were closely linked with their northern neighbors, the Ammonites (descended from Moab’s half brother, Ben-ammi), with whom they later shared a border. The Moabite king Balak hired a prophet/diviner named Balaam to curse the Israelites (Num 22-24). Israel camped in the plains of Moab before entering the promised land (Num 35:1; Deut 1:5), and this brief sojourn was remembered as detrimental to Israelite religion (Num 25). In Judges, a Moabite king named Eglon extends his control over Benjaminites and is assassinated (Judg 3:12-30). The story of Ruth, also set in the period of the judges, tells of how a Moabite woman became King David’s great-grandmother. Both Saul and David fought with the Moabites, the latter subduing them (1Sam 14:47; 2Sam 8:2). After the time of David, Moab is mentioned only occasionally (2Kgs 3; 2Kgs 13:20; 2Kgs 24:2; Isa 15-16; Jer 48; Zeph 2:8-11).

  • Powell, Mark Allan, ed. HarperCollins Bible Dictionary. Abridged Edition. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2009.