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Mesha Stele or Moabite Stone, Bible and Name of God


Mesha Stele                 AO 5066

Sully East Room D

The victory stele of Mesha king of Israel gives us one of the largest direct testimony on the world of the Bible. The written mention of Israel is the oldest known occurrence.

Are also mentioned many biblical places which confirm the authenticity of their existing.

We may quote Ataroth and Nebo (Numbers 32:34,38), Dibon (Joshua 13:9), Beth-diblathaim (Jeremiah 48:22,24).

The Moabites, the descendants of Lot,
nephew of Abraham, were related to
the Israelites, which explains the similarity in
the language of the two peoples.

Mesha Stele  : One of the largest direct statements
about the world of the Bible

In 1868 an Alsatian missionary, F. Klein discovered an old inscription at Dhinân, ancient Dibon, capital of the kingdom of Moab. A stamping of it was made at the initiative of Clermont-Ganneau, before the stone was broken by the Bedouins. With thirty-four lines, this is "the most important discovery ever made in the field of Eastern epigraphy," according to Ernest Renan. A269

The text does not follow a chronological order. In order to glorify the king and his actions during his reign, it highlights King Mesha’s own personal version of his revolt against Israel (2 Kings 1:1, 3:4-5).

The written mention of Israel on Mesha Stele :
  the oldest known

It also reads: "I am Mesha, king of Moab, Dibonite. I made this high place for Chemosh, [...] because it made me triumph over all my opponents. Omri was king of Israel and he oppressed Moab for many days [...]. From there
I took the sacred vessels (?)
of Yahweh, and I dragged them
before Chemosh " A270

"The most important discovery

ever made

 in the field of Eastern epigraphy "

Ernest Renan


YHWH or JHVH : Four letters or Tetragrammaton


The divine name appears here
in ancient characters,
in the form of four letters
or Tetragrammaton,
towards the right end of the 18th line.

The personal name of God, transliterated YHWH, is met for the first time in Genesis 2:4.

This verb in the imperfect tense of the causative form means 'he becomes’.

This sacred name appears almost 7000 times
in the Hebrew text.

It means the God who, by current action, makes Himself The One who fulfills His promises, the One who always carries out his purposes.  - Exodus 3:14, note

YHWH : Inscription, Transcription, Signification,
Substitution and ... Pronunciation

"Suppose [...] they say:
 'What is his name? '
What shall I say?

Then God said to Moses:

"I Shall be What I Shall be."

Exodus 3: 14

  Here 'ehyeh’ is in the imperfect Hebrew, the first person in the singular, and therefore means "I will become," or "I am". It is not about the fact that God exists by Himself, but about what he purposes to become for others.

Therefore this is not to be taken just as "a mysterious name, which only suggests His existence or presence," as written by J. Bottero A271

Most versions replace the Tetragrammaton with titles such as 'Lord' or ‘Eternal’ A272, A273 . One of the reasons often suggested comes from an old Jewish tradition and a scruple, or even a superstitious fear to utter the 'ineffable name' in its true form in order not to violate the Third Commandment A274 (Exodus 20:7).

Besides the fact that this is a poor and wrong understanding of the Law, the risk resides in the depletion of the reading of the Bible, by not seeing the proper name of God anymore, because it is hidden behind a loan word. A275

Fragment of a slate plate

the Tetragrammaton

GL. CN. 1984, 2363 OP. 6, 3188

Medieval Louvre - Napoleon’s Courtyard

 Jesus among the doctors

INGRES inv 861.11
Montauban Museum

Temporary Exhibition
Louvre May 2006

Notice the Tetragrammaton on the forehead of one of

the Jewish priests A279

You can also find the Tetragrammaton on many monuments in Paris.
Ceiling of the Church of Val de Grace

5th Paris
Eglise Saint-Médard

 rue Mouffetard, Paris 5th
The original pronunciation of God's name is unknown, as it is also for 'Jesus', since the ancient Hebrew was written without vowels. The Masoretes invented a system of vowel-dots to indicate the exact pronunciation of words. A276 In a complete copy of the world’s oldest Hebrew Scriptures, the Leningrad Codex which goes back to 1008, the Tetragrammaton is vocalized as Yehwah, Yehwih and Yehowah. A277

Some commentators have suggested, without certainty, the spelling "Yahweh" (Holman Christian Standard Bible) or 'Yahwé' (Jerusalem 2000, Osty, and The Bible of Peoples). Many Hebrew scholars believe that this pronunciation is the most likely. 'Jehovah' (Crampon 1905, King James Version, NWT) is the best known translation and one of the most widespread. A278

"It is generally thought that the name 'Jehovah' is an invention of Peter Galatin (1518).

However, it seems that this name was already commonly used before that date. It is found in a text by Raymond Martin in 1270 "


" The vocalization “Yahweh” is a hypothetical reconstruction of a name which original pronunciation was not known anymore.

This also applies to the vocalization "Jehovah", closer to that of Adonaï, but not a better translation of the original form.
Others simply remove the vowels and restore the Tetragrammaton YHWH. "

Jérusalem Bible, 2007 Edition

How important is the use of the personal name of God to a believer? The model prayer that Jesus Christ gave begins this way: 'Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified. "- Matthew 6:9.
See also
The Tetragrammaton on Parisian monuments
A New King James Bible ?


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