Click here to get started today!
Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
Mesha (deliverance), a king of Moab, who possessed an immense number of flocks and herds, and appears to have derived his chief wealth from them. In the time of Ahab, he being then under tribute, 'rendered unto the king of Israel 100,000 lambs, and 100,000 rams, with the wool' (). These numbers may seem exaggerated, if understood as the amount of yearly tribute. It is, therefore, more probable that the greedy and implacable Ahab had at some one time levied this enormous impost upon the Moabites; and it is likely that it was in the apprehension of a recurrence of such ruinous exactions, that they seized the opportunity for revolt, which the death of Ahab seemed to offer (; ). The short reign of Ahaziah afforded no opportunity for reducing them to obedience; but after his death his brother and successor, Jehoram, made preparations for war; and induced Jehoshaphat to join him in this expedition. The result, with the part taken by Elisha the prophet, has been related under other heads [ELISHA; JEHORAM; JEHOSHAPHAT]. King Mesha was at length driven to shut himself up, with the remnant of his force, in Areopolis, his capital. He was there besieged so closely, that, having been foiled in an attempt to break through the camp of the Edomites (who were present as vassals of Judah), he was reduced to extremities, and, in the madness of his despair, sought to propitiate his angry gods by offering up his own son, the heir of his crown, as a sacrifice, upon the wall of the city. On beholding this fearful sight, the besiegers withdrew in horror, lest some portion of the monstrous crime might attach to their own souls. By this withdrawal they, however, afforded the king the relief he desired, and this was, no doubt, attributed by him to the efficacy of his offering, and to the satisfaction of his gods therewith. The invaders, however, ravaged the country as they withdrew, and returned with much spoil to their own land [MOABITES].
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Mesha'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/m/mesha.html.