I assume that there was a temple to YHWH that was destroyed and the objects
in it confiscated and brought to Kemosh. This is the usual practice in
antiquity, wars involved attacking the shrines of the enemy's gods and
removing the gods and the cultic objects. What is interesting here is that
no other cultic object is mentioned, thus even in the 9th century YHWH was
aniconic. Mesha could only remove the vessels. We see this also in the
reliefs of Lachish at Nineveh. Assyrian soldiers are shown removing incense
altars from Lachish. Again, there is no statue of the god, so that these
large incense altars must suffice to represent YHWH's location. I recall
from the Mesha inscription the term "fire altars" perhaps from Lemaire's
translation (I don't have it in front of me now.) These "fire altars" may be
the same objects that are shown being removed from the sanctuary at Lachish.
In any case, vessels of YHWH would be vessels used in the cult of YHWH.
Evidently the tribe of Gad had built a shrine to YHWH in their territory.
Such a shrine in Transjordan is referred to in Joshua 22:10.
All the best,
] On Behalf Of
William D. Tallman
Sent: Thursday, March 01, 2007 9:57 PM
Subject: [ANE-2] Mesha Stele
Line 17 of the Mesha Stele contains the words 'vessels of Yahveh'. Were
the Moabites told by the Israelites themselves that the vessels were
those of Yahveh, or were they given to understand that they were by/from
other sources? Or does anyone know?
I'm trying to see what solid information places Yahveh in Israel in or
prior to circa 850 BCE.
Is there anything authoritative on this that might be accessible via the
web? I have no access to scholarly literature (and not the training to
understand most of it, I presume).
Thanks for your time and attention,
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]