Owen Byrne
Mon, 17 Mar 2003 12:33:55 -0400

Anybody see a biblical message in the naming of the Mother of All Bombs?

Seems like it could have just as easily been called "Arab-killer."

    Moab, Moabites

In the Old Testament, the word /Moab/ designates (1) a son of Lot by his 
elder daughter (Gen., xix, 37); (2) the people of whom this son of Lot 
is represented as the ancestor (Ex., xv, 15, etc.), and who are also 
called "the Moabites" (Gen., xix, 37); and possibly (3) the territory 
occupied by the Moabites (Num., xxi, 11). Its etymology: "from my 
father", which is added by the Septuagint to the Hebrew text in Gen., 
xix, 37, is more probable than any derivation suggested by modern 
scholars. The origin and race of the Moabites need not be discussed 
here, since according to Gen., xix they are the same as those of the 
Ammonites, which have been examined in the article AMMONITES.

 From the mountainous district above Segor (Zoar), a town which lay in 
the plain near the south-eastern end of the Dead Sea (cf. Gen., xix, 
30), Lot's children forcibly extended themselves in the region of 
eastern Palestine. Ammon settled in the more distant northeast country, 
Moab in the districts nearer to the Dead Sea. These were inhabited by 
the Emims, a gigantic people, whom, however, the Moabites succeeded in 
expelling. (Deut., ii, 9, 10). Moab's territory was at first of 
considerable extent, some fifty miles long by thirty broad. It comprised 
the highlands east of the Dead Sea and the Jordan as far as the 
mountains of Galaad, together with the level stretch between the 
highlands and the river, and the well-watered and fertile land at the 
south end of the Dead Sea. On three sides, it had natural boundaries: on 
the west, the Dead Sea and the southern section of the Jordan; on the 
south, the Wady el-Hasy, separating the uplands of Moab from those of 
Edom; on the east, the Arabian desert. Only on the north, were there no 
natural features conspicuous enough to form a fixed boundary, and hence 
Moab's northern frontier fluctuated at different periods between the 
Arnon, and a diagonal running south-east from the torrent now called 
Wady Nimrin to the Arabian desert.

The highlands are the great bulk of this territory. They form a 
table-land about 3000 feet above the Mediterranean, or 4300 feet above 
the Dead Sea, rising slowly from north to south, having steep western 
slopes, and separated eastward from the desert by low, rolling hills. 
The geology of this almost treeless plateau is the same as that of the 
range of western Palestine; but its climate is decidedly colder. In 
spring, its limestone hills are covered with grass and wild flowers, and 
parts of the plateau are now sown with corn. It is traversed by three 
deep valleys, the middle of which, the Arnon, is the deepest, and it 
abounds in streams. It is dotted with dolmens, menhirs, and stone 
circles, and also with ruins of villages and towns, mostly of the Roman 
and Byzantine periods. In Old Testament times, Moab was an excellent 
pasture land (IV Kings, iii,4), and its population was much more 
considerable than at the present day, as is proved by the numerous 
cities, such as Ar Moab, Gallim, Kir Moab, Luith, Nemrim, Segor, Nophe, 
Oronaim, Qiriat Hussot (A.V. Kiriath-husoth), Aroer, Baalmeon, Beer 
Elim, Bethgamul, Bethsimoth, Bethphogor, Bosor, Cariath, Dibon, Eleale, 
Helon, Hesebon, Jasa, Medaba, Mephaath, Sabama etc., which the Bible 
mentions as at one time or another Moabite.

Shortly before Israel's final advance towards Palestine, the Moabites 
had been deprived of their territory north of the Arnon by the 
Ammorrhites, coming probably from the west of the Jordan (Num., xxi, 13, 
26). Moab's king at the time was Balaac who, in his unfriendlness 
towards the Hebrew tribes, hired Balaam to curse them, but who failed in 
this attempt, the expected curses being divinely changed into blessings 
(see BALAAM). Another fiendish attempt in a different direction was only 
too successful; the daughters of Moab enticed the Israelites into their 
idolatry and immorality, and thereby brought upon them a heavy 
retribution (Num., xxv). Moab's subsequent relations with the Hebrew 
tribes (Ruben, Gad) who had settled in its ancient territory north of 
the Arnon, were probably those of a hostile neighbour anxious to recover 
his lost territory. In fact, in the early history of the Judges, the 
Moabites had not only regained control of at least a part of that land, 
but also extended their power into western Palestine so as to oppress 
the Benjamites. The Moabite yoke over Benjamin was finally put an end to 
by Aod, the son of Gera, who assassinated Eglon, Moab's king, 
slaughtered the Moabites, and recovered the territory of Jericho to 
Israel (Judges, iii, 12-30). To this succeeded a period of friendly 
intercourse, during which Moab was a refuge for the family of Elimelech, 
and the Moabitess Ruth was introduced into the line from which David was 
descended (Ruth, I, 1; iv, 10-22). Saul again fought against Moab (1 
Kings, xiv, 47), and David, who, for a while confided his parents to a 
Moabite king (xxii, 3, 4), ultimately invaded the country and made it 
tributary to Israel (II Kings, viii,2). The subjugation apparently 
continued under Solomon, who had Moabite women in his harem and "built a 
temple for Chamos the idol of Moab" (III Kings, xi, 1, 7). After the 
disruption, the Moabites were vassals of the northern kingdom; but on 
the death of Achab, they broke into an open revolt the final result of 
which was their independence, and the full circumstances of which are 
best understood by combining the data in IV Kings, i, 1 and iii, 4-27, 
with those of the "Moabite Stone", an inscription of Mesa, King of Moab, 
found in 1868 at the ancient Dibon, and now preserved in the Louvre.