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MOABITE


410


MOBILE


much more considerable than at the present dav, as is

f)roved bv the numerous cities, such !is Ar Moab, Gal- im, Kir ISIojib, Luith, N'omrini. Scf^cir, Noplic, Oro- naim, (Jiriiil Ilussot (A.V. Kiriatii-liusotli), Aroer, Baahneon, Beer ICliin, IJethsaiuuI, Hclli.'^iinoth. Both- phoRor, Bosor, Cariath. Dilxm, IMcalc. Ih-lon, Ilesc- bon, Jiu^a, Medaha, McpluuUli, Sal):itiKi eli-.. which the Bible nienlions as at one time or anolhcr Moabito.

Shortly before l.srael's final advance lowarda Pales- tine, the Moabitcs had been de|)rived of their terri- torj- north of the Arnon by the Ainorrhites, coming probably from the west of the Jordan (Num., xxi, 13, 26). ^loab's kins at the time w:us Balaac who, in his unfriendliness towards the Hebrew tribes, hired Ba- laam to curse them, but who failed in this attempt, the expected curses being divini'ly changed into bless- ings (see Balaam). Another fiendish attempt in a different direction was only too successful; (he daugh- ters of Moab enticed the Israelites into their idolatry and immorality, and thereby brought upon them a heav-y retribution (Num., xxv). Moab's subsequent relations with the Hebrew tribes (Ruben, (iad) who had settled in its ancient territory north of the .\rnon, were iirobably those of a hostile neighbour anxious to recover this lost territory. In fact, in the early his- torj' of the Judges, the Moabitcs had not only regained control of at least a jiart of that land, but also extended their power into western Palestine so as to opjiress the Benjamites. The Moabite y<ike o\er Benjamin was finally put an end to by .\od, the son of (iera, who as- 8as.sinated Eglon, Mo.ab's king, slaughtered the Moab- itcs, 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 (I Kings, xiv, 47), and David, who, for a while confided his parents to a Moabite king (xxii, 3, 4), ultimately invaded the country and niadi' it tribu- tary to Israel (II Kings, viii, 2). The subjiigation ap- parently 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 dis- ruption, the Moabitcs were va.s.sals of the northern kingdom; but on the death of Achab, they broke into an open revolt the final result of which was their inde- pendence, and the fidl circumstances of which are best undenstood by comliining 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.

It seems that after this, they made frequent incur- sions into Israel's territory (cf. IV Kings, xiii, 20), and that after the captivity of the trans-Jordanic tribes, they gradually occupied all the land anciently lost to the -Amorrhitea. Their great prosperity is fretiuently referred to in the prophetical writings, while their ex- ceeding pride and corruption are made the object of threatening oracles (Is., xv-xvi; xxv, 10; Jer., xlviii; Ezech., xxv, 8-11; Amos, ii, 1-3; Soph., ii, 8-11; etc.). In the cuneiform inscriptions, their rulers are re- peatedly mentioned as tribute-payers to Assyria. This was indeed the condition of their continuous prosperity. It can hardly be doubted, however, that they sided at times with other Western countries against the .Assyrian monarchs (Fragment of Sargon II; orwning chapters of Judith). In the last <hivs of the Kingdom of Juda, they transferred their alle- giance to Babylon, and fought for Nabuchodonosor against Joakim (IV Kings, xxiv. 2). lOvcn after the fall of Jcnisalem, Moab enjoyc(l a considerable pro.s- perity under Nabuchodono.sor's rule; but its utter ruin as a state w;is at hand. In fact, when the .lews returned from Babylon, the Nabathean Arabs occu- piefl the territory of Moab, and the Arabians instead of the Moabitcs were the allies of the Ammonites (cf.


II Esd., iv, 7; I Mach., ix, 32-42; Josephus, "An- tiq.", xiii, 13, .•), xiv, 1, 4).

As is shown by the Moabite Stone, the language of Moab was "simply a dialect of Hebrew". Its use of the >m}i' consecutive connects most intimately the two languages, and almost all the words, inflections, and idioms of this inscription occur in the original text of the ()I<1 Testament. The same monmnent bears wit- ness to the fact that while the Moaliilos ailored Cha- mos as their national god. they al.so worshipped Ash- tar as his consort. Besides these two divinities, the Old Testament mentions another local deity of the Moabitcs, viz. Baal of Mount Phegor (Peor; Beelphe- gor) (Niun., xxv, 3; Deut., iv, 3; Osee, ix, 10; etc.). The Moabitcs were therefore polylheists. And al- though their religion is not fully known, it is certain that human sacrifices and also iini)ure rites formed a part of their worship (IV Kings, iii, 27; Num., xxv; Osee, ix, 10).

Tristram. Land of Moab (London, 1874) ; Conder, Heth and Moab (London, 1884); B.ETHaEN, Beitrage z. semitischen Re- liaionsgeschichte (Berlin, 1888); W. R. Smith, Religion of the Semites (London. 1894): Bliss, Narrative of an expedition to Moab and Gilead (London. 1895); G. A. Smith. Historical Geography of the Holy Land (New York. 1897); Laoranoe, Etudes sur lea Re- ligions Semitiques (Paris, 1903).

Francis E. Giqot. Moabite Stone. See Mesa.

Mobile (Fr. Mobile, Sp. Maubila), Diocese or (MoBiLiENsis), suffriigan of New Orleans, comprises the State of Alabama (.51,540 sq. miles) and western Florida (7281 square miles), and derives its name from Mauvila, the fort and chief city of the Gulf In- dians, who with their "emperor", Tuscaloosa, "black warrior", were conquered by the Spanish soldier and explorer, Hernando de Soto, in 1.540.

Early History. — De Soto's expedition was accom- panied by "twelve priests, eight ecclesiastics and four religious '. Mass was certainly offered near the pres- ent city of Mobile as early as 1540. From 1540 to 1703 Dominican, Capuchin, and Jesuit missionaries went from post to post along the Mississippi Valley, ministering to the wants of the scattered Spanish, French, and English settlers and to the native In- dian converts. The published records of their hero- ism, sealed at times with the martyrs' blood, are very meagre, their names even, in great part, being lost in the obscurity of that long and troublous period. Not until the beginning of the eighteenth century, have we anything like a histcirical account of this diocese. "f\)rt St. bouis de la Mobile" was founded by Iber- ville, (he illustrious French-Canadian explorer (1702), at some distance from the present city of Mobile, the site of which was selected (1710) by Iberville's brother, Bienville. Mobile was formally erected into a parish (20 July, 1703), subject to the Seminary of Foreign Missions in Paris and Quebec.

The Rev. Henry RoullciUix de la Vente was the first parish priest (July, 1704), his curate, the Rev. Alex- ander Huve. The first entry found in the records of the new parish is that of the baptism of an Apalache girl (6 September, 1703), by the Rev. A. Davion. The Rev. J. B. de St. Cosme was murdered by savages on his way to Mobile from Natchez late in 1706. The last record of the secular clergy (13 January, 1721), that of the Rev. .VIcxander Huve, appears in the an- cient register of Mobile. The work was then resumed by the religious orders. The Quebec .Xcf of 1774 con- fcrrc(l on the parish priest of Mobile :imong others, a legal title to his tithes. With the surrender of Mo- bile to Spain (12 Ma:-ch, 17S0), the rec<irds are kept in Spani.sh, and the church in Mobile is d<'finitely known as the church of the Immaculate Conception. Pius VII erected the diocese of St. Louis of New Orleans (25 April, 1793), usually .styled Louisiana and the Floridas. The jurisdiction, therefore, of the ordi- naries of Quebec and Santiago de Cuba over that im- mcnssc territory ceased with the selection of its first