The Melqart Stele


Temple of Melqart in Tyre
Language: Aramaic
Medium: basalt stele
Length: 5 lines
Approximate Date: 9th-8th cent. BCE
Genre: votive
Place of Discovery: Bredsh, a village north of
Aleppo, Syria
Date of Discovery: c. 1939
Current Location: National Museum
Aleppo, Syria
Inscription number: KAI 201

(Albright 1942:23-29)

(Adapted from Black 1958:239)

nsb' . zy . sm br . h
1 The monument which Bar-Hadad, son of Tab-Rimmon,

dd. br'zr . dmsqy . 'br
2 son of Hadyan, king of Aram, set up for

mlk 'rm . lmr'h lmlqr
3 his lord, Melqart. He vowed (this) to him,

t . zy nzr . lh wsm' . lql
4 and he listened to his voice.



Bar-Hadad I was king of Aram 885-865 BCE. He was the son of Tab-Rimmon and grandson of Hezion. He was a contemporary of Kings Elah (885 BCE), Zimri (885 BCE), Omri (885-874 BCE), and Ahab (873-853 BCE) of Israel, and Kings Asa (911-871 BCE) and Jehoshaphat (871-848 BCE) of Judah.

Tab-Rimmon was also an Aramean king, but his dates are unknown.

Melqart was the patron god of the Phoenician city of Tyre on the eastern Mediterranean coast.


1. What is the importance of vows in the ancient Mediterranean World? (see Parker )

2. What issues does Bar-Hadad's name raise in terms of ancient Israel's chronology? (See 1 Kings 15:18; 20:1; 2 Kings 13:24)
3. With what Greek hero was the god Melqart associated? (see Ribichini )
4. With what Mesopotamian god of the underworld was Melqart perhaps associated?

Ahlström, Gösta. The History of Ancient Palestine. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993.
Albright, W. F. "A Votive Stele Erected by Ben-Hadad I of Damascus to the God Melcharth." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 87 (1942) 23-29.
Biran, Avraham. "Sacred Spaces: Of Standing Stones, High Places and Cult Objects at Tel Dan." Biblical Archaeology Review 24.5 (1998) 38-45 + 70.
Black, Matthew. "The Milqart Stele." In Documents from Old Testament Times. Edited by D. W. Thomas, 239-41. London: Thomas Nelson, 1958. Reprinted, Ancient Texts and Translations. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2005.
Bonnet, Corrine. "Melqart." In Iconography of Deities and Demons. Edited by Karel van der Toorn. Leiden: Brill, forthcoming.
Cross, Frank Moore. "The Stele Dedicated to Melcarth by Ben-Hadad." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 205 (1972) 36-42.
Culican, W. "Melqart Representations on Phoenician Seals." Abr-Nahrain 2 (1960-61) 41-54.

Dearman, Andrew J., and J. Maxwell Miller. "The Melqart Stele and the Ben-Hadads of Damscus: Two Studies." Palestine Exploration Quarterly 115 (1983) 95-101.
de Vaux, Roland. "The Prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel." In The Bible and the Ancient Near East, 138-51. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1971.
Dunand, M. "Stèle Araméenne Dédiée á Melqart." Bulletin du Musée de Beyrouth 3 (1941) 65-76.
Katzenstein, Hannah J. "Phoenician Deities Worshipped in Israel and Judah during the Time of the First Temple." In Phoenicia and the Bible, edited by E. Lipinski, 187-91. Studia Phoenicia 11. Leuven: Peeters, 1991.
Morgenstern, Julius. "The King-God among the Western Semites and the Meaning of Epiphanies." Vetus Testamentum 10 (1960) 138-97.
Parker, Simon B. "The Vow in Ugaritic and Israelite Narrative Literature." Ugarit Forschungen 11 (1979) 693-700.
Peckham, Brian. "Israel and Phoenicia." In Magnalia Dei: The Mighty Acts of God. Essays on the Bible and Archaeology in Memory of G. Ernest Wright, edited by Frank M. Cross et al., 224-48. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976.
Peckham, Brian. "Phoenicia and the Religion of Israel: The Epigraphic Evidence." In Ancient Israelite Religion: Essays in Honor of Frank Moore Cross. Edited by Patrick D. Miller Jr. et al., 79-99. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1987.
Pitard, Wayne T. "Ben-Hadad." In Anchor Bible Dictionary, edited by David Noel Freedman, 1:663-65. New York: Doubleday, 1992.
Pitard, Wayne T. "The Identity of the Bir-Hadad of the Melqart Stela." Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research 272 (1988) 3-21.
Reinhold, Gotthard G. G. "The Bir-Hadad Stele and the Biblical Kings of Aram." Andrews University Seminary Studies 24 (1986) 115-26.
Ribichini, Sergio. "Melqart." In Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible, edited by Karel van der Toorn et al., 563-55. 2nd ed. Leiden: Brill, 1999.
Rosenthal, Franz. "Canaanite and Aramaic Inscriptions." In Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, edited by James B. Pritchard, 653-62. 3d ed. Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 1969.

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Last Modified: 29 August 2012