Descendants of Moab the son of Lot, Genesis 19:30-38. The land of Moab lay east and southeast of the Dead Sea, and chiefly south of the river Arnon. At one period, however, it extended north as far as the Jabbok, and for a long time the region beyond the Jordan opposite Jericho retained the name of "the plains of Moab," Numbers 22:1 Deuteronomy 1:5 29:1 Joshua 13:32. The Moabites had dispossessed a race of giants called Emin, Deuteronomy 2:11, and had themselves been expelled by the Amorites from the territory north of the Arnon, Numbers 21:13,26 Judges 11:13-18, which was again conquered by Moses, and assigned to the tribe of Reuben. On the approach of Israel from Egypt, the Moabites acted with great inhumanity, Numbers 22:1-24:25 Deuteronomy 2:8-9; and though God spared them from conquest, he excluded them and their seed even to the tenth generation form the peculiar privileges of his people, Deuteronomy 23:3-6. They were gross idolaters, worshipping Chemosh and Baalpeor with obscene rites, Numbers 25:1-18 2 Kings 3:27. See MOLOCH.
At times, as in the days of Ruth, there was peace between them and Israel; but a state of hostility was far more common, as in the time of Eglon, Judges 3:12-30; of Saul, 1 Samuel 14:47; of David, 2 Samuel 8:2,12; of Joram and Jeroboam, 2 Kings 3:13,20 14:25. They aided Nebuchadnezzar against the Jews, 2 Kings 24:2 Ezekiel 25:6-11; and after these began to be carried captive, appear to have regained their old possessions north of the Arnon, Isaiah 15:1-16:14. The Jewish prophets recorded many threatenings against these hereditary enemies of God and his people, Numbers 24:17 Psalms 60:12 83:6 Jeremiah 25:9-21 48:1-47 Amos 2:1-3; and all travelers concur in attesting the fulfillment of these predictions. Desolation and gloom, brood over the mountains of Moab, and its fruitful valleys are for the most part untilled. It is under Turkish government, but is inhabited chiefly by migratory Arabs, Zephaniah 2:8-9. Few travelers have ventured to traverse it in modern times. They describe it as abounding in ruins, such as shattered tombs, cisterns walls, temples, etc., proving that it was once densely populated. See "KEITH ON PROPHECY."