For More Photos Visit: Baal Meon, (Khibet) Ma’in, JORDAN

Baal Meon Num 32:38;l  Ezek 25:9; 1Chron 5:8, Beon Num 32:3,  Beth Baal Meon Josh 13:17;, Bethmeon Jer 48:23 Beelmaus; greek, Ma’in; modern  Heb master or Baal of the house/dwelling/habitation or the temple/house of Baal.

Baal Meon was a signal location. Here the prophet Balaam was to view the camp of Israel on his heedless attempt to thwart the blessings of deity. Following the conquest against Sihon, the town was taken for inheritance by the tribe of Rueben.  There is a few insights to be gleaned from this record: The town was reconstructed by the men of Reuben, indicating a devastation of the previous occupation. Further if Balaam and the  king of Moab were present to view the encampment at the plains of Moab, the tribe of Reuben did not take their inheritance until after the campaign of Sihon and Og, Num 32:28. After this time its name was also changed. That is the name of Yahweh as worshipped by the nation of Israel was appended to in the location, by the very nature of the worship of Reuben, cf Num 6:23.

Baal Meon is near the modern location of Main, around 8km SW of Madaba. The location is confirmed on the evidence of Eusebius, with a distance measured from Heshbon to Beelmaus near the springs of Ba-aru.(1) It has a dramatic panorama overlooking the northern Dead sea and the southwestern portion of the kirkar, or the plain of Moab in which the encampment of Israel was located. The modern town is built on a more ancient location as byzantine mosaics depicting holy-land churches was found here. Artefacts from before roman times have not however been found in this area. That Bela dwelt in Aroer even to Nebo and Baal-meon 1Chron 5:8, seems to indicate that as Areor was the southern boundary, and Nebo was the northern boundary of the Madaba plateau, Baal Meon should be found as another of its limits. Khirbet Main or tel Ma’in (3) is on the slopes before the country falls dramatically into the Jordan rift on the western margins of the plateau. (To mark the eastern margins of the plateau is almost impossible, as the country gradually flattens off into the wide expanses of the eastern desert)

This was one of the towns that Mesha captured from Israel ca870-840BC (2) with the reconstruction of water channels and reservoirs indicating agricultural prosperity in the immediate area.

The town continued to be a reasonable size as it was both mentioned by Jeremiah and Ezekiel under the campaign lists of Nebuchadnezzar 587BC Jer 48:23; Ezek 25:9.

The spiritual lesson from Baal-Meon is the way that we should look at things. When Balaam and Balak were looking for faults in Israel, they found them in the weakness to challenges of morality, Num 25. But it was at this very time that Yahweh saw no iniquity in Jacob! Num 23:21 but was active in providing atonement for the nation, Micah 6:4,5. Baal Meon was a town in the very last days of Israel before they took their inheritance. There is a call for perseverance in righteousness in the light of the return of Christ from heaven.

  1. Onom. 44:21; 46:2
  2. Mesha stelle inscription lines 1.9,30: Chemosh in my days. I built Baal-Meon  and made therein the reservoirs
  3. Claude Conder; Survey of Eastern Palestine pg 91,176; Claude Conder: Heth and Moab Explorations in Syria 1881,1882 pg 139,140
  4. Photographs courtesy M Pitt