(Baʹal-meʹon) [shortened form of Beth-baal-meon].
A prominent town on the tableland of N Moab assigned to the tribe of Reuben along with Nebo, Kiriathaim, and other towns of the region. (Nu 32:37, 38; 1Ch 5:8) The Reubenites, desiring the region for its good grazing land, evidently rebuilt and renamed the towns. In the earlier list at Numbers 32:3, 4, Baal-meon may be represented by the name “Beon.” Joshua thereafter refers to it as Beth-baal-meon, likely the full name of the place.—Jos 13:17.
Baal-meon seems to have been retaken by the Moabites during the reign of King Mesha of Moab, evidently in the latter part of the tenth century B.C.E. The Moabite Stone inscription (line 9) states that Mesha “built [perhaps, fortified] Baal-meon, making a reservoir in it,” and on line 30 he refers to it by the fuller name Beth-baal-meon. Additionally, on a piece of inscribed pottery found in Samaria (Ostraca 27 of Samaria) mention is made of a certain “Baala the Baal-meonite.”
In the seventh century B.C.E. the prophet Jeremiah issued a divine warning to Moab foretelling the despoiling of the land by Babylon, specifically mentioning certain towns, including Beth-meon (likely Baal-meon). (Jer 48:20-23) Ezekiel includes Baal-meon as one of the Moabite sites to be possessed by the “Orientals” (or, “sons of the East”). (Eze 25:9, 10) Secular history and archaeological investigation confirm the fulfillment of these prophecies.—See MOAB, MOABITES No. 2.
Baal-meon is identified with the ruins of Maʽin, forming a mound of considerable size about 6 km (3.5 mi) WSW of Medeba and 12 km (7 mi) E of the Dead Sea. The plateau on which Maʽin lies is about 800 m (2,600 ft) in elevation.