(Baʹal-meʹon) [lord or master of the habitation].
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. (Num. 32:37, 38; 1 Chron. 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.—Josh. 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 of “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 Baalmeonite.”
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”). (Ezek. 25:9, 10) Secular history and archaeological investigation confirm the fulfillment of these prophecies.—See MOAB, MOABITES.
Baal-meon is identified with the ruins of Maʽin, forming a mound of considerable size about four miles (6.4 kilometers) SW of Medeba. The plateau on which Maʽin lies is about 2,600 feet (some 800 meters) in elevation.