Blau, Joshua, “Short philological notes on the inscription of Meša’”, Maarav 2/2 (1979-80), 143-157.

Blau makes several comments on interesting linguistic features from the Mesha inscription. On the use of the direct object marker ‘t Blau suggests an original form *’iyyāt to account for the consonantal y in Phoenician ‘yt and the doubled y in Arabic ‘iyyā-. In Hebrew and Moabite the y elided despite its doubling, which is not unexpected for a grammatical marker. Blau also analyzes the usage of ‘t, describing it as “facultative”. It is clear that the common Mesha construction ‘nk plus perfect is never followed by ‘t which seems to be a stylistic feature. In contrast, ‘t is attested after the perfect which appears alone in lines 18-19: wmlk.yśr’l.bnh ’t | yhṣ. Blau tentatively suggests that ‘t is only used preceding persons as a direct object with the purpose of distinguishing subject from object, since persons are more naturally subjects. This tendency is seen in Biblical Aramaic where l as a rule introduces determinate personal objects. In the Mesha inscription this also includes place names. Interestingly, this suggests that the enigmatic ‘r’l dwdh from lines 12-13 most likely refers to a person and not an object since it is marked with ‘t. If this thesis is correct, it would also corroborate the assumption that the case endings had dropped since this would be the prerequisite for ambiguity between subjects and personal objects.

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