Lines 13–20 of the Moabite Stone. In October 1869, Saliµm el-Qaµriµ, a friend of Charles Clermont-Ganneau, hand-copied these lines at the latter’s request. At first, Clermont-Ganneau was confused by the copy because line-breaks in the text of the copy made no sense to him since they did not match those on the stone.

El-Qaµriµ had jumbled the text by beginning each new line from the left side of the page instead of from the right. El-Qaµriµ’s mother tongue was Arabic, which is written from right to left; he assumed that the language of the inscription, like the other foreign languages he knew, was written from left to right. Until Clermont-Ganneau realized the mistake, he had trouble making out more than a few words, since, of course, the inscription on the stone had been written from right to left like all Aramaic, Hebrew and Phoenician inscriptions.