Biblical Wise Woman of Abel Beth-maacah


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The Wise Woman of Abel Beth-maacah : 

The Wise Woman of Abel Beth-maacah The most logical thinker in the city (2 Samuel 20:14-22)

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Abel Beth-maacah was a city in the north of Israel in the area of the tribe of Naphtali. It is the present site of Abil, Israel. Like so many important women in the Bible this woman’s name is unknown. Her entire story is told in eight verses 2 Samuel 20:14-22. It is important to understand the events that led up to her act of wisdom which saved her city from total destruction. King David like all parents found that raising children is a difficult task with many opportunities to error. Children don’t come with instruction booklets but they are the first to criticize parental methods and at the same time they believe that their errors are to be overlooked. Within David’s family we have the sad stories of Bathsheba, and Tamar One son, Amnon became a rapist and Absalom attempted to take the throne away from David.

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The rebellion David saw in his family was only symptomatic of what existed outside of it. Naturally, when Sheba son of Bichri , began a rebellion against David, David did what other kings of his time would have done, he sent Joab and his army to kill Sheba. It was discovered that Sheba was hiding in the city of Abel Beth-maacah. When Joab and his army arrived at the walled city they began to build siege ramps. Joab, loyal to David, would have been viewed as an attacker because of the political instability the gates would have been closed to him.

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A siege ramp was difficult and time consuming project. The attacking army would have to move huge amounts to dirt up against the city wall and at the same time defend themselves against spears, arrows and rocks being hurled at them. While all of this was taking place neither side attempted to communicate with the other until our heroine appeared on the city wall and asked to speak to Joab in order to find out why he had chosen to attack the city. Joab then says he doesn’t want to do any harm to the city or its inhabitants but does want them to surrender Sheba, then Joab and his army will leave. She then says, “His head shall be thrown to you across the wall.” (2 Samuel 20:21)

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She keeps her promise, the problem is resolved, Sheba’s rebellion has ended and is not likely to be continued by his underlings. The “Wise Woman,” was the only one on either side to communicate in an attempt to resolve the issue. You might say that she was callous in offering Sheba’s head but that is to ignore the fact that she save the entire city from destruction. One is left wondering why Joab never thought of the peaceful resolution to the problem through the use of communication. One is also left wondering why the city leaders had jumped to the conclusion that the city inhabitants were facing death or slavery. It was the “Wise Woman,” who had the courage to get to the bottom of the problem and she saved the city.

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