Abel-beth-maachah

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Illustration from the Morgan Bible of Joab approaching Abel-Beth-Maachah and Sheba's head being thrown down (2 Samuel 20).

Abel Beth Maachah (Hebrew: אבל בית מעכה‎ "Meadow of the house of Maacah") was a city in the north of Israel in the neighborhood of Dan and Ijon, in the tribe of Naphtali. It was elsewhere called Abel Mayyim "Meadow of the Waters" (2 Chronicles 16:4). Abel Beth Maachah was located on rising ground east of the Derdarah, which flows through the Hula Valley into the Jordan River about six miles to the west-northwest of the city of Dan.

The location was still inhabited until 10 May 1948 as Abil al-Qamh, when it was captured and depopulated by Operation Yiftach.

Abel Beth Maachah was a place of considerable strength and importance. It is called a "mother in Israel", i.e., a metropolis (2 Samuel 20:19). Joab laid siege to it in his pursuit of Sheba son of Bichri (2 Samuel 20:14). An unnamed wise woman from Abel Beth Maachah convinced Joab not to destroy the city, since the people did not want to shelter Sheba. She told the people of the city to kill Sheba, and his head was thrown over the wall to Joab.

The city was besieged by one of the kings Benhadad (1 Kings 15:20) and by Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15:29) about 734 BC.

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainEaston, Matthew George (1897). "Abel-beth-maachah". Easton's Bible Dictionary (New and revised ed.). T. Nelson and Sons. 

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