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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 (trans. "meadow (Abel) of the house (Beth) of Maacah") was a city in the north of Israel, in the neighbourhood of Dan and Ijon, in the tribe of Naphtali.

It was a place of considerable strength and importance. It is called a "mother in Israel", i.e., a metropolis (2 Samuel 20:19). It was besieged by Joab in his pursuit of Sheba (2 Sam. 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 also besieged by Benhadad (1 Kings 15:20) and by Tiglath-pileser (2 Kings 15:29) about 734 BC. It is elsewhere called Abel-maim, meadow of the waters, (2 Chronicles 16:4).

Its site is occupied by the modern Abil or Abil-el-kamh, on a rising ground to the east of the brook Derdarah, which flows through the plain of Huleh into the Jordan, about 6 miles to the west-north-west of Dan.

 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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