Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

2 Samuel 20:14

Now he went through all the tribes of Israel to Abel, even Beth-maacah, and all the Berites; and they were gathered together and also went after him.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Abel-Beth-Maachah;   Abishai;   Beth-Maachah;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Armies of Israel, the;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Abelbethmaachah;   Sheba;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Woman;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Abel-Beth-Maachah;   Sheba;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Abel-Beth-Maacha;   Berites;   Beth-Maachah;   Maacah;   Sheba (1);   Holman Bible Dictionary - Abel (Place Name);   Abel-Beth-Maachah or Abel-Beth-Maacah;   Berite;   Beth-Maacah;   Rizpah;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Abel (of) Beth-Maacah;   Ahasbai;   Berites;   Beth-Maacah;   Joab;   Samuel, Books of;   Sheba;   Wisdom;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Abel ;   Berites ;   Bethmaachah ;   Bichri ;   Sheba ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Abel-beth-maachah;   David;   Smith Bible Dictionary - A'bel-Ma'im;   Beri'ites, the,;   Beth-Ma'achah;   Da'vid;   She'ba;  
Encyclopedias:
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Abel (2);   Abel-Beth-Maacah;   Ahasbai;   Berites;   Meadow;   Kitto Biblical Cyclopedia - Abel;   The Jewish Encyclopedia - Abel-Beth-Maachah;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Unto Abel - This is supposed to have been the capital of the district called Abilene in St. Luke's Gospel, Luke 3:1.

Beth-maachah - Is supposed to have been in the northern part of the Holy Land, on the confines of Syria, and probably in the tribe of Naphtali.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/2-samuel-20.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Abel - More commonly called 2 Samuel 20:15 “Abel-Beth-maachah” to distinguish it from other places of the name of “Abel” (a grassy plain). It is represented by the modern Abil-el-Kamh, a Christian village on the northwest of lake Huleh, the ancient Merom. Compare 2 Chronicles 16:4, “Abel-maim,” Abel by the water.

And all the Berites - What this means is utterly unknown. Many approve of the reading of the Latin Version, connecting it with what follows: “And all the choice young men mustered and followed him.”

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/2-samuel-20.html. 1870.

Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

A WISE WOMAN SAVES THE CITY OF ABEL

"And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah; and all the Bichrites assembled, and followed him in. And all the men who were with Joab came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah; they cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart; and they were battering the wall to throw it down. Then a wise woman called from the city, "Hear! Hear! Tell Joab, `Come here that I may speak to you.'" And he came near her; and the woman said, "Are you Joab"? He answered, "I am." Then she said to ... him, "Listen to the words of your maidservant." And he answered, "I am listening." Then she said, "They were wont to say in old time,' Let them but ask counsel at Abel'; and so they settled a matter. I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel; you seek to destroy a city which is a mother in Israel; why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord"? Joab answered, "Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David; Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city." And the woman said to Joab, "Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall." Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri, and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king."

"And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel" (2 Samuel 20:14). Sheba succeeded in rallying no support except his kinsfolk; so there was nothing left for him to do except to enter the fortified city of Abel and try to hold out there against David. That place was located at the extreme northern boundary of Israel. "It is identified as the modern Tel Abil, twelve miles north of Lake Huleh and four miles west of Dan."[16] DeHoff also tells us that, "It is supposed to have been the capital of the district called Abilene in Luke 3:1."[17]

"Then a wise woman called from the city" (2 Samuel 20:16). "This woman was probably someone on the border line between a prophetess and a witch, two classes which were not always clearly distinguished."[18] She must be credited with ending the rebellion of Sheba and saving the city of Abel from destruction.

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Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
Bibliographical Information
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/2-samuel-20.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he went through all the tribes of Israel,.... That is, Sheba the son of Bichri, last mentioned, 2 Samuel 20:13, who passed through all the tribes of Israel to get as many to be of his party as he could, and to be proclaimed their king; or finding himself pursued, he passed on as fast as he could from place to place, through all the tribes, until at length he fixed for safety in a place later named; though JosephusF23Ut supra. (Antiqu. l. 7. c. 11. sect. 7.) understands this of Joab pursuing Sheba through all the tribes of Israel with the forces under him; and to this sense the Syriac and Arabic versions, and so R. Isaiah interprets it; but the first sense is more generally received, that Sheba is meant, who passing through various tribes, came

unto Abel, and unto Bethmaachah; which were two places very near one another, if not one and the same place; since Abel is in 2 Samuel 20:15 called Abel of Bethmaachah, to distinguish it from any other place: it was a city that lay to the north of Israel near Syria; and from 2 Kings 15:29, it appears to be in the tribe of Naphtali. There was one city of this name of Abel, six miles from Philadelphia, another twelve miles from Gadara, and a third between Paneas and Damascus, which, of the three, Reland thinksF24Palestina Illustrata, tom. 2. p. 519. , is most eligible to be the place here meant; though he rather chooses to look for it in Galilee, to the west or south of Paneas, than to the east or north in the way to Damascus; and so AdrichomiusF25Theatrum Terrae S. p. 101. calls it a city of upper Galilee, sixty furlongs or seven and an half miles from Jordan; and though he also places it in the tribe of Naphtali, in the plain of the country of Berim (from whence perhaps were the Berites next mentioned), not far from Caesarea Philippi; see 1 Kings 15:20,

and all the Berites; the inhabitants of Beeroth, in the tribe of Benjamin, of which tribe Sheba was, they followed him hither, as in the next clause:

and they were gathered together, and went also after him; unto Abel; of these, see Joshua 18:25; though perhaps these Berim or Berites were nearer to Abel; or rather that was in their country, as has been observed by Adrichomius.

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/2-samuel-20.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to i Bethmaachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.

(i) To the city Abel, which was near Bethmaachah.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/2-samuel-20.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

2 Samuel 20:14, 2 Samuel 20:15. Joab pursues Sheba unto Abel.

he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel — beating up for recruits. But there the prompt marches of Joab overtook and hemmed him in by a close siege of the place.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/2-samuel-20.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Bethmaachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.

He — Sheba, who marched from tribe to tribe to stir them up to sedition.

Abel — Unto Abel-beth-maachah, as this place is called here in the Hebrew text, verse15, to distinguish it from other Abels; and to signify, that this was that Abel which was in the northern border of Canaan towards that part of Syria called Maachah, 2 Samuel 10:8.

Berites — Such as lived in the city, or territory of Beeroth of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25, who being of the same tribe, if not city with Sheba, adhered to him, and followed him through all the tribes of Israel.

They — The tribes of Israel; that is, a considerable number of them; as might well be expected, when the discontents were so high and general.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/2-samuel-20.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 Samuel 20:14 And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Bethmaachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.

Ver. 14. And he went through all the tribes of Israel.] First Sheba did, and then Joab at the heels of him, as our forces were at the heels of the gunpowder plotters, who fled from one county to another, after that they were discovered, but could not escape the divine vengeance: which the Greeks fitly call Aδραστεια, because it cannot be avoided.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/2-samuel-20.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

2 Samuel 20:14. Unto Abel, and to Beth-maachah, and all the Berites To Abel Beth-maachah, whither all the Berites were gathered together to him. Houbigant. See the next verse. Abel Beth-maachah was a city between Libanus and Anti-libanus, north of Damascus. The Berites were probably the inhabitants of Beeroth, who were Benjamites.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/2-samuel-20.html. 1801-1803.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

He went; either,

1. Joab, who pursued Sheba through all the tribes as far as Abel. Or rather,

2. Sheba, who was last mentioned, who marched from tribe to tribe to stir them up to sedition; and to him the following words seem best to agree.

Unto Abel, and to Beth-aachah, or rather, to Abel, even to Beth-maachah, i.e. unto Abel-beth-maachah, as this place is called here in the Hebrew text, 2 Samuel 20:15 1 Kings 15:20 2 Kings 15:29, to distinguish it from other Abels; and to signify that this was that Abel which was in the tribe of Naphtali in the northern border of Canaan, towards that part of Syria called Maachah, 2 Samuel 10:8.

The Berites; such as lived in the city or territory of Beeroth of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25, who being of the same tribe, if not city, with Sheba, and his greatest acquaintance and friends, or being most implacable against David, adhered to Sheba, and followed him through all the tribes of Israel.

They were gathered together, to wit, the tribes of Israel, i. e. a considerable number of them; as might well be expected, when the discontents were so high and general.

After him, i.e. after Sheba.

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/2-samuel-20.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

14.Through all the tribes — That is, all the tribes whose territory lay between Jerusalem and Abel, namely, Benjamin, Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, Zebulun, and Naphtali.

Abel, and to Beth-maachah — Called Abel of Beth-maachah in the next verse, and Abel-beth-maachah in 1 Kings 15:20, and 2 Kings 15:29. Beth-maachah was probably the district of which Abel was the chief city. This city was situated on a long oval mound, about twenty-five miles north of the Sea of Galilee, and identical with the modern Abil. Says Dr. Thomson: “I have repeatedly ridden round it, and stood on the top trying to realize the scene. Taking advantage of an oblong knoll of natural rock that rises above the surrounding plain, the original inhabitants raised a high mound sufficiently large for their city. With a deep ‘trench’ and strong wall, it must have been almost impregnable. The country on every side is most lovely, well watered, and very fertile.” In 2 Chronicles 16:4, it is called Abel-maim, probably from the fountains and vast marsh near by.

All the Berites — The meaning of this is uncertain. It may designate a tribe of people dwelling near Abel; or we may render the Hebrew by all the Berim, and understand a district of open country in the same vicinity. Compare all Bethron, (2 Samuel 2:29,) and the Chaldee בר, an open field.

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/2-samuel-20.html. 1874-1909.

Joseph Benson's Commentary of the Old and New Testaments

2 Samuel 20:14. He went through all the tribes — That is, Sheba, who marched from tribe to tribe to stir them up to sedition. Unto Abel, and to Beth- maachah — Or rather, unto Abel-beth-maachah, as this place is called in the Hebrew text of the next verse, to distinguish it from other Abels, and to signify that this was that Abel which was in the northern border of Canaan, toward that part of Syria called Maachah, 2 Samuel 10:8. In this city Sheba at last fixed himself, and resolved to defend it, being unable, it is likely, to raise such an army as to keep the field. All the Berites — The inhabitants of the city and territory of Beroth of Benjamin, Joshua 18:25; who, being of the same tribe, if not of the same city with Sheba, adhered to him, and followed him through all the tribes of Israel.

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Benson, Joseph. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". Joseph Benson's Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rbc/2-samuel-20.html. 1857.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Tribes, north-west of the Jordan. (Calmet) --- Abela and Bathmaacha. Cities of the tribe of Nephtali. (Challoner) --- The former is called simply Abel (4 Kings xv. 29.; Calmet) as it is here by the Protestant version. (Haydock) --- It is also called Abyla, (Luke iii. 1,) and Hoba, (Genesis xiv. 15.; Calmet) between Damascus and Paneas, (Eusebius) situated on the borders of Syria, as well as Beth Maaca, or "the canton of Maacha," or Machati, Josue xii. 5. --- Chosen. Hebrew Berim, (which is translated "Berites," by the Protestants.; Haydock) is derived from Bara, "to choose," by St. Jerome. Septuagint have read airim, "cities." Some suppose that the inhabitants of Bahurim (near Mount Ephraim, ver. 21, where Semei, a relation of Saul, and many disaffected people resided) shut themselves up with him in Abela.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/2-samuel-20.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

he = Joab.

Berites = Bichrites (2 Samuel 20:1).

him = Sheba.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/2-samuel-20.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Beth-ma'achah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.

He went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel - beating up for recruits. But there the prompt marches of Joab overtook and hemmed him in by a close siege of the place.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/2-samuel-20.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(14) Unto Abel, and to Beth-maachah.—Abel has been identified with the modern Christian village of Abil (called “Abil-el-Kamh,” on account of the excellence of its wheat (north-west of Lake Huleh). It is called “Abel-Beth-maachah,” in 2 Samuel 20:15 (the “of” should be omitted), and is spoken of under that name in 1 Kings 15:20 and 2 Kings 15:29 in connection with Ijon and Dan, and in the same connection is called “Abel-maim” (“Abel of waters”) in 2 Chronicles 16:4, to distinguish it from other places of the same name. It was at the extreme north of the land.

All the Berites.—Apparently a family, or clan, in the north of Israel, otherwise entirely unknown. The LXX. and Vulg. here apparently follow a different text. The Bishop of Bath and Wells supposes the Hebrew word to be a form of the word for “fortresses,” but no such form is known.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/2-samuel-20.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he went through all the tribes of Israel unto Abel, and to Bethmaachah, and all the Berites: and they were gathered together, and went also after him.
Abel
Or rather, probably, Abel of Beth-Maachah, as in the next verse. It appears, from Joab having marched "through all the tribes of Israel," to have been situated in the northern confines of the land of Israel, and in the half tribe of Manasseh, east of Jordan, as that was the situation of Maachah, to which it belonged. This agrees with the situation of the Abela which Eusebius and Jerome place between Paneas, or Cæsarea Philippi, and Damascus. Josephus says it was a fortified city, and a metropolis of the Israelites; and also that it belonged to the ten tribes, having been taken from the king of Damascus.
1 Kings 15:20; 2 Kings 15:29; 2 Chronicles 16:4
Berites
Joshua 18:25
Beeroth
Reciprocal: Judges 9:21 - Beer

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 2 Samuel 20:14". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/2-samuel-20.html.