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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Abel-Beth-Maichah

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(Heb. Abel' Beyth-Maikah', אָבֵל בֵּיתאּמעְֲכָה, Abel of Beth-Maachah; Sept. ‘Αβὲλ οἴκου Μαχά in 1 Kings 15:20, ‘Αβὲλ Βαιθμααχά v. r. Θαμααχά in 2 Kings 15:29), a city in the north of Palestine, in the neighborhood of Dan, Kadesh, and Hazor. It seems to have been of considerable strength from its history, and of importance from its being called "a mother in Israel" (2 Samuel 20:19), i.e., a metropolis; for the same place is doubtless there meant, although peculiarly expressed (2 Samuel 20:14, וּבֵית מַעֲכָה אָבֵלֵָה, toward Abel and Beth-Maachah, Sept. εἰς Αβὲλ καὶ εἰς Βαιθμαχά, Vulg. in Abelam et BethMaache, Auth. Vers. "unto Abel and to Beth-Maachah;" 2 Samuel 20:15, בְּאָבֵלָה בֵּית הִמִּעֲכָה, in Abelch of the house of Maachah, Sept. ἐν Ἀβὲλ Βαιθμαχά, Vulg. in Abela et in Beth-maacha, Auth. Vers. "in Abel of Beth-maachah"). (See BETH- MAACHAH). The same place is likewise once denoted simply by ABEL (See ABEL) (2 Samuel 20:18); and in the parallel passage (2 Chronicles 16:4), ABEL-MAIM (See ABEL-MAIM) , which indicates the proximity of a fountain or of springs from which the meadow, doubtless, derived its verdure. (See ABEL)-. The addition of "Maachah" marks it as belonging to, or being near to, the region Maachah, which lay eastward of the Jordan under Mount Lebanon. (See MAACAH). It was besieged by Joab on account of its having sheltered Sheba, the son of Bichri, a Benjamite, who had rebelled against David; but was saved from an assault by the prudence of a "wise woman" of the place, who persuaded the men to put the traitor to death, and to throw his head over the wall; upon which the siege was immediately raised (2 Samuel 20:14-22). At a later date it was taken and sacked by Benhadad, king of Syria; and 200 years subsequently by Tiglath-pileser, who sent away the inhabitants captives into Assyria (2 Kings 20:29). The name Belmen (Βελμέν), mentioned in Judith (4:4), has been thought a corruption of Abel-maim; but the place there spoken of appears to have been much more. southward. Josephus (Ant. 7:11, 7) calls it Abelmachea (Ἀβελμαχέα ), or (Ant. 8:12, 4) Abellane (Ἀβελλάνη ); and Theodoret (Quest. 39 in 2 Reg.) says it was still named Abela (Ἀβελᾶ ). Reland (Palest. p. 520) thinks it is the third of the cities called Abela mentioned by Eusebius (Onomast.) as a Phoenician city between Damascus and Paneas; but Gesenius (Thes. Heb. p. 15) objects that it need not be located in Galilee (Harenberg, in the Nov. Miscel. Lips. 4:470), and is, therefore, disposed to locate it farther north. (See ABILA). Calmet thinks it, in like manner, the same with Abila of Lysanias. But this position is inconsistent with the proximity to Dan and other cities of Naphtali, implied in the Biblical accounts. It was suggested by Dr. Robinson (Researches, 3, Appendix, p. 137) that Abil el-Karub, in the region of the Upper Jordan, is the ancient Abel-Beth-Maachah; this conclusion has recently been confirmed almost to certainty by Mr. Thomson (Bibliotheca Sacra, 1846, p. 202). It is so productive in wheat as to be called likewise Abel el-Kamch (ib. p. 204). This place "is situated on the west side of the valley and stream that descends from Merj-Ayun toward the Huleh, and below the opening into the Merj. It lies on a very distinctly marked tell, consisting of a summit, with a large offset from it on the south" (Reverend E. Smith, ib. p. 214). It is now an inconsiderable village, occupying part of the long oval mound (Thomson, Land and Book, 1:324 sq.). This identification essentially agrees with that of Schwarz (Palest. p. 65), although he seeks to find in this vicinity three towns of the name of Abel (Palest. p. 203), for the purpose of accommodating certain Rabbinical notices. (See Reineccius, De urbe Abel, Weissenfels, 1725.)


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Abel-Beth-Maichah'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/a/abel-beth-maichah.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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