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Fausset's Bible Dictionary

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Abel the GreatAbel-Carmaim

("Abel the house of Maaacha") or Abel-Maim ("Abel on the waters".) A city in the extreme N. of Palestine, "a mother in Israel" (2 Samuel 20:19), i.e., a city of consequence having many daughters, i.e. inhabitants. That the different names represent the same city appears from comparing 2 Samuel 20:14-15; 2 Samuel 20:18; 1 Kings 15:20; 2 Chronicles 16:4. Its northern border position made it an early prey to Syria under Benhadad, and 200 years later to Assyria: 2 Kings 15:29. Tiglath Pileser sent away its inhabitants captive to Assyria. The Maacha in the name implies that it adjoined the region so called E. of Jordan under Lebanon. Sheba, son of Bichri, the rebel against David, 80 years before the Syrian invasion under Benhadad, Asa's ally, was here besieged by Joab; and the city was saved by the proverbial shrewdness of its inhabitants, who hearkened to their fellow townswoman's wise advice to sacrifice the one man Sheba to the safety of the whole inhabitants. Probably Abel lay in the Ard el Huleh, the marshy land which the sea of Merom drains; perhaps at Abil (Robinson, 3:372), a village on the top of a little conical hill (Porter, Giant Cities of Bashan). The Derdara from Ijon falls from the western slope of the mound, and from the neighboring mountain gushes the powerful stream of Ruahiny. Such fountains would make it a paradise of fruits and flowers, and entitle it to be called "Abel on the waters," "a mother in Israel" (Thomson, The Land and the Book).

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from Fausset Bible Dictionary, 1949. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. "Entry for 'Abel-Beth-Maacha'". "Fausset Bible Dictionary".
<>. 1949.


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