The meaning of Abel-beth-maacah in the Bible
(From International Standard Bible Encyclopedia)
a'-bel-beth-ma'-a-ka ('abhel beth ma'akhah, "the meadow of the house of Maacah"): The name appears in this form in I Kings 15:20 and II Kings 15:29. In II Samuel 20:15 (Hebrew) it is Abel-beth-hammaacah (Maacah with the article). In II Samuel 20:14 it appears as Beth-maacah, and in II Samuel 20:14 and II Samuel 20:18 as Abel.
In 2Sa. it is spoken of as the city, far to the north, where Joab besieged Sheba, the son of Bichri. In 2Ki. it is mentioned, along with Ijon and other places, as a city in Naphtali captured by Tiglathpileser, king of Assyria. The capture appears also in the records of Tiglath-pileser. In 1Ki. it is mentioned with Ijon and Dan. and "all the land of Naphtali" as being smitten by Benhadad of Damascus in the time of Baasha.
In the account in Chronicles parallel to this last (II Chronicles 16:4) the cities mentioned are Ijon, Dan, Abel-maim. Abel-maim is either another name for Abel-beth-maacah, or the name of another place in the same vicinity.
The prevailing identification of Abel-beth-maacah is with Abil, a few miles West of Dan, on a height overlooking the Jordan near its sources. The adjacent region is rich agriculturally, and the scenery and the water supply are especially fine. Abel-maim, "meadow of water," is not an inapt designation for it.
Willis J. Beecher
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