The “Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maakah” is a female biblical figure mentioned in the Old Testament, specifically in the book of 2 Samuel 20:14-22. She is one of the unnamed women in the bible who is simply introduced to us as a ‘wise woman’. What lessons can we learn from the Wise Woman of Abel Beth Maakah?
Her brief but impactful story in 2 Samuel 20 is part of the narrative of a rebellion against King David, led by a man named Sheba son of Bicri. You may need to read the entire chapter to get a clear picture of this woman’s role in bringing peace to her city.
A wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab to come here so I can speak to him.” – 2 Samuel 20:16 NIV
We can hear one woman’s voice clearly amid all the noise from the invading army who were busy with bringing down the walls of the city. Her voice stands out not for its soulfulness but for its audacity, clarity and confidence. She demands silence and asks that Joab who is the leader of the invading army come to her, so that she can speak to him.
Joab and his troops were in pursuit of Sheba, a troublemaker who had stirred up disloyalty against the king. He was the commander in chief of David’s armies and had fought and won many battles for King David.
He was often described as a ruthless man of war, yet fiercely loyal to the King. He had anger issues, made poor decisions, was vengeful and lacked self-control. And just prior to attacking the city where this wise woman lived, he had just murdered his own cousin. I want to imagine that he was a man people feared and revered. And so, it must have taken quite some guts for a woman to call him out demanding to speak with him.
What Lessons Can we Learn from the Wise Woman of Abel?
One man was set to bring destruction to a city. He was an intruder and because of him, the king’s commander-in-chief laid siege around this city. They were about to bring down the walls of the city when a wise woman courageously steps out to speak up and avert the impending destruction of her city. Before we look at what we can learn from this wise woman, let us pick out some unique things about her as a person.
1. She was a leader who knew how to win others over with her words and wisdom.
2. She had great negotiating skills.
3. She was secure in her identity in God’s kingdom.
4. She was bold and fearless in confronting her city’s attackers.
5. She was protective of her people and city.
6. She was a peacemaker.
7. She respectfully presented her case before Joab.
Here are some lessons we can learn from the wise woman of Abel as we take a moment to reflect on our own lives.
1. An identity rooted in God
Who are you? A question that always has many answers. But who are you in God? The Wise Woman of Abel speaks confidently about her roots in God. It is so clear that she was very conscious of her identity in God.
We are the peaceful and faithful in Israel. You are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why do you want to swallow up the Lord’s inheritance?”– 2 Samuel 20:19
She tells Joab that he is trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel and part of the Lord’s inheritance. She knew that Israel had a special place in God’s heart and that God would always fight to save his chosen people. This city was her heritage and its people were a peaceful, faithful and reliable people.
Her knowledge of her identity being rooted in God gave her the confidence to speak boldly. They were God’s special people and were a part of God’s kingdom. Her city was that place where people from surrounding cities sought counsel and got answers. God was in their midst and dwelt amongst them.
Jesus himself said, we are in the world but not of this world. The word of God also says that we are citizens of heaven. We have our roots in God’s kingdom. And as God’s children, this gives us the confidence to stand firm in faith irrespective of what is going on around us.
Who are you? You belong to God. You are his prized possession. You are a citizen of heaven. You are born of God and are a carrier of heavenly wisdom and treasures. Let your confidence shine forth as you stand firmly rooted in your God given identity today.
2. Confronting Enemy Intruders
Everyone knows how it is when someone tries to invade your private space. Your response maybe to ignore or react to that personal invasion of your personal space.
This wise woman chooses to react by confronting the intruders who had laid seige on her city. She did not sit still and do nothing or act like it was not her business. She steps out courageously and speaks up for her people knowing that their future was at stake.
Joab who led the army lets her know that Sheba the troublemaker was the reason why they laid siege around their city. And immediately she commits to fishing the enemy out. She delivers her promise and peace is restored to her city.
“Far be it from me!” Joab replied, “Far be it from me to swallow up or destroy! That is not the case. A man named Sheba son of Bikri, from the hill country of Ephraim, has lifted up his hand against the king, against David. Hand over this one man, and I’ll withdraw from the city.”
The woman said to Joab, “His head will be thrown to you from the wall.” Then the woman went to all the people with her wise advice, and they cut off the head of Sheba son of Bikri and threw it to Joab. So he sounded the trumpet, and his men dispersed from the city, each returning to his home. And Joab went back to the king in Jerusalem. – 2 Samuel 20:21-22
In the world today, we can see that invasion of our private spaces with all things contrary to God’s agenda. Satan and his agents are on a mission to invade the minds, soul, bodies and spirit of many around the world with his agenda. We see this in lives rooted in a false identity, many held captive in addictions and a perverse lifestyle. Nudity and immorality has become part of everyday living.
The younger generation is not spared of this invasion. The deal is to catch them young and feed their minds with wrong ideologies and concepts through books, stories, music, movies and social media. It is an invasion that is bent on turning the hearts of these young ones away from God and leading them away from their God-ordained purpose.
The question now is – what will your reaction be? Will you as a mother confront these enemy intruders invading your family space with the word of God in your mouth and weapon of prayer? Will you step out courageously in faith as a mentor, teacher and counsellor to these young ones? How will you confront the darkness hovering around your space right now?
3. Women are God Answers
In a study of Lisa Bevere’s book ‘Lioness Arising’, she says this:
“Women are God answers. Women are not secondary citizens in the eyes of God. You have the potential to be a living, breathing solution to human problems.”
The wise woman of Abel of Beth Maakah was a God answer in bringing peace to her city. She was a woman who was quick thinking and knew how to use her words to negotiate peace in the midst of an attack. Her wisdom guided her words and also helped her to carry the people along to bring them to a place of agreement.
She is one of the unnamed women in the bible, but we will always remember her for her audacity, courage and wisdom. She believed in her God given potential and refused to withdraw in fear when she discovered that she was before Joab, a ruthless man of war. She stands confidently and states her case before him. Imagine if she remained silent, what may have become of her city.
Being a woman does not limit your abilities and potentials. You carry answers and solutions to problems in the world today. Refuse to live less than who God has called you to be. You are called and chosen. You are wise and talented. Your words and voice matter. Your love and encouragement bring succour. Your faith and courage light up destinies. You are a God answer to one of the many problems plaguing the world right now. What answers and solutions will you bring to the table today as a woman?
The story of the wise woman of Abel Beth shows us how one woman uses her gift of wisdom and sharp diplomatic skills to preserve her city from destruction in a time of crisis. Her actions helped to avert unnecessary bloodshed and ended the conflict.
Father, fill my heart with boldness today. Take away the spirit of fear and help me to walk confidently in my God-given identity. I will be bold and fearless in confronting enemy intruders hovering over around my life and destiny.
I ask for your wisdom afresh today. Let this God-given wisdom guide my actions and decisions every single day. I am a God-answer bringing solutions and ideas that bring peace, kindness and love to the world. Amen!