A sudden violent attack had stunned the peaceful city of Abel Beth Maacah. An attack not by an enemy of Israel but by David’s chief general, Joab, and the troops loyal to David, King of Israel. The city was under siege and while the men feverishly worked on the faltering defense of the city the unanswered question of “Why” was not addressed.
The city would be saved, but not with it’s thick walls and stout defenses. Abel Beth Maacah would be saved by an unnamed woman with a super-power. Her super power? Wisdom.
Ancient City Walls
A wise woman made her home in Abel and asked herself that question. Why? She could not find answers. Why would David’s troops attack a city long loyal to David? It made no sense. She must find answers. The rumors on the street did not satisfy her. She needed solid answers and there was only one place to get them.
She made her way to the dangerous edge of the city where the battering rams were pounding the city’s walls and the siege ramps had already gone up. She cried out loud to the opposing forces asking to speak to Joab the commander. When Joab appeared she spoke humbly and addressed him with deep respect. She spoke of the peaceful nature of the city and it’s history of faithfulness to Israel. She describes the city of Abel as a “mother in Israel” and asks Joab why he would destroy this peaceful place.
“That is not the case, says Joab, far be it from me to swallow up or destroy.” Joab goes on to explain to the woman that the city Abel is harboring a violent rebel, Sheba, who has lifted up his hand against King David. “Hand over this one man and I will withdraw” promises Joab.
Ah, so this is the reason for all our troubles! The woman’s response to Joab (in modern language) is simply – “no problem, we’ll toss his head down from the wall.” How did she know the town would follow her advice? I guess they had no choice. The city immediately cut off the head of Sheba and tossed it down to Joab.
The trumpet sounds, Joab’s troops retreat and the city of Abel goes back to it’s peaceful existence. The Wise Woman of Abel retreats into the background. Not even her name is recorded. But, every man, woman and child in the city of Abel owes their life to her.
This is why “wisdom is supreme.” Let’s take a closer look at how she applied her wisdom.
1. Wisdom asks why? – during the confusion and panic of the attack nobody had asked the most important question. Why was this happening?
2. Wisdom gets the facts. She then sought the answers from the most credible source. I’m sure there were dozens of opinions on the street but she sought credible information.
3. Wisdom is bold. She approached Joab, the high commander, of the armies of Israel. This was a pretty gutsy thing to do.
4. Wisdom has a silent “i”. She spoke humbly and persuasively on behalf of her city. She wanted no glory for herself – her entire focus was to help and save her city.
5. Finally wisdom takes action. She tells Joab that his problem will be solved and then immediately goes back to all the people sharing her wise advice. Her plan is adopted and the city is saved.
Have you ever thought of wisdom as a super power? It comes from the Lord, it provides tremendous power, in this case the power to save a city. Your city may not be in danger but many of your problems and difficulties can be solved by applying these five keys of wisdom. You can find the story of the Wise Woman of Abel in 2 Sam 20 verses 14-22.