🔼The name Abel-beth-maacah in the Bible
Abel-beth-maacah, apparently also known as just Beth-maacah (2 Samuel 20:14, the word ו, meaning 'and' sits between Abel and Beth, but that may be just another spelling of Abel-beth-maacah, which in turn might be a twin-city) and perhaps also known as just Abel (2 Samuel 20:18) is a town in north Israel. It's where king David's general Joab kills his cousin Amasa while chasing an insurrectionary named Sheba son of Bichri (2 Samuel 20). Joab and his men besiege the town and try to wreck the wall in order to get in. The townsfolk don't like to see their wall demolished so they helpfully chop off the head of Sheba and toss it over to Joab, who subsequently takes his leave from the town and goes back to Jerusalem.
The town of Abel-beth-maacah is mentioned again in 2 Kings 15:29, in a list of towns conquered by Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, during the reign of king Pekah of Israel. In 2 Chronicles 16:4 we read about Ben-hadad, king of Aram, who conquered the same area during the reign of king Baasha of Israel and king Asa of Judah, but in stead of Abel-beth-maacah, the text mentions Abel-maim. This has led scholars to believe that Abel-beth-maacah and Abel-maim are the same town. There is, however, no evidence for that.
🔼Etymology of the name Abel-beth-maacah
The name Abel-beth-maacah consists of three parts:
The second part of the name Abel-beth-maacah is the familiar noun בית (bayit), meaning house:
And the third part of the name Abel-beth-maacah comes from the verb מעך (ma'ak), meaning to squeeze or press:
For a meaning of the name Abel-beth-maacah, NOBSE Study Bible Name List proposes Meadow Of The House Of Oppression and Jones' Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names reads Mourning Of The House Of Oppression. BDB Theological Dictionary translates the other Abel-names but not this one, and only states that it is the same as Abel-mayim (which is not sure at all). And if we were to believe HAW Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, the name Abel-beth-maacah means something like Brook Of The House Of Oppression/Squeezing.