Tel Abel Beth Maacah has been in the news the past week after the announcement of the discovery of an inscription on a large jar.
The writing is only a single word in Hebrew, but it provides a lot of information about the borders of ancient Israel.
I will add a link at the end of the post where you can read an on-line article that gives a lot more details.
The picture here of the jar is included in the article and was taken by professor Robert Mullins who is one of the archaeologists on the dig.
My first square supervisor at Lachish has been digging at Abel Beth Maacah along with a few more people that I know. The jar was found in her square last summer.
I first saw the tel back in 2012 while touring Israel with Ferrell Jenkins. At that time excavations had not yet begun at the site, but they were making plans.
What I really remember is talking about what happened at this site, and another recent find also makes me think of this account. You can read more about this head in Tel Abel Beth Maacah thoughts.
And Sheba passed through all the tribes of Israel to Abel of Beth-maacah, and all the Bichrites assembled and followed him in. And all the men who were with Joab came and besieged him in Abel of Beth-maacah. They cast up a mound against the city, and it stood against the rampart, and they were battering the wall to throw it down. Then a wise woman called from the city, “Listen! Listen! Tell Joab, ‘Come here, that I may speak to you.’” And he came near her, and the woman said, “Are you Joab?” He answered, “I am.” Then she said to him, “Listen to the words of your servant.” And he answered, “I am listening.” Then she said, “They used to say in former times, ‘Let them but ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter. I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why will you swallow up the heritage of the Lord?” Joab answered, “Far be it from me, far be it, that I should swallow up or destroy! That is not true. But a man of the hill country of Ephraim, called Sheba the son of Bichri, has lifted up his hand against King David. Give up him alone, and I will withdraw from the city.” And the woman said to Joab, “Behold, his head shall be thrown to you over the wall.” Then the woman went to all the people in her wisdom. And they cut off the head of Sheba the son of Bichri and threw it out to Joab. So he blew the trumpet, and they dispersed from the city, every man to his home. And Joab returned to Jerusalem to the king. (2 Samuel 20:14-22 ESV)
I have been back to Tel Beth Maacah twice since I first visited. In 2015 I visited the site with Luke Chandler and we were given a nice tour of the dig site.
I took the picture above in 2017 when I again visited Israel with Luke. We did not go up on the tel, but did drive up to a place where we could get some good pictures of the profile of the tel.
Now back to getting my slides ready for class tomorrow morning. We are not quite this far into II Samuel yet. We are currently in chapters 5-8.
Hebrew Inscription on a 3,000-year-old Jar Could Redraw Borders of Ancient Israel