The Wise Woman of Abel

TEXT: 2 SAMUEL 20:15-22

Julie Herrera-Maxwell
Roberta Manchu was the first Indian woman awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. She was born in Guatemala in a time of terrible injustice and racial discrimination, but she never gave up fighting to obtain human rights for her people. What motivates ordinary people to do extraordinary things? For Roberta it was her family; her parents and children were victims of kidnapping and abuse. Second Samuel records the story of another heroic and "wise woman." The Bible doesn't tell us her name, only that her wisdom saved her town from becoming a place of murder and destruction. A rebel named Sheba, who sought to begin a civil war against King David, was fleeing Joab, the king's captain. Sheba hid in Abel Beth-Maacah and Joab's army surrounded the city -- forcing its inhabitants to flee inside. Unable to get water or food, work on their land, or take care of their livestock, the people began starving to death. Not willing to accept this unjust situation, this wise woman asked to speak directly to Joab himself. What courage for a woman with no rights to approach the king's captain and right-hand man! After reasoning with Joab, she was able to barter peace between her town and the king's army, in exchange for throwing over the head of the rebel trouble-maker.

What motivated this woman to react in such a way that saved her town from imminent death? The wise woman got tired of the injustice and knew something had to be done. Fear had paralyzed the people; someone needed to save the children, women and men from starvation. This woman’s bravery and wisdom is what kept them all alive. We have an Enemy that surrounds our lives every day; the Bible says that he is like a roaming lion looking to devour us. So, what are we going to do about it? Are we going to surrender our children, our husbands, and our friends to him? We need to fight back and tell him to his face that he doesn't have a part in our lives and that the war is over. We already have victory in Jesus's name. Put on your spiritual armor (Ephesians 6) and hope in our Victorious Savior. Cut off the enemy's head and throw him over the walls of your life. 

Suzy Silk
This passage reminds me that part of being an Ezer is joining with God in bringing wisdom and reconciliation to those around me. The wise woman of Abel brings hope to a city that was sure they were doomed! She does not rush into this situation with reckless bravery or try to offer help through feminine cunning. Instead she operates out of wisdom, faith, and a heart for true peace and justice. The book of Proverbs is full of reminders that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” No one is wise because of their own knowledge or devising, but only through their daily obedience to the commands of the Lord and their deep-rooted understanding that He is sovereign. The Bible calls this woman “wise” because in the face of danger, she only feared the Lord – more than Sheba or Joab or the king’s army. James 3:17 links wisdom and peace-making when it states: “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” As this woman feared the Lord and walked in wisdom, she was able to bring peace to her city and end violence and injustice.

The Bible encourages us to become peacemakers in our world. Jesus said: “blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Mt 5:9). Jesus, the Son of God, modeled this principle by making peace between broken humanity and the holy God of the universe (Eph 2:17, Col 1:20). In order to make peace, Jesus could not simply forget our transgressions, instead He brought about justice through the shedding of blood; but unlike in 2 Samuel, it was not the blood of traitors -- Sheba or all of us! – it was His own innocent blood (Is 53:5). His blood also brought about reconciliation between two historically divided groups, Jewish and non-Jewish people (Eph 2:14). Now as Jesus’ disciples, we can follow in His footsteps and bring peace to our world through His blood. As we fear the Lord, obey His commands, and recognize that only God can bring true peace, we can become “wise women” in our communities that bring true hope in dire situations. We can live like the wise woman of Abel.

What would it look like for you to continue to grow in true wisdom? What areas of your life do you need to more fully obey and fear the Lord? Where is God calling you to step out in faith as a peacemaker in your community, family, or workplace? How can the blood of Jesus continue to bring reconciliation in your life and community?