Sharon Wilharm Bible Storyteller

Woman of Abel

Sheba, a Benjaminite, convinced the men of Israel to desert David as their king, so David gathered his army to go after Sheba. 

The army pursued Sheba to the city of Abel. Since he was safe within the city’s walls, they set up a siege mound, and the troops battered the wall in order to tear it down.

The townspeople were terrified with no idea why the king’s army was attacking them. Fortunately, one woman had a plan. She went towards the wall and yelled out that she wanted to speak to Joab. 

When he came to the other side of the wall, she told him to listen to what she had to say. She pointed out the history of Abel, reminding him that in ancient times it was where Israelites went to seek guidance and settle disputes. She asked why he would destroy this city and kill men and women of God. 

He explained he didn’t want to destroy innocent lives. He only wanted Sheba because he’d led a revolt against King David. If they handed over Sheba, the troops would depart from their city. 

She told him to watch for Sheba’s head to be thrown over the wall.

They promptly found Sheba, killed him, chopped off his head, and threw it over the wall. 

Joab responded by blowing a trumpet, signaling his men to withdraw from the city and return to their tents. 

It’s hard for us to imagine a world where women offer a man’s head thrown over a wall, but this was a time of war. By killing one traitor, they saved thousands of innocent lives. 

Read about the woman of Abel in Scripture: 2 Samuel 20:15-22

Woman of Abel Bible story

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