BETH-MAACAH v. ABEL BETH-MAACAH (Μααχά, Βεθμααχά, Ἀβὲλ οἴκου Μααχά
), a city of Palestine, placed by Eusebius and St. Jerome on the road between Eleutheropolis and Jerusalem, 8 miles from the former, the site of which was then marked by a village named Mechanum.
It is clear, however, that the Abel Beth-Maacah of the sacred writers could not have been situated so far south.
It is first mentioned in 2 Samuel,
20.14, &c., as the city in which the rebel Sheba was besieged by Joab. From this passage, however, it may be gathered (1.) that Abel was not identical with Beth-Maacah, for the copula is inserted between the names ( “unto Abel and unto Beth-Maacah” ); (2.) that it was situated at the extremity of the land of Israel, for Joab “went through all the tribes of Israel” to come there. Abel then, which was, as “the wise woman” called it, “a city and a mother in Israel” (ver. 19), was so called from its contiguity to Beth-Maacah, (so Reland, Palaestina,
p. 519); and this must have been situated near the northern frontier, for it is mentioned with Ijon and Dan, and Cinneroth and Naphthali (1 Kings,
15.20), as one of the cities taken by Benhadad, king of Syria, from Baasha, king of Israel; and two centuries later it was one of the cities of Israel first occupied by Tiglath-Pileser, king of Assyria. (2 Kings,
15.29.) Eusebius mentions three places named Abel:--(1) a village three miles from Philadelphia; (2) a city 12 miles east of Gadara; 3. another between Paneas and Damascus. (Onomast. s. v.
) Reland justly remarks (l.c.
) that if any one of these is to be taken as Abel of Beth-Maacah it must be the last-named; but that he is more disposed to look for it in Galilee, to the west or south of Paneas, rather than to the east or north, on the Damascus road.
This view is perhaps confirmed by a comparison of 2 Chron.
16.4. with 1 Kings,
15.20; the Abel Beth-Maacah of the latter being called Abel Maim, or “Abel of the Waters” in the latter, probably so named either from the sea of Cinneroth or from the sea of Galilee. Dr. Robinson suggests its identity with the modern village of Âbil,
both situated in the Merj ‘Ayun,
which last name is certainly identical with the ancient Ijon, with which Abel Beth-Maacah is associated in 1 Kings,
15.20. (Robinson, Bib. Res.
vol. iii. pp. 346, n. 2. 347, n. 1., and Appendix, pp. 136, 137, n. 1.)
Maacah is used as an adjunct to Syria or Aram in 1 Chron.
19.6, 7, but its situation is not defined. (Reland, Palaestina,
The existence of the Maacathites (Μαχαδί
) on the east of Jordan, apparently between Bashan and Mount Hermon, contiguous to the Geshurites (Deut.
12.5, 13.11, 13) intimates that another city or district of the name Maacah was situated in that quarter. [G.W
MAAGR-AMMUM (Μαάγραμμον, Ptol. 7.4.10
), a considerable town in the island of Taprobane or Ceylon.
Ptolemy calls it a [p. 2.233]
It is not now certain where it stood, but some have identified it with Tamankadawe.
Some MSS. read Naagrammum, but Maagrammum must be correct, as its form shows its Sanscrit origin. Lassen has supposed it stood at the SE. end of the island, and that its ancient name was Mahagráma.