2 Samuel 20:18
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
She continued, "Long ago they used to say, 'Get your answer at Abel,' and that settled it.

New Living Translation
Then she continued, "There used to be a saying, 'If you want to settle an argument, ask advice at the town of Abel.'

English Standard Version
Then she said, “They used to say in former times, ‘Let them but ask counsel at Abel,’ and so they settled a matter.

New American Standard Bible
Then she spoke, saying, "Formerly they used to say, 'They will surely ask advice at Abel,' and thus they ended the dispute.

King James Bible
Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
She said, "In the past they used to say, 'Seek counsel in Abel,' and that's how they settled disputes.

International Standard Version
So she said, "In days past, people used to settle a dispute by saying 'Let's ask for advice at Abel!'

NET Bible
She said, "In the past they would always say, 'Let them inquire in Abel,' and that is how they settled things.

New Heart English Bible
Then she spoke, saying, "They were used to say in old times, 'They shall surely ask counsel at Abel;' and so they settled it.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
So she said, "There's an old saying: 'Be sure to ask at Abel [before doing anything]. That's the way they settle matters.'

JPS Tanakh 1917
Then she spoke, saying: 'They were wont to speak in old time, saying: They shall surely ask counsel at Abel; and so they ended the matter.

New American Standard 1977
Then she spoke, saying, “Formerly they used to say, ‘They will surely ask advice at Abel,’ and thus they ended the dispute.

Jubilee Bible 2000
Then she spoke, saying, They used to speak in old times, saying, If you have a question ask it at Abel; and so they concluded the matter.

King James 2000 Bible
Then she spoke, saying, They used to speak in former time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.

American King James Version
Then she spoke, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.

American Standard Version
Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter .

Douay-Rheims Bible
And she again said: A saying was used in the old proverb: They that inquire, let them inquire in Abela: and so they made an end.

Darby Bible Translation
And she spoke saying, They were wont to speak in old time saying, Just inquire in Abel; and so they ended.

English Revised Version
Then she spake, saying, they were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.

Webster's Bible Translation
Then she spoke, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They will surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.

World English Bible
Then she spoke, saying, "They were used to say in old times, 'They shall surely ask counsel at Abel;' and so they settled it.

Young's Literal Translation
and she speaketh, saying, 'They spake often in former times, saying, Let them diligently ask at Abel, and so they finished.
Study Bible
The Rebellion Stopped
17So he approached her, and the woman said, "Are you Joab?" And he answered, "I am." Then she said to him, "Listen to the words of your maidservant." And he answered, "I am listening." 18Then she spoke, saying, "Formerly they used to say, 'They will surely ask advice at Abel,' and thus they ended the dispute. 19"I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city, even a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?"…
Cross References
2 Samuel 20:17
So he approached her, and the woman said, "Are you Joab?" And he answered, "I am." Then she said to him, "Listen to the words of your maidservant." And he answered, "I am listening."

2 Samuel 20:19
"I am of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You are seeking to destroy a city, even a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the LORD?"
Treasury of Scripture

Then she spoke, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter.

They were wont, etc. or, They plainly spake in the beginning, saying, Surely they will ask of Abel, and so make an end.

Deuteronomy 20:10,11 When you come near to a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace to it…

(18) Ask counsel at Abel.--The simplest and most obvious explanation is here the true one, viz., that Abel had become proverbial for its wisdom. An ancient Jewish interpretation, which has been incorporated into the Targum, is, however, of sufficient interest to be mentioned: "Remember now that which is written in the book of the Law to ask a city concerning peace at the first? Hast thou done so, to ask of Abel if they will make peace?" The reference is to Deuteronomy 20:10, &c.

Verse 18. - They were wont to speak, etc. The Hebrew literally is, they used to say in old time, They shall surely ask at Abel; and so they finished (the matter). But of these words two completely distinct interpretations are given. The Jewish Targum records the one: "Remember now that which is written in the book of the Law, to ask a city concerning peace at the first. Hast thou done so, to ask of Abel if they will make peace?" The woman, that is, was referring to the command in Deuteronomy 20:10, not to besiege a city until peace had been offered to the inhabitants on condition of their paying tribute. When a city was captured the lot of the inhabitants, as the woman declares in ver. 19, was utter destruction; and the Law mercifully gave them the chance of escaping such a fate. Joab had not complied with this enactment, but had assumed that the people would support Sheba, and was proceeding to the last extremity without consulting them. This interpretation gives an excellent sense, but cannot be wrung out of the present Hebrew text without violence. The other interpretation is that of the Authorized Version, that the woman was commending her words to Joab, by reminding him that Abel had been famed in early times for its wisdom, and had probably been the seat of an oracle in the old Canaanite times. When, therefore, people had carried their dispute to Abel, both sides were content to abide by the answer given them, and so the controversy was ended. Literally, these words mean, "they shall surely inquire at Abel," the verb being that specially used of inquiring of God. Then she spake, saying, they were wont to speak in old time,.... It was a common saying, a proverbial expression among the ancient sages:

saying, they shall surely ask counsel at Abel, and so they ended the matter. Abel, it seems, had been a city so famous for wise and prudent men, that it was common for the inhabitants of other cities, in the several parts of the kingdom, when any controversy arose among them, to say to one another, since we cannot agree this matter among ourselves, let us go to Abel, and take advice there, and leave it to their arbitration; and so they did, and things were presently brought to an issue, and happily concluded; nay, when the king had a mind to make a decree or law, as R. Isaiah observes, he used to send to Abel to know whether they would submit to it; and if they agreed to it, then he proceeded in it; for other cities followed their example, so famous was this city, and of so great account: now the woman argues from hence, that surely such a renowned city should not hastily be destroyed; but the Targum directs to another sense, and which perhaps is best, and is followed by Jarchi, Kimchi, and others, paraphrasing the words thus,"she spake, saying, I remember now what is written in the book of the law, to ask a city first, saying, (will ye make peace?) so shouldest thou have asked of Abel, will ye make peace, or receive terms of peace?''referring to the law in Deuteronomy 20:10; signifying, if that had been attended to as it ought (for if such methods were to be taken with Heathen cities, much more with a city of Israel, as Abel was), things would soon have been agreed and issued; had Joab upon approaching the city proposed his terms of peace, they would have immediately yielded to them, and so the matter would have ended at once; for they were a peaceable people, as it follows: though Dr. Lightfoot (b) gives another sense of these words, that Sheba and his party when they came to the city,"they at first certainly said thus, that they would ask Abel of its peace (or on whose side it was), and so they made the matter entire, or made a show of their own integrity:''by which this woman assured Joab, that the men of Abel had not invited, nor willingly received Sheba and his rebels into the city, but they had deceived them by fawning and false words, pretending only to inquire about the peace and welfare of their city.

(b) Works, vol. 2. p. 367. 18-20. They were wont to speak in old time—The translation of the Margin gives a better meaning, which is to this effect: When the people saw thee lay siege to Abel, they said, Surely he will ask if we will have peace, for the law (De 20:10) prescribes that he should offer peace to strangers, much more then to Israelitish cities; and if he do this, we shall soon bring things to an amicable agreement, for we are a peaceable people. The answer of Joab brings out the character of that ruthless veteran as a patriot at heart, who, on securing the author of this insurrection, was ready to put a stop to further bloodshed and release the peaceable inhabitants from all molestation.20:14-22 Justly is that place attacked, which dares to harbour a traitor; nor will the heart fare better which indulges rebellious lusts, that will not have Christ to reign over them. A discreet woman, by her prudent management, satisfied Joab, and yet saved the city. Wisdom is not confined to rank or sex; it consists not in deep knowledge; but in understanding how to act as matters arise, that troubles may be turned away and benefits secured. A great deal of mischief would be prevented, if contending parties would understand one another. Let both sides be undeceived. The single condition of peace is, the surrender of the traitor. It is so in God's dealing with the soul, when besieged by conviction and distress; sin is the traitor; the beloved lust is the rebel: part with that, cast away the transgression, and all shall be well. There is no peace on any other terms.
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Alphabetical: Abel advice ago and answer ask at continued dispute ended Formerly Get it Long say saying settled She spoke surely that the Then they thus to used will your

OT History: 2 Samuel 20:18 Then she spoke saying They were wont (2Sa iiSam 2 Sam ii sam) Christian Bible Study Resources, Dictionary, Concordance and Search Tools
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