2 Samuel 20:18
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.

Berean Study Bible
Then the woman said, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Seek counsel at Abel,’ and that is how disputes were settled.

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.

New King James Version
So she spoke, saying, “They used to talk in former times, saying, ‘They shall surely seek guidance at Abel,’ and so they would end disputes.

New American Standard Bible
Then she spoke, saying, “In the past they used to say, ‘They will undoubtedly ask advice at Abel,’ and that is how they ended a dispute.

NASB 1995
Then she spoke, saying, "Formerly they used to say, 'They will surely ask advice at Abel,' and thus they ended the dispute.

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

Amplified Bible
Then she said, “In the past people used to say, ‘They will certainly ask advice at Abel,’ and so they settled the dispute.

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

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

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 .

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The woman spoke, saying: “They would say from ancient time ‘To inquire, they would inquire of the Prophets and then they would destroy‘

Brenton Septuagint Translation
And she spoke, saying, Of old time they said thus, Surely one was asked in Abel, and Dan, whether the faithful in Israel failed in what they purposed; they will surely ask in Abel, even in like manner, whether they have failed.

Contemporary English Version
She said, "Long ago people used to say, 'If you want good advice, go to the town of Abel to get it.' The answers they got here were all that was needed to settle any problem.

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.

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.

Good News Translation
She said, "Long ago they used to say, 'Go and get your answer in the city of Abel'--and that's just what they did.

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.'

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

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.

Literal Standard Version
And she speaks, saying, “They spoke often in former times, saying, Let them diligently inquire at Abel, and so they finished.

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 used to say a saying, 'Let them inquire in Abel and in Dan whether

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.

Additional Translations ...
Context
Sheba's Rebellion
17When he had come near to her, the woman asked, “Are you Joab?” “I am,” he replied. “Listen to the words of your servant,” she said. “I am listening,” he answered. 18Then the woman said, “Long ago they used to say, ‘Seek counsel at Abel,’ and that is how disputes were settled. 19I am among the peaceable and faithful in Israel, but you are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the LORD’s inheritance?”…

Cross References
2 Samuel 20:17
When he had come near to her, the woman asked, "Are you Joab?" "I am," he replied. "Listen to the words of your servant," she said. "I am listening," he answered.

2 Samuel 20:19
I am among the peaceable and faithful in Israel, but you are trying to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the LORD's inheritance?"


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.

Deuteronomy 20:10,11
When thou comest nigh unto a city to fight against it, then proclaim peace unto 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.

Parallel Commentaries ...


Hebrew
Then [the woman] said,
וַתֹּ֖אמֶר (wat·tō·mer)
Conjunctive waw | Verb - Qal - Consecutive imperfect - third person feminine singular
Strong's 559: To utter, say

“Long ago
בָרִֽאשֹׁנָה֙ (ḇā·ri·šō·nāh)
Preposition-b, Article | Adjective - feminine singular
Strong's 7223: First, in place, time, rank

they used to say,
דַּבֵּ֨ר (dab·bêr)
Verb - Piel - Infinitive absolute
Strong's 1696: To arrange, to speak, to subdue

‘Seek counsel
שָׁאֹ֧ל (šā·’ōl)
Verb - Qal - Infinitive absolute
Strong's 7592: To inquire, to request, to demand

at Abel,’
בְּאָבֵ֖ל (bə·’ā·ḇêl)
Preposition-b | Noun - proper - feminine singular
Strong's 59: Abel -- 'meadow', two places in Palestine

and that is how
וְכֵ֥ן (wə·ḵên)
Conjunctive waw | Adverb
Strong's 3651: So -- thus

disputes were settled.
הֵתַֽמּוּ׃ (hê·ṯam·mū)
Verb - Hifil - Perfect - third person common plural
Strong's 8552: To be complete or finished


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OT History: 2 Samuel 20:18 Then she spoke saying They were wont (2Sa iiSam 2 Sam ii sam)
2 Samuel 20:17
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