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2 Samuel 3:3:
His second [son], Chileab, of Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel; the third, Absalom son of Maacah, daughter of King Talmai of Geshur.

Maacah has David's third son while David was King of Judah, before David assumed the throne of Israel. Her relationship with David may have been a political alliance, as her father was a king. She like, Micah, had been raised in a royal family, with both the benefits and hazards. At this time, daughters were usually given in marriage from a stronger leader to a weaker leader. This would mean, Geshur was a more powerful kingdom. More, Maacah probably arrived in Hebron then Jeruselem accompanied by an extensive retinue of courtiers, craftspeople, architects and follower. They would have built and established Maacah's own palace. The Bible identifies three of Maacah's children: Absalom, Hanan and Tamar. Both of her children would experience turmoil resulting from their father's sin. When Absalom was temporarily expelled for killing his half brother, he sought refuge in Geshur, his mother's land.

1 Chronicles 3:1-2:

These are the sons of David who were born to him in Hebron: the firstborn Amnon, by Ahinoam the Jezreelite ; the second Daniel, by Abigail the Carmelite; the third Absalom, son of Maacah, daughter of King Talmai of Geshur; the fourth Adonijah, son of Haggith .

1 Chronicles 11:26-47:

The warriors of the armies were Asahel brother of Joab, Elhanan son of Dodo of Bethlehem, Shammoth of Harod, Helez the Pelonite, Ira son of Ikkesh of Tekoa, Abiezer of Anathoth, Sibbecai the Hushathite, Ilai the Ahohite, Maharai of Netophah, Heled son of Baanah of Netophah, Ithai son of Ribai of Gibeah of the Benjaminites, Benaiah of Pirathon, Hurai of the wadis of Gaash, Abiel the Arbathite, Azmaveth of Baharum, Eliahba of Shaalbon, Hashem the Gizonite, Jonathan son of Shagee the Hararite, Ahiam son of Sachar the Hararite, Eliphal son of Ur, Hepher the Mecherathite, Ahijah the Pelonite, Hezro of Carmel, Naarai son of Ezbai, Joel the brother of Nathan, Mibhar son of Hagri, Zelek the Ammonite, Naharai of Beeroth, the armor-bearer of Joab son of Zeruiah .Ira the Ithrite, Gareb the Ithrite, Uriah the Hittite, Zabad son of Ahlai, Adina son of Shiza the Reubenite, a leader of the Reubenites, and thirty with him, Hanan son of Maacah, and Joshaphat the Mithnite, Uzzia the Ashterathite, Shama and Jeiel sons of Hotham the Aroerite, Jediael son of Shimri, and his brother Joha the Tizite, Eliel the Mahavite, and Jeribai and Joshaviah sons of Elnaam, and Ithmah the Moabite, Eliel, and Obed, and Jaasiel the Mezobaite.

Maacah's son Hanah participated in the conflict, supporting his brother Absalom.

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Maacah, Caleb's Concubine

1 Chronicles 2:48-49:
Maacah, Caleb's concubine, bore Sheber and Tirhanah. She also bore Shaaph father of Madmannah, Sheva father of Machbenah and father of Gibea; and the daughter of Caleb was Achsah.

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Maacah, Absalom's Daughter

1 Kings 15:1-2:
"Now in the eighteenth year of King Jeroboam son of Nebat, Abijam began to reign over Judah. He reigned for three years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom." 1 Kings 15:9-13:
In the twentieth year of King Jeroboam of Israel, Asa began to reign over Judah; he reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem. His mother's name was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. Asa did what was right in the sight of the Lord, as his father David had done. He put away the male temple prostitutes out of the land, and removed all the idols that his ancestors had made. He also removed his mother Maacah from being queen mother, because she had made an abominable image for Asherah; Asa cut down her image and burned it at the Wadi Kidron.

Asa removed his mother Maacah from the position of "queen mother". The "queen mother" had a great deal of influence in Israel, thus removing her from that position limited her ability to lead Israel to other gods.

1 Chronicles 11:20-22:

After he took Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith. Rehoboam love Maacah daughter of Absalom more than all his other wives and concubines (he took eighteen wives and sixty concubines, and became the father of twenty-eight sons and sixty daughters). Rehoboam appointed Abijah son of Maacah as chief prince among his brothers, for he intended to make him king.

This passage gives us a great deal of information about Maacah. She was Absalom's daughter, and she was named after Absalom's mother , much as Tamar, Absalom's Daughter , was named for Absalom's sister. Finally, this passage tells us that Maacah was the favored wife, and that favor extended to her her son Abijah.

2 Chronicles 13 gives a slightly different variation on Abijah's mother .

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Maacah, Jeiel's Wife

1 Chronicles 8:29:
Jeirel the father of Gibeon lived in Gibeon, and the name of his wife was Maacah.

1 Chronicles 9:35:

In Gibeon lived the father of Gibeon, Jeiel, and the name of his wife was Maacah.

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2 Chronicles 11:18-20:
Rehoboam took as his wife Mahalath daughter of Jerimoth son of David, and of Ahihail daughter of Eliab son of Jesse. She bore him sons: Jeush, Shemariah, and Zaham. After her he took Maacah daughter of Absalom, who bore him Abijah, Attai, Ziza, and Shelomith.

Rehoboam managed to marry several women near the line of succession. The wording "after her he took" gives us a hint just how Rehoboam felt about Mahalath.

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Numbers 26:33:
Now Zelophehad son of Hepher had no sons, but daughers: and the names of the daughters of Zelophehad were Mahlah, Noah, Hoglah , Milcah, and Tizrah.

In chapter 26, the Lord instructed Moses to portion out land according to the tribes. Because the land would be inherited by sons, it would stay with the tribe to which it had been granted. However, Zelophehad "had no sons" to inherit his portion.

Numbers 27:1-4:

Then the daughters of Zelophehad came forward. Zelophehad was son of Hepher son of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh son of Joseph, a member of the Manassite clans. The names of his daughters were: Mahlah, Noah , Hoglah , Milcah , and Tirzah . They stood before Moses, Eleazar the priest, the leaders, and all the congregation, a the entrance of the tent of meeting, and they said, 'Our father died in the wilderness; he was not among the company of those who gathered themselves together against the LORD in the company of Korah, but died for his own sin; and he had no sons. Why should the name of our father be taken away from his clan begause he had no son? Give to us a possession among our father's brothers.'

These women had the courage to question not only Moses, but God. They realized that without a brother to inherit, their family would not receive a portion of land. They (not a male representative) went before Moses, the priest and the whole congregation to present their case. Their father had not been part of Korah's rebellion; he did not merit the punishment meeted out to the rebels.

Numbers 27:5-11:

Moses brought their case before the LORD. And the LORD spoke to Moses, say: 'The daughters of Zelophehad are right in what they are saying; you shall indeed let them possess an inheritance among their father's brothers and pass the inheritance of their father on to them. You shall also say to the Israelites, "If a man dies, and has no sons, then you shall pass his inheritance on to his daughters. If he has no daughters, then you shall give his inheritance to the nearest kinsman of his clan, and he shall possess it. It shall be for the Israelites a statute and ordinance, as the LORD commanded Moses."'

Often we have been told "never question God", yet these women did question God and were rewarded. God modified His orginal instructions, to allow the women to inherit. More, no one questioned their right to ask. Moses acted on their request, taking their request before God. He did not tell them they had to be silent.

However, this was a tribal society; land was owned by the tribe and portioned out to members. When sons inherited the land, the land remained with the tribe. If a woman inherited, then married, the land would leave the tribe.

Numbers 36:1-4:

The heads of the ancestral houses of the clans of the descendants of Gilead son of Machir son of Manasseh, of the Josephite clans, came forward and spoke in the presence of Moses and the leaders, the heads of the ancestral houses of the Israelites; they said, 'The LORD commanded my lord to give the land for inheritance by lot to the Israelites; and my lord was commanded by the LORD to give the inheritance of our brother Zelophehad to his daughters. But if they are married into another Israelite tribe, then the inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our ancestors and added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they marry; so it will be taken away from the allotted portion of our inheritance. And when the jubilee of the Israelites comes, then their inheritance will be added to the inheritance of the tribe into which they have married; and their inheritance will be taken from the inheritance of our ancestral tribe.'

The men of the tribe wanted the land to stay in their tribe and not become the inheritance of another. They approached Moses and the assembled congregration with a great deal more formality than when the women brought their case.

Number 36:5-9:

Then Moses commanded the Israelites according to the word of the LORD, saying, 'The descendents of the tribe of Joseph are right in what they are saying. This is what the LORD commands concerning the daughters of Zelophehad. Let them marry whom they think best; only it must be into a clan of their father's tribe that they are married, so that no inheritance of the Israelites shall be transferred from one tribe to another; for all Israelites shall retain the inheritance of their ancestral tribes. Every daughter who possesses an inheritance in any tribe of the Israelites shall marry one from the clan of her father's tribe, so that all Israelites may continue to possess their ancestral inheritance. No inheritance shall be transferred from one tribe to another; for each of the tribes of the Israelites shall retain its own inheritance.

Again the Lord (through Moses) adjusted His command to meet the reality of Israelite society. To prevent the inheritance being shifted into another tribe, women inheritors would be required to marry within their clan. Most woman would have married within the clan anyway, as most marriages are endogamos. With this restriction, however, is the indication that women could marry whoever they choose.

Number 36:10-12:

The daughters of Zelophehad did as the LORD had commanded Moses. Mahlah, Tirzah , Hoglah, Milcah , and Noah , daughters of Zelophehad, married sons of their father's brothers. They were married into the clans of the descendents of Manasseh son of Joseph, and their inheritance remained in the tribe of their father's clan.

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Man's Wife

2 Samuel 17:18:
But a boy saw them, and told Absalom; so both of them went away quickly, and came to the house of a man at Bahurim, who had a well in his courtyard; and they went down into it.

"They" are Ahimaaz and Jonathon, who were meeting together secretly to pass information to King David.

2 Samuel 17:19

The man's wife took a covering, stretched it over the well's mouth, and spread out grain on it; and nothing was known of it. When Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house, they said, 'Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?"'The woman said to them, 'They have crossed over the brook of water.' And when they had searched and could not find them, they returned to Jerusalem. After they had gone, the men came up out of the well, and went and told King David. They said to David, 'Go and cross the water quickly; for thus and so has Ahithophel counseled against you.'

Here the man's wife has hidden the two men, then sent their pursuers in another direction. Her quick thinking protected David's men, and allowed David to escape once again.

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Manoah's Wife

Judges 13:2-3:
There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah. His wife was barren, having borne no children. And the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, 'Although you are barren, having borne no children, you shall conceive and bear a son.'

Many of us have been taught that when to speak to a couple, He goes through the husband. This concept usually involves calling the husband "priest" to the wife and family. In New Testament terms, we know that all believers, whether male or female, are priests-royal priests, no less. More we also know that Jesus is the only high priest we need--certainly no one could do better! Yet, even with the Old Testament, we find God deals directly though wives. God spoke directly to Deborah and not her husband; He guided Jael and not her husband. Now here we find an angel of the Lord appearing directly to Manoah's wife. She, the angel says, will bear a son, even though she has been barren.

Judges 13:4-5:

Now be careful not to drink wine or strong drink, or to eat anything unclean, for you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor is to come on his head, for the boy shall be a nazirite to God from birth. It is he who shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.

The angel goes on to instruct the woman on the care of her child, giving specific instruction on not only his physical care, but the child's spiritual care. Often we believe that God charges only fathers, or especially fathers, with the spiritual responsibility of children; yet the Bible itself lays that responsibility on both parents. In this particular story, the angel charges the mother with that responsibility.

Judges 13:6-7:

Then the woman came and told her husband, 'A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like that of an angel of God, most awe-inspiring; I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name; but he said to me, "You shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and eat nothing unclean, for the boy shall be a nazirite to God from birth to the day of his death."'

The woman goes home. She has discerned that one, this person who spoke to her in the field was a man of God (notice he hasn't introduced himself as such.) Two, he was like an angel of God. She hasn't asked this man any questions; apparently since she already discerned God sent him. Then she goes on to explain exactly what the man said would happen and what to do. How many of us today have this same experience. We know beyond a shadow of a doubt we've received a message from the Lord, complete with instructions on what to do? With that experience we can share this woman's excitement.

However, someone doesn't quite accept this woman's account.

Judges 13:8:

Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, 'O Lord, I pray, let the man of God whom you sent come to us again and teach us what we are to do concerning the boy who will be born.'

I have the feeling Manoah's wife must have rolled her eyes. Manoah did the right thing in seeking the Lord, but he does it in the wrong way. His prayer has much in common with vainglorious prayers Jesus criticized. He asks God to send His messenger to "us" again, only God hadn't sent His messenger to "us" the first time. God in His Sovereignty had sent His messenger to Manoah's wife. Then Manoah asks for instructions on what "we" must do. Again, the instructions had already been given, and didn't involve "we" but Manoah's wife. Certainly it wouldn't have mattered what Manoah ate or drank. The Bible doesn't tell us Manoah's motives, yet we can reasonably guess (again guesses and assumptions shouldn't form doctrine) his motives fell into one of two categories. One, he simply could not accept the Lord going through a woman, particularly his wife, or two, he really and truly wanted to participate in the Lord's plan. Either way, we can learn something from him. We need to be wary of rejecting God's message because of our opinions of the source. Many times we like to proclaim that God is Sovereign, but only when He follows our rules. That's backwards. Next, we need to be very careful not to stifle someone else's gift in our excitement. How many times have we been so excited about a new ministry, so eager for it to prosper that we take it away from the person God not only gave it to, but gifted to succeed, and given it to someone more official--the person God "should" have given it too? Unfortunately, too many ministries with wonderful potential have failed because well intentioned people fired the person God hired.

Judges 13:9

God listened to Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field; but her husband Manoah was not with her.

God heard what Manoah asked, but again acted by His own providence. Instead of answering what Manoah wanted, which was for God to send the messenger to both of them (though seemingly more importantly to Manoah), God again sends the messenger to the woman when she sits in the field. Many times we lay out a plan in our prayers--"Lord, do this, that, and then this", but God answers in ways that not only benefit us the most, but bring Him glory.

Judges 13:10-14:

So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, 'The man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.' Manoah got up and followed his wife, and came to the man and said to him, "Are you the man who spoke to this woman?' And he said, 'I am.' Then Manoah said, 'Now when your words come true, what is to be the boy's rule of life; what is he to do?' The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, 'Let the woman give heed to all that I said to her. She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine. She is not to drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. She is to observe everything that I commanded her.'

Again, we can imagine Manoah's wife rolling her eyes...she tells her husband "this is guy" then he turns around and asks "are you the guy." Manoah seems to be determined to take charge in this situation. He wants to know exactly what is going to happen (apparently wanting to know what he should do. The KJ reads, "And Manoah said, Now let thy words come to pass. How shall we order the child, and how shall we do unto him?) The angel of the tells Manoah that his wife should what he's already told her today and repeats the instructions he has already given--not adding any responsibilities for Manoah.

One wonders how some of out teachers today would look at this situation. Twice the Lord's messenger has come to the wife, twice the Lord has by-passed the husband. Once the messenger speaks to the husband, he tells him the wife should do as she as been told. This biblical example of marriage, and God's relation with married partners seems to challenge many of our commonly held views. Yet, we can't ignore this example while uplifting other examples.

Judges 13:15:

Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, 'Allow us to detain you, and prepare a kid for you.'

"Detain" here may be slightly mild. In Hebrew the world used is "`atsar", which has the connotation of "restrain".

Judges 13:16-18:

The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, 'If you detain me, I will not eat your food; but if you want to prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to the Lord.' (For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord.) Then Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, 'What is your name, so that we may honor you when your words come true?' But the angel of the Lord said to him, 'Why do you ask my name? It is too wonderful.'

The angel acknowledges that Manoah is holding him up--angels must have busy schedules, but agrees to stay. He does not, however, agree to eat with the small family. Instead he asks that an offering be made. Then Manoah errs. Unlike his wife, who discerned the nature of this visitor, and refrained from asking intrusive questions, Manoah asks for a name. The angel asks why Manoah would want to know, as the answer would be beyond is comprehension.

Judges 13:19-21:

So Manoah took the kid with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, to him who works wonders. When the flame went up toward heaven from the altar, the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar while Manoah and his wife looked on; and they fell on their faces to the ground. The angel of the Lord did not appear again to Manoah and his wife. Then Manoah realized that it was the angel of the Lord.

I keep imagining: a man comes to Manoah's wife in a field. Tells her she will have a child even though she's barren. Returns when Manoah asks God to send him back. Repeat the promise and instructions. Then caps it off by ascending in a flame.....and Manoah only catches on that this is an angel after the angel doesn't come back for awhile. Yet, even then he misunderstands.

Judges 13:22-23:

And Manoah said to his wife, 'We shall surely die, for we have seen God.' But his wife said to him, 'If the Lord had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, or now announced to us such things as these.'

The last passage in this section reminds us of his wife's discernment and understanding. When Manoah automatically re-acts with fear, his wife wisely corrects him.

Just today I read an article from a respected Evangelical scholar who declared that since Eve was deceived all women are prone to error. Yet, using Eve's failure while omitting the stories of women like Manoah's wife, the queen of Sheba and Abigail distorts our understanding. Eve may have been deceived, and Adam not, but Manoah was deceived and his wife not. He was deceived by either his own prejudice or eagerness into believing he should play the dominant role in God's plan, when in fact, his wife had been told and understood the call was hers. He failed to discern the mission and person of an angel of the Lord, when his wife knew both. He deceived himself into believing God would kill him, when his wife knew that was not the case. Least we believe that Paul's writing in Timothy mean only women are deceived, we need to remember he said all of us could be deceived like Eve. We can't be like the Pharisee's and pick and choose which verses we want to use. All Scripture is God breathed--even the story of Manoah and his wife.

Judges 13:24:

The woman bore a son, and named him Samson. The boy grew, and the Lord blessed him.

Finally the Bible tells us why we should know this woman's story--she is Samson's mother.

Samson proves to be both a blessing and a problem for his parents.

Judges 14:2-3:

Then he came up, and told his father and mother, 'I saw a Philistine woman at Timnah; now get her for me as my wife.' But his father and mother said to him, 'Is there not a woman among your kin, or among all our people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?' But Samson said to his father, 'Get her for me, because she pleases me.'

Samson has found a Philistine woman he wants. However, Israelites had been told not to inter-marry with certain groups-including he Philistines. His parents try to discourage him. Interestingly, again we find Manoah's wife challenging current views. Often we're told the mother should differ these kinds of issues (even all issues) to the father for final decision. Within this family, however, both mother and father address issues. We might especially notice that Samson immediately goes to both mother and father--he does not follow some "chain of command". More we see Manoah's wife participates in this equal decision making even though her son is a grown man.

Judges 14:4:

His father and mother did not know that this was from the Lord; for he was seeking a pretext to act against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.

This time, both Manoah and his lack discernment. In many ways this combination of gift and lack will echo in their son's life.

Judges 14:5-6:

Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah. When he came to the vineyards of Timnah, suddenly a young lion roared at him. The spirit of the Lord rushed on him, and he tore the lion apart barehanded as one might tear apart a kid. But he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done.

Judges 14:9:

He scraped it out into his hands, and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them, and they ate it. But he did not tell them that he had taken the honey from the carcass of the lion.

We may wonder why the Holy Spirit had this story included, or more specifically why Samson's parents are mentioned. However, Samson has violated the law in eating the honey from a dead animal. He has eaten unclean food. Then he gives it to his parents without telling them it is unclean.

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Romans 16:6:
Greet Mary, who has worked very hard among you.

This may be Jesus' mother. Whether it is the same Mary, this woman served the Gospel among the congregation at Rome.

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Mary, James' and Joseph's Mother

Matthew 27:55-56
Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Even as most of the male disciples abandoned Jesus, some of Jesus' women disciples followed him to the cross. Perhaps this is why women were the first to share in the knowledge of Christ's resurrection. They'd shared in His death, so they shared in His resurrection.

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Mary, Jesus' Mother