The VALUE of SEEKING GUIDANCE to END DISPUTES: Then a wise woman cried out from the city, "Hear, Hear! Please say to Joab, 'Come nearby, that I may speak with you.'" When he had come near to her, the woman said, "Are you Joab?" He answered, "I am." Then she said to him, "Hear the words of your maidservant." And he answered, "I am listening." 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. I am among the peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city and a mother in Israel. Why would you swallow up the inheritance of the Lord?”...Then the woman in her wisdom went to all the people. (2 Sam 20:16-19, 22)
Sheba was the leader of the Benjamite faction that rebelled against David and the tribe of Judah after the death of Absalom (20:1–2). David’s troops forced Sheba and his army to retreat to the city of Abel, which they then besieged (20:14–15). Abel of Beth Maachah was a city in the extreme north of the territory occupied by Israel, just west of Dan in the tribal territory of Naphtali. It was a city famous for its wise people, and fortunately there was a wise woman who averted a city-wide destruction by her wisdom!
As Joab laid siege to the city and was about to batter down the walls of the city, this wise woman called down to Joab and asked him why he was going to destroy a “mother in Israel” (a city of influence and respect) that had always been proverbial for its wisdom. The citizens had done nothing to deserve the city’s destruction. When Joab explained that he was simply after the rebel leader, Sheba, who was hiding inside, this wise woman convinced the people in the city to kill Sheba by themselves and end the bloodshed (20:16–22).
This unnamed woman in her wisdom withstood King David’s foremost general Joab and convinced him of his error - then determined a solution - then convinced her neighbors as to the proper course to take - then accomplished what Joab had not been able to do, and saved her entire city from destruction. She is the third of such women who saved a city/people from destruction, the first being the unnamed women who dropped a millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull (Judges 9:50–55), and the second being Abigail who saved her entire household from destruction (1 Sam. 25:18–35).
This is what the wise woman had told Joab while she was negotiating for a settlement: “They shall surely seek guidance at Abel and so they would end disputes”. There is great value of seeking guidance to end disputes, and we should also follow the peaceful way of ending a quarrel through negotiations, a win-win situation for all parties involved. This way we will be called as God’s sons as well: "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God" (Matt 5:9).