“I am one of those who are peaceable and faithful in Israel. You seek to destroy a city that is a mother in Israel” (20:19). The “wise woman” of the Israelite town of Abel refused to let her community be destroyed in the hunt for one man. Joab’s army had besieged the town because they knew Sheba son of Bichri had hidden there, the man opposing King David’s new, united rule. The “wise woman” rejected Sheba and his attempt to claim her town and gave him up to Joab.
One destructive, manipulative character can destroy the peace of an entire faithful community. Like the “wise woman,” we are called to be on guard against those who would foment conflict and “swallow up or destroy” the righteous (v20).