Geshur and Maacah

The remote region surrounding the Upper Jordan River was home to two small nations that are frequently overlooked regarding their role in Israelite history: Geshur and Maacah. The land occupied by these two nations fell within the allotted territories of Naphtali and Manasseh, but Israel was never able to drive them out (Joshua 12:5; 13:1-13), and they remained as small, autonomous enclaves within Israel much like the Philistines along the coast. During David’s time, the nation of Maacah (also called Aram-maacah) contributed warriors to the coalition that fought against David after his messengers were humiliated by the Ammonites (2 Samuel 10:6-8; 1 Chronicles 19:6-7). The nation of Geshur, on the other hand, appears to have enjoyed a more peaceful relationship with Israel during David’s time, likely due to David’s marriage to Maacah, the daughter of Talmai, king of Geshur. David’s son Absalom was born to Maacah, so when Absalom killed his half brother Amnon, he fled to Geshur for refuge (2 Samuel 13-14). Sometime later, perhaps during an era of Aramean dominance, Geshur joined Aram to capture all of Bashan (1 Chronicles 2:23). Centuries later, Jesus and his disciples traveled to Panias (which was called Caesarea Philippi by Jesus’ time), and it was there that Peter made his great declaration that Jesus was the Messiah, and Jesus was transfigured before them (Matthew 16:13-17:13; Mark 8:27-9:13).

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