Maacah or Maachah Wife of David:

Maacah or Maachah was the wife of King David and the mother of Absalom & Tamar. There is not much written about Maacah in the Bible. What we do know can help us to view her attributes so we can strengthen our own.
2 Samuel 3:2-3; 1 Chronicles 3:1-2

Maacah or Maachah is mentioned in 2 Samuel 3:2-3; 1 Chronicles 3:1-2 as being the woman who bore David his third son Absalom. We know that Maacah was the daughter of Talmai who was the king of Geshur. This would mean that Maacah was a princess. This would mean it was another of the political marriages for David. This marriage would have probably finalized some treaty between King David and King Talmai of Geshur. We can assume a great deal of information by examining the time period and the other people involved.

Geshur was a small kingdom whose territory formed part of southern Golan, east of the Sea of Galilee. Geshur is a kingdom in Syria. It was during the time Moses divided the land and gave Manasseh the land as far as the border of the Geshurites. (Deuteronomy 3:14). Joshua 13:13 we find the children of Israel could not expel the Geshurites or the Maachanthites out of the land and they dwell among the Israelites until this day.
Talmai the king of Geshur was conceivably an Aramean clan and generally thought to be of gigantic height. They lived in Hebron during the time of the children of Israel conquest with Caleb as the head. (Numbers 13:22; Joshua 15:14). David had been in Hebron for at least seven years and he prospered. David had at least three wives before Maacah. Maacah was the third wife to produce David with a son. This was probably a political arrangement not an arrangement out of love.(Smith,1995).

Absalom was born in Hebron and was the third son born to David by Maacah the daughter of Talmai king of Geshur. (1 Chronicles 3:2). It has been said that the character of Absalom was self-willed and vindictive. Because his mother Maacah, a Syrian princess, like other Syrian princesses, held certain forms of vice and bloodshed to be acceptable rites of worship, well-pleasing in the sight of Heaven. (Naaman, 1914). Absalom was ambitious and in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. He saved his head every year because the hair was heavy on him. He paid out the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king’s weight. (2 Samuel 14:25-26).

Maacah and David also had a daughter Tamar. She was a virgin and beautiful and very moral. Tamar was loved by King David the most honored of the daughters of the king. She is the only daughter of David mentioned in Scripture. This moral and physical beauty brought such heartache to Tamar and her whole family.

Amnon, the first born son of David and Ahinoam Jezreel (2 Samuel 3:2) was the half-brother of Tamar and Absalom. Amnon loved the beautiful Tamar. 2 Samuel 13:2 says; “he fell sick for his sister Tamar; for she was a virgin; and Amnon thought it hard for him to do anything to her.” This type of passion and behavior was considered a grievous crime under the laws of Israel, exactly as it is today. Amnon was the one in the wrong not Tamar. It is good to note that Amnon did fear of her brother Absalom.

Tamar was of good moral character and knew such a thing ought not to be done in Israel it was an immorality and profane action. Tamar pointed out this would cause her shame and disgrace. Tamar made it clear she was not willing to consent to such an immoral act. It would ruin her character. She indicated Amnon would be a fool in Israel. Because Amnon was the oldest son it was thought he would be the next king and this rape would ruin his chances of being a good king. Instead of being honored as the next king he would be considered a fool thought out Israel. She did suggest a remedy for Amnon. All Amnon had to do was to go to the king because the king would not withhold her from him. (2 Samuel 13: 12-13).

Tamar was raped by Amnon and then shamed because he put her out in the street and bolted the door after her. She was left in despair and disgraced. She sought shelter with Absalom. King David was “very wroth” when he learned what happened to his daughter yet he did nothing about the rape. (2 Samuel 13:1-22).

How hard it must have been for Maacah to not be able to have her daughter revenged. She was one of the wives of the King, and the daughter of a king yet her daughter has been disgraced and she could not persuade the king to do anything. This would have been hard for any mother to watch the hopelessness of their daughter without any support from the authorities. Maacah was from royalty and it must have been devastating and could have threatened her life style. What kept her from being embittered?

Maacah and Absalom waited and probably grieved for two years before Absalom got the revenge for the disgrace of his sister. Absalom invited all his brothers including Amnon to a sheep-shearing festival at Baal-hazor, about 20 miles north of Jerusalem. It was at the banquet when Amnon was sufficiently merry with wine; Absalom’s servants on the order from Absalom smote Amnon and killed him. It was reported to King David that Absalom had slain all the kings’ sons. It was Jonadab, the son of one of David’s brother that corrected that the only one dead was Amnon by the order of Absalom because of the rape of his sister. Absalom fled north to Maacah’s homeland in Geshur, where he found refuge with Talmai and his grandfather. There Absalom lived for three years. (2 Samuel 13: 23-38).

One would wonder if Maacah and Tamar knew what was about to happen with the rapist Amnon. We know there were not present at the sheep-shearing festival because Absalom would make sure of that. I am sure both Maacah and Tamar were pleased and sad at the same time because even though the rape had been revenged it meant they would not see their brother and son for at least three years.

More heart ache followed Maacah when four years after the return of Absalom he led a revolt against King David. Absalom was defeated and killed. This means that both Maacah children Absalom and Tamar were disgraced. One would have to believe that her life and prestige was non-existent among the other wives.

We do not know what kind of a person Maacah was by words spoken of her. We know by words that were not said. An example of this is when King David was chastised by his first wife Michal, the daughter of King Saul, he never gave her honor and she remained childless unto the day of her death. (2 Samuel 6:22-23). It was after the death of Absalom we find that King David was moved and went up to the chamber over the gate, and wept for his son Absalom the King wept and mourned for Absalom. (2 Samuel 19:1-4). Tamar was loved by King David and was the most honored of the daughters of the king. She is the only daughter of David mentioned in Scripture. (2 Samuel 13:1).

Because Maacah was not mentioned again after the death of Absalom suggests that the grief David felt in the loss of his second son prevented him from contacting her. Since there is no mention of either Maacah or Tamar being sent away of killed then they just disappeared in time. When you think about it that is a great compliment to Maacah to have borne a son that tried to kill his father and managed to kill this half-brother yet she remained the same.

So what lesson can we as Women of Christ can learn from the heartbreak of Maacah over the disgrace from her children. We can remember that we are responsible to raise our children to be the best they can be and reach adulthood. We nurture and guide our children and try to direct them so once they do reach adulthood they can go forth and carry our set of values with them. Once they reach adulthood they make their own choices and carry on their own traditions.

Deuteronomy 5:16 teaches us to; “ Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”
Jesus speaking to the scribes and Pharisees reminds us that For God commanded, saying, Honor your father and mother: and, He that curses father or mother, let him die the death. But the scribes and Pharisees say whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, it is a gift by how it might profit or be useful or advantageous by them. Then they do not honor their father or mother shall be free and they have made the commandment of God of no effect by their tradition. (Matthew 15:4-6).


Naaman, Ruth. (1914). The Greater Men and Women of the Bible: ed. James Hastings. Edinburgh: T&T Clark. Pp. 283-84.

Smith, James E. (1995). The Books of History, Old Testament Survey Series. Joplin, MO: College Press.

Cite Article Source

MLA Style Citation:

Holstein, Joanne “Maacah or Maachah Wife of David: .” Becker Bible Studies Library Jan 2016.<,>.

APA Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015, January) “Maacah or Maachah Wife of David:.” Becker Bible Studies Library. Retrieved from,.

Chicago Style Citation:
Holstein, Joanne (2015) “Maacah or Maachah Wife of David:.” Becker Bible Studies Library (January),, (accessed).

Joanne Holstein is a Becker Bible Studies Teacher and Author of Guided Bible Studies for Hungry Christians. She is a graduate of Psychology/Christian and Bible Counseling with Liberty University. She is well-known as a counselor to Christian faithful who are struggling with tremendous burden in these difficult times. She is a leading authority on historical development of Christian churches and the practices and beliefs of world religions and cults.

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