1. A city in the mountains of Judah (Joshua 15:55). In the waste pasture ("wilderness") of Maon in the plain S. of Jeshimon, at the hill of Hachilah, David narrowly escaped Saul through the Ziphites' treachery (1 Samuel 23:19; 1 Samuel 23:24-25). Saul was on one side of the mountain, David on the other, when a message announcing a Philistine invasion called Saul away; the rock that separated the pursuer and the pursued was called "Sela-hammahlekoth," the rock of divisions. Nabal's flocks fed on the pastures of Maon and the adjoining Carmel (1 Samuel 25:2).
He conducted his sheepshearing at Carmel, because he was there near good water in the plain between Hebron and Carmel, the finest plain in the hill country of Judah, that which Achsah desired of Caleb her father; for she wanted, besides the arid south land (Negeb), "springs of water," and received this "field" or cultivated plain with "upper and nether springs." Now Mat, a conical hill, seven miles S. of Hebron. On the same level as Tell Zif; the passage 1 Samuel 23:24-25, refers to the wady el War, "valley of rocks," a rugged place having its head close to Tell Main; the long ridges running E. to the Dead Sea are a fit site for David's escape. (Conder, Israel Expl.)
2. In Judges 10:12, "the Maonites did oppress you," the Mehunim of 2 Chronicles 26:7 may be meant, the inhabitants of Mann (translated for "habitations," 1 Chronicles 4:41, Meunites, who were strangers there), a city near Petra, E. of wady Muss. Otherwise, a "Maon" tribe, of which Maon city was a remnant, near Amalek, dispossessed by Caleb, may have oppressed Israel subsequently under the judges. But thus all notice of Israel's great oppressor Midian would be omitted; and Septuagint in both the best manuscripts read for "the Maonites" in Judges 10:12 "Midian."
No Hebrew manuscript existing supports this. In 2 Chronicles 20:1, "with them (other) beside the Ammonites," or as others translated "others who dwelt aside from (i.e. beyond) the Ammonites," namely, tribes in the Syro-Arabian desert bordering upon Ammon on the N. and E.; compare 2 Chronicles 20:2 (Keil). But 2 Chronicles 20:10; 2 Chronicles 20:22, mentioning inhabitants of Mount Seir or Edom among the invaders, favor Hiller's alteration of Meeha'amonim into Meehame'unim, the Maonites of Mann near the Edomite Petra; E. of wady Muss, in the mountainous region W. of the Arabah. The Maonites are mentioned instead of the Edomites, to imply that not only Edomites but tribes from other parts of Mount Seir joined the invasion. The Maonites probably were of non Edomitic origin.
3. Descendant of Caleb, son of Shammai, father of founder of Bethzur (1 Chronicles 2:45).
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