Mahanaim is in today’s Kingdom of Jordan. It is written in Genesis 31:1-2, Jacob was led by God to bring his wives, children, cattle and belongings to leave Paddam-aram. On his way to return to Canaan, the messengers of God met him there. When Jacob saw them, he said, “this is the army of God” and he named the place Mahanaim which means “Two camps”.
Mahanaim is located at east of River Jordan and north of Jabbok River. It is 19 kilometers away from Succoth which is at the east of it and 11 kilometers away from Peniel which is also at the east of it. Today there are different opinions about the exact location of Mahanaim and cannot be finalized.
According to the record in the Bible, the Israelites defeated the native Amorites at the east of Jordan River before entering into Canaan. When distributing the properties at the east of River Jordan, Moses gave Mahanaim to the tribe of Gad (Num 32:33; Joshua 13:8, 13:26-27); it’s next to the east borders with the tribe of Manasseh. (Jos 13:30) Later on, the Israelites according to the instruction of God gave the city of Manahaim to offspring of Merari who’s in the tribe of Levi. (Jos 21:38; 1Ch 6:80)
Manahaim has strategic importance. Thus, Commander of Saul’s army Abner took Ishbosheth, the son of Saul crossed Jordan River to Mahanaim and made him king to rule over Israel after Saul had died and David became the king of Juda in Hebron. (2Sa 2:1-4, 8-11)
Abner took solders from Mahanaim to Gibeon, and they met the soldiers of Joab at the pool of Gibeon. Each side selected 20 men to fight to each other and caused a battle between two armies. Abner was defeated by Joab and fled all night to Mahanaim. (2Sa 2:12-29)
When King David’s son, Absalom rebelled, David fled from Jerusalem to Mahanaim (2Sa 15:12-16, 17:24) and received supply from the local people. (2Sa 17:27-29, 19:32) David gathered the troops that loyal to him to fight with Absalom in the woods of Ephraim and Absalom was defeated and killed. (2Sa 18:1-15).
When Solomon was the king of Israel, he had established 12 governors over all Israel and had Ahinadab to manage Mahanaim. (1Ki 4:7, 14)
The dance of Mahanaim was mentioned in Song of Solomon, “Why should you look upon the Shulammite, as upon a dance of Mahanaim?” (Son 6:13)
聖經地名詞典 白雲曉編著 北京中央編譯出版社 2001.12
聖經地理 馬自毅編著 上海學林出版社 2005.7
簡明聖經史地圖解 梁天樞著 上海人民出版社
Holy Light Bible Geography: http://biblegeography.holylight.org.tw/