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Judges 9:47-49: Abimelech's Assault on the Tower of Shechem

Verse 47:[1] And it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.

Verse 48:[2] And Abimelech gat him up to mount (Ps. 68:14) Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said unto the people that were with him, What ye have seen me do (Heb. I have done[3]), make haste, and do as I have done.

[Unto mount Zalmon[4]] Near to Shechem and Millo, concerning which Psalm 68:14 (Lapide). It was in the tribe of Ephraim, Eastward as far as Jordan (Serarius). It has its name from shadow;[5] because it was shady with trees (Malvenda, similarly Menochius).

Zalmon; a place so called from its shadiness, because there were many trees there.

Verse 49:[6] And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.

[Branches…cutting off, אִ֣ישׁ שׂוֹכֹ֗ה] Each man his branch, that is, branches (Junius and Tremellius, Piscator). שׂוֹכֹה is from שׂוֹךְ/branch; or שׂוֹכוֹת is in the place of שׂוֹכָתוֹ, his branch; just as we say צוּרָם, their Rock,[7] is in the place of צוּרָתָם, and פִּנָּהּ, her corner,[8] is in the place of פִּנָתָהּ. It is called a ramus/branch from its obumbrando/overshadowing (Drusius).

[They set fire] Hebrew: they set fire upon them,[9] that is, upon the citadel, in which they were shut up (Vatablus).

[They were killed, וַיָּמֻ֜תוּ גַּ֣ם] They were killed also, understanding, just as the citizens of Shechem were killed; or, just as also the keepers of that citadel (Vatablus).

[A thousand…men, etc.] About a thousand men and women (Junius and Tremellius), but after thousand a comma is to be placed; that is to say, approximately a thousand men, partly men, partly women (Vatablus).

[1] Hebrew: וַיֻּגַּ֖ד לַאֲבִימֶ֑לֶךְ כִּ֣י הִֽתְקַבְּצ֔וּ כָּֽל־בַּעֲלֵ֖י מִֽגְדַּל־שְׁכֶֽם׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיַּ֙עַל אֲבִימֶ֜לֶךְ הַר־צַלְמ֗וֹן הוּא֮ וְכָל־הָעָ֣ם אֲשֶׁר־אִתּוֹ֒ וַיִּקַּח֩ אֲבִימֶ֙לֶךְ אֶת־הַקַּרְדֻּמּ֜וֹת בְּיָד֗וֹ וַיִּכְרֹת֙ שׂוֹכַ֣ת עֵצִ֔ים וַיִּ֙שָּׂאֶ֔הָ וַיָּ֖שֶׂם עַל־שִׁכְמ֑וֹ וַיֹּ֜אמֶר אֶל־הָעָ֣ם אֲשֶׁר־עִמּ֗וֹ מָ֤ה רְאִיתֶם֙ עָשִׂ֔יתִי מַהֲר֖וּ עֲשׂ֥וּ כָמֽוֹנִי׃

[3] Hebrew: עָשִׂיתִי.

[4] Hebrew: צַלְמוֹן.

[5] Hebrew: צֵל.

[6] Hebrew: וַיִּכְרְת֙וּ גַם־כָּל־הָעָ֜ם אִ֣ישׁ שׂוֹכֹ֗ה וַיֵּ֙לְכ֜וּ אַחֲרֵ֤י אֲבִימֶ֙לֶךְ֙ וַיָּשִׂ֣ימוּ עַֽל־הַצְּרִ֔יחַ וַיַּצִּ֧יתוּ עֲלֵיהֶ֛ם אֶֽת־הַצְּרִ֖יחַ בָּאֵ֑שׁ וַיָּמֻ֜תוּ גַּ֣ם כָּל־אַנְשֵׁ֧י מִֽגְדַּל־שְׁכֶ֛ם כְּאֶ֖לֶף אִ֥ישׁ וְאִשָּֽׁה׃

[7] Deuteronomy 32:30: “How should one chase a thousand, and two put ten thousand to flight, except their Rock (צוּרָם) had sold them, and the Lord had shut them up?” Likewise in Deuteronomy 32:31; Psalm 78:35.

[8] Proverbs 7:8: “Passing through the street near her corner (פִּנָּהּ); and he went the way to her house…”

[9] Hebrew: וַיַּצִּ֧יתוּ עֲלֵיהֶ֛ם.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
24 août 2018

Matthew Henry: 'When Abimelech had them altogether penned up in that hold he desired no more. That barbarous project immediately came into his head of setting fire to the stronghold, and, so to speak, burning all the birds together in the nest. He kept the design to himself, but set all his men on work to expedite the execution of it, Judges 9:48, 49. He ordered them all to follow him, and do as he did: as his father had said to his men (Judges 7:17), Look on me, and do likewise; so saith he to his, as becomes a general that will not be wanting to give both the plainest direction and the highest encouragement that can be t…

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