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Judges 9:50-52: Abimelech's Assault of the Tower of Thebez

Verse 50:[1] Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.

[To Thebez] The city is in the tribe of Manasseh, as Adrichomius testifies (Menochius). It was not far from the city of Shechem, and apparently the other colony of the same city (Bonfrerius).

Thebez; another town near to Shechem; and, as it seems, within its territory.

[He besieged] In the Hebrew it is added, and he took it.[2] He subjoins that the city was previously taken, otherwise the citizens would not have fled to the tower, neither would Abimelech have been able to approach (Bonfrerius).

Verse 51:[3] But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower.

All the men and women; all that were not slain in the taking of the town; or they all forsook the town, and retired to their strong hold.

[With the entrance shut up, וַֽיִּסְגְּר֖וּ בַּעֲדָ֑ם] And they shut upon themselves, understanding, the stronghold, or the gate of the stronghold. Upon themselves, that is, after they entered (Vatablus).

[Upon the roof of the tower] For the roofs of the Jews were flat for walking, sunning oneself, conversing, etc. (Bonfrerius).

The top of the tower was flat and plain, after their manner of building.

Verse 52:[4] And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire.

[1] Hebrew: וַיֵּ֥לֶךְ אֲבִימֶ֖לֶךְ אֶל־תֵּבֵ֑ץ וַיִּ֥חַן בְּתֵבֵ֖ץ וַֽיִּלְכְּדָֽהּ׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּ֥חַן בְּתֵבֵ֖ץ וַֽיִּלְכְּדָֽהּ׃.

[3] Hebrew: וּמִגְדַּל־עֹז֮ הָיָ֣ה בְתוֹךְ־הָעִיר֒ וַיָּנֻ֙סוּ שָׁ֜מָּה כָּל־הָאֲנָשִׁ֣ים וְהַנָּשִׁ֗ים וְכֹל֙ בַּעֲלֵ֣י הָעִ֔יר וַֽיִּסְגְּר֖וּ בַּעֲדָ֑ם וַֽיַּעֲל֖וּ עַל־גַּ֥ג הַמִּגְדָּֽל׃

[4] Hebrew: וַיָּבֹ֤א אֲבִימֶ֙לֶךְ֙ עַד־הַמִּגְדָּ֔ל וַיִּלָּ֖חֶם בּ֑וֹ וַיִּגַּ֛שׁ עַד־פֶּ֥תַח הַמִּגְדָּ֖ל לְשָׂרְפ֥וֹ בָאֵֽשׁ׃

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday

Matthew Henry: 'We have seen the ruin of the Shechemites completed by the hand of Abimelech; and now it comes to his turn to be reckoned with who was their leader in villany. Thebez was a small city, probably not far from Shechem, dependent upon it, and in confederacy with it. Now...Abimelech attempted the destruction of this city (Judges 9:50), drove all the inhabitants of the town into the castle, or citadel, Judges 9:51. When he had them there he did not doubt but he should do the same execution here that he had lately done at the stronghold of the temple of Baal-berith, not considering that the tower of an idol-temple lay more exposed to divine vengeance than an…

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