Judges 9:7: Jotham's Allegory, Part 1

[circa 1209 BC] Verse 7:[1] And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of (Deut. 11:29; 27:12; Josh. 8:33; John 4:20) mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you.


[And he stood on the top of mount Gerizim] That is, which was overlooking the city, and from which he could be clearly heard by the Shechemites, yet not so easily approached. But yet it is not plausible that this was done at the time that Abimelech was made King (for he does not speak in the present tense in verses 16 and 18, but in the preterite, ye have made him king, etc., and, ye have slain, etc. [Serarius]); but at another time, with Abimelech absent, when, says Josephus, when a public festival was celebrated, for which all the common people had assembled[2] (Bonfrerius). This mountain was not far from Shechem, just as also Ebal, the other set over against it, both famous for the ceremony of blessings and curses (Menochius). Upon Gerizim, the hill of blessing, he denounced a curse against them (Lightfoot).


Mount Gerizim lay near Shechem, and near Mount Ebal. The valley between these two mountains of Gerizim and Ebal was a famous place, employed for a religious use, even for the solemn reading of the law, and its blessings and curses, Deuteronomy 11:29; 27:12; Joshua 8:33; and therefore it is probable it was still used, even by the superstitious and idolatrous Israelites, for such-like occasions, who delighted to use the same places which their religious ancestors had consecrated and used. Lifted up his voice, and cried; so as they that stood in the valley might hear him, though not suddenly come at him to take him. Ye men of Shechem; who are here met together upon a solemn occasion, as Josephus notes, Abimelech being absent.


[In such a way that God might hearken unto you] That is to say, I adjure you by God to hearken unto me, in what way ye wish to be heard by God (Bonfrerius, Lapide).


That God may hearken unto you, when you cry unto him for mercy; so he conjures and persuades to give him patient audience, as they did.

[1] Hebrew: וַיַּגִּ֣דוּ לְיוֹתָ֗ם וַיֵּ֙לֶךְ֙ וַֽיַּעֲמֹד֙ בְּרֹ֣אשׁ הַר־גְּרִזִ֔ים וַיִּשָּׂ֥א קוֹל֖וֹ וַיִּקְרָ֑א וַיֹּ֣אמֶר לָהֶ֗ם שִׁמְע֤וּ אֵלַי֙ בַּעֲלֵ֣י שְׁכֶ֔ם וְיִשְׁמַ֥ע אֲלֵיכֶ֖ם אֱלֹהִֽים׃


[2] Antiquities 5:8.

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Dr. Steven Dilday holds a BA in Religion and Philosophy from Campbell University, a Master of Arts in Religion from Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), and both a Master of Divinity and a  Ph.D. in Puritan History and Literature from Whitefield Theological Seminary.  He is also the translator of Matthew Poole's Synopsis of Biblical Interpreters and Bernardinus De Moor’s Didactico-Elenctic Theology.

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