Judges 9:26
And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.
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(26) Gaal the son of Ebed.—We are not told any further who he was; but the context leads us to infer that he was one of these freebooters, and probably belonged to the Canaanite population. His “brethren” may have formed the nucleus of a marauding band. Josephus says he was “a certain chief, with his soldiers and kinsmen.” For Ebed some MSS. and versions read Eber, and some Jobel. “Gaal Ben-Ebed” (“loathing son of a slave “) sounds like some contemptuous distortion of his real name.

Went over to Shechem.—Possibly he had been practising brigandage on the other side of the Jordan.

Jdg 9:26. Gaal — It is not known who he was; but it is evident he was a man very considerable for wealth, and strength, and interest, and that he was ill pleased with Abimelech’s power. Went to Shechem — By his presence and counsel to animate and assist them against Abimelech.9:22-29 Abimelech is seated in the throne his father refused. But how long does this glory last? Stay but three years, and see the bramble withered and burned. The prosperity of the wicked is short and fickle. The Shechemites are plagued by no other hand than Abimelech's. They raised him unjustly to the throne; they first feel the weight of his sceptre.It does not appear who Gaal, son of Ebed, was; he may have been an officer sent by Abimelech with a force to bring the men of Shechem back to their allegiance, but who tried to turn the rebellion to his own account. He got into Shechem with a band of men, "his brethren," unopposed by Zebul, Abimelech's officer, and soon gained the confidence of the Shechemites, 26. Gaal … came with his brethren …, and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him—An insurrection of the original Canaanites, headed by this man, at last broke out in Shechem. It is not known who or of what tribe

Gaal was; but it is evident that he was a man very considerable for wealth, and strength, and counsel, and interest, and ill-pleased with Abimelech’s power.

Went over to Shechem, by his presence and counsel to animate and assist them against Abimelech. And Gaal the son or Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem,.... Who this Gaal was, and who his brethren, and from whence he came, and the place he went over, are all uncertain. Jarchi thinks he was a Gentile, and it looks, by some speeches of his afterwards, as if he was a descendant of Hamor, prince of Shechem, in the times of Jacob, who, since the expulsion of the Canaanites, his family had retired to some distant parts; but hearing of a difference between Abimelech and the Shechemites, Gaal, with some of the family, came over, perhaps over Jordan, to make what advantage he could of it:

and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him; freely told him their mind, the ill opinion they had of Abimelech, and what was their design against him; and he assuring them he would take their part, and defend them to the uttermost, they depended on him, and therefore very securely went about their business in the fields, as follows.

And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.
26–41. Gaal stirs up the Shechemites: Abimelech defeats them

26. Gaal the son of Ebed] i.e. of a slave; but pronounce throughout Obed, with LXX. cod. B (Ιωβηλ for Ιωβηδ) and Vulgate; a common name. Gaal is described as a new-comer, whether an Israelite or a Canaanite is not clear. Jdg 9:26-33 seem to be parallel to Jdg 9:22-25; both narrate the rise of treason in Shechem, and both lead up to parallel accounts of Abimelech’s retaliation.Verse 26. - Gaal the son of Ebed. Who he was, or of what tribe or race he and his brethren were, we have no means of knowing; he seems to have been an adventurer who sought to turn the growing disaffection of the Shechemites to his own advantage by offering himself as a leader of the malcontents. Several MSS. and editions and versions read Eber for Ebed. In Judges 9:16-20 Jotham gives the application of his fable, for there was no necessity for any special explanation of it, since it was perfectly clear and intelligible in itself. These verses form a long period, the first half of which is so extended by the insertion of parentheses introduced as explanations (Judges 9:17, Judges 9:18), that the commencement of it (Judges 9:16) is taken up again in Judges 9:19 for the purpose of attaching the apodosis. "If ye have acted in truth and sincerity, and (i.e., when he) made Abimelech king; if ye have done well to Jerubbaal and his house, and if ye have done to him according to the doing of his hands ... as my father fought for you ... but ye have risen up to-day against my father's house, and have slain ... if (I say) ye have acted in truth and sincerity to Jerubbaal and his house this day: then rejoice in Abimelech ...." נפשׁו השׁליך, to throw away his life, i.e., expose to death. מנּגד, "from before him," serves to strengthen the השׁליך. Jotham imputes the slaying of his brothers to the citizens of Shechem, as a crime which they themselves had committed (Judges 9:18), because they had given Abimelech money out of their temple of Baal to carry out his designs against the sons of Jerubbaal (Judges 9:4). In this reproach he had, strictly speaking, already pronounced sentence upon their doings. When, therefore, he proceeds still further in Judges 9:19, "If ye have acted in truth towards Jerubbaal ... then rejoice," etc., this turn contains the bitterest scorn at the faithlessness manifested towards Jerubbaal. In that case nothing could follow but the fulfilment of the threat and the bursting forth of the fire. In carrying out this point the application goes beyond the actual meaning of the parable itself. Not only will fire go forth from Abimelech and consume the lords of Shechem and the inhabitants of Millo, but fire will also go forth from them and devour Abimelech himself. The fulfilment of this threat was not long delayed, as the following history shows (Judges 9:23.).
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