Judges 9:34
And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(34) Four companies.—Literally, four heads. (Comp. Judges 7:16.)

9:30-49 Abimelech intended to punish the Schechemites for slighting him now, but God punished them for their serving him formerly in the murder of Gideon's sons. When God uses men as instruments in his hand to do his work, he means one thing, and they another. That, which they hoped would have been for their welfare, proved a snare and a trap, as those will certainly find, who run to idols for shelter; such will prove a refuge of lies.Privily - See the margin. The word is probably the name of a place in "Tormah", some think the same as "Arumah" Judges 9:41. Zebul was faithful to Abimelech, but dissembled his sentiments, from being too weak to oppose Gaal, until Abimelech came with his army Judges 9:38. 28-45. would to God this people were under my hand—He seems to have been a boastful, impudent, and cowardly person, totally unfit to be a leader in a revolutionary crisis. The consequence was that he allowed himself to be drawn into an ambush, was defeated, the city of Shechem destroyed and strewn with salt. The people took refuge in the stronghold, which was set on fire, and all in it perished. No text from Poole on this verse. And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night,.... According to the advice of Zebul:

and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies; he divided his army into four parts, which he placed on the four sides of the city, at some distance from it, to act as they should have opportunity, to find ways and means of getting into it on either quarter.

And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
At this feast Gaal called upon the Shechemites to revolt from Abimelech. "Who is Abimelech," he exclaimed, "and who Shechem, that we serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor, the father of Shechem! and why should we, we serve him (Abimelech)?" The meaning of these words, which have been misinterpreted in several different ways, is very easily seen, if we bear in mind (1) that מי (who is?) in this double question cannot possibly be used in two different and altogether opposite senses, such as "how insignificant or contemptible is Abimelech," and "how great and mighty is Shechem," but that in both instances it must be expressive of disparagement and contempt, as in 1 Samuel 25:10; and (2) that Gaal answers his own questions. Abimelech was regarded by him as contemptible, not because he was the son of a maid-servant or of very low birth, nor because he was ambitious and cruel, a patricide and the murderer of his brethren (Rosenmller), but because he was a son of Jerubbaal, a son of the man who destroyed the altar of Baal at Shechem and restored the worship of Jehovah, for which the Shechemites themselves had endeavoured to slay him (Judges 6:27.). So also the meaning of the question, Who is Shechem? may be gathered from the answer, "and Zebul his officer." The use of the personal מי (how) in relation to Shechem may be explained on the ground that Gaal is speaking not so much of the city as of its inhabitants. The might and greatness of Shechem did not consist in the might and authority of its prefect, Zebul, who had been appointed by Abimelech, and whom the Shechemites had no need to serve. Accordingly there is no necessity either for the arbitrary paraphrase of Shechem, given in the Sept., viz., υἱὸς Συχέμ (son of Shechem); or for the perfectly arbitrary assumption of Bertheau, that Shechem is only a second name for Abimelech, who was a descendant of Shechem; or even for the solution proposed by Rosenmller, that Zebul was "a man of low birth and obscure origin," which is quite incapable of proof. To Zebul, that one man whom Abimelech had appointed prefect of the city, Gaal opposes "the men of Hamor, the father of Shechem," as those whom the Shechemites should serve (i.e., whose followers they should be). Hamor was the name of the Hivite prince who had founded the city of Shechem (Genesis 33:19; Genesis 34:2; compare Joshua 24:32). The "men of Hamor" were the patricians of the city, who "derived their origin from the noblest and most ancient stock of Hamor" (Rosenmller). Gaal opposes them to Abimelech and his representative Zebul.

(Note: Bertheau maintains, though quite erroneously, that serving the men of Hamor is synonymous with serving Abimelech. But the very opposite of this is so clearly implied in the words, that there cannot be any doubt on the question. All that can be gathered from the words is that there were remnants of the Hivite (or Canaanitish) population still living in Shechem, and therefore that the Canaanites had not been entirely exterminated-a fact which would sufficiently explain the revival of the worship of Baal there.)

In the last clause, "why should we serve him" (Abimelech or his officer Zebul)? Gall identifies himself with the inhabitants of Shechem, that he may gain them fully over to his plans.

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