9:26 Gaal son of Ebed 1 came through Shechem with his brothers. The leaders of Shechem transferred their loyalty to him. 2 9:27 They went out to the field, harvested their grapes, 3 squeezed out the juice, 4 and celebrated. They came to the temple 5 of their god and ate, drank, and cursed Abimelech. 9:28 Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerub-Baal, and is not Zebul the deputy he appointed? 6 Serve the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem! But why should we serve Abimelech? 7
1 sn The name Gaal derives from, or at least sounds like, a Hebrew verb meaning “to abhor, loathe.” His father’s name, Ebed, means “servant.” Perhaps then this could be translated, “loathsome one, son of a servant.” This individual’s very name (which may be the narrator’s nickname for him, not his actual name) seems to hint at his immoral character and lowly social status.
2 tn Heb “trusted in him.” Here the verb probably describes more than a mental attitude. It is likely that the Shechemites made an alliance with Gaal and were now trusting him for protection in return for their loyalty (and probably tribute).
3 tn Heb “vineyards.”
4 tn Heb “stomped” or “trampled.” This refers to the way in which the juice was squeezed out in the wine vats by stepping on the grapes with one’s bare feet. For a discussion of grape harvesting in ancient Israel, see O. Borowski, Agriculture in Iron Age Israel, 110-14.
5 tn Heb “house.”
6 tn Heb “and Zebul his appointee.”
7 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Abimelech) has been specified in the translation for clarity.