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Judges 9:27-29

Context
9:27 They went out to the field, harvested their grapes, 1  squeezed out the juice, 2  and celebrated. They came to the temple 3  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? 4  Serve the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem! But why should we serve Abimelech? 5  9:29 If only these men 6  were under my command, 7  I would get rid of Abimelech!” He challenged Abimelech, 8  “Muster 9  your army and come out for battle!” 10 

1 tn Heb “vineyards.”

2 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.

3 tn Heb “house.”

4 tn Heb “and Zebul his appointee.”

5 tn Heb “him”; the referent (Abimelech) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tn Heb “people.”

7 tn Heb “in my hand.”

sn If only these men were under my command. One might assume from v. 26b that the men were already at his disposal, but perhaps that was not one of the terms of the agreement. Another possibility is that v. 26 is a general summary statement, with vv. 27-29 then detailing how the alliance with Gaal came about.

8 tn Heb “said to Abimelech.” On the other hand, the preposition ל (lamed) prefixed to the proper name may be vocative (see R. G. Boling, Judges [AB], 178). If so, one could translate, “He boasted, ‘Abimelech…’”

9 tn Heb “Make numerous.”

10 tn The words “for battle” are interpretive.



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