9:46 When all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem 1 heard the news, they went to the stronghold 2 of the temple of El-Berith. 3 9:47 Abimelech heard 4 that all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem were in one place. 5 9:48 He and all his men 6 went up on Mount Zalmon. He 7 took an ax 8 in his hand and cut off a tree branch. He put it 9 on his shoulder and said to his men, “Quickly, do what you have just seen me do!” 10 9:49 So each of his men also cut off a branch and followed Abimelech. They put the branches 11 against the stronghold and set fire to it. 12 All the people 13 of the Tower of Shechem died – about a thousand men and women.
1 sn Perhaps the Tower of Shechem was a nearby town, distinct from Shechem proper, or a tower within the city.
2 tn Apparently this rare word refers here to the most inaccessible area of the temple, perhaps the inner sanctuary or an underground chamber. It appears only here and in 1 Sam 13:6, where it is paired with “cisterns” and refers to subterranean or cave-like hiding places.
3 sn The name El-Berith means “God of the Covenant.” It is probably a reference to the Canaanite high god El.
4 tn Heb “and it was told to Abimelech.”
5 tn Heb “were assembled.”
6 tn Heb “his people.”
7 tn Heb “Abimelech.” The proper name has been replaced with the pronoun (“he”) due to considerations of English style.
8 tn The Hebrew text has the plural here.
9 tn Heb “he lifted it and put [it].”
10 tn Heb “What you have seen me do, quickly do like me.”
11 tn The words “the branches” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
12 tn Heb “they kindled over them the stronghold with fire.”
13 tn Or “men,” but the word seems to have a more general sense here, as the conclusion to the sentence suggests.