|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:29-35 As soon as Gideon was dead, who kept the people to the worship of the God of Israel, they found themselves under no restraint; then they went after Baalim, and showed no kindness to the family of Gideon. No wonder if those who forget their God, forget their friends. Yet conscious of our own ingratitude to the Lord, and observing that of mankind in general, we should learn to be patient under any unkind returns we meet with for our poor services, and resolve, after the Divine example, not to be overcome of evil, but to overcome evil with good.
Verse 31. - Whose name he called. This is badly translated; it should he, he gave him the name of Abimelech - literally, he set his name Abimelech. There are two phrases in Hebrew. The one, he called his name Seth, Noah, Ishmael, Isaac, Esau, Jacob, etc., as the case may be. And this is the phrase always, though not exclusively (see, e.g., Genesis 35:10; Judges 6:32), used of the name given to a child at its birth or circumcision. The other is, he gave or set him the name, or, he gave or set his name so-and-so, and this phrase is only used of additional names, or surnames given later in life. The examples are Judges 13:31; 2 Kings 17:34; Nehemiah 9:7; Daniel 2:7; Daniel 5:12. The inference is that the name of Abimelech, which means father of a king, and was the name of the royal family of Gerar, was given to Abimelech as a significant surname, and was perhaps one of the causes which induced him to seize the kingdom. A third phrase is found in 2 Kings 23:34; 2 Kings 24:17; 2 Chronicles 36:4: he turned his name to Jehoiakim; changed his name to Zedekiah. The Hebrew is the same in all these passages.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And his concubine that was in Shechem,.... Which was not an harlot, but a secondary or half wife; such were generally taken from handmaids, and of the meaner sort, and were not in such esteem as proper wives, had not the management of household affairs, only a share in the bed, and their children did not inherit. This concubine of Gideon's seems not to have been taken into his house at all, but lived at Shechem, perhaps in her father's house, and here Gideon met with her when he went to Shechem as a judge to try causes; her name, according to Josephus (l), was Druma:
she also bare him a son; as his other wives did; perhaps all the children he had were sons, and this was one over and above the seventy, and not to be reckoned into that number:
whose name he called Abimelech: which signifies, "my father a king"; which he gave him either in memory of the offer made him to be king of Israel, or through foresight of what this son of his would be; or he might be moved to it by the mother from pride and vanity, and which name might afterwards inspire the young man to be made a king, as he was; and the account given of his name is because of the narrative of him in the following chapter.
(l) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 7. sect. 1.
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