|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
9:7-21 There was no occasion for the trees to choose a king, they are all the trees of the Lord which he has planted. Nor was there any occasion for Israel to set a king over them, for the Lord was their King. Those who bear fruit for the public good, are justly respected and honoured by all that are wise, more than those who merely make a figure. All these fruit-trees gave much the same reason for their refusal to be promoted over the trees; or, as the margin reads it, to go up and down for the trees. To rule, involves a man in a great deal both of toil and care. Those who are preferred to public trust and power, must forego all private interests and advantages, for the good of others. And those advanced to honour and dignity, are in great danger of losing their fruitfulness. For which reason, they that desire to do good, are afraid of being too great. Jotham compares Abimelech to the bramble or thistle, a worthless plant, whose end is to be burned. Such a one was Abimelech.
Verse 21. - Jotham ran away. Being close to the top of Gerizim, Jotham had the open country before him. It would take the men of Shechem twenty minutes to ascend the hill, by which time Jotham would be out of sight, and two or three miles on his way. Beer, to which he fled, is thought to be either the same as Beeroth, among the heights of the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 9:17), now El-Birch, "the first halting-place for caravans on the northern road from Jerusalem" ('Sinai and Palestine,' p. 210); or a place called by Eusebius Beta, now El-Birch, eight Roman miles from Eleutheropolis (now Beit Jibrin), and possibly the same as the place of the same name described by Maundrell as four hours from Jerusalem, and two hours west of Bethel; or, as Ewald thinks, Beer beyond Jordan (Numbers 21:16). It is impossible to decide which, or whether any, of these is the place designated as Jotham s place of refuge.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Jotham ran away, and fled,.... Having delivered his fable, and the application of it, he made his escape, having the advantage of being on the top of a mountain, at some distance from the people, and perhaps they might not be inclined to do him any harm:
and went to Beer; which some take to be the same with Baalathbeer in the tribe of Simeon, Joshua 19:8 Jerom (f) says, the village Bera, whither Jotham fled, is eight miles from Eleutheropolis to the north; but Mr. Maundrell (g), who was in those parts in 1697, gives us a better account of it; and, according to him, it is about two hours and a half's travel from Bethel to it, and three hours and one third from it to Jerusalem; Beer, he says, enjoys a very pleasant situation, on an easy declivity, fronting southward; at the bottom of the hill it has a plentiful fountain of excellent water, from which it had its name:
and dwelt there for fear of Abimelech his brother; how long he dwelt there is not certain, and we hear no more of him after this, Josephus says (h) he lay hid in the mountains three years for fear of Abimelech, which perhaps he concluded from Abimelech's reigning three years, as follows.
(f) De loc. Heb. fol. 89. I((g) Journey from Aleppo, &c. p. 64, 66. (h) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 7. sect. 2.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
21. Joatham … went to Beer—the modern village El-Bireh, on the ridge which bounds the northern prospect of Jerusalem.
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