Judges 9:25
And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech.
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(25) Set liers in wait for him.—The “for him” does not necessarily mean “to seize him,” but to his disadvantage. The disaffection began to show itself, as has so often been the case in Palestine from the days of Saul to those of Herod, by the rise of brigandage, rendering all government precarious, and providing a refuge tor all dangerous and discontented spirits. Josephus says that Abimelech was expelled from Shechem, and even from the tribe of Ephraim (Antt. v. 1, § 3).

In the top of the mountains.—Especially Ebal and Gerizim.

Jdg 9:25. Set liers in wait for him — To seize his person. Robbed all — Such as favoured or served Abimelech; for to such only their commission reached, though it may be they went beyond their bounds, and robbed all passengers promiscuously.9:22-29 Abimelech is seated in the throne his father refused. But how long does this glory last? Stay but three years, and see the bramble withered and burned. The prosperity of the wicked is short and fickle. The Shechemites are plagued by no other hand than Abimelech's. They raised him unjustly to the throne; they first feel the weight of his sceptre.Had reigned - Rather, "had ruled." It is not the phrase used in Judges 9:6. It looks as if the Shechemites alone had made him king, and the rest of Israel had submitted to his dominion, without allowing his title of king. 23. Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem—In the course of providence, jealousy, distrust, secret disaffection, and smothered rebellion appeared among his subjects disappointed and disgusted with his tyranny; and God permitted those disorders to punish the complicated crimes of the royal fratricide and idolatrous usurper. Liers in wait for him, to seize his person.

All that came along that way by them, to wit, such as favoured or served Abimelech; for to such only their commission reached, though it may be they went beyond their bounds, and by military license robbed all passengers promiscuously.

It was told Abimelech; who, as it is here implied, exercised hostility towards the men of Shechem. And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains,.... Of Ebal and Gerizim, which were near Shechem, by the way of which he passed when he came to that city, and these they set there, either to slay him, or to seize his person, and bring him to them:

and they robbed all that came along that way by them; that belonged to Abimelech and others also; and this they did to show their contempt of his government, and that they were no longer under it, and every man did what was right in his own eyes, as if they had no governor over them; though some think this was done to draw him thither to secure his subjects from such rapine and violence, that they might have an opportunity to lay hold upon him, or this they did on purpose to begin a civil war:

and it was told Abimelech; that they lay in wait for him, and so he kept himself from them.

And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech.
25. liers in wait for him] They hoped to catch A., who apparently was non-resident, and failing him, they plundered his friends. From the heights round Shechem the roads are easily watched. Probably in their original context Jdg 9:22-25 were followed by Jdg 9:42-45; on being told of the treason, A. at once (Jdg 9:43) took measures.Verse 25. - The men of Shechem, etc. The narrative now gives the details of that "treacherous dealing" on the part of the Shechemites which was spoken of in the gross in ver. 23. Their disaffection first showed itself in acts of brigandage "against the peace of their lord the king," to use the language of our own mediaeval lawyers. The road to Shechem was no longer safe; lawless freebooters, in defiance of Abimelech's authority, stopped and robbed all travellers that passed that way, probably including Abimelech's own officers and servants. For him. It may have been their intention even to lay violent hands upon Abimelech himself should he come to Shechem. In Judges 9:16-20 Jotham gives the application of his fable, for there was no necessity for any special explanation of it, since it was perfectly clear and intelligible in itself. These verses form a long period, the first half of which is so extended by the insertion of parentheses introduced as explanations (Judges 9:17, Judges 9:18), that the commencement of it (Judges 9:16) is taken up again in Judges 9:19 for the purpose of attaching the apodosis. "If ye have acted in truth and sincerity, and (i.e., when he) made Abimelech king; if ye have done well to Jerubbaal and his house, and if ye have done to him according to the doing of his hands ... as my father fought for you ... but ye have risen up to-day against my father's house, and have slain ... if (I say) ye have acted in truth and sincerity to Jerubbaal and his house this day: then rejoice in Abimelech ...." נפשׁו השׁליך, to throw away his life, i.e., expose to death. מנּגד, "from before him," serves to strengthen the השׁליך. Jotham imputes the slaying of his brothers to the citizens of Shechem, as a crime which they themselves had committed (Judges 9:18), because they had given Abimelech money out of their temple of Baal to carry out his designs against the sons of Jerubbaal (Judges 9:4). In this reproach he had, strictly speaking, already pronounced sentence upon their doings. When, therefore, he proceeds still further in Judges 9:19, "If ye have acted in truth towards Jerubbaal ... then rejoice," etc., this turn contains the bitterest scorn at the faithlessness manifested towards Jerubbaal. In that case nothing could follow but the fulfilment of the threat and the bursting forth of the fire. In carrying out this point the application goes beyond the actual meaning of the parable itself. Not only will fire go forth from Abimelech and consume the lords of Shechem and the inhabitants of Millo, but fire will also go forth from them and devour Abimelech himself. The fulfilment of this threat was not long delayed, as the following history shows (Judges 9:23.).
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