Judges 9:27
And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and stepped the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(27) And made merry.—The vintage was the most joyous festival of the year (Isaiah 16:9-10; Jeremiah 25:30). The word rendered “merry” is hillûlim, and occurs only here and in Leviticus 19:24, where it is rendered praise.” Some render it “offered thank-offerings.” The Chaldee renders it “dances,” and the Vulg. “choirs of singers.” The word evidently involves the notion of triumphant songs (LXX., elloulim and chorous).

Of their god.—Baal-berith.

Did eat and drink.—In some public feast, such as often took place in idol temples (Judges 16:23; 2Kings 19:37; 1Corinthians 8:10). It is evident that this was a sort of heathen analogue of the Feast of Ingathering. The apostasy would be facilitated by a transference of customs of worship from Elohim to Baal.

Cursed Abimelech.—Rather, abused. This seems to have been the first outburst of rebellion among the general population, and Gaal took advantage of it.

Jdg 9:27. They went out into the fields — Which, till his coming, they durst not do, for fear of Abimelech. Made merry — Both from the custom of rejoicing, and singing songs in vintage time, and for the hopes of their redemption from Abimelech’s tyranny. Went into the house of their god — Baal-berith, (Jdg 9:4,) either to beg his help against Abimelech, or to give him thanks for the hopes of recovering their liberty. And did eat and drink — To the honour of their idol, and out of the oblations made to him, as they used to do to the honour of Jehovah, and out of his sacrifices. And cursed Abimelech — Either by reviling him after their manner, or, rather, in a more solemn and religious manner, cursing him by their god, as Goliah did David.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.Seditious and lawless acts Jdg 9:25-26 now broke out into open rebellion. It was at an idolatrous feast in the house of Baal-berith, on occasion of the vintage, and when they were excited with wine, that the rebellion was matured. Those present began to "curse Abimelech," to speak insultingly of him, and to revile him (compare Leviticus 20:9; 2 Samuel 19:21; Isaiah 8:21). Gaal, the son of Ebed, who was watching the opportunity, immediately incited them to revolt from the dominion of Abimelech, offering himself to be their captain; adding a message of defiance to Abimelech, addressed, probably, to Zebul, who was present but too weak to resent it on the spot.

Judges 9:27

Made merry - The word translated "merry" occurs only here and in Leviticus 19:24. Its etymology gives the sense of "praises", "thanksgivings"; and its use in these two passages rather indicates that the fruits themselves which were brought to the House of God with songs of praise, and eaten or drunken with religious service, were so called. The thank-offerings would be a portion of the new wine of the vintage which they had just gathered in.

26. Gaal … came with his brethren …, and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him—An insurrection of the original Canaanites, headed by this man, at last broke out in Shechem. They went out into the fields, which, till his coming, they durst not do, for fear of Abimelech; but now took confidence to do so, in contempt of him.

Made merry; partly from the custom of rejoicing and singing songs in vintage time, Leviticus 19:24 Isaiah 16:10 Jeremiah 25:30; and partly for the hopes of their redemption from Abimelech’s tyranny.

The house of their god, Baal-berith, Judges 9:4; either to beg his help against Abimelech, or to give him thanks, either for the fruits of the earth now received, or for the hopes of recovering their former and lost liberty.

Did eat and drink, to the honour of their idols, and out of the oblations made to them, as they used to do to the honour of Jehovah, and out of his sacrifices.

Cursed Abimelech; either by reviling and reproaching him after their manner; or rather in a more solemn and religious manner, cursing him by their god, as Goliath did David, 1 Samuel 17:43; or calling upon their god to ratify their curses pronounced against him. Before they kept within the city, and durst not stir out to gather in the vintage, the time being come, for fear of the troops of Abimelech; for their lying in wait for him, and the robberies committed being made known to him, he had prepared to raise some forces, and attack them, of which they had had information; but now being encouraged with the protection of Gaal, they ventured out to gather their grapes in their vineyards without fear:

and trode the grapes, and made merry: sung songs and danced, as was usual at the ingathering of the fruits of the earth, and treading the winepress, Isaiah 16:10 though Abendana thinks this joy and merriment were made to their idol, to whom they gave the praise of their vintage, they should have done to the true God, and what follows may seem to confirm it:

and they went into the house of their god; the temple of Baalberith, Judges 9:5.

and did eat and drink; in their idol temple, as was the manner of idolaters to do, bringing their firstfruits to rejoice, and make glad with:

and cursed Abimelech; wished they had never seen him and known him, hoped they should be rid of him in a little time, and that he would meet with his deserved disgrace and punishment; and this they did in that very temple from whence they had taken money to assist him in making way for his government of them; so fickle and changeable were they.

And they {i} went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.

(i) Before they were afraid of Abimelech's power, and did not dare go out of the city.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
27. held festival] held a merry-making. The marg. offered a praise offering is based upon the special sense of the word in Leviticus 19:24; here, more generally, a vintage feast like the one described in Jdg 21:19 ff. Cf. the orgiastic feasts held by the Carthaginians, no doubt in the temples; North-Sem. lnscr., p. 121 f.Verse 27. - And they went out, etc. The next step forward in the rebellion was taken at the time of the vintage, probably when they were inflamed with wine; for, after they had gathered in and trodden the grapes, they kept high festival in the temple of Baal-berith, on occasion of offering to their god the solemn thank offering for the vintage. And then, speaking freely under the influence of wine, they cursed Abimelech. The whole talk of the company was of his misdeeds, and seditious and rebellious words were freely uttered on all sides. Made merry. Rather, offered their thank offerings. The same word is used in Leviticus 19:24: "In the fourth year all the fruit thereof (i.e. of the vineyard) shall be holy to praise the Lord withal" - literally, praise offerings to the Lord. These offerings were made by the Shechemites to Baal instead of to God. But Jotham fled to Beer, after charging the Shechemites with their iniquity, and dwelt there before his brother Abimelech ("before," i.e., "for fear of." - Jerome). Beer in all probability is not the same place as Beeroth in the tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 9:17), but, according to the Onom. (s. v. Βηρά), a place eight Roman miles to the north of Eleutheropolis, situated in the plain; at present a desolate village called el Breh, near the mouth of Wady es Surr, not far from the former Beth-shemesh (Rob. Pal. ii. p. 132).
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