Judges 9:30
And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled.
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(30) The ruler of the city.—The word sar seems to imply that he was the military commandant.

9:30-49 Abimelech intended to punish the Schechemites for slighting him now, but God punished them for their serving him formerly in the murder of Gideon's sons. When God uses men as instruments in his hand to do his work, he means one thing, and they another. That, which they hoped would have been for their welfare, proved a snare and a trap, as those will certainly find, who run to idols for shelter; such will prove a refuge of lies.Shechem is another designation of Abimelech. Sheehem means the son and heir of Sheehem, Abimelech's mother being a Canaanite Judges 9:18. 28-45. would to God this people were under my hand—He seems to have been a boastful, impudent, and cowardly person, totally unfit to be a leader in a revolutionary crisis. The consequence was that he allowed himself to be drawn into an ambush, was defeated, the city of Shechem destroyed and strewn with salt. The people took refuge in the stronghold, which was set on fire, and all in it perished. It seems he had temporized and complied with the people’s humour and plot against Abimelech, either in dissimulation and design, and by Abimelech’s connivance or advice, or really; but when he heard Gaal’s words, and himself traduced and struck at by them, he changed his mind, repented of his defection from Abimelech, and intended to return himself, and to bring the people again to the obedience of their lord and king.

And when Zebul the ruler of the city,.... Whom Abimelech had placed there under him: heard

the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled; because he spoke slightly of him, and wished to have his place; perhaps before Zebul was inclined to be on the side of the Shechemites against Abimelech, or at least dissembled that he was; but now, being incensed at the words of Gaal, determined to take the side of Abimelech, and let him know how things were carrying on against him.

And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled.
30. Zebul the ruler of the city] He ruled as the representative of Abimelech; cf. for the title (sar) 1 Kings 22:26, 2 Kings 23:8. He had no force at his disposal; all he could do was to warn his master of Gaal’s treason and advise an immediate attack.

Verses 30, 31. - And when Zebul, etc. Zebul, it appears, was governor of the city under Abimelech, and when the words of Gaal were reported to him, he privately sent off messengers to the king to tell him the state of affairs at Shechem, and urge him to come in person. Zebul meanwhile temporised, not being strong enough to resist Gaal openly. Privily. The word only occurs here. It probably means a little more than privily, - viz., with subtlety or deceit, - because he pretended all the while to be a friend of Gaal. Some make it a proper name, "In Rumah," taking it for the same place as Arumah (ver. 41) Judges 9:30This rebellious speech of Gaal was reported to Abimelech by the town-prefect Zebul, who sent messengers to him בּתרמה, either with deceit (תּרמה from רמה), i.e., employing deceit, inasmuch as he had listened to the speech quietly and with apparent assent, or "in Tormah," the name of a place, תּרמה being a misspelling for ארמה equals ארוּמה (Judges 9:41). The Sept. and Chaldee take the word as an appellative equals ἐν κρυφῇ, secretly; so also do Rashi and most of the earlier commentators, whilst R. Kimchi the elder has decided in favour of the second rendering as a proper name. As the word only occurs here, it is impossible to decide with certainty in favour of either view. צרים הנּם, behold they stir up the city against thee (צרים from צוּר in the sense of צרר).
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