And he sent messengers to Abimelech privately, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify the city against you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Privily.—The Hebrew is betormah, which may mean “to Tormah,” or Arumah, where Abimelech was living (Judges 9:41). The word occurs nowhere else, and the versions differ (LXX., in secret; Cod. B, with gifts; Cod. A reading batherumah). Whether “craftily” be the right rendering or not, it is clear that the message was a secret one, for Zebul dissembled his anger until he was strong enough to throw off the mask.
They fortify.—Rather, perhaps, they tyrannise over the city because of thee.Judges 9:41. Zebul was faithful to Abimelech, but dissembled his sentiments, from being too weak to oppose Gaal, until Abimelech came with his army Judges 9:38. Privily, so as Gaal and his confederates might not know it. Or, in Tormah; or, who was in Tormah; for some make it the name of the place where Abimelech was, which is called with some variation Arumah, Judges 9:41.
They fortify the city against thee; they besiege or guard the city of Shechem, so as none may go out to thee, nor come in from thee. Judges 9:36 though, according to Joseph Kimchi and Ben Gersom, Thormah is the name of the place where Abimelech was, the same with Arumah, Judges 9:41 and the sense is, that he sent messengers to Abimelech at Thormah or Arumah:
saying, Gaal the son of Ebal, and his brethren, be come to Shechem; a family that Abimelech well knew, and if they were of the race of the old Canaanites, he would easily perceive their design:
and, behold, they fortify the city against thee; by repairing its fortifications, or adding new works; or "besiege" (i) it, which, as that is done by placing an army around it without, that none can come out of it, so by setting a watch within, and upon the walls, and at the gates of it, that none can come in, which is here meant; though some interpret it of their design to besiege the city Thormah, where Abimelech was, of which he gives him notice; or rather they set the city against thee, make the inhabitants thine enemies.And he sent messengers unto Abimelech privily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brethren be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify the city against thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)31. craftily] The form of the Hebr. word is suspicious and the meaning unsuitable; read in Arumah, mentioned as Abimelech’s dwelling-place in Jdg 9:41.
they constrain the city] An attempt to translate the unusual construction of the Hebr. verb, which means besiege (so Verss.). But the text is at fault; perhaps we should read they are stirring up.
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