Judges 9:39
And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(39) Before the men of Shechem.—Not merely “in the presence of the Shechemites,” as some of the versions understand it, but as leader of the “lords” of Shechem. (Comp. Judges 9:23.)

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.The plain of Meonenim - Translate "the oak of the soothsayers" (see the margin). Some well-known oak, so called, but which is not mentioned elsewhere. 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. No text from Poole on this verse. And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem,.... At the head of them, to meet Abimelech, having gathered together as many, and put them in as good order, as he could, and the time would admit of:

and fought with Abimelech; without the city.

And Gaal {m} went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.

(m) As their captain.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 39. - Before the men of Shechem, i.e. at their head, as their leader, as the phrase not uncommonly means (Genesis 33:3; Exodus 13:21). At the same time he called upon Abimelech to draw near, with the people that he had with him, during the night, and to lie in wait in the field (ארב, to place one's self in ambush), and the next morning to spread out with his army against the town; and when Gaal went out with his followers, he was to do to him "as his hand should find," i.e., to deal with him as he best could and would under the circumstances. (On this formula, see at 1 Samuel 10:7; 1 Samuel 25:8.)
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