Judges 9:39
And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
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(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.

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). Judges 9:39Then Gaal went out "before the citizens of Shechem;" i.e., not at their head as their leaders, which is the meaning of לפני in Genesis 33:3; Exodus 13:21; Numbers 10:35, etc., - for, according to Judges 9:33-35, Gaal had only gone out of the town with his own retinue, and, according to Judges 9:42, Judges 9:43, the people of Shechem did not go out till the next day, - but "in the sight of the lords of Shechem," so that they looked upon the battle. But the battle ended unfortunately for him. Abimelech put him to flight (רדף as in Leviticus 26:36), and there fell many slain up to the gate of the city, into which Gaal had fled with his followers.
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