Judges 9:43
And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field, and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(43) Into three companies.—Why he only made three companies this time can only be matter of conjecture.

He rose up against them, and smote them.—He was evidently a man of ruthlessly vindictive temperament, for these people whom he slew were mere husbandmen, not an armed host.

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.After Gaal's expulsion, "the people went out into the field," either to complete the vintage, or for some other agricultural operation. "They" (Zebul and his party) sent word of this to Abimelech. 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. Three companies; whereof he kept one with himself, Judges 9:44, and put the rest under other commanders.

And he took the people,.... That is, the forces he had with him at Arumah:

and divided them into three companies: each having a separate leader, and the command of one of them he had himself:

and laid wait in the field; in the field of Shechem, one company in one part, and one in another part of the field:

and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out of the city; he watched them when they did:

and he rose up against them, and smote them; the companies rose up out of their ambush, in different parts, and killed them.

And he took the {n} people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field, and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them.

(n) Which were in his company.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
43. three companies] Cf. Jdg 7:16.

Judges 9:43The next day the people of Shechem went into the field, apparently not to make war upon Abimelech, but to work in the field, possibly to continue the vintage. But when Abimelech was informed of it, he divided the people, i.e., his own men, into three companies, which he placed in ambush in the field, and then fell upon the Shechemites when they had come out of the city, and slew them.
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