Judges 9:48
And Abimelech got him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an ax in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said to the people that were with him, What you have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(48) To mount Zalmon.—Evidently the nearest spot where he could get wood for his hideous design. Zalmon means shady. In Psalm 68:14 we find “as white as snow in Zalmon,” but whether the same mountain is referred to we cannot tell. It may be any of the hills near Gerizim.

An axe.—Literally, the axes—i.e., he took axes for himself and his army.

Cut down a bough.—The word for “a bough” is socath, which does not mean “a bundle of logs,” as the LXX. render it. Every one will recall the scene in Macbeth where Malcolm says:—

“Let every soldier hew him down a bough,

And bear’t before him; thereby shall we shadow

The numbers of our host, and make discovery

Err in report of us.”—Acts 5, sc. 4.

But Abimelech merely wanted combustible materials.

What ye have seen me do.—Comp. what Gideon says in Judges 7:17.

Jdg 9:48-51. Zalmon — A place so called from its shadiness. Thebez — Another town near Shechem; and, as it seems, within its territory. Thither fled all the men and women — All that were not slain in the taking of the town. And gat them up to the top of the tower — Which was flat and plain, after their manner of building. 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.Zalmon - A lofty and thickly-wooded hill, as the etymology of the name ("shady") implies, in the immediate neighborhood of Shechem: perhaps the same as Ebal. The setting fire to the hold, where the men of Shechem were all crowded together, with their wives and children, was the literal fulfillment of Jotham's curse in Judges 9:20. 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. Zalmon; a place so called from its shadiness, because there were many trees there. And Abimelech got him up to Mount Zalmon,.... A mountain near Shechem, and thought to be the same with Salmon in Psalm 68:14 which seems to have had its name from the shade of the trees which grew upon it:

he and all the people that were with him; his whole army:

and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees; which grew upon Mount Zalmon:

and took it, and laid it on his shoulders; and carried it along with him:

and said unto the people that were with him, what ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done; take an axe, and every man cut down a bough with all possible haste, and lay it on his shoulder.

And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said unto the people that were with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
48. mount Zalmon] An unknown hill hard by; in Psalm 68:14 it is the name of a hill on the E. of the Jordan.

an axe] The Hebr. has the axes; the plur. cannot be explained (note in his hand), and must be corrected to the sing., LXX. cod. A, Vulgate; read his axe.Verse 48. - Mount Zalmon, i.e. the shady mount, so called from the thick wood which grows upon it. It was in the neighbourhood of Shechem, and is perhaps the same as that mentioned in Psalm 68:14 as famous for its snow-storms. An axe. The Hebrew has axes. If this is right, the phrase in his hand must be rendered with him, as 1 Samuel 14:34: Each one his ox in his hand, i.e. with him; Jeremiah 38:10: Take thirty men in thy hand, i.e. with thee; and elsewhere. The 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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