Judges 9:51
But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and got them up to the top of the tower.
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(51) There was a strong tower within the city.—This constant mention of towers and strongholds (Judges 8:9, &c.) shows the disturbed state of the country, which probably resembled the state of England in the days of King Stephen.

To the top of the tower.—“Standing about the battlements upon the roof of the tower” (Vulg.).

9:50-57 The Shechemites were ruined by Abimelech; now he is reckoned with, who was their leader in villany. Evil pursues sinners, and sometimes overtakes them, when not only at ease, but triumphant. Though wickedness may prosper a while, it will not prosper always. The history of mankind, if truly told, would greatly resemble that of this chapter. The records of what are called splendid events present to us such contests for power. Such scenes, though praised of men, fully explain the Scripture doctrine of the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of the human heart, the force of men's lust, and the effect of Satan's influence. Lord, thou has given us thy word of truth and righteousness, O pour upon us thy spirit of purity, peace, and love, and write thy holy law in our hearts.The men of Thebez (modern Tubas) had, doubtless, joined the Shechemites in their rebellion against Abimelech. 51-53. all the men and women, … gat them up to the top of the tower—The Canaanite forts were generally mountain fastnesses or keeps, and they often had a strong tower which served as a last refuge. The Assyrian bas-reliefs afford counterparts of the scene here described so vivid and exact, that we might almost suppose them to be representations of the same historic events. The besieged city—the strong tower within—the men and women crowding its battlements—the fire applied to the doors, and even the huge fragments of stone dropping from the hands of one of the garrison on the heads of the assailants, are all well represented to the life—just as they are here described in the narrative of inspired truth [Goss]. All the men and women; all that were not slain in the taking of the town; or they all forsook the town, and retired to their strong hold.

The top of the tower was flat and plain, after their manner of building. But there was a strong tower within the city,.... The tower of Shechem was without the city, but this within, as towers generally are:

and hither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city; men, women, and children, man and maid servants, all the inhabitants of the city; the tower being a large place, having not only many rooms in it, but perhaps a large area in the midst of it, as well as it had battlements on the top of it:

and shut it to them; the gates of it, and which no doubt they strongly barred and bolted, to keep out the enemy:

and gat them up to the top of the tower; to observe the motions of Abimelech, and annoy him as much as they could with what they carried with them, as stones, and the like.

But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower.
51. and all they of the city] (even) all the citizens of the city, the same word as that translated men in Jdg 9:2 (see note), Jdg 9:23; Jdg 9:26 etc.; and should be omitted, unless citizens means ‘the chief men,’ which is not the case elsewhere in this chapter.Verse 51. - They of the city. In Hebrew (baaley) the men of the city, i.e. the owners or citizens, the same phrase as is used throughout the chapter of the men of Shechem (cf. Joshua 24:11; 1 Samuel 23:11, 12). The English phrase master, or my masters, is very similar. The A.V. has here paraphrased it they of the city, to avoid the repetition of the word men. The top - the flat roof or house-top. Thus Abimelech fought all that day against the city and took it; and having slain all the people therein, he destroyed the city and strewed salt upon it. Strewing the ruined city with salt, which only occurs here, was a symbolical act, signifying that the city was to be turned for ever into a barren salt desert. Salt ground is a barren desert (see Job 39:6; Psalm 107:34).
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