Judges 9:53
And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone on Abimelech's head, and all to broke his skull.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(53) A piece of a millstone.—The word for millstone is receb, literally, runner, i.e., the upper millstone, or lapis vector, which is whirled round and round over the stationary lower one, sheceb (Deuteronomy 24:6).

And all to brake his skull.—This is a mere printer’s error for all-to or al-to, i.e., utterly, and it has led to the further misreading of “brake.” Others think that it should be printed “all to-brake,” where the to is intensive like the German ge—as in Chaucer’s “All is to-broken thilke regioun” (Knight’s Tale, 2,579). But in Latimer we find “they love, and all-to love him” (see Bible Word-book, § 5). The meaning of the verb is “smashed” or “shattered” (LXX., suneklase; Vulg., confregit; Luther, zerbrach). The death of Pyrrhus by a tile flung down by a woman as he rode into the town of Argos is an historic parallel (Pausan. 1:13). The ringleader of an attack on the Jews, who had taken refuge in York Castle in 1190, was similarly killed.

His armour.Celîm, literally, implements. (Comp. Judges 18:11; Genesis 27:3.)

Jdg 9:53-54. A woman cast a piece of a millstone — Such great stones, no doubt, they carried up with them, whereby they might defend themselves, or offend those who assaulted them. Here the justice of God is remarkable in suiting the punishment to his sin. He slew his brethren upon a stone, (Jdg 9:5,) and he loseth his own life by a stone. A woman slew him — Which was esteemed a matter of disgrace.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 phrase "all" to is now obsolete, and means "quite," "entirely," as in Chaucer, Spenser, and Milton. 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]. Such great stones no doubt they carried up with them, whereby they might defend themselves, or offend those who assaulted them. Here the justice of God is remarkable in suiting the punishment to his sin. He slew his brethren upon a stone, Judges 9:5, and he loseth his own life by a stone. And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone,.... Of the upper millstone, as the word signifies, which is observed by Jarchi and other Jewish commentators; this with other stones being carried up to the top of the tower, to do what execution they could with them: and a woman observing Abimelech making up to the door of the tower, took up this piece of millstone, and threw it down

upon Abimelech's head, and all to break his skull; she did it with that view, though it may as well be rendered, or "she", or "it broke his skull" (r); it made a fracture in it, which was mortal. Abendana observes, and so others, that that was measure for measure, a righteous retaliation, that as he had slain seventy of his brethren on one stone, he should die by means of a stone.

(r) "et confregit cranium ejus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so Tigurine version.

And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
53. upper millstone] lit. ‘millstone of riding’; i.e. the upper stone of a mill turned by a handle, the lower stone being stationary. In Palestine the grinding of corn for the household was, and still is, done by the women (Ecclesiastes 12:3, St Matthew 24:41); this explains how a woman came to use such a weapon. Cf. Jdg 4:21.Verse 53. - A millstone. The word here used means the upper millstone, which rides as it were, or moves, over the fixed nether stone. All to brake his skull. This obsolete English phrase has been the subject of a recent controversy. In the older English of Chaucer and his immediate successors such compounds as to-break, to-burst, etc. were very common, and were frequently preceded by the adverb all. Hence, some English scholars would read the phrase here, and all to-brake his skull. It is, however, certain that before the time when the A.V. was made the compounds to-break, to-burst, etc. had become entirely obsolete, and the compound all-to had come into use. The right way, therefore, in which to read the present phrase is, and all-to brake his skull, i.e. smashed it, dashed it in pieces. The prefix all-to gives intensity to the verb. As soon as this was announced to Abimelech, he went with all his men to Mount Zalmon, took hatchets in his hand, cut down branches from the trees, and laid them upon his shoulders, and commanded his people to do the same. These branches they laid upon the hold, and set the hold on fire over them (the inhabitants of the tower who had taken refuge there), so that all the people of the tower of Shechem (about one thousand persons) perished, both men and women. Mount Zalmon, which is mentioned again in Psalm 68:15, was a dark, thickly-wooded mountain near Shechem, - a kind of "Black Forest," as Luther has rendered the name. The plural kardumoth, "axes," may be explained on the ground that Abimelech took axes not only for himself but for his people also. מה in a relative sense, as in Numbers 23:3 (see Ewald, 331, b.).
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