Judges 9:6
And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem.
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(6) The house of Millo.—It cannot be determined whether Beth Millo is here a proper name, or whether Beth means the family or inhabitants of Millo. The Chaldee renders Millo by “a rampart;” and if this be correct, the “house of the rampart” was perhaps the same as the “tower of Shechem” (Judges 9:46-49). There was a Millo on Mount Zion (2Samuel 5:9), which was also called a Beth Millo (2Kings 12:21).

Made Abimelech king.—He was the first Israelite who ever bore that name. It does not appear that this royalty was recognised beyond the limits of Ephraim. Gideon had not only refused the title of king (melek), but even the title of ruler (Judges 8:23).

By the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem.—Rather, near the terebinth of the monument which is in Shechem. The word rendered “by” is im, which properly means with, but may mean “near,” as in Genesis 25:11. The word rendered “the pillar” is mutsabh, which the Syriac and Arabic versions take for a proper name, and the Chaldee renders “the corn-field” or statue.” Luther renders it the lofty oak,” and the Vulg. follows another reading. The LXX. take it to mean a garrison” (LXX., stasis), which is the meaning it has in Isaiah 29:3; but as the terebinth is doubtless that under which Joshua had raised his “stone of witness” (Joshua 24:26), the mutsabh is perhaps a name for this stone. If so, the neighbourhood of that pledge of faithfulness would add audacity to his acts. There can be little doubt that the terebinth was the celebrated tree under which Jacob had made his family bury their idolatrous earrings and amulets (Genesis 35:4), and the terebinth (E.V., plain) of Moreh, near Shechem, under which Abraham had spread his tent and where he had built an altar (Genesis 12:6). Possibly, too, it may be the “terebinth of the enchanters” mentioned in Judges 9:37. The veneration attached to old trees lasted from generation to generation in Palestine, and the terebinth of Mamre was celebrated for a thousand years.

Jdg 9:6. All the men of Shechem — That is, the great men, the chief magistrates of the city; and the house of Millo — Either some eminent and potent family living in or near Shechem, or the common council, the full house, or house of fulness, as the word signifies; those that met in their court-house or place of general assembly; gathered together — Not to prosecute and punish Abimelech for this most barbarous murder, as they ought to have done, he being one of their citizens, but to make him a king. God was not consulted whether they should have any king at all, much less who it should be. They did not advise with the high-priest, or with their brethren of any other city or tribe, though it was designed that he should reign over all Israel, Jdg 9:22; but the Shechemites take upon them to do all of themselves, as if they were the men, and wisdom must die with them. In the mean time the rest of the Israelites were so very stupid and infatuated as to sit by unconcerned. They took no care to give any check to this usurpation, to protect the sons of Gideon, or to avenge their death; but tamely submitted to the bloody tyrant, as men that, with their religion, had lost their reason, and all sense of honour and liberty, justice and gratitude. How vigorously had their fathers appeared to avenge the death of the Levite’s concubine! and yet so wretchedly degenerate are they now, as not to attempt the revenging of the death of Gideon’s sons. It is for this that they are charged with ingratitude, (Jdg 8:35,) Neither showed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal. By the plain of the pillar — The Hebrew word אלון, eelon, here rendered plain, also signifies an oak, and therefore some render the passage, By the oak of the pillar; namely, the oak where Joshua erected a pillar, as a witness of the covenant renewed between God and Israel, Joshua 24:26. This place they chose, perhaps, to signify that they still owned Jehovah, and their covenant with him; and did not worship Baal in opposition to, but in conjunction with him, and in subordination to him.

9:1-6 The men of Shechem chose Abimelech king. God was not consulted whether they should have any king, much less who it should be. If parents could see what their children would do, and what they are to suffer, their joy in them often would be turned into sorrow: we may be thankful that we cannot know what shall happen. Above all, we should fear and watch against sin; for our evil conduct may produce fatal effects upon our families, after we are in our graves.Millo must have been a fortified place close to, but separate from, Shechem, and perhaps the same as the tower of Shechem mentioned in Judges 9:46-47. The building or enlarging of the better-known Millo, at Jerusalem was one of Solomon's great works 1 Kings 9:15, 1 Kings 9:24. The population dwelling in Millo though perhaps numerically small, had great weight from possessing the stronghold. Their giving Abimelech the title of king indicates the strong Canaanite influence at Shechem. All the Canaanite chiefs were called kings, but it was a title hitherto unknown in Israel. This title had not been named by those Israelites who offered to make Gideon their hereditary ruler Judges 8:22-23.

The plain of the pillar ... - Rather "the oak of the garrison which is in Shechem." The oak in question was probably called the "garrison oak," from a garrison being stationed near it.

6. all the men of Shechem …, and all the house of Millo—that is, a mound or rampart, so that the meaning is, all the men in the house or temple; namely, the priests of Baal.

made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar—rather, "by the oak near a raised mound"—so that the ceremony of coronation might be conspicuous to a crowd.

Of Millo; of a place or person so called; some eminent and potent family living in Shechem, or near to it; either the family of Abimelech’s mother, or some other: or, and all Beth-millo; so Beth is not a house, but a part of the name of the place.

Made Abimelech king, to wit, over all Israel, Judges 9:22, which was a strange presumption for the inhabitants of one city to undertake; but they had many advantages and encouragements for it; as the eager, and general, and constant inclination of the Israelites to kingly government; Abimelech’s being the son of Gideon, to whom and to his sons they offered the kingdom, Judges 8:22; and though the father could and did refuse it for himself, yet they might imagine that he could not give away his son’s right, conveyed to them by the Israelites, in their offer; the universal defection of the Israelites from God to Baal, whose great patron and champion Abimelech pretended to be; the power and prevalency of the tribe of Ephraim, in which Shechem was, Joshua 20:7, whose proud and imperious spirit, manifested Judges 8:1 12:1, would make them readily close with a king of their own brethren; and Abimelech’s getting the start of all others, having the crown actually put upon his head, and an army already raised to maintain his tyranny. By

the plain of the pillar, or, by the oak of the pillar, i.e. by the oak, where Joshua erected a pillar as a witness of the covenant renewed between God and Israel, Joshua 24:26. This place they chose, to signify that they still owned God, and their covenant with him; and did not worship Baal in opposition to God, but in conjunction with him, or in subordination to him.

And all the men of Shechem gathered together,.... Upon the return of Abimelech, after he with his banditti had committed the execrable murder of his brethren:

and all the house of Millo; which was either the men of a place near to Shechem, or of his brother's family, or of some grand leading family in Shechem; or it may mean the town hall, where the principal inhabitants met in full house, as Millo signifies, on this occasion:

and went and made Abimelech king; which was a most bold and daring action; being done without asking counsel of God, without which no king was to be set over Israel, and by a single city, without the knowledge, advice, and consent of the body of the people of Israel: by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem; the place where they met together, and did this business in voting Abimelech to be king, was near a place where a pillar was set in Shechem; or by the oak of the pillar in Shechem, and so may mean the stone under an oak, which Joshua placed there as a testimony between God and the people, Joshua 24:25 and here, in the same place where Joshua convened the people of Israel, and made his last speech to them, was this business done.

And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of {d} Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem.

(d) Which was as the town house, or common hall, which he calls the tower of Shechem in Jud 9:49.

6. and all the house of Millo] Follow marg. and all Beth-millo, the name of a place not of a family Jdg 9:20, cf. 2 Kings 12:20, in the neighbourhood of Shechem, but not the tower of S. mentioned in Jdg 9:46-49. The name suggests that the place was called after the temple which stood there, bêth = ‘temple’ as in Jdg 9:4; millo = ‘filling up,’ so an artificial mound or terrace (in Assyrian mulû, tamlû). The Millo at Jerusalem was some part of the fortifications of the old Jebusite city, 2 Samuel 5:9, 1 Kings 11:27 (LXX ἡ ἃκρα), Jdg 9:15; Jdg 9:24; or possibly, as Winckler considers, the original site of the sanctuary (Gesch. Isr. ii. 252, KAT, 239).

by the oak of the pillar] A sacred terebinth (cf. on Jdg 6:11) at or near Shechem is mentioned in the stories of Abraham Genesis 12:6 J and Jacob Genesis 35:4 E, and in Joshua 24:26 E (‘in Jehovah’s sanctuary’); in the last passage Joshua is said to have set up a stone beneath the oak. The stone is here called a ‘pillar,’ reading maṣṣçbâh for muṣṣâb (which does not make sense); the pillar marked a holy place among both Hebrews (Exodus 24:4 E, Hosea 3:4; Hosea 10:1, Isaiah 19:19) and Canaanites (Exodus 23:24 E, Exodus 34:13 J etc.). Abimelech was made king at the sanctuary, as Saul at Gilgal, 1 Samuel 11:15.

Verse 6. - The house of Millo. Millo must have been some strongly fortified post in the neighbourhood of Shechem, and no doubt the place where the tower was, mentioned in vers. 46, 47. At Jerusalem we read of Millo as a part of the city of David in 2 Samuel 5:9, apparently so called by the Jebusites, and the strengthening of it was one of Solomon's great works (1 Kings 9:15, 24). It is called the house of Millo in 2 Kings 12:20, where it is mentioned as the scene of the murder of King Joash. Here, therefore, the house of Millo probably means the citadel or keep of Sechem, a fortress analogous to the Bala-hissar in relation to Cabul, though possibly at a distance of a mile or two (ver 46, note). The phrase, all the house of Millo, means all the men who dwelt in the house of Millo, probably all men of war. Made Abimelech king. We seem to see the hand of the Canaanite population in this term king, which was proper to the Canaanites (Joshua 11, 12.), but was not yet domesticated in Israel. The plain of the pillar. This translation is clearly wrong. The word translated plain means an oak or terebinth tree. The word translated pillar is thought to mean a garrison, or military post, in Isaiah 29:3 (A.V. mound); but, according to its etymology and the meaning of other forms of the same root, may equally well mean a monument, or stone set up and this is probably the meaning here. The translation will then be the oak of the monument, a sense supported by the modern names of the mosque there, of which one is "the Oak of Moreh," and another "the Saint of the Pillar" (see Stanley's 'Sermons in. the East,' p. 182). And we are very strongly led to this conclusion by the further fact that there was a famous oak at Shechem, mentioned Genesis 35:4 as the place where Jacob hid the idols of his household; and that Joshua took a great stone and "set it up under the oak that was by the sanctuary of the Lord" at Shechem (Joshua 24:1, 25, 26). It marks a sad declension in the condition of Israel at this time, as compared with the days of Joshua, that the Shechemite Abimelech should be made king with a view to the restoration of Baal-worship on the very spot where theft fathers had made a solemn covenant to serve the Lord. It is remarkable that the narrative in this chapter gives us no clue as to the relations of the rest of Israel with Abimelech.

CHAPTER 9:7-21 Judges 9:6"Then all the citizens of Shechem assembled together, and all the house of Millo, and made Abimelech king at the memorial terebinth at Shechem." Millo is unquestionably the name of the castle or citadel of the town of Shechem, which is called the tower of Shechem in Judges 9:46-49. The word Millo (Chaldee מלּיתא) signifies primarily a rampart, inasmuch as it consisted of two walls, with the space between them filled with rubbish. There was also a Millo at Jerusalem (2 Samuel 5:9; 1 Kings 9:15). "All the house of Millo" are all the inhabitants of the castle, the same persons who are described in Judges 9:46 as "all the men (baale) of the tower." The meaning of מצּב אלון is doubtful. מצּב, the thing set up, is a military post in Isaiah 29:3; but it may also mean a monument of memorial, and here it probably denotes the large stone set up as a memorial at Shechem under the oak or terebinth (see Genesis 35:4). The inhabitants of Shechem, the worshippers of Baal-berith, carried out the election of Abimelech as king in the very same place in which Joshua had held the last national assembly, and had renewed the covenant of Israel with Jehovah the true covenant God (Joshua 24:1, Joshua 24:25-26). It was there in all probability that the temple of Baal-berith was to be found, namely, according to Judges 9:46, near the tower of Shechem or the citadel of Millo.
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