Notes on Judges 9, verses 50-57: The End of an Era, and it Happened at Thebez

by Jonathan Spurlock
(Holts Summit, MO)

Judges 9:50 Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.

Thebez was apparently close to Shechem. “Encamped against” the city probably means Abimelech had stationed his forces all around the city. This was an early form of siege warfare. Eventually Abimelech “took” or conquered the city but we are not told how long how long he needed to do this.

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 gat them up to the top of the tower.

Shechem had only a tower; here in Thebez, their tower was called a “strong” tower. It may have been constructed of better or stronger materials than the one in Shechem.

Apparently the population of Thebez was small enough so they could fit on top of the tower, or the tower was large and could hold a sizeable number of people. The people who fled there also closed the entryway to the tower itself.

52 And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire.

Abimelech’s soldiers had already encircled the city (verse 50) and now had come in to attack the tower. It is not certain if the people of Thebez fled before combat with Abimelech or retreated there as Abimelech’s forces took more ground.

Abimelech had in mind to burn down the tower just as he had burned tree boughs to kill the people of Shechem (verses 48-49). What he planned to use as fuel, however, is not stated. He may have used debris from any destruction of the city, other tree boughs if they were close by but this is a guess at best.

53 And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull.

Millstones apparently came in different sizes, weights, etc. In the New Testament, Jesus described how it would be better for a man to have a “heavy” millstone be hung around his neck and be thrown into the sea than if the man caused another believer (“little ones”, Matthew 18:6) to stumble (paraphrased). This one was large enough to break Abimelech’s skull.

54 Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

Abimelech had enough time to request his armor bearer kill him. He definitely didn’t want to be known as being killed by a woman—perhaps he remembered the story of Jael and Sisera in Judges 4. Contrast this with the death of Saul when his armor bearer refused to kill him, then both “fell on their swords” rather than face whatever the Philistines may have had in mind (1 Samuel 31)..

55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place.

Either they realized the battle was over, and they couldn’t win, or they might have been afraid of suffering a similar fate.

56 Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren:

This murder of Abimelech’s brothers was mentioned in verse 5. What Abimelech did was one of the cruelest and most wicked episodes in all the Bible.

57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

Jotham’s curse is found in verses 7-20 after he relates a parable or illustration about the people of Shechem choosing the wrong person as king. Nobody won: Abimelech was killed after a woman through a piece of a millstone at him breaking his skull; everyone in Shechem died, whether by combat or by being burned alive in the pagan temple; and none of Abimelech’s soldiers took possession of any of the land which they had conquered;, and Jotham was never heard from again.

Thus ends the story of Abimelech, the man who claimed to be the first king of Israel.

Scripture quotations taken from the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).

Comments for Notes on Judges 9, verses 50-57: The End of an Era, and it Happened at Thebez

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Apr 12, 2020
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Don't be a man of weakness, BE A MAN OF STRENGTH!
by: Anonymous

You are forgetting something, that Abimelech is known to have been killed by a woman, 2 Samuel 11:21 "Who Smote Abimelech, the son of Jerubbesheth? Did not a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon him from the wall,that he died in Thebez?" So Abimelech was killed by a woman, but he tried to hide it by having his armorbearor thrust him through as he was dying. And in the bible there are no female warriors,Jael and the woman on the tower of Thebez both kill the enemy male when they are not aware, if Sisera had realized or had woken up and caught Jael trying to kill him while he was asleep,than he would of overpowered her instantly and Barak would've heard her screams and would've immediately have come to her rescue, and beat up and kill Sisera to protect Jael. And if Abimelech had been aware of that piece of millstone falling down towards him, than he would've moved out of the way and the woman on the tower and all of the people inside would've been died, since he was going to burn the tower down with them in it. And the stone that the woman used to kill Abimelech was only a fragment of a millstone that was just simply dropped from a height,so it was obviously able to gain enough momentum to break his skull, regardless of the size, it obviously was not that big or heavy,so let's be honest here. And Abimelech made himself look weak compared to a woman when he said, "That men say not of me, a woman slew him." Abimelech did not have pride or self-respect as a man,(A real man who has pride in himself as a man, admits when he is wrong and takes responsibility for his own actions and does not act like he is right when he is wrong and he cares about the lives around him and does not try to mess with anybody and he stands up for himself when he needs to and he protects and rescues women and children and puts his life on the line to save his family first,than others and he is not selfish and does what is right on purpose and also admits when he makes a mistake and owns up to it and he repents and becomes an rightouse and humble person, Abimelech did not have pride as a man like he was supposed to because he was worried about being written down in history as being killed by a woman who only dropped a fragment of millstone upon his head from the wall. He was more concerned with how people would see him than he was concerned with his own soul and how Our Heavenly Father would see him, (he is not a role model for men or boys to look up to, but for them to look down on as an example for the kind of man not to be like.)the only kind of pride that he had was the haughty kind of pride which our Heavenly Father hates, and that's why at the end he asked for his armorbearor to kill him, instead of being a humble man and asking Our Heavenly Father for his forgiveness for all of the sins that he had committed and saving his soul from hell,his"embarrassment" was all in his mind, he embarrassed himself with his ego,and he beat himself by going right up to the door of the tower, not thinking that anyone would drop anything on his head,he shamed himself as a man by his attitude and actions, he was a weakling and a coward. The lesson for all boys and men to learn is to don't act as if a girl or a woman beat you when she didn't ,and don't be a fool and commit suicide(which is against Our Heavenly Father's law.) and be a man and be humble and admit to Our Heavenly Father when you have done wrong,and never do anything to shame yourselves as men. Abimelech added to his death as well as adding to his sins and Abimelech is recorded in history in the bible to have been killed by a woman who dropped a fragment of a millstone on his head, and because of his weakness he is now known and forever he will be known as a weak man killed by a woman, because of his own foolishness and stupidity.(Abimelech was not thinking like a man when he said," Draw thy sword,and slay me,that men say not of me,a woman slew him." He was thinking like a weak minded punk, he actually was saying that, "Being killed by a woman is worse than death itself." That's how pussymen think,because a woman did not beat up Abimelech,it was all in his weak little mind,strong men don't think like that, now it is known that he tried to get a man to kill him, because he was too weak to servive a skull fracture from a piece of a millestone dropped from a tower by a woman,and what is eberressimg is that he made himself look weak to a woman when he said what he said in judges 9:54 and all of his wickedness
, so because of his weakness that he showed, now he is known as a weak minded man killed by a strong minded woman,who had inner strength.) So in the bible women did not fight or kick butt. So this also proves that women can be heroines without being like men and it shows that there is a difference between men and women. So to boys and men don't be a weak punk like Abimelech, be a strong and humble man with self respect and pride as a man, like,Joseph, Moses, Joshua,Barak,Gideon, Sampson,King David, Josiah etc, and our Heavenly Father's son. We need more strong men like them, not cowardly and weak punks like Abimelech. So to all males be strong in Our Heavenly Father and his word, he will never leave or forsake you if you fallow his law and turn away from evil and be rightouse and show the world that Our Heavenly Father and his word is the only way to be saved and stay saved and don't do evil and be a humble and rightouse men. And be a man of valor and strength and never forsake Our Heavenly Father and he won't forsake you, and remember that his son died for the sins of the whole world(see John 3:16). May The Heavenly Father bless you all!😀👍

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