Daily Tanach, Wednesday: Shoftim Middle of Chapter 9-Avimelech discovers the rebellion and prepares to wage a war

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

1.       Avimelech discovers the rebellion and prepares to wage a war:

  • Zevul relays to Avimelech of the rebellion: Gaal told the governor Zevul to tell Avimelech to gather his men and leave the city [and wage war against him and we will see who will win]. Zevul the governor became very angry over what he heard from Gaal Ben Aved, and he secretly sent messengers to Avimelech, to the city of Tarmah where he lived, to tell him that Gaal Ben Aved and his brothers have arrived to Shechem and have sieged the city from you.
  • The planned battle: Zevul suggested to Avimelech as follows: Go at night together with your army and set up an ambush in the field. In the morning, after sunrise, you shall get up and conquer the city. Gaal and his people will confront you there and you can do to them as you see fit.

2.       The battle of Avimelech versus Gaal and Shechem:

  • The ambush: Avimelech and all of his army went at night and set an ambush on the city of Shechem, with four units of soldiers.
  • Gaal sees Avimelech and his soldiers: Gaal the son of Aved went out and stood by the gates of the city. Avimelech and his men stood up from the field and Gaal saw the people and exclaimed to Zevul that there are people coming towards them from the mountains. Zevul replied that it is not people but rather the movements of the shadows of the mountains which appear like men. Gaal continued speaking and said that there are people coming from the summit of the mountain, and there is one leader who is coming from the road of Alon Meonanim.
  • Zevul pressures Gaal to go to battle: Zevul replied to Gaal saying: Where now are your words that you said about Avimelech that who is he that we should serve him. Now, look this group of people [coming to attack us] is this same group that you despised. Now, go out and fight them.
  • The battle: So Gaal went out before the lords of Shechem [i.e. leading them in battle] and fought against Avimelech. Avimelech chased after them and they ran away from him. There were many casualties on the side of Gaal and they lay dead up until the city gates.
  • Avimelech returns home and Gaal is banished: Avimelech returned to Aruma and Zevul banished Gaal and his brothers from Shechem.
  • The battle continues: The next day the people [of Shechem] went out into the field [to harvest produce] and Avimelech was informed. Avimelech split his army to three battalions and set up an ambush in the field. When he saw the people leave the city he got up from the ambush and attacked them.
  • The people of Shechem are killed, and the city is decimated: Avimelech and his armies spread out and stood by the city gates [to prevent anyone from exiting or entering[1]]. Two of his battalions went out to the field and killed everyone they could find. Avimelech entered the city and fought its inhabitants throughout that entire day until the city was captured and all its inhabitants were killed. The city was destroyed and seeded with salt [in order to prevent any produce from growing there[2]].

[1] Rashi 9:44; Metzudos David 9:44

[2] Metzudos David 9:44

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