Daily Tanach, Tuesday: Shoftim Middle of Chapter 9-Gaal and the people of Shechem lead a rebellion against Avimelech

* The article below is an excerpt from the above Sefer

1.       The message of the allegory-Yosam curses Avimelech and the people of Shechem:

  • Yosam continued with the message of the allegory: Now, if with truth and honesty you have crowned Avimelech as king, then you shall rejoice with Avimelech, and he shall likewise rejoice with you. If you have indeed performed kindness with the household of Yerubaal, and have repaid him with what he has done for you [then everything you have done is justified]. However, in truth, my father fought on your behalf, and put his own life at risk to help save you from Midian, and now you have rose against my father’s home, and killed his seventy sons on a single stone and crowned Avimelech, the son of his concubine, as king over Shechem, as he is your relative.
  • The curse: Now, if you have not repaid my father with the kindness that he did for you, then may a fire come out from Avimelech and consume the people of Shechem, and all of his house, and may a fire come out of Shechem and their homes and consume Avimelech.


2.       Yosam runs away:

  • Yosam ran away from his brother Avimelech to the town of Beirah [and hid from him in order so Avimelech does not kill him[1]].


3.       The reign of Avimelech:

  • The years of rule: Avimelech reigned over the Jewish people for a total of three years.
  • Discord spreads between Avimelech and the residents of Shechem: Hashem then entered a spirit of evil [i.e. hatred[2]] into the residents of Shechem against Avimelech and the people of Shechem betrayed him. G-d did this in order so the blood of the seventy sons of Yerubaal receive vengeance against Avimelech their brother who killed them, and against the residents of Shechem who were accomplices in the murder of his brothers.
  • The residents of Shechem become thief’s: The residents of Shechem positioned robbers on the hill tops [to assassinate Avimelech[3]] and they would steal from all the people who passed through the area on the road.
  • Avimelech was informed of the above.


4.       Gaal and the people of Shechem lead a rebellion against Avimelech:

  • Shechem makes an alliance with Gaal: Gaal, the son of Eved [i.e. slave, as he was from a foreign nation[4]], and his brothers, passed through Shechem, and the people of Shechem made an alliance with him. Due to the new security afforded by this alliance, the people of Shechem took the courage to leave to the fields and harvest the grapes of the vineyard.
  • The parties, and the suggested overthrowing of Avimelech: They threw parties in the house of their idolatry, and they ate and drank and cursed Avimelech. Gaal Ben Eved said: Who is Avimelech that the people of Shechem should serve him? Isn’t he the son of Yerubaal, and Zevul is his governor [in Shechem]? It is better that we serve the people of Chamor the father of Shechem, and why should we serve them. If you would only hand the nation to my rule, then I will banish Avimelech.

[1] Metzudas David 9:21

[2] Rashi 9:23

[3] Mefarshim 9:25

[4] Rashi 9:26

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