While I am getting ready for my next reading project I will look at some passages in the Hebrew Bible that puzzle me. These are the kind of passages that people tend to pass over because they don’t seem to make sense or because they give us random information with little context.
One such passage is the little speech of Gaal in Judges 9:28. The situation is that Shechem is being controlled by Abimelech. Abimelech resides in Arumah (Judges 9:41) but convinced the Lords of Shechem to allow him to be chief of Shechem. Unlike most figures in Judges, Abimelech did not “judge” Israel. Rather, he “ruled” (v. 22). So he was king or chief.
He was a ruthless warlord who had hired some good-for-nothing criminal types as an army (v. 4). Then Gaal and his men showed up in Shechem and challenged Abimelech’s authority. Gaal made this speech according…
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