The destruction of Shechem (Judg 9:42-9:49)

“On the following day the people went out into the fields. When Abimelech was told this, he took his troops and divided them into three companies. He lay in wait in the fields. When he looked and saw the people coming out of the city, he rose against them and killed them. Abimelech, and the company that was with him, rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city. Meanwhile, the two companies rushed on all who were in the fields and killed them. Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He took the city. He killed the people that were in it. He razed the city. He sowed it with salt.”

On the next day, Abimelech divided his troops into 3 companies. He killed all the people as they went out into the fields. After he killed the people in Shechem, then he sowed salt to make the ground impotent.

“When all the lords of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the temple of El-berith. Abimelech was told that all the notable lords of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. So Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the troops that were with him. Abimelech took an axe in his hand. He cut down a bundle of brushwood. Then he took it up and laid it on his shoulder. Thus he said to the troops with him. ‘What you have seen me do, do quickly, as I have done.’ Every one of the troops cut down a bundle. They followed Abimelech. They put it against the stronghold. They set the stronghold on fire over them. Thus all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.”

The Tower of Shechem would have been the watch tower for that city. Notice that they went to temple of El-berith, which would have been a Baal temple. Mount Zalmon was a small mountain outside Shechem. They attacked with burning bushes on their shoulders and wiped out all the population, no matter whether they were men or women, about 1,000 people. There is some archeological evidence that revealed a massive destruction of Shechem in the 12th century BCE.

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