Judges 9:31 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 9:31, NIV: Under cover he sent messengers to Abimelek, saying, 'Gaal son of Ebed and his clan have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you.

Judges 9:31, ESV: And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem, and they are stirring up the city against you.

Judges 9:31, KJV: And he sent messengers unto Abimelech privily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brethren be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify the city against thee.

Judges 9:31, NASB: So using deception, he successfully sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, 'Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem; and behold, they are stirring up the city against you.

Judges 9:31, NLT: He sent messengers to Abimelech in Arumah, telling him, 'Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to live in Shechem, and now they are inciting the city to rebel against you.

Judges 9:31, CSB: So he secretly sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, "Beware! Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem and are turning the city against you.

What does Judges 9:31 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Zebul is the governor over Shechem. This implies that Abimelech's duties as lord of the surrounding region regularly took him away from the city. Or, possibly, that he simply preferred to let someone else handle day-to-day decisions. Zebul was probably not from Shechem originally, since Abimelech's rising rival, Gaal, pointed to him as evidence of Abimelech's outsider status (Judges 9:26–30).

Either directly or through word of mouth, Zebul has heard Gaal's boasts. Possibly made brave by too much wine, Gaal has claimed he would remove Abimelech by force, if given control of Shechem. Zebul is furious, taking Gaal's words as a deadly threat. He wastes no time in sending a messenger to let Abimelech know about this challenge.

Zebul tells Abimelech that Gaal and his relatives are stirring up the city against him. It's not clear if Abimelech already knew this (Judges 9:25) or if this was his first warning. Whether he knew it or not, the leaders of the city were already standing against Abimelech's authority. Gaal isn't needed other than to put a public face to this rebellion. Zebul believes Abimelech must act before it's too late.