Judges 9:36 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 9:36, NIV: When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, 'Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!' Zebul replied, 'You mistake the shadows of the mountains for men.'

Judges 9:36, ESV: And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the mountaintops!” And Zebul said to him, “You mistake the shadow of the mountains for men.”

Judges 9:36, KJV: And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him, Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.

Judges 9:36, NASB: When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, 'Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains.' But Zebul said to him, 'You are seeing the shadow of the mountains as if they were people.'

Judges 9:36, NLT: When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, 'Look, there are people coming down from the hilltops!' Zebul replied, 'It's just the shadows on the hills that look like men.'

Judges 9:36, CSB: When Gaal saw the troops, he said to Zebul, "Look, troops are coming down from the mountaintops! " But Zebul said to him, "The shadows of the mountains look like men to you."

What does Judges 9:36 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Zebul is Abimelech's officer over the city of Shechem (Judges 9:1–6; 30). And yet, apparently Zebul was cautious about openly expressing his loyalty to Abimelech. The same noblemen who appointed Abimelech no longer want him as their lord (Judges 9:22–25). Instead, they have embraced Gaal, who has openly bragged he would remove Abimelech from power if given the chance (Judges 9:26–29).

Gaal and Zebul stand at the city's eastern gate at sunrise. Zebul has arranged for Abimelech to ambush Gaal and take the city by force (Judges 9:30–33). Gaal has no idea what's coming. As the rising sun hits his eyes, it creates deep shadows over the forested hills to the north and south. It is from these shadows that Abimelech and his four companies are charging the city.

Gaal points out movement to Zebul and says it looks like people are coming down the city from the nearby mountaintops. Zebul dismisses it as a trick of the eyes. He lies, telling Gaal it is only the shadows of the mountains. Zebul will reveal the truth, however, as soon as Abimelech's men are too close to be stopped (Judges 9:37–39).