Judges 9:38 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 9:38, NIV: Then Zebul said to him, 'Where is your big talk now, you who said, 'Who is Abimelek that we should be subject to him?' Aren't these the men you ridiculed? Go out and fight them!'

Judges 9:38, ESV: Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your mouth now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?’ Are not these the people whom you despised? Go out now and fight with them.”

Judges 9:38, KJV: Then said Zebul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou hast despised? go out, I pray now, and fight with them.

Judges 9:38, NASB: Then Zebul said to him, 'Where then is your boasting with which you said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Is this not the people whom you rejected? Go out now and fight them!'

Judges 9:38, NLT: Then Zebul turned on him and asked, 'Now where is that big mouth of yours? Wasn't it you that said, 'Who is Abimelech, and why should we be his servants?' The men you mocked are right outside the city! Go out and fight them!'

Judges 9:38, CSB: Zebul replied, "What do you have to say now? You said, 'Who is Abimelech that we should serve him? ' Aren't these the troops you despised? Now go and fight them! "

What does Judges 9:38 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Only when his planned ambush is complete does Zebul reveal his allegiance to King Abimelech. So far, he apparently had Gaal convinced he was loyal to the noblemen of the city of Shechem. They thought he supported their plan to replace Abimelech with Gaal (Judges 9:22–27). Instead, Zebul has orchestrated a raid that takes advantage of the local terrain and the rising sun (Judges 9:30–35). When the attack first came, Gaal thought he saw troops approaching. Zebul told him it was a trick of the light, only for Gaal to again insist he saw an approaching enemy (Judges 9:36–37).

Now, with Abimelech's forces almost on top of the city, Zebul taunts Gaal with the truth. He asks about Gaal's boasting, arrogant talk of taking over by force (Judges 9:28–29). Gaal went to far as to say he'd dare Abimelech to raise an even larger army and then come fight; now Abimelech is there, in person, and ready for battle. Zebul's sarcasm pointedly refers to Gaal's mouth—a snide remark about his "big talk."

Even if Gaal wanted to take back his words, it's too late. Abimelech and his four companies of soldiers are bearing down, so Zebul forces Gaal to stand behind his words: these are the very men you mocked. Go out and fight them! To his credit, Gaal will not back down, though he will suffer defeat (Judges 9:39–41).