Judges 9:43 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 9:43, NIV: So he took his men, divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. When he saw the people coming out of the city, he rose to attack them.

Judges 9:43, ESV: He took his people and divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. And he looked and saw the people coming out of the city. So he rose against them and killed them.

Judges 9:43, KJV: And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field, and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them.

Judges 9:43, NASB: So he took his people and divided them into three units, and lay in wait in the field; when he looked and saw the people coming out from the city, he attacked them and killed them.

Judges 9:43, NLT: he divided his men into three groups and set an ambush in the fields. When Abimelech saw the people coming out of the city, he and his men jumped up from their hiding places and attacked them.

Judges 9:43, CSB: He took the troops, divided them into three companies, and waited in ambush in the countryside. He looked, and the people were coming out of the city, so he arose against them and struck them down.

What does Judges 9:43 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Abimelech is not content with simply defeating the leaders of Shechem in their rebellion (Judges 9:38–41). He wants to punish the entire population for not standing with him against the city's leadership.

Following the battle of the day before, the people make their way out into the fields outside the city walls. They seem intent on carrying out their regular duties: caring for crops or other necessary work. There's no explicit mention that any of the regular citizens were directly involved in the rebellion against Abimelech the day before. They are clearly unconcerned about their safety as they leave the city.

When Abimelech hears the people are returning to life as usual, he decides to kill them all. He divides his fighting men into three companies. As he did the day before, he sets an ambush in the hills near the fields (Judges 9:32–34). When the people emerge from of the gates of Shechem, he triggers his plan for a massacre.