Judges 9:51 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 9:51, NIV: Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women--all the people of the city--had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof.

Judges 9:51, ESV: But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women and all the leaders of the city fled to it and shut themselves in, and they went up to the roof of the tower.

Judges 9:51, KJV: But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower.

Judges 9:51, NASB: But there was a strong tower in the center of the city, and all the men and women with all the leaders of the city fled there and shut themselves in; and they went up on the roof of the tower.

Judges 9:51, NLT: But there was a strong tower inside the town, and all the men and women--the entire population--fled to it. They barricaded themselves in and climbed up to the roof of the tower.

Judges 9:51, CSB: There was a strong tower inside the city, and all the men, women, and citizens of the city fled there. They locked themselves in and went up to the roof of the tower.

What does Judges 9:51 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Shechem has been defeated and utterly destroyed, along with the pagan-worshipping leaders of that city. In His justice, God has used Abimelech to bring down these evil rulers (Judges 9:15; 46–49). Abimelech is now attempting to wipe out the population of another town, Thebez. Scholars believe this town was northeast of Shechem. Abimelech and his men have already captured the city. They control everything except for a tower. The people of the city have fled into this refuge.

Towers in this era were often made of stone and could be several stories tall. These were a common defensive choice during this period. Towers were used both for spotting approaching enemies and as a last stronghold if the city was breached. The tower in Thebez is not like the "stronghold" in Shechem. That area was likely underground, and part of a temple complex. This is more of a traditional fortress-type building. This apparently had a flat roof where people could mount a defense. That's a critical part of what happens next (Judges 9:52–53).