Judges 9:45 MEANING

Judges 9:45
(45) Beat down the city.--Comp. 2 Samuel 17:13; Micah 3:12.

Sowed it with salt.--Nothing can better show his deadly execration against the populace to whom he owed his elevation, and who had been the instrument of his crimes. By this symbolic act he devoted the city to barrenness and desolation. (See Psalm 107:34; Deuteronomy 29:23; Job 39:6, and marg.) "When Milan was taken, in A.D. 1162, it was sown with salt, and the house of Admiral Coligny, A.D. 1572, was sown with salt by the command of Charles IX., king of France" (Wordsworth).

Verse 45. - Abimelech fought against the city, etc. When all the Shechemites in the field were smitten or dispersed, Abimelech stormed the city, weakened as it was by the previous loss of so many of its defenders. The city made an obstinate defence notwithstanding, but was taken before night, and all the inhabitants were put to the sword. The walls were then razed to the ground, and the site was sown with salt to express the wish that it might be barren and uninhabited for ever (cf. Psalm 107:34, marg.; Jeremiah 17:6). This action of sowing with salt is not elsewhere mentioned; but it is well known that salt destroys vegetation, and is used by gardeners for this very purpose. Pliny (quoted by Rosenmuller) says, Omnis locus in quo reperitur sal sterilis est.

9:30-49 Abimelech intended to punish the Schechemites for slighting him now, but God punished them for their serving him formerly in the murder of Gideon's sons. When God uses men as instruments in his hand to do his work, he means one thing, and they another. That, which they hoped would have been for their welfare, proved a snare and a trap, as those will certainly find, who run to idols for shelter; such will prove a refuge of lies.And Abimelech fought against the city all that day,.... By throwing stones or arrows into it:

and he took the city; it was surrendered to him, not being able to stand out against his forces:

and slew the people that was therein; all but those that were of his own family and his friends; all that had taken up arms against him, or had shown their dislike of his government, and were his enemies:

and beat down the city; the houses in it, and walls of it, though it was his native place:

and sowed it with salt; not to make it barren, for he would rather then have sowed the field, though this would not have had any effect of that kind, for any time at least; but to show his detestation of it, because of the ill usage he had met with, and as a token of its perpetual destruction, to which he devoted it, determining that if it was in his power it should never be rebuilt; but it was hereafter, and became again a very flourishing city in Jeroboam's time. Thus the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa, in the year 1162, when he took Milan, not only ploughed it up, but sowed it with salt; and in memory of it there is a street in it, now called "la contrada della Sala" (n): besides, Abimelech did this to deter other cities from rebelling against him; for if he so used his own city, more severely, if possible, would he use others.

(n) Sigonius de regn. Ital. l. 13, & 14.

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