Judges 9:53

Hebrew Bible

51 There was a fortified tower in the center of the city, so all the men and women, as well as the city’s leaders, ran into it and locked the entrance. Then they went up to the roof of the tower. 52 Abimelech came and attacked the tower. When he approached the entrance of the tower to set it on fire, 53 a woman threw an upper millstone down on his head and shattered his skull. 54 He quickly called to the young man who carried his weapons, “Draw your sword and kill me, so they will not say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So the young man stabbed him and he died. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they went home.

2 Samuel 11:21

Hebrew Bible

19 He instructed the messenger as follows: “When you finish giving the battle report to the king, 20 if the king becomes angry and asks you, ‘Why did you go so close to the city to fight? Didn’t you realize they would shoot from the wall? 21 Who struck down Abimelech the son of Jerub-Besheth? Didn’t a woman throw an upper millstone down on him from the wall so that he died in Thebez? Why did you go so close to the wall?’ just say to him, ‘Your servant Uriah the Hittite is also dead.’” 22 So the messenger departed. When he arrived, he informed David of all the news that Joab had sent with him. 23 The messenger said to David, “The men overpowered us and attacked us in the field. But we forced them to retreat all the way to the door of the city gate.

 Notes and References

"... the story of Abimelech's decline is framed in terms of God's control. It is YHWH who 'sent an evil spirit' between Abimelech and the Shechemites. (For YHWH's control of persons through such means see 1 Samuel 16:14.) The wresting of political power through violence that is not divinely sanctioned is condemned, verse 25-7, the Shechemite chieftains attempt to undermine the stability of Abimelech's fledgling state through acts of banditry, and soon transfer their affections to a new strongman. They are pictured as drunken louts taunting the status and credentials of Abimelech and loyalists such as Zebul ... Such acts of killing, burning, and strafing without attention to the military status, age, or gender of those destroyed are sometimes portrayed to be business as usual among the monarchs of the ancient Near East. Even David, the ideal king in some threads in the tradition, engages in brutal, terror-inspiring acts of warfare (see 2 Samuel 5:7-8) ... Abimelech continues his tour of vengeance at Thebez, another fortress city. Here as in Shechem the people flock to the tower for protection, and, as at Shechem, Abimelech plans to burn it down (verses 48—9). This time, however, a woman of unknown name or origins throws down an upper millstone, a symbol of the woman's domestic realm, and crushes the skull of this would-be hero. He in fact begs his armour-bearer to kill him quickly lest it be said that a woman slew the hero Abimelech (compare 2 Samuel 11:21). She, like Jael, does render the hero impotent, while the millstone itself is an evocative symbol not only of domesticity but of woman's sexuality as well (compare Isaiah 47:2; Job 31:10). verses 56—7, the writer sets the story in context as an example of just deserts, condemning Abimelech's style of assuming political authority and emphasizing both the power of curses and YHWH's control over the affairs of humans ..."

Barton, John, and John Muddiman The Oxford Bible Commentary (p. 184) Oxford University Press, 2001

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