July 25, 2014

The Ten Heads of Judges 9

Category: Bible - OT - Judges :: Permalink

There are sure a lot of heads in Judges 9, though you wouldn’t know it if you just looked at an English translation.   In fact, the word “head” (Heb. rosh) appears ten times in this one chapter.

Jotham stands on the head of Mount Gerizim to confront the men of Shechem. The lords of Shechem set an ambush on the heads of the mountains. Abimelech’s army is divided into four heads (companies), and Gaal sees them coming down from the heads of the mountains, one head by way of the diviners’ oak.

But then, as Jan Fokkelman points out, there’s a progression: Abimelech’s army has four heads (9:34) … then he divides the people into three heads (9:43) … then two heads rush against the people in the field (9:44) … and finally a woman throws an upper millstone upon the head of Abimelech (9:53). It’s as if we’re counting down: 4 … 3 … 2 … 1!

And in this way, God brings back the evil of the men of Shechem on their head (9:57).

That’s a lot of heads in one chapter. I’m not entirely sure what all of the significance might be — though certainly the crushing of the head is a fulfillment of Genesis 3 — but it’s interesting to note.

Posted by John Barach @ 1:52 pm | Discuss (0)

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