Who is Abimelech? what is he but a base-born person, an ambitious, imperious, and cruel tyrant, and one every way unfit and unworthy to govern you?
Who is Shechem? Shechem is here the name, either,
1. Of the place or city of Shechem; and so the Hebrew particle mi, who, is put for mah, what, as it is Jud_13:17; and then the sense of the place is this: Consider how obscure and unworthy a person Abimelech is, and what a potent and honourable city Shechem is; and judge you whether it be fit that such a city should be subject to such a person. Or rather,
2. Of a person, even of Abimelech, named in the foregoing words, and described in those which follow;
the son of Jerubbaal, between which Shechem is hemmed in, and therefore cannot conveniently belong to any other. He is called Shechem for the Shechemite, by a metonymy of the subject, whereby the place is put for the person contained in it, and belonging to it; as Egypt, Ethiopia, Seba, Judea, Macedonia, and Achaia, &c., are put for the people of those countries Job_1:15 6:19 Psa_68:31 105:38 Isa_43:3Mat_3:5Rom_15:26. Thus mi is taken properly, and the sense is, Who is this Shechemite? for so he was by the mother’s side, born of a woman of your city, and she but his concubine and servant; why should you submit to one so basely descended?
The son of Jerubbaal, i.e. of Gideon; a person obscure by his on n confession, Jud_6:15, and famous only by his boldness and fierceness against that Baal which you justly honour and reverence, whose altar he overthrew, and whose worship he endeavoured to abolish.
And Zebul his officer; and you are so unworthy and mean-spirited, that you do not only submit to him, but suffer his very servants to bear rule over you, and enslave you; and particularly this noble and hateful person Zebul. Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: if you love bondage, call in the old master and lord of the place; choose not an upstart, as Abimelech is; but rather take one of the old stock, one descended from Hamor, Gen_34:2, who did not carry himself like a tyrant, as Abimelech did, but like a father of his city of Shechem. This he might speak, either,
1. Sincerely, as being himself a Canaanite and a Shechemite, and possibly come from one of those little ones whom Simeon and Levi spared when they slew all the grown males, Gen_34:29. And it may be that he was one of the royal blood, a descendant of Hamor, who hereby sought to insinuate himself into their minds and government, as it follows, Jud_9:29, Would to God this people were under my hand! which he might judge the people more likely to do, both because they were now united with the Canaanites in religion, and because their present distress might oblige them to put themselves under him, who seemed or pretended to be a valiant and expert commander. Or,
2. In way of derision, he being an Israelite: If you are so servile, serve some of the children of Hamor; which because you rightly judge to be absurd and dishonourable, do not now submit to a far baser person; but cast off his yoke, and recover your lost liberties.