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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Gaal

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(Heb. id. גִּעִל , loathing; Sept. Γαάλ, Josephus Γαάλης ), son of Ebed (Judges 9:26 sq.). He went to Shechem with his brothers when the inhabitants became discontented with Abimelech, and so engaged their confidence that they placed him at their head. He does not seem to have been a native of Shechem nor specially interested in the revolution, but rather one of a class of condottieri, who at such a period of anarchy would be willing to sell their services to the highest bidder (compare Josephus, Ant. 5:7, 3 and 4). At the festival at which the Shechemites offered the first-fruits of their vintage in the temple of Baal, Gaal, by apparently drunken bravadoes, roused the valor of the people, and strove yet more to kindle their wrath against the absent Abimelech. It would seem as if the natives had been in some way intimately connected with, or descended from the original inhabitants; for Gaal endeavored to awaken their attachment to the ancient family of Hamor, the father of Shechem, which ruled the place in the time of Abraham (Genesis 34:2; Genesis 34:6), and which seems to have been at this time represented by Gaal and his brothers. This appeal to anteIsraelitish traditions (Judges 9:28), together with the re-establishment of idolatry at Shechem, shows that the movement in which be took part was a reactionary one, and proceeded upon the principle of a combination of the aborigines with the idolatrous Israelites against the iconoclastic family of Gideon as represents ed by Abimtelech. Although deprived of Shechem the family appears to have maintained itself in some power in the neighborhood which induced the Shechemites to look to Gaal when they became tired of Abimelech. Whether he succeeded in awakening among them a kind feeling towards the dscendants of the ancient masters of the place does not appear; but eventually they went out under his command, and assisted doubtless by his men, to intercept and give battle to Abimelech when hue appeared before the town. He, however, fled before Abimelech, and his retreat into Shechem being cut off by Zebumi, the commandant of that place, he went to his home, and we hear of him no more. The account of this attempt is interesting, chiefly from the slight glimpse it affords of the position, at this period, of what had been one of the reigning families. of the Eland before its invasion by the Israelites. B.C. 1319. (See ABIMELECH).


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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Gaal'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/tce/g/gaal.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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