Gaal in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
(gay' uhl) Personal name meaning, "abhorrence," "neglect,"
or perhaps "dung-beetle." Man who usurped Abimelech's
leadership in Shechem but met sudden defeat from Abimelech
and left the city (Judges 9:26-41). The early translations
spell his name and that of his father in several different
ways, showing perhaps that Israelites intentionally
distorted his name to shame his reputation.would help them
against him. Already they had "set liers in wait for
Abimelech in the tops of the mountains" (Ebal and Gerizim,
between which Shechem was situated), who robbed all passers
by. By organized robbery they brought Abimelech's government
into discredit, and probably sought to waylay and kill
himself. Gaal developed their brigandage into open revolt.
At the vintage ingathering feast they made praise offerings"
(hillulim), KJV made merry, margin songs; compare Isaiah
15:9-10) of their fruits, which newly planted vineyards bore
in the fourth year, eating and drinking in the house of
their god Baal-berith ("Baal in covenant"), answering to
Jehovah's feast (Leviticus 19:2;Leviticus 19:3-35). At the
feast Gaal said, "Who is Abimelech and who is Shechem that
we should serve him? is not he son of Jerubbaal?" i.e., he
is son of the man who pulled down Baal's altar at Shechem
and restored Jehovah's worship, for which the Shechemites
themselves had tried to slay him (Judges 6:27-32). Who is
"Zebul his officer"? explains the previous "who is Shechem?"
The might of Shechem does not consist in the might of Zebul
its prefect, Abimelech's officer. To the one officer of
Abimeleeh Gaal opposes, "serve the men of Hamor the father
of Shechem " the patricians of the ancient line whom the
Shechemites should serve; Humor was the Hivite prince who
founded Shechem (Genesis 33:19; Genesis 34:2; Joshua 24:32).
The rebellion sought to combine the aboriginal Shechemites
with the idolatrous Israelites against the anti-Baalite
family of Gideon. Heated with wine Gaal vaunted that he, if
made leader of the Shechemites, would soon overcome and
Zebul, jealous of Gaal, privately (literally, with deceit,
i.e. feigning assent to Gaal while planning his overthrow)
sent information to Abimelech, who (margin, Judges 9:37)
came "by way of the wizards' terebinths," and "chased Gaal"
in battle; and "Zebul thrust out him and his brethren that
they should not dwell in Shechem." In Judges 9:39 it is
translated: "Gaal went out in the sight of the lords of
Shechem," not at their head, but leading his own men; not
until the "morrow" did the Shechemites go out. (For the
issue, see ABIMELECH.) We know no more of Gaal. Foolhardy
boasting, which he failed to make good in action, was his
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