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Thebez, from the Hebrew place name pronounced tay-bates, meaning whiteness, or brightness, was a city located about 11 miles northeast of Shechem in the time of The Judges and King David. It is mentioned twice in Bible History when the city's tower was the subject of the deaths of two men, Abimelech the son of Gideon and Uriah the Hittite.

"Abimelech went to Thebez and encamped against Thebez and took it. But there was a strong tower within the city"

There are a number of different men recorded in the Holy Scriptures by the name of Abimelech, Israelite and Philistine, including the Philistine king of Gerar in the time of Abraham (Genesis 20:1-18), the king of Gerar in the time of Isaac (Genesis 26:1-22), the high priest in the time of David (1 Chronicles 18:16), and a son of Gideon (Gideon was also known as Jerubbaal, Judges 8:33-9:1) who is the Abimelech who "went to Thebez and encamped against Thebez and took it" as written below.

Tower Abimelech was proclaimed king after the death of his father Gideon (Judges 8:33-9:6). He was a brutal and ruthless man who upon taking the throne murdered his own 70 brothers "upon one stone" (Judges 9:5 RSV), a means which was also used to bring about justice for his royal fratricide. When Abimelech besieged the town of Thebez, he was mortally wounded by being struck on the head by a millstone that had been thrown by a woman from the wall above. That woman had help in aiming that rock though, "Thus God requited the crime of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers."

"Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.

But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the people of the city fled to it, all the men and women, and shut themselves in; and they went to the roof of the tower.

And Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman threw an upper millstone upon Abimelech's head, and crushed his skull.

Then he called hastily to the young man his armor-bearer, and said to him, "Draw your sword and kill me, lest men say of me, 'A woman killed him.'"

And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man to his home.

Thus God requited the crime of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers; and God also made all the wickedness of the men of Shechem fall back upon their heads, and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal." (Judges 9:50-57 RSV)

Fact Finder: How was Thebez mentioned in the death of Uriah the Hittite?
2 Samuel 11:14-21

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