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Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

Chief man of Shechem; Abimelech's officer, acting for his interests against the native Canaanites and (See Gaal . When Abimelech defeated the latter, Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren from Shechem ( Judges 9:28;  Judges 9:30;  Judges 9:36;  Judges 9:38;  Judges 9:41). A zealous servant to an unscrupulous master.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

ZEBUL . A lieutenant of Abimelech (wh. see), who was left by him as governor of Shechem. He cleverly assisted his master in suppressing the revolt of Gaal (  Judges 9:26-41 ). The episode is obscure, but he apparently acted loyally from the first; having no force at his command, he was obliged to use craft. This is clear, if   Judges 9:42 ff. belong to a different narrative.

C. W. Emmet.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [3]

Ze'bul. (Habitation). Chief man, (Authorized Version, "ruler"), of the city of Shechem, at the time of the contest between Abimelech and the native Canaanites.  Judges 9:28;  Judges 9:30;  Judges 9:36;  Judges 9:41. (B.C. 1209).

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [4]

A governor of the city of Shechem, who labored adroitly to preserve the city for Abimelech his master, the son of Gideon,  Judges 9:1 -  57 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [5]

 Judges 9:28,30,36 Judges 9:28-45

Morrish Bible Dictionary [6]

Governor of Shechem for Abimelech while the latter was absent.  Judges 9:28-41 .

Holman Bible Dictionary [7]

 Judges 9:30-41

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [8]

zē´bul ( זבל , zebhul , perhaps "exalted"; Ζεβούλ , Zeboúl ): In   Judges 9:26 ff. He is called in   Judges 9:30 sar - ‛ı̄r , "the ruler of the city," a phrase translated "the governor of the city" in  1 Kings 22:26 =   2 Chronicles 18:25;  2 Kings 23:8;  2 Chronicles 34:8; he was "commandant of the town" of Shechem. In  Judges 9:28 he is referred to as the pāḳı̄dh , "officer," or, more correctly, "deputy" of Abimelech. This verse is a little difficult, but if we read "served" for "serve ye," it becomes fairly clear in meaning. With Moore (Judges, 255 ff) we may translate it thus: "Who is Abimelech? and who is Shechem, that we should serve him (i.e. Abimelech)? Did not the son of Jerubbaal and Zebul his deputy (formerly) serve the people of Qamor (the father of Shechem)? Why then should we serve him (Abimelech)?" This is also the way Budde ( Kurzer Hand-Comm. z. Altes Testament , 75) takes the verse. And further in  Judges 9:29 for "and he said" many read with the Septuagint "then would I say."

The position of Zebul is here that of a deputy to Abimelech, who lived in Arumah ( Judges 9:41 ). When Gaal came to Shechem, a newcomer with a band of men, he seized the opportunity at a vintage feast to attack Abimelech and express a desire to lead a revolt against him ( Judges 9:26-29 ). Zebul heard these words and reported the matter to his master, vising him to make s sudden rush upon the city ( Judges 9:30-33 ). This Abimelech does, and Gaal, on noticing the troops, tells Zebul, who turns upon him and bids him make good his bragging words. Gaal is thus forced to go out and fight Abimelech, and is defeated ( Judges 9:34-40 ).

If this be the correct interpretation of the narrative so far, it is fairly simple and clear. Some, however, maintain that the words of Gaal about Zebul in  Judges 9:28 are meant as an insult to the governor of the city; this is the view of Wellbausch ( Compos ., 353 f, note) and Nowack ( Handkomm .; compare also his Archdologie , I, 304, 308, for the meaning of sar ). Zebul is, according to them, head of the Shechemite community, and Wellhausen and Kittel ( History of Hebrew , II, 85) believe him to have had something to do with the revolt of  Judges 9:23-25 . For the latter view there is no proof; possibly Zebul was the head of the community of Shechem, but as he was a subject of Abimelech, who was the king or prince of Shechem, there could not be much sting in calling him the" deputy" of his master.

The questions that arise from  Judges 9:41 ff need only be referred to here. Many critics have seen in 9:22-45 more than one source. Moore groups the verses thus: (1)   Judges 9:22-23 ,  Judges 9:25 ,  Judges 9:42 ff as due to the Elohist (E), with   Judges 9:24 from RJE  ; (2) 9:26-41 due to J. It is doubtful if the division is as clear as this. There seem however to be parallels: (1) The plans of Abimelech in  Judges 9:34-40 are very similar to those in   Judges 9:42 ff. (2)   Judges 9:41 seems to give in short what we find related in   Judges 9:34-40 . (3) Septuagint in  Judges 9:31 has suggested to many that we should read there, "and he sent messengers unto Abimelech in Arumah ," instead of reading "craftily." We would thus have a parallel to  Judges 9:41 . It may be suggested therefore that if the account be double (and it is strange that Abimelech should again attack the city by almost the same methods as before, when the revolters had been already got rid of), the narratives would be in this order:

Introductory,  Judges 9:23-25; then  Judges 9:26-29 ,  Judges 9:30 common to both, and so possibly part of   Judges 9:31 and   Judges 9:32 f. Then we have two accounts of the event: (a)   Judges 9:31 (part), 34-40; (b)   Judges 9:41-45 , followed by  Judges 9:46 ff.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [9]

(Heb. Zebul', זְבל , Habitation; Sept. Ζεβούλ ; Josephus, Ζέβουλος ) , the chief man ( שִׂר , A. V. "ruler") of the city of Shechem at the time of the contest between Abimelech and the native Canaanites ( Judges 9:28;  Judges 9:30;  Judges 9:36;  Judges 9:38;  Judges 9:41). B.C. 1319. He governed the town as the "officer" ( פָּקַיד ; Sept. Ἐπίσκοπος ; Josephus, Ζένος Ant. 5, 7, 4]) of Abimelech while the latter was absent; and he took part against the Canaanites by shutting them out of the city when-Abimelech was encamped outside it. His conversation with Gaal, the Canaanitish leader, as they stood in the gate of Shechem watching the approach of the armed bands, gives Zebul a certain individuality among the many characters of that time of confusion. (See Abimelech).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [10]

Ze´bul (a dwelling), an officer whom Abimelech left in command at Shechem in his own absence; and who discharged with fidelity and discretion the difficult trust confided to him (). See the particulars in Abimelech.