And Abimelech fought against the city all that day
By throwing stones or arrows into it:
and he took the city;
it was surrendered to him, not being able to stand out against his forces:
and slew the people that was therein;
all but those that were of his own family and his friends; all that had taken up arms against him, or had shown their dislike of his government, and were his enemies:
and beat down the city;
the houses in it, and walls of it, though it was his native place:
and sowed it with salt;
not to make it barren, for he would rather then have sowed the field, though this would not have had any effect of that kind, for any time at least; but to show his detestation of it, because of the ill usage he had met with, and as a token of its perpetual destruction, to which he devoted it, determining that if it was in his power it should never be rebuilt; but it was hereafter, and became again a very flourishing city in Jeroboam's time. Thus the Emperor Frederic Barbarossa, in the year 1162, when he took Milan, not only ploughed it up, but sowed it with salt; and in memory of it there is a street in it, now called "la contrada della Sala" F14: besides, Abimelech did this to deter other cities from rebelling against him; for if he so used his own city, more severely, if possible, would he use others.
F14 Sigonius de regn. Ital. l. 13, & 14.