9.1-5 Abimelech. Abimelech was the King of Shechem during the time of the judges. He was Gideon’s son by a concubine. He reigned 3 years in Shechem. He killed the 70 sons of Gideon in hopes of being the ruler of Israel also. The youngest son, Jotham was not killed.

9.6-21 Abimelech is made king of Shechem. He is called out by Gideon’s youngest son Jotham. The parable Jotham puts forth is about trees. Jotham likens Abimelech to a bramble, inferring he is not even a tree. He is not a legitimate tree. Jotham then runs for his life fearing the retribution of Abimelech. Jotham declares they have brought on their own destruction.

9.22-57 the fall of Abimelech. After 3 years God sends an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. Abimelech shows us the difference between a king and a despot. Abimelech was reaping the consequences of his cruelty to the 70 sons of Gideon. Ps 7.15-17, Abimelech dug a pit and fell in it, his violent dealing came down on him. Finally Abimelech is killed in a battle where he goes too close to a wall and a woman drops a stone on his head. Jotham’s fable comes to pass. Gaal, the son of Ebed seems to be a mercenary that the men of Shechem collude with. During the feast of the wine harvest, Gaal calls for a revolt against Abimelech. This anger against Abimelech may go back to his being the son of Gideon who destroyed the altar of Baal. War ensues between Gaal and Abimelech, and Gaal is defeated and humiliated. Abimelech continues his cruel ways by burning down the tower of Shechem with the men inside. Finally Abimelech is killed and God renders Abimelech’s wickedness back on him. The question we face is why such detail about this man and few details about others? What is the criteria to cause a story like this to be detailed? The affairs of men do not seem to be something God necessarily documents for the Holy Record. The bigger picture here is the demise of Baal worship under Gideon and then the reinstatement of Baal worship under Abimelech. This theme does indeed merit attention to detail and for this reason we have the abundance of minutiae. This worship of Baal would continue to plague the nation of Israel for the next thousand years, and would only be cured by the Babylonian captivity.

Thanks for reading today…

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