Judges 9 Outline
– Abimelech killed Gideon’s Sons and became King (Judges 9:1-21)
– Abimelech attacked the residents of Shechem (Judges 9:22-45)
– Abimelech burned down the tower of El Berith (Judges 9:46-49)
– Abimelech killed by a woman (Judges 9:50-57)
Judges 9 Summary
Abimelech traveled to Shechem and meet with his mother’s relatives. He told them to persuade the town leaders to it would be better to have one of the relatives to be king instead of having the 70 Gideon sons to rule over them. He also asked his relatives to suggest him to be the ruler of Shechem. The uncles of Abimelech spoke to the town leaders and told them what Abimelech said.
The town leaders agreed so they gave Abimelech 70 pieces of silvers from the temple of Baalberith. Abimelech used the silvers to hire a gang of reckless persons to kill 70 Gideon’s sons. Gideon brought the gang to the house of his father at Ophrah. They brought the 70 sons of Gideon to a rock and killed all of them. The youngest son of Gideon, Jotham, managed to escape by hiding himself in a place. Later, everyone gathered at Shechem to crown Abimelech as king. When Jotham learned atout it, he climbed up mount Gerizim and tell them a parable. Jotham used several types of trees in his parable to describe what will happen to the people who crown Abimelech as their king.
In the parable, the trees first asked the olive tree to be their king. The olive tree refused because it wants to continue offering olive oil to honor god and man. Next, the trees asked the fig tree to reign over them and be their king. The fig tree refused because it wants to continue providing delicious fruits. After that, they came to the vine tree and asked him to rule over them and be their king. The vine tree refused because it wants to continue producing wine for god and man. Finally, the trees came to the bramble. The bramble was very happy to be their king. The bramble said that if they trust him, they should come under its shadow; if they don’t trust him, let fire light the branches of the bramble and burn all the cedar trees in Lebanon.
Jotham used this parable to tell the people that Abimelech will destroy the people who made them king one day. Abimelech will also be killed as well. Jotham reminded them of how his father, Jerubbaal (GIdeon) had freed them from the hands of their enemies. Yet, they attacked his family and killed his 70 sons. After Jotham gave his warning to the people, he fled to live in Beer, where his brother couldn’t find him.
After Abimelech had become the military commander for 3 years, God decided to punish him. God made some men hide on the hilltops and ambushed for Abimelech. They also robbed the people that happened to pass by that way. However, someone told Abimelech about it later. One day, Gaal went to Shechem. It happened that they were having a party after the vine harvest. While at the party, the people became drunk and started to curse Abimelech.
Suddenly, Gaal stood up and suggested himself to be the king of Shechem. If they made him the king of Shechem, he will get rid of Abimelech so that they don’t have to serve him anymore. The people agreed and made Gaal their king. Zebul heard about it and he quickly informed Abimelech. He asked Abimelech to hide in the field and come out in the morning.
When Abimelech and his troop came out of their ambushes, Gaal was standing at the town gate. Gaal saw a group of coming down from the mountain tops. He told Zebul about it but Zebul said it is only the shadows of the mountains. After a while, Gaal saw people coming down from the mountain top and another group of people coming down the road by the Meonenim plain. He told Zebul about it again. Zebul challenged him to pluck up his courage and fight with the men of Abimelech, since he boasted he can easily defeat him. Gaal listened to Zebul’s advice. He took some men to fight with Abimelech and his men. Abimelech managed to killed many of them and win the battle.
At night, Abimelech went to Arumah and slept there. In the following morning, the people went out the town to work the field. Abimelech divided his men into three groups. Abimelech and his group control the town gate to make sure no one escape. The other two groups ran into the field and killed all the people. Abimelech destroyed the houses and buildings. After that, he scattered salt all over the place.
When the leaders of the temple of El Berith learned about, they went into the temple fortress and locked themselves inside. Abimelech brought his troop to Mount Zalmon and cut down the trees. Each person is to chop off a tree branch and put on his shoulder. Later, they piled the tree branches around the temple fortress and burn it down. About 1,000 men and women died were burnt to death in the fortress.
Later, Abimelech and his troop went to Thebez. The people of Thebez learned about it and went to hide in the tall tower in the middle of the town. As they were about to set fire on the tower, a woman dropped a mill stone on the head of Abimelech. The millstone broke the skull of Abimelech’s head and he almost die. Just as Abimelech was about to die, he asked his armor bearer to plunge the sword into him so that he died. When the men saw that their leader died, they went back home. This is how God repaid Abimelech for his wickedness.
Judges 9 Bible Study
1. Abimelech is a greedy and selfish man
From the scripture, we know that it wasn’t God’s will to crown Abimelech as king. Abimelech was a greedy and self-centered man who only cared about himself. To obtain power, he killed almost all of his half-brothers. Fortunately, the youngest brother was able to escape from the deadly ordeal. Abimelech was crowned as king near the oak tree in Shechem. The oak tree was most probably the oak tree where God appeared to Abraham and promised to give the land of Canaan to his descendants. Jacob and his family once buried the household idols under the ground of this oak tree. Abimelech’s coronation ceremony defiled and dishonored the historical meaning of this oak tree.
2. Gideon never teach his children about God’s truth
Gideon probably assumed that his seventy sons will be well provided for after he died. He never thought that his son, Abimelech, which was conceived through a concubine that lived in Shechem, will kill all his sons. As parents, we have the responsibilities to teach our children to love god. Parents must also show good examples as godly parents no matter in their workplaces or at home. In addition, parents should seek the will of God in their children’s lives so that they can always walk in God’s truth.
3. Being courageous in defending the truth
Jotham was very courageous to stand up and point out to the people that they were wrong in choosing Abimelech to be their king. When trouble comes, we should not backed down and surrender to the enemies. We should stand up and be courageous to defend the truth. Good men who do nothing to defend themselves from the enemies will be overcome by the evil. Eventually, Jotham’s word did come true.
4. God will punish sinners by repaying their evil deeds
Abimelech died a shameful death, after being killed by a millstone that was dropped down by a woman in the tower. Abimelech was too close to the tower that a woman saw this opportunity to kill him by dropping a millstone. Abimelech thought he could change his shameful death by asking his armor bearer to kill him with a sword. Abimelech actually died a shameful death because he was killed by a millstone instead of a word; and that he was killed by a woman and not a soldier in the war. The life story of Abimelech teaches us that God will repay evil deeds with retribution someday. By following God’s word and his will, we can continue to live in God’s perfect plan.