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Abimelech Of Shechem
Gideon (also known as Jerubbaal) was one of the best-known Israelite leaders during the era of The Judges (see also Bible History). Gideon had, along with seventy sons from his many wives, a son of a concubine. Gideon gave him the name Abimelech (in Hebrew pronounced ab-ee-mel-ek), which means my father is king.
"8:30 And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives. 8:31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. 8:32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites." (Judges 8:30-32 KJV)
"And all the men of Shechem gathered together ... and made Abimelech king"
Although Abimelech may have been regarded as an outsider by his brothers at Shechem, they nevertheless not only welcomed him but actually supported him as a family leader. They even provided financial means for him, which Abimelech treacherously used to hire assassins to come and murder his seventy brothers. Only one, Jotham, the youngest, survived the slaughter that culminated with the proclaiming of Abimelech as king by the people of Shechem.
"9:1 And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, 9:2 Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.
Abimelech did not escape justice however. The LORD first brought about a revolt by the people of Shechem against Abimelech, who responded by destroying the city (in doing so, it too did not escape justice - for accepting a murderer as their king to begin with).
"9:22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel, 9:23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: 9:24 That the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren." (Judges 9:22-24 KJV)
Abimelech's turn then came, "Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren."
"9:50 Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. 9:51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower. 9:52 And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 9:53 And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull.
Fact Finder: Although the LORD rejected Abimelech because he was evil, did He accept Abimelech's father Gideon because he was righteous?