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Saturday, March 1 2014
Judges 9: Abimelech The Son Of Jerubbaal
"Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren"
As was common for the culture at the time, Gideon (see Judges 6: Gideon Of Manasseh, Judges 7: Gideon's Trumpets and Judges 8: Gideon's Victory) had numerous children with many women. Among the others, Gideon also had a son with "his concubine that was in Shechem," "whose name he called Abimelech" (in Hebrew pronounced aw-vee-mel-ek).
"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 [see also Joshua 24: The Covenant Of 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 KJV)
Abimelech was ambitious. He regarded himself however at a disadvantage, so he appealed first to his relatives in Shechem to make him their ruler, rather than one of the other sons of Gideon who were foreign to the city (although Ophrah was only about 6 miles from Shechem). The political strategy worked, but there were still seventy other sons of Gideon who had a greater claim to succeed their father. Abimelech's solution was to kill all of his brothers, which he did, except for one who escaped - "Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself." Thereafter, "all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king."
"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.
The surviving son, Jotham, then made his appeal to the people of Shechem, for them to not accept a wild "bramble" (and now murderer) as their king, even though he had sprouted and grown up there.
"9:7 And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. 9:8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.
Jotham then reminded the people of Shechem of all that his father Gideon had done for the city ("For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian"; see Judges 8: Gideon's Victory), even though he wasn't born there. With their choice made plain, Jotham fled from the reach of his savage brother Abimelech.
"9:16 Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands; 9:17 (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: 9:18 And ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;) 9:19 If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: 9:20 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech.
The people then made their democratic choice between Jotham and Abimelech. They chose the savage, Abimelech. The LORD (Who was and is Jesus Christ - see Genesis 1: In The Beginning Was The Word and The Kingdom Of The LORD God) however then cast His "vote," against the man who had murdered his way to the throne.
"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. 9:25 And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech." (Judges 9:22-25 KJV)
Abimelech's power immediately began to unravel. First, a revolution began, under the leadership of Gaal, who used the same divisive argument that Abimelech did i.e. "Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him."
"9:26 And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him. 9:27 And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech. 9:28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? is not he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serve him? 9:29 And would to God this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out.
Abimelech found himself having to fight, not only for the kingship, but for his hometown of Shechem.
"9:34 And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies. 9:35 And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people that were with him, from lying in wait.
While Abimelech was able to retake his home town, destroying it in the process, his end came when Abimelech continued the campaign on to Thebez. While laying siege to the tower of the city, "a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull." Mortally wounded, "he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died."
"9:46 And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that, they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith. 9:47 And it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 9:48 And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an ax in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said unto the people that were with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done. 9:49 And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.
The final Word (see What Does Word of God Mean To You?) in the matter was that of the LORD.
"9:56 Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: 9:57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal." (Judges 9:56-57 KJV)
Fact Finder: In later years, did King David also have a "politically ambitious" son? Did his spirit of rebellion cause further rebellions?
This Day In History, March 1
752 BC: Romulus, the legendary and semi-mythical first king of Rome, was victorious over the Caeninenses.
509 BC: Publius Valerius Publicola, Roman consul, won the first triumph of the Roman Republic after his victory over the deposed king Lucius Tarquinius Superbus at the Battle of Silva Arsia (see The Politics Of Rome; also A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
293: Roman Emperor Diocletian and Maximian appointed Constantius Chlorus and Galerius as fellow Caesars - beginning of the Tetrarchy or Quattuor Principes Mundi ("The Four Rulers of the World").
1498: Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama arrived at what is today Mozambique, on his voyage to India.
1562: Roman Catholic troops massacred over 1,000 Huguenots as they prayed at Vassy, France, starting the First War of Religion. The 40 years of conflict ended when Henry IV of Navarre seized the French throne and granted the Protestants partial freedom.
1565: The city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil was founded.
1632: Samuel de Champlain was appointed the first governor of "New France" (northeastern North America; see also Thanksgiving In History and Prophecy).
1692: Sarah Osborne, Sarah Good and Tituba were brought to court in Salem Village, Massachusetts, beginning "the Salem witch trials" (see also What Is Sorcery?).
1815: Napoleon landed in France after returning from Elba, where he had been after being forced to abdicate in April 1814 (Britain put only a small fraction of its military forces into the War of 1812-14 against the U.S.; the bulk of the British army and navy was involved in fighting Napoleon's French Empire in Europe and Africa e.g. British Admiral Horatio Nelson's victory over the French fleet at Trafalgar and Wellington's victory at the Battle of Waterloo).
1845: U.S. President John Tyler signed a bill to authorize the annexation of the short-lived Republic of Texas, after its independence from Mexico.
1871: German troops entered Paris during the Franco-Prussian War.
1896: The Battle of Adowa in Ethiopia between the Ethiopian army of King Menelik II and Italian forces. The Italians, outnumbered 80,000 to 20,000 were routed. The decisive Ethiopian victory checked Italy's attempt to build an empire in Africa comparable to that of the French or British.
1917: During the First World War, the "Zimmermann Telegram" was published; the message from the German foreign ministry to Mexicans encouraged them to go to war against the U.S. to recover their lost territories in alliance with Germany.
1932: The infant son of aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh was kidnapped. The child was found dead on May 12.
1941: Bulgaria joined the Axis Powers and allowed German forces to enter the country.
1960: Approximately 20,000 people were killed at the Atlantic seaport city of Agadir, Morocco. The city was destroyed by 2 earthquakes, a tidal wave and fire.
1966: The Soviet Venus III landed on Venus. It was the first spacecraft to land on another planet.
1985: The Pentagon accepted the theory that a nuclear war would block the sun, causing a "nuclear winter" i.e. there would be no "winner" in a nuclear war.
1992: Bosnia and Herzegovina declared independence from Yugoslavia.
2003: The International Criminal Court held its first session in The Hague, Netherlands. The Court has remained mostly impotent because most of the greatest war criminals of the modern age escape justice in their militarily-strong nations. Only the weak and the losers of wars face that Court's "justice." True justice is surely coming however; no one "gets away with" anything (see What Happens After The Messiah Returns?).