The Book of Judges
King Abimelech Bible Truth
King Abimelech in the Bible Story
Delighted you're back to share today's Daily Bread! Last time we
shared, we studied the story of Gideon and how by God's hand, He
delivered Israel from the oppression of Midian. That ended the 4th
cycle of sin to deliverance for Israel. After Gideon's death,
however, the children of Israel were at it again, forsaking the Lord
and worshiping other gods.
This story is about a son of Gideon named Abimelech. Gideon had
seventy sons with many wives, but Abimelech was the son of his
concubine, who lived in Shechem. After the death of Gideon, Abimelech
had the desire to rule over Shechem, so he asked the men of Shechem
if they wanted Gideon's seventy sons to rule over them ... Or one who
was their own flesh and blood.
Just to refresh your memory a bit, let's do a little background study
on this place ... Shechem.
King Abimelech Bible Study
King Abimelech in the Bible Murder
Shechem was originally occupied by the Canaanites (Genesis
12:6). Jacob bought a field in Shechem. He built an altar there
and called it Elelohe-Israel which means: God, the God of Israel (Genesis
33:20). The city of Shechem was named after Shechem (the son of
Hamor) who defiled Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and Simeon and Levi
killed all the males in the land to avenge the shame of their sister
Chapter 34). Shechem was a city of refuge (Joshua
21:21). The bones of Joseph were buried in Shechem (Joshua
Well, the people indicated that they would support Abimelech, so he
hired some thugs to go with him and killed his seventy brothers ...
All except for Jotham, the youngest, who hid himself.
So, they made Abimelech king, and when Jotham learned of it, he went
to the top of Mt. Gerizim and cried out, Listen to me, men of
Shechem, so that God may listen to you. Just a little interesting
side note here:
King Abimelech Bible Research
King Abimelech in the Bible Parable
Remember when Joshua was commanded to put the blessings and curses on
the two mountains? Mt. Gerizim was the mount that the blessings were
put upon. So, it would seem that whatever Jotham was about to say,
would bear one's attention, yes?
Here is what Jotham said to the people:
Once upon a time, the trees wanted something to rule over them, so
they asked the olive tree. But, the olive tree refused, saying,
Should I give up my richness by which they honor God and man, and go
to wave to and fro over the trees? Ah, but the trees didn't give up
... They then asked the fig tree. But the fig tree said, Should I
leave my sweetness and bearing my good fruit to be promoted over the
Well, the trees persisted, asking the vine next. But the vine said,
What ... Leave my wine, which cheers God and man to do what? Still
the trees wouldn't give up, and they asked the bramble, who accepted
the office, but under this condition: That the trees sit in it's
shadow, and if they didn't, fire would come out of the bramble and
destroy the trees.
King Abimelech Bible Discussion
King Abimelech in the Bible Concern
Jotham, finishing his parable of
the trees, said to the men of Shechem this:
My father risked his life for you and saved you from the oppression
of Midian, and you have attacked his family and killed his seventy
sons, making Abimelech, the son of his maidservant king over Shechem
because he is your brother. If today, you have acted sincerely and
honorably with Gideon and his family, then be happy with Abimelech
and let him be happy with you ... You deserve one another!
But if not, Abimelech (represented by the bramble in Jotham's
parable) is nothing but a fire himself, and may you all destroy one
another. And having spoken that curse, Jotham fled and lived in
hiding for three years because he was afraid of what Abimelech might
After that, God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of
Shechem to revenge the blood of the seventy sons of Gideon that were
killed, but there were also those that remained loyal to Abimelech.
The men of Shechem laid ambushes for Abimelech and robbed any of his
followers that passed by.
King Abimelech Bible Prophecy
King Abimelech in the Bible Warning
Now, it so happened that there was a man named Gaal and his brethren,
that certain men of Shechem put their trust in, and because of their
strength and presence, they felt secure enough to go out and harvest
grapes and have a celebration, at which they openly cursed Abimelech.
And Gaal said to the people, Who does Abimelech think he is, that we
should serve him? If I ruled over this people, I would do away with
Abimelech. Let him build up his army and come out.
Well, all of this was heard by Zebul, who was one of Abimelech's
officials, and it made him angry, so Zebul secretly sent word to
Abimelech that Gaal was stirring up trouble against him, and advised
Abimelech to gather his followers and set up an ambush in the field
so that when Gaal came out against him, Abimelech would have the
advantage (the element of surprise).
King Abimelech Bible Wars
King Abimelech in the Bible Danger
So, Abimelech divided his followers into four groups round about the
city and when Gaal saw the first ones coming, he said to Zebul
(unaware that Zebul's loyalty was with Abimelech), Look, people are
coming down from the mountains. And Zebul replied, You're seeing the
shadows of the mountains that look like men. Then Gaal saw more
people and said, See, more are coming by the middle of the land, and
some along the plain.
And Gaal then realized that they were ambushes. Then Zebul said,
Aren't you the one who said, Who is Abimelech, and why should we
serve him? Take your brave words then and fight with him.
But Gaal, being caught by surprise, ran when Abimelech chased him and
many who trusted in Gaal were wounded or killed. Then Zebul ordered
that Gaal and his brethren be thrown out of the city.
King Abimelech Bible Discovery
King Abimelech in the Bible Time Is Near
Surprisingly enough, the next day, even with Gaal gone, the people of
Shechem came out once again to gather their grapes, so Abimelech was
told of this and he again laid ambushes and his army took many lives
of the people of Shechem. He then destroyed the city and covered it
But, the men of the tower of Shechem were still alive and when they
heard what had happened, they hid in the house of a god that they
Abimelech got news of this, so he cut down a bough from the trees and
laid in on his shoulder, ordering all his followers to do the same.
They took them to where the people of the tower were in hiding and
surrounded the place with the boughs, then set it ablaze, killing all
the persons (about 1000) inside.
King Abimelech Bible Death
King Abimelech in the Bible End Is Here
As if Abimelech had not caused enough destruction, he then went to
Thebez and destroyed the city there, so that all the people took
refuge in the tower of that city.
Then, as Abimelech intended to set the door of the tower afire, a
woman threw a piece of a millstone on his head, but before he died,
he quickly ordered that his armor bearer draw his sword and kill him,
so that it wouldn't be said that his death was credited to a woman,
and the armor bearer followed his order.
So, God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech and the men of Shechem
that they did to Gideon by killing his seventy sons and returned
their wickedness on their own heads, and the curse of Jotham came to
King Abimelech Bible Summary
King Abimelech in the Bible Conclusion
God's way or no way. Join us again, as we find out more about the
time of the judges of Israel, and the history of God's people, right
here at Daily Bread.
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