Judges Part 4 9-12


In Judges 9 we learn about how ruthless some will become in order to be in charge or to become king.


Judges 9:1 Then Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother's brothers, and spoke with them and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying,2 "Please speak in the hearing of all the men of Shechem: 'Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal reign over you, or that one reign over you?' Remember that I am your own flesh and bone."3 And his mother's brothers spoke all these words concerning him in the hearing of all the men of Shechem; and their heart was inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, "He is our brother."4 So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men; and they followed him.5 Then he went to his father's house at Ophrah and killed his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, because he hid himself.6 And all the men of Shechem gathered together, all of Beth Millo, and they went and made Abimelech king beside the terebinth tree at the pillar that was in Shechem.


I want to remind you that Jerubbbal is Gideon that we talked about last week. Now we see that one of his sons wants to wipe all his brothers just so he can be the only leader of the people. Notice we see that he goes to Shechem to where is mothers brother is which is his uncle and he convinces that they should kill all his brothers so that he could rule over them instead of someone else. Well, since he was blood kin them they agreed to this horrible thing. So they gave his money so he could hire some ruthless men to help carry out his task and so he goes back to his fathers city and they kill his brothers on one stone which indicates to me that they chopped their heads off. Only one son the youngest escaped because he hid himself and then the men of Shechem made Abimelech their king.


A lot of people today are not much different the Abimelech because they have the same mentality that he has and this what ever takes to put into power or to make me more popular I will do it. I seen the attitude a lot when I was in High School. I donít know why it worked out this way but the grade above was full of thugs and they had no respect for anyone property. Well in order to fit their group people would do stupid things just so they looked like they belong. One boy actually caught one ofthe teachers trash can on fire in attempt to what he could to rise to higher status in that group. We also see this in hollow wood where people will do anything to get on camera for either the fame or for the money. The reason why they do this is because they have Abimelech attitude that nothing is going to keep them from rising up to higher place even if they have to set all morals aside they will do it.


As Christians we need to make sure that we donít find ourselves having this attitude. The word teaches that we are to be humble and to think to highly of ourselves. So we should never comprise God truth or morals just so that we can rise up to higher place in society.


Now starting verse 7 we have one of the oldest parable know to man. Now I will say some also call this fable as well. The Parable that I about to read in prophecy of what will happen to the people involved in this murder of the Gideonís sons.


Judges 9:7 Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out. And he said to them: "Listen to me, you men of Shechem, That God may listen to you!8 "The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us!'9 But the olive tree said to them, 'Should I cease giving my oil, With which they honor God and men, And go to sway over trees?'10 "Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'You come and reign over us!'11 But the fig tree said to them, 'Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit, And go to sway over trees?'12 "Then the trees said to the vine, 'You come and reign over us!'13 But the vine said to them, 'Should I cease my new wine, Which cheers both God and men, And go to sway over trees?'14 "Then all the trees said to the bramble, 'You come and reign over us!'15 And the bramble said to the trees, 'If in truth you anoint me as king over you, Then come and take shelter in my shade; But if not, let fire come out of the bramble And devour the cedars of Lebanon!'


This parable is basically telling us that Abimelech is going to pay for what he has done. As we continue on Jotham explains the parable some and he really tries to remind Abimelechís family of what Gideon had done for them in the past.


16 " Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as he deserves --17 "for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian;18 "but you have risen up against my father's house this day, and killed his seventy sons on one stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother --19 "if then you have acted in truth and sincerity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you.20 "But if not, let fire come from Abimelech and devour the men of Shechem and Beth Millo; and let fire come from the men of Shechem and from Beth Millo and devour Abimelech!"21 And Jotham ran away and fled; and he went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.


He basically telling these men shame on you. Why would you do this to Gideonís sons after he risked his life for you and saved you from your enemy. Think about what you done you done all this just because Abimelich is your brother. Now Jotham lets them know hey if for some valid we deserved death then so be it but if we did not let fire consume you. We can only image how much anger and sadness was in the heart of Jotham but their wasnít much he could do except to rely upon God and God listening because we are going to see that through Gods providence that he was about to start things in motion that we give these people their just desert.


Judges 9:22 After Abimelech had reigned over Israel three years,23 God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,24 that the crime done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his brothers.


Here we see Godís providence at work and now the same men that had made Abimelich their king have turned against him all this is happening because of these people did to these 70 sons.


Judges 9:25 And the men of Shechem set men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was told Abimelech.26 Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers and went over to Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.27 So they went out into the fields, and gathered grapes from their vineyards and trod them, and made merry. And they went into the house of their god, and ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech.28 Then Gaal the son of Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is not Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him?29 "If only this people were under my authority! Then I would remove Abimelech." So he said to Abimelech, "Increase your army and come out!"


Now we donít know very much at all who Gaal was or who Ebed was but we can see that the men of Shechem put their confidence in him and then they had themselves a drinking party and big feast and lived it up. Well Gaal begin to talk big and he started cursing Abimelech and saying why should we serve him. Why should serve anyone. You should make me your ruler I kill Abimelech. So then he challenges Abimelech to a battle.


Judges 9:30 When Zebul, the ruler of the city, heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was aroused.31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, saying, "Take note! Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem; and here they are, fortifying the city against you.32 "Now therefore, get up by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field.33 "And it shall be, as soon as the sun is up in the morning, that you shall rise early and rush upon the city; and when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you may then do to them as you find opportunity."


Zebul didnít like was going on so he sends word to Abimelech so that he could attack early before Gaal has a chance to fortify the city all the way. As we are about to read Abimelech didnít waste anytime to follow Zebulís advice.


Judges 9:34 So Abimelech and all the people who were with him rose by night, and lay in wait against Shechem in four companies.35 When Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance to the city gate, Abimelech and the people who were with him rose from lying in wait.36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, "Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!" But Zebul said to him, "You see the shadows of the mountains as if they were men."37 So Gaal spoke again and said, "See, people are coming down from the center of the land, and another company is coming from the Diviners' Terebinth Tree."38 Then Zebul said to him, "Where indeed is your mouth now, with which you said, 'Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?' Are not these the people whom you despised? Go out, if you will, and fight with them now."39 So Gaal went out, leading the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled from him; and many fell wounded, to the very entrance of the gate.


We just see all kinds of deceptions and lies throughout this story. We can see for this text that Gaal had no idea thatZebul was working against him. You can see because when Gaal saw Abimelechís men he just said no, no, those are just the shadows of the mountain. You see he was trying to deceive him. But when these men started coming down the center of the land then Zebul really chides Gaal by basically asking Where is your backbone now? You talked a big talk but now will you walk the walk. Well to Gaal credit he at least tried to fight but he failed. This reminds me of a lot people today that say they do something boldly if the face this certain situation or this certain person. But when that event actually takes place they not a bold as they said they would be and sometimes they donít even try to do what they said they would do because itís a lot easier talk the talk then to walk the walk.


As Christians we must learn to become more courageous and live our lives for God. If we proclaim to be a child of God and we are living according to Gods Words then it important that we not allow situation or people to cause comprise Godís truth. While it be difficult at times to stand up for God and his word we must do it even if we are in the minority so let always to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.


Judges 9:41 Then Abimelech dwelt at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, so that they would not dwell in Shechem.


Thanks to Abimelech Zebul was able to drive out Gaal and his brothers from Shechem. Now Abimelech has forgotten what the men of Shechem had done to him and now he is about take his revenge.


Judges 9:42 And it came about on the next day that the people went out into the field, and they told Abimelech.43 So he took his people, divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the field. And he looked, and there were the people, coming out of the city; and he rose against them and attacked them.44 Then Abimelech and the company that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city; and the other two companies rushed upon all who were in the fields and killed them.45 So Abimelech fought against the city all that day; he took the city and killed the people who were in it; and he demolished the city and sowed it with salt.


Abimelech was getting his revenge and at the same time fulfilling part of that parable that Jotham spoke earlier. He destroys the people and demolishes the city.This term sowed it with salt was a costume of some when the demolished a place to make the statement that it would be forever desolate. Ah but there is more to do.


Judges 9:46 Now when all the men of the tower of Shechem had heard that, they entered the stronghold of the temple of the god Berith.47 And it was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.


So the rest of the men and women were held up in this temple that had made for the God Berith. This false God they were worshiping was simply an idol and they created this God because of the agreement that the children of Israel and the people Canaan made together even though this was not acceptable by God. So these people attributed this act to the new God of Baal them made up.


Judges 9:48 Then Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who 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; then he said to the people who were with him, "What you have seen me do, make haste and do as I have done."49 So each of the people likewise cut down his own bough and followed Abimelech, put them against the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire above them, so that all the people of the tower of Shechem died, about a thousand men and women.


So Abimelech set this place on fire which killed these remaining men and women and now he has had his revenge but his battle still rages on. He now turns his attention to the people of Thebez. Apparently they must have been fighting against Abimlech as well.


Judges 9:50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and he encamped against Thebez and took it.51 But there was a strong tower in the city, and all the men and women -- all the people of the city -- fled there and shut themselves in; then they went up to the top of the tower.52 So Abimelech came as far as the tower and fought against it; and he drew near the door of the tower to burn it with fire.53 But a certain woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech's head and crushed his skull.


Everything was going well for Abimelech until this womenthrew this millstone at himand crushed his scull. Now from what I could gather thisstone would have weighed about 4 or 5 pounds and you could just imagine the damage that could do withgravity on its side.


Judges 9:54 Then he called quickly to the young man, his armorbearer, and said to him, "Draw your sword and kill me, lest men say of me, 'A woman killed him.' " So his young man thrust him through, and he died.


No doubt Abimilech head was probably bleeding like crazy and he didnít have long to live and all he could thinkabout was that he didnít want it to be known that he was killed by a women. So he commands his armorbearer to kill him just so no one could say that he was killed by a women and so armorbearer obeyed him and killed him.


Judges 9:55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed, every man to his place.56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers.57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.


So everyone went back to their own place and justice was served. You see just at Jotham had told them in the parable Abimelech was now dead because of what he had done to Gideonís 70 sons. I believe this chapter is great commentary on what Paul said in


Galatians 6:7 Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.


So let us take this message to heart and remember if you treat someone harshly or do things that you shouldnít do to advance yourself, watch out because the same thing may be done to you latter and even if it doesnít come around back to you in the life you will certainly give account of your behavior before God at the judgment day. So do unto others as you would have them do unto you.