About Jesus Steve Sweetman
(ch. 9:1 - 57)
9 is the story of Abimelech. He
was one of Gideon's many sons. He
was not born from one of Gideon's wives but born from a concubine.
1 and 2 tells us that Abimelech went to Shechem where is mother,
Gideon's concubine came from. There
he asked his mother's clan if they'd rather have all 70 of Gideon's sons
to rule over them or would they rather just have him rule over them.
This was a no-brainer as they say.
The clan chose Abimelech to be their leader because he was their
kin. The people gave
Abimelech 70 shekels of silver from the
in verse 2 and throughout this chapter that Gideon is not called by
Gideon. He's called by his
other name that we've seen before. Chapter
9 calls Gideon Jerub-Baal. I
think this is significant. Jerub-Baal
means Baal killer. Gideon
is being compared with Abimelech and when Gideon is named by Jerub-Baal
the comparison states that Gideon killed Baal while Abimelech was Baal's
5 states that Abimelech killed all of his brothers but one.
This tells us that Abimelech probably had problems with his
brothers. Some Bible teaches
suggest that Gideon's concubine was in fact a Canaanite.
This would have helped account for the difficulty between
Abimelech and his brothers. As we know, Israeli men often had Canaanite
concubines and wives.
6 tells us that after Abimelech killed his brothers he was crowned as
king. It is clear that those
who wanted Abimelech king didn't care about his moral character.
As long as he promised what they wanted, he could be king.
I suggest that this is what is happening in the western world
today. We don't care about
the moral life of our leaders. We
just care about what they can do for us.
The simple fact is that if a leader is morally deficient, then
the way he conducts government affairs will be morally deficient as
the word "king" in verse 6.
Even though the text says "king', Abimelech wasn't a king in
the sense of King David. He
was simply the political leader.
7 states that Abimelech was crowned king by his clan.
We need to understand that Abimelech wasn't king over all
verses 7 through 15 the son of Gideon who was not killed by Abimelech
tells a prophetic parable. Jotham wanted the men of Shechem to carefully
listen so God would listen to them.
This parable was meant to call these people back to the true God.
will let you read the parable. This is the meaning.
The olive tree produces oil.
This would be God's calling.
The fig tree's calling was to produce fruit.
The vine's calling is to produce grapes for wine.
The trees of the field were asking the above trees to leave their
God given gifting to rule. It's
forsaking the will of God to be somebody in the world.
God's calling in His kingdom in our lives is more important than
a secular calling of the people. Too
often God's people leave their place in the kingdom for a place in the
in the 1988
the above three trees refused to leave their God called position, the
trees of the field asked the ordinary bramble bush to lead them.
The bramble would except the offer under the condition if the
other trees are cut down and submit to them, under it's shade.
The bramble has little shade because it is low to the ground.
You might say it is a weed tree.
The point is that those in Shechem choose a poor quality leader
to submit to. As long as
Abimelech could lead them and provide for them those in Shechem would
submit to him.
see a parallel to this today. Our
nations will elect sub-quality leaders, as long as that leader can offer
personal peace and prosperity. The
quality of national leaders in our day is not as it once was, and we
suffer for this lack. The same might be true in parts of what we call
church. One thing we should
note here concerning church is that Abimelech's clan chose him because
he was their relative. In
many instances today when one man builds a church group, and, when he
retires, his son automatically takes over.
I suggest that this is not New Testament thinking.
First of all I believe in plurality of leadership, but to the
point here, just because someone is a son does not mean he should take
charge. Church isn't a business where the son inherits the church.
in verse 16 the words, "… if you have been faithful to Jerub-Baal
and his family …", suggesting
that Abimelech was not a son from a legal marriage but from a concubine.
Verse 18 clearly says that Abimelech was "the son of a slave
woman", or, a concubine.
speech from verse 16 to 21 is simply stating that you people of Shechem
will get what you deserve. You
chose an inferior dictator. What
happens from here on out is a product of your own choice.
22 and 23 tell us that after Abimelech ruled for three years, "God
sent an evil spirit between him and the people".
From verse 23 to the end of the chapter we see the result of God
sending this evil spirit.
evil spirit caused dissension between Abimelech and his people.
To make a long story short, the rest of this chapter relates how
the people killed Abimelech in battle.
The final straw for Abimelech came when a woman dropped a large
stone from overhead that fell on Abimelech, cutting his skull open.
Abimelech had one of his men stab him with a sword so people
wouldn't know that a woman killed him.
This is a bit ironic, because of course, we all know now who
sending of this evil spirit was God's will.
We need to understand that God uses both satan and evil spirits
as His tools at times. He
used evil to bring Jesus to the cross.
He will use the anti-Christ at the end of this age to bring
should also understand the reason why God used an evil spirit to
eventually kill Abimelech. There
are two things going on here. One
is the Abrahamic Covenant. He
second thing to consider is that the Law of Moses demands the death of a
person when he commits murder without just cause.
God himself made sure that Abimelech received proper punishment.
the last verse of the
chapter. God made the curse
of Jotham, from the parable we saw earlier in the chapter come on the
people of Shechem. Not only
did Abimelech get cursed, so did the people for their part in the whole
think as nations we have something to learn here.
We can elect a wicked leader.
God will deal with the leader and he will also deal with the
nation, and his dealings will not be favorable to the nation.
His dealings will be dealings of judgment.
We our coming to the place in the western world that we will
elect men and women who will give us what we want, will give us personal
peace and prosperity. In the
electoral process we don't really care about the character of the people
we elect. We don't care
about their family life, their honesty, their bad character.
We just care that they give us what we want.
Those in Shechem didn't care what kind of person Abimelech really
was. Both us and our leaders
will be judged for this, because in the end, such leaders lead us away
from God. Also, in the end,
at the end of this age, the world will freely give allegiance to the
anti-Christ. The world will
freely submit to him because despite the loss of freedom he will offer
personal peace and prosperity.
as this chapter ends that "God pays people back for their
sin". The Bible clearly
teaches that God is the avenger of sin, not us.
We need to know that God will pay people and nations back for
their sin. Sooner or later,
He will do just that.