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Commentary » Judges 9:42-Judges 9:57 » Family-Times.net
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Abimelech Wanted to Get Revenge

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Think how many temptations you and I face in an ordinary day. Staying in bed late - the temptation to laziness. Growling at the breakfast table - the temptation to unkindness. Arguing over who should change the baby this time - the temptation to selfishness. Starting work 10 minu … More


The next day the men went out into the fields, and Abimelech was told about the planned rebellion. He took his men and divided them into three companies and laid in wait in the field. He looked and behold, the people were coming out of the city and he rose up against them and smote them (vv. 42-52). In an act of revenge against those who had questioned his leadership Abimelech turned on the city that had shown him so many favors and completely leveled it, killing off its citizens. It seems that men like Abimelech who rose to power from an inferior background often wanted to get revenge to the point of destroying their own base of power. Zebul had actually brought the situation under control but his master felt he had to teach Shechem a lesson.

Abimelech’s death came at a time when he was about to destroy his last enemies who had gathered at the fortress of the city. A woman threw down a stone that crushed his skull and not wanting to be killed by a woman he had his armor-bearer finish him off with his sword (vv. 53-54). And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed each man to his home (v. 55). That’s how God punished Abimelech for killing his brothers and bringing shame on his father’s family (v. 56). He reaped what he sowed and all of those who joined him suffered the same destiny (v. 57).


I never want to get revenge but always let God take care of any enemies I may have.

Judges 9:42-57 (English Standard Version)

On the following day, the people went out into the field, and Abimelech was told. He took his people and divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. And he looked and saw the people coming out of the city. So he rose against them and killed them. Abimelech and the company that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city, while the two companies rushed upon all who were in the field and killed them. And Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He captured the city and killed the people who were in it, and he razed the city and sowed it with salt. When all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the house of El-berith. Abimelech was told that all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. And Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him. And Abimelech took an axe in his hand and cut down a bundle of brushwood and took it up and laid it on his shoulder. And he said to the men who were with him, "What you have seen me do, hurry and do as I have done." So every one of the people cut down his bundle and following Abimelech put it against the stronghold, and they set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about 1,000 men and women. Then Abimelech went to Thebez and encamped against Thebez and captured it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women and all the leaders of the city fled to it and shut themselves in, and they went up to the roof of the tower. And Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech's head and crushed his skull. Then he called quickly to the young man his armor-bearer and said to him, "Draw your sword and kill me, lest they say of me, 'A woman killed him.'" And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, everyone departed to his home. Thus God returned the evil of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers. And God also made all the evil of the men of Shechem return on their heads, and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

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