The Renegade Who Lusted for Power

We should run the Christian race with sobriety, for our eternal life is at stake. Let others pursue for enjoyment what they will, but in our race everything vital is at stake. The eternal consequences of losing should motivate us to a greater effort than that put forth by those m … More


It is interesting to note that after Judges 8 Gideon’s name per se is never mentioned again. In Judges 9 he is always called Jerubbaal! He took many wives and raised a family of seventy sons for which his family would suffer bitterly. God had warned future leaders through the law about taking many wives (Duet. 17:17). His marriage to a concubine resulted in the birth of a wicked son, Abimelech.

As he grew up he began to plot how he would promote himself to the position of king. He gained the support of the men of Shechem largely because he was the son of Gideon and he acted with the vigor characteristic of his father, but without his father’s scruples. He persuaded the people of Shechem to follow him in the raid against his brothers at Ophrah where he murdered seventy of them.

By this evil act, Abimelech became the undisputed leader of the Schechemites and they immediately made him their king (vv. 1-6). People with selfish desires often seek to fulfill them in ruthless ways. Examine your ambitions to see if they are self-centered or God centered. Jotham, Gideon’s youngest son was the only one who escaped the slaughter of his older brothers. He daringly stood on one of the lower ledges of Mt. Gerizim and challenged the people to reconsider this choice of a king. He did it in parable form which was both a protest against the shameful treatment given to the house of Gideon and a prophecy of what will happen to Abimelech’s rule (vv. 7-15).


When I go against the principles laid down in God’s word I will suffer the consequences just as Gideon did. I need to discuss these principles with my family.

Judges 9:1-15 (English Standard Version)

Now Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's relatives and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother's family, "Say in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, 'Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one rule over you?' Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh." And his mother's relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, "He is our brother." And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. And he went to his father's house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself. And all the leaders of Shechem came together, and all Beth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem. When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim and cried aloud and said to them, "Listen to me, you leaders of Shechem, that God may listen to you. The trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us.' But the olive tree said to them, 'Shall I leave my abundance, by which gods and men are honored, and go hold sway over the trees?' And the trees said to the fig tree, 'You come and reign over us.' But the fig tree said to them, 'Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit and go hold sway over the trees?' And the trees said to the vine, 'You come and reign over us.' But the vine said to them, 'Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?' Then all the trees said to the bramble, 'You come and reign over us.' And the bramble said to the trees, 'If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade, but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon."'

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