The Troubled Reign of Abimelech

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Gideon had risked his life for Israel. They had responded by destroying his sons (vv. 16-18) so fires of destruction would only be what they deserved (vv. 19-20). These were Gotham’s words of warning. Then Gotham had to run for his life and hide from the anger of his brothers (v. 21). Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years (v. 22). His power probably did not extend beyond the central areas of Ephraim and Manasseh. These years were full of trouble, for the Lord sent “an evil spirit” to create strife between Abimelech and those under him (v. 23). God turned the leaders of Shechem against Abimelech (v. 24). They sent some men to hide on the hilltops and watch for Abimelech and his troops, while they sent others to rob everyone that went by on the road. (v. 25).

Gaal son of Ebed went to live in Shechem (v. 26). His brothers moved there too, and soon the leaders of Shechem started trusting him. Time came for the grape harvest, and the people of Shechem squeezed the juice out of them and threw a big party at the temple (v. 27). There was a lot of eating and drinking, and before long they were cursing Abimelech. Gaal said: Abimelech isn’t really one of us (v. 28). He shouldn’t be our king, and we shouldn’t have to obey him or Zebul, who rules Shechem for him.” Having undermined their confidence in Abimelech he hinted how different things would be if he were the leader and sent a challenge to the absent king to bring his army and meet him (v. 29).


You have probably heard the saying “your sins will find you out”. I can never do anything that the Lord doesn’t know about and will one day pronounce judgment upon. I need to be quick to confess sin in my own life and not be afraid to speak out against sin in the lives of others.

Judges 9:16-29 (English Standard Version)

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