Abimelech the concubine’s son by Gideon in Shechem, rebels against his father seeking the kingship.
Judges 9:1 And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal [Gideon] went to Shechem unto his mother’s brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother’s father, saying, 9:2 Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal [Gideon], which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh. 9:3 And his mother’s brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother.
This rebellion of Abimelech was backed by the worshipers of baal in Shechem to rise up against the 70 sons of Gideon, worshipers of God. The term “vain and light persons” refers to persons who had departed from God to baal.
9:4 And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him.
9:5 And he went unto his father’s house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal [Gideon], being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself.
The baal worshipers of Shechem made Abimelech their king.
9:6 And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem.
Jotham cries out to these men saying that they had rejected the good and godly to rule over them and had instead chosen the lowly and wicked to be their leader. It is the same today, for men have chosen other men to rule over them and have rejected the oil tree of God, his Spirit and his Word.
9:7 And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you.
The olive tree represented Gideon who refused to be the king
9:8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. 9:9 But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 9:10 And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us.
The fig tree representing fruitfulness rejected these wicked men of Shechem who worshiped baal.
9:11 But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? 9:12 Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.
The vine also rejected these wicked baal worshipers.
9:13 And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 9:14 Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.
Then a wicked man represented by a bramble weed rose up to lead them.
9:15 And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.
Jotham then declares that if Abimelech has done righteously by killing Gideon’s sons they should trust in Abimelech; but if Abimelech has done wickedly, let them be destroyed for their wickedness. He then rehearses the good that Gideon had done for them and their wickedness against Gideon and his children.
9:16 Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal [Gideon] and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands; 9:17 (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: 9:18 And ye are risen up against my father’s house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;)
9:19 If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal [Gideon] and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you:
The curse proclaimed against the murderer Abimelech and the men of Milo and Shechem.
9:20 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech.
Then Jotham the remaining son of Gideon [besides Abimelech] fled to hide himself for he was alone against the men of Milo and Shechem.
9:21 And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
After three years God being who gave up his God-hood to become flesh as Jesus Christ remembered the sin of Abimelech, Milo and Shechem and intervened to cause the curse of Jotham to come to pass.
9:22When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel, 9:23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: 9:24 That the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren.
Then the men of Shechem rebelled and set an ambush for Abimelech
9:25 And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech.
The people rejected Abimelech, setting a new king over themselves.
9:26 And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him. 9:27 And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.
Abimelech and Gaal join battle
9:28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? is not he the son of Jerubbaal [Gideon]? and Zebul his officer? serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serve him? 9:29 And would to God this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out.
Then the governor of the city sent word to Abimelech
9:30 And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 9:31 And he sent messengers unto Abimelech privily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brethren be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify the city against thee.
Abimelech is advised to hide his men in the fields and attack the people as they come out of the city to work the fields.
9:32 Now therefore up by night, thou and the people that is with thee, and lie in wait in the field: 9:33 And it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, thou shalt rise early, and set upon the city: and, behold, when he and the people that is with him come out against thee, then mayest thou do to them as thou shalt find occasion.
Abimelech heeds the advice
9:34 And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies.
Abimelech attacks when Gaal opens the city gates in the early morning.
9:35 And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people that were with him, from lying in wait.
Gaal sees the men running towards him, but his captain says that they are only shadows.
9:36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him, Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.
Then they are sure and go out to fight instead of closing and barring the gate.
9:37 And Gaal spake again, and said, See there come people down by the middle of the land, and another company come along by the plain of Meonenim.
The captain tells Gaal to fight.
9:38 Then said Zebul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou hast despised? go out, I pray now, and fight with them.
Abimelech defeats Gaal the usurper.
9:39 And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. 9:40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many were overthrown and wounded, even unto the entering of the gate.
Abimelech and Gaal each went to other cities and both were rejected by Shechem.
9:41 And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul [the governor of the city of Shechem] thrust out Gaal and his brethren, that they should not dwell in Shechem.
The people of Shechem then told Abimelech that Gaal had been thrust out.
9:42 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech.
Abimelech then attacked Shechem with his loyalists and utterly destroyed the city.
9:43 And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field, and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them. 9:44 And Abimelech, and the company that was with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and the two other companies ran upon all the people that were in the fields, and slew them.
9:45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.
The remaining men of Shechem gathered themselves into a strong hold, a citadel of baal-berith.
9:46 And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that, they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith.
9:47 And it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.
Abimelech then burns them with fire, and the curse against Shechem is fulfilled fully.
9:48 And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said unto the people that were with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done.
9:49 And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.
Then Abimelech went to attack another city.
9:50 Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.
9:51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower. 9:52 And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 9:53 And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull. 9:54 Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A women slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died.
Abimelech died fulfilling the curse against him for his wickedness.
9:55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place.
9:56 Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: 9:57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal [Gideon].
After these things and after Israel had fallen into baalism [idolatry] again; Tola was raised up to judge in Israel for 23 years. These judges were not kings but teachers and keepers of the Word of God who delivered them from their enemies as God commanded them.
Their principle job was to teach a zeal to live by every Word of God after God had demonstrated his power to go before Israel and defeat the Canaanites.
In spiritual terms the Canaanites were a type of sin and the people could not overcome sin on their own and fell into idolatry! It was only when they turned to God and called out to the Eternal in repentance that God delivered them from sin.
This is a lesson for spiritual New Covenant Israel, that we cannot overcome sin on our own!
It is ONLY by being zealous for learning and keeping the whole Word of God and by following our God in all things, that sin can be overcome through the power of our God dwelling in us and driving sin out of us. When trying to do so on our own we quickly fall into doing what we think is right instead of doing what God says is right, idolizing our own ways and other men; instead of exalting the Word of God.
Judges 10:1 And after Abimelech there arose to defend Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim. 10:2 And he judged Israel twenty and three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.
Then Jair was called to judge Israel for 22 years.
10:3 And after him arose Jair, a Gileadite, and judged Israel twenty and two years. 10:4 And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havothjair unto this day, which are in the land of Gilead. 10:5 And Jair died, and was buried in Camon.
The people turned away from any zeal for their God, which then led to their complete falling away into idolatry.
This is an instruction for us, that if we lose our zeal for learning and living by every Word of God; we are falling away from the Word of God and into the idolatry of exalting our own ways as idols above the Word of God.
10:6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, and Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and served not him.
By turning away from any zeal for the Word of God, they angered Christ who sent them into yet another captivity in their own land; which land was promised to them ONLY as long as they were faithful to God.
The same thing is true of spiritual Israel! When we turn away from zeal to keep the whole Word of our God and instead are filled with zeal for the idols of men and their ways; Jesus Christ is offended and angered and he WILL correct us!
This next oppression began on the east of the Jordan River [Golan] which would be Reuben, Manasseh and Gad, and then expanded against Judah.
10:7 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. 10:8 And that year they vexed and oppressed the children of Israel: eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 10:9 Moreover the children of Ammon passed over Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was sore distressed.
People only seem to repent when they are suffering correction, and when the next generation comes along it falls back into sin against God.
Very soon now, there will be a final and sincere repentance of both physical and spiritual Israel, at the coming of Christ as King of kings.
10:10 And the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, saying, We have sinned against thee, both because we have forsaken our God, and also served Baalim.
Once we refuse the warnings from God and insist on our own ways and we fall into great tribulation; Jesus will tell us to cry out to our idols for deliverance! and only when we honestly repent in true sincerity and PROVE that repentance with the works of faithfulness; will we be chosen for the resurrection of the faithful!
10:11 And the LORD said unto the children of Israel, Did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? 10:12 The Zidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, did oppress you; and ye cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand.
God will correct today’s apostate spiritual Ekklesia just as he corrected those folks in their day.
10:13 Yet ye have forsaken me, and served other gods: wherefore I will deliver you no more. 10:14 Go and cry unto the gods which ye have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.
10:15 And the children of Israel said unto the LORD, We have sinned: do thou unto us whatsoever seemeth good unto thee; deliver us only, we pray thee, this day. 10:16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.
The opposing armies then assembled and Israel sought for a leader
10:17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpeh.
10:18 And the people and princes of Gilead [Manasseh, Reuben and Gad] said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? he shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead [Golan, including Manasseh, Reuben and Gad] .