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CHAPTER 9 Jun. 11 
Abimelech Is Made King
Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s brothers, and spoke with them and with all the family of the house of his mother’s father saying, 2Please speak to all the men of Shechem and say, ‘Is it better for you that all the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy persons, should rule over you, or that one rule over you?’ Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh. 3His mother’s brothers told all the men of Shechem all these words, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, He is our brother. 4They gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal Berith, with which Abimelech hired reckless adventurers who followed him. 5He went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy persons, on one stone; but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal escaped, for he hid himself. 6All the men of Shechem assembled themselves together, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech king by the oak of the pillar that was in Shechem. 
Jotham’s Parable
7When they told Jotham he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, Listen to me, you men of Shechem, so that God will listen to you. 8The trees went out one day to anoint a king to be over them; they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us’. 9But the olive tree said to them ‘Should I give up my oil with which they honour God and man to go and hold sway over the trees?’ 10The trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and reign over us’. 11But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I give up my good, sweet fruit to go to hold sway over the trees?’ 12The trees said to the vine ‘Come and reign over us’. 13The vine said to them, ‘Should I give up my new wine, which cheers God and man, to go to hold sway over the trees?’ 14Then all the trees said to the thorn bush, ‘Come and reign over us’. 15The thorn bush said to the trees, ‘If in truth you anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; if not, let fire come out of the thorn bush and devour the cedars of Lebanon’. 16Now therefore, consider whether you have done what is true and right in making Abimelech king, and whether you have done justly to Jerubbaal and his house as he deserves. 17(For my father fought for you and risked his life and delivered you out of the hand of Midian, 18yet you have risen up against my father’s house this day and have slain his sons, seventy persons, on one stone, and have made Abimelech the son of his female servant king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brothe.) 19If you have done what is true and right with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech and let him also rejoice in you. 20But 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. 21Jotham ran away and fled and went to Beer and lived there, for fear of Abimelech his brother. 
Gaal Leads a Rebellion against Abimelech
22Abimelech was prince over Israel for three years. 23God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem, and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24so that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be avenged, and that their blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother who killed them, and on the men of Shechem who helped him to kill his brothers. 25The men of Shechem set an ambush for him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who came along that way. This was reported to Abimelech. 26Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers and went over to Shechem, and the men of Shechem put their trust in him. 27They went out into the field and harvested their vineyards, trod the grapes and held a festival, and went into the house of their god, ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. 28Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Isn’t he the son of Jerubbaal and Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem, but why should we serve Abimelech? 29If only this people were under my hand! Then I would remove Abimelech. He said to Abimelech, Increase your army and come out! 30When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31He sent messengers to Abimelech secretly saying, Look, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem and they are inciting the city against you. 32Now therefore, go up by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field. 33In the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you can rise early and rush on the city, and when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then may you do to them as you see fit. 34Abimelech and all the people who were with him got up by night and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies. 35Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, and Abimelech and the people who were with him got up from the ambush. 36When Gaal saw the people he said to Zebul, Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains. Zebul said to him, You are seeing the shadows of the mountains as if they were men. 37Gaal spoke again and said, Look, people are coming down by the middle of the land, and one company is coming by the way of the oak of Meonenim. 38Then Zebul said to him, Now where is your boast when you said ‘Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?’ Isn’t this the people that you have despised? Go out now and fight with them. 39Gaal went out before the men of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40Abimelech chased him and he fled from him, and many fell wounded, up to the entrance of the gate. 41Abimelech lived at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, so that they should not dwell in Shechem. 42Next day the people went out into the field and told Abimelech. 43He took the people and divided them into three companies and laid wait in the field, and when he saw the people coming out of the city, he rose up against them and struck them. 44Abimelech and the companies that were with him rushed forward and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, and the two companies rushed on all who were in the field and struck them. 45Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and he took the city and killed the people who were in it, and he beat down the city and sowed it with salt.
The Death of Abimelech
46When all the men of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the house of Elberith. 47It was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48Abimelech 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 branch from the trees, took it up and laid it on his shoulder, and he said to the people who were with him, What you have seen me do, hurry and do the same! 49All the people likewise each cut down his branch and followed Abimelech, and they put them at the base of the stronghold and set the stronghold on fire on them, so that all the people of the tower of Shechem died, about one thousand men and women. 50Then Abimelech went to Thebez and encamped against Thebez and took it. 51But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women of the city fled to it and shut themselves in, and went up to the roof of the tower. 52Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53A woman cast an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and broke his skull. 54Then he called hastily to the young man who carried his armour and said to him, Draw your sword and kill me, so that men will not say of me, ‘A woman killed him’. His young man thrust him through and he died. 55When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead they departed each man to his place. 56Thus God rewarded the wickedness of Abimelech which he did to his father, in killing his seventy brothers, 57and all the wickedness of the men of Shechem God repaid on their heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.


9:7 Listen to me... so that God will listen to you- Jotham was speaking prophetic words from God. Insofar as we hear God’s word, so He will hear our words in prayer; if His words abide in us, we shall know His will, and our will becomes His will, and thereby our prayers according to His will are heard (Jn. 15:7). See on 13:9. 
9:9,10 People of true integrity will get on with what they are obviously called to do by God, rather than seeking leadership for the sake of it, swaying around in a light and meaningless way above others.
9:18 You... have slain his sons- Abimelech personally had slain Gideon’s sons, but the people of Shechem had enabled it by their lack of resistance. The Bible doesn’t teach ‘guilt by association’, but there is also a sense in which communities are counted as guilty for allowing evil to be perpetrated by individuals.
9:23 God sent an evil spirit- To say that demons were cast out of someone is to say that they were cured of a mental illness, or an illness which was not understood at the time. People living in the first century tended to blame everything which they couldn’t understand on imaginary beings called ‘demons’. Mental illness being hard to understand with their level of medical knowledge, the people spoke of those afflicted as ‘demon possessed’. In Old Testament times, an evil or unclean spirit referred to a troubled mental state (as here and 1 Sam. 16:14; 18:10), in that the ‘spirit’ often refers to the mind or disposition. Note that in every Old Testament reference to evil spirits, they were sent by God, not a personal, sinful ‘Satan’ being.
God is capable of sending a spirit of disunity between people, as He did to Egypt (Is. 19:1,2,14). God created the division between Israel and Judah as a punishment for their apostasy. Whilst division between people is a work of the flesh, it’s also true that God confirms people in the divisions they wish to have, and He does this as a punishment. There are times when people who have an existing disagreement encounter situations which involve genuine misunderstanding and unfortunate coincidence of circumstances which confirm their division yet further; and this ‘extra’ factor in their relationship breakdown is sent by God. In this sense stubborn hearts are also sent from God (Ps. 81:13); God can work positively and negatively directly upon the human heart. Likewise God confirms a desire for unity amongst His people. 
9:27 This was some kind of dedication of the harvest to Baal; yet God had commanded that the firstfruits of the harvest should be given to Him, and His people should rejoice before Him (Lev. 19:23-25). We see here how Israel appropriated pagan rituals and mixed them with Yahweh worship, in the same way as an apostate church took the pagan Winter solstice festival of December 25 and applied it to Jesus. We too are ever tempted to worship our own flesh in the guise of Yahweh worship- e.g. we may gossip, kidding ourselves that this is in the defence of God’s Truth (as if it needs any defence by us); hoard huge wealth under the excuse we may one day use it for God.
9:54 Abimelech therefore knew that it was a woman who had thrown the millstone; presumably he had looked up at her and seen her and assumed that a woman could never kill him as a man. His despising of the person of another and assumption of intrinsic superiority because of his gender led him to his death.
9:56 Abimelech appeared to have had a very blessed and successful life; but the lesson of the story is that finally, sin catches up with us and will have its judgment, if not in this life, then at the day of judgment when Christ returns.