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…. When The Judges Ruled Israel. Biblical Studies From Judges & Ruth. Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57 The only “non-judge” leader Sometimes called “The Bramble King” From here on out, Israel will no longer enjoy periodic seasons of God-given rest 8:28

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When The Judges Ruled Israel

Biblical Studies From Judges & Ruth

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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • The only “non-judge” leader
    • Sometimes called “The Bramble King”
    • From here on out, Israel will no longer enjoy periodic seasons of God-given rest 8:28
      • Another indication of deteriorating spirituality
    • This story takes place in Manasseh (Shechem and Thebez)
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • His description vv. 1-4
    • Son by Gideon’s Shechem concubine 8:31
    • He goes to Shechem to convince them it is better he rule over them than Gideon’s 70 sons…they agreed vv. 2-3
    • His basis Ù he was their relative
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • His description vv. 1-4
    • To “seal the deal”…the men of Shechem gave Abimelech 70 silver pieces from the house of Baal-berith v. 4
    • Abimelech used the money to hire worthless (reckless) fellows to form a “gang”
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • His actions vv. 5-6
    • He took his “gang” to Ophrah and killed allGideon’s 70 sons except one (Jotham)
    • He did this to remove all political rivals that would threaten his rule
    • Afterwards, the men of Shechem declared Abimelech king
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • His actions vv. 5-6
    • What he was driven to do was in direct contradiction to his father’s previous actions 8:22-23
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Jotham’s actions vv. 7-21
    • Hearing about Abimelech’s “coronation,” he ascends Mt. Gerizim and utters a “parable” to illustrate the foolishness of Abimelech being made king vv. 7-15
    • The trees & vine were “noble”…the bramble was anything but “noble” (useless)
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Jotham’s actions vv. 7-21
    • He gave his “blessing” on Abimelech’s rule only if he & the men of Shechem had behaved with integrity and truth
    • He knew they had not…he reminded all of what his father had done re: Midian
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Jotham’s actions vv. 7-21
    • He also reminded them of how ruthlessly they had treated Gideon’s house
    • He concluded by pronouncing a judgment (curse) upon Abimelech & the Shechemites
    • Afterwards, he had to flee for safety
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Abimelech & the Shechemites vv. 22-25
    • Abimelech ruled for 3 years
    • God then sent an “evil spirit” between them
    • The Shechemites dealt treacherously with their “king” v. 25(to discredit him)
    • It was a Divine judgment vv. 23-25
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Abimelech & the Shechemites vv. 22-25
    • A “pact” formed by ruthless men has no principle
    • Being a “pack of wolves,” it often implodes because they eventually turn on one another
    • God used this reality to accomplish His will
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Gaal’s actions vv. 26-29
    • The son of Ebed…he came to Shechem and did what Abimelech had done
    • After gaining the trust of Shechem, they all had a drinking feast where they cursed Abimelech in the house of their god
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Gaal’s actions vv. 26-29
    • He further scorned Abimelech, and exhorted the Shechemites to officially revolt
    • He suggested they now follow him…if he were ruler, he would remove Abimelech
    • Lastly, he called Abimelech out to battle
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Gaal’s actions vv. 26-29
    • Two character flaws on display…
      • The men of Shechem show a willingness to follow anybody 1 Cor 15:33
      • Gaal is like many who proudly boast against someone who is not there to answer 2 Cor 10:8-11
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Zebul’s actions vv. 30-33
    • The “ruler of the city” (mayor, etc.?)
    • He was obviously still loyal to Abimelech… he informed Abimelech of Gaal’s boasting
    • He advised Abimelech to attack Shechem at dawn to put down the rebellion
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Abimelech vs. Gaal vv. 34-41
    • Abimelech agreed…he arrived with his men
    • When Gaal went out in the morning, the ambush began
    • Initially, Gaal wasn’t sure of what he saw
    • Zebul reminded him of his boastful words
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Abimelech vs. Gaal vv. 34-41
    • Abimelech routed Gaal’s forces…Gaal fled
    • Zebul drove Gaal and his relatives out from Shechem so they could not return
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Abimelech vs. Shechem vv. 42-49
    • The next day, Abimelech killed all the field workers
    • He attacked the city, killed the city dwellers, razed it to the ground, and sowed it with salt
    • His judgment on Shechem for their rebellion
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Abimelech vs. Shechem vv. 42-49
    • Abimelech was informed the city leaders had taken refuge in the tower (temple fortress)
    • He gathered wood…told his men to do same
    • He burned down the tower…about 1,000 men & women were killed
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Abimelech vs. Thebez vv. 50-55
    • Apparently, Thebez had also rebelled
    • He attacked the city and captured it
    • Like Shechem, it had a tower…the leaders went there for refuge
    • His plans were to do the same as at Shechem
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • Abimelech vs. Thebez vv. 50-55
    • When approaching the tower to burn it, a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head…his skull was crushed
    • To avoid the shame of being killed by a woman, Abimelech asked his armor bearer to kill him with his sword
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Abimelech’s Ambition Judg 9:1-57
  • God’s judgment vv. 56-57
    • God repaid Abimelech’s wickedness re: the murder of Gideon’s 70 sons
    • God also repaid the wickedness of the men of Shechem for their willingness to follow Abimelech’s treachery
    • Jotham’s curse was fulfilled