The Rise and Fall of a King

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings:
Judges 9-10; Luke 5:17-39

 

Abimelech, Jerubbaal’s son, went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem. He spoke to them and to the entire clan of the household to which his mother belonged: “Ask all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which do you think is better to have ruling over you: seventy men—all of Jerubbaal’s sons—or one man?’ And remember that I’m your flesh and blood!”

So his mother’s brothers spoke all these words on his behalf to all the leaders of Shechem. They decided to follow Abimelech because they said, “He’s our relative.” They gave him seventy pieces of silver from the temple of Baal-berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men, who became his posse. He went to his household in Ophrah and killed all seventy of his brothers, Jerubbaal’s sons, on a single stone. Only Jotham the youngest of Jerubbaal’s sons survived, because he had hidden himself. Then all the leaders of Shechem and all Beth-millo assembled and proceeded to make Abimelech king by the oak at the stone pillar in Shechem. (Judges 9:1-6, Common English Bible).

For most of us, when we think of Israel wanting a king, we think about Scripture in 1 Samuel 8, when Samuel is the Judge over Israel and the Israelites demand a king. That led to Israel’s first king and it wasn’t the most positive of experiences when Saul (not Saul who became Paul in the New Testament) becomes King of Israel.

The thing is, today’s lesson isn’t even the first time. In yesterday’s reading (not used in my post), Judges 8, the Israelites wanted Gideon to become their ruler. While they didn’t actually use the term “King,” they asked Gideon to rule over them and then Gideon’s son and to be followed by Gideon’s grandson. Even without the term “King,” it sounds like a king in the making to me.

Gideon was smart enough to not take the job without getting the official okay from God. Gideon told the Israelites he wouldn’t rule over them and neither would his son. The Israelites already had someone to rule over them, God.

In today’s lesson, the Israelites didn’t take Gideon’s no as a final answer, when Abimelech becomes Judge, the Israelites once again want a king to rule over them and they grab Abimelech and want him to do what Gideon did not. It would seem that Abimelech liked the idea of being the ultimate power for all of Israel. He took the offer and ran with it.

Abimelech, perhaps thought God was okay with him being in control as nothing happened, at least not initially. Abimelech remained in power for three years. He had one of his servants kill him. He believed it better than a woman dropping a millstone on his head.

In the end, there is a lesson for us in this passage. Before you “do,” consult with God to learn the will of God. Gideon understood that. Abimelech did not. It was a deadly mistake for him.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With joy and thankfulness,
Keith

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

 

 

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