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The story of Abimelech (9:1-57)
Gideon had about seventy sons. One of these, Abimelech, was not a full-blooded Israelite, for his mother was a Shechemite. (The Shechemites were a group of Canaanites who lived peaceably among the Israelites; see Genesis 12:6; Genesis 34:1-31; Joshua 24:32.) With the help of some worthless Shechemites, Abimelech killed all his brothers (except one who escaped) and established himself ‘king’ in Shechem. His ‘kingdom’ probably consisted only of Shechem and a few towns round about (9:1-6).
Jotham, the brother who escaped, warned the Shechemites in a parable of the trouble they would bring upon themselves. Good men are likened to good trees: they are too concerned with giving useful and honourable service to be bothered with seeking power. By contrast Abimelech is like a bramble: he can give neither shelter nor protection. And just as a bramble can catch fire easily and burn down a forest, so would Abimelech be the means of the Shechemites’ destruction (7-21).
In due course trouble arose between Abimelech and the Shechemites. Through highway robbery, the Shechemites created an atmosphere of insecurity and disorder, at the same time robbing Abimelech of his taxes (22-25). When a suitable occasion arose and Abimelech was in another town, a group of Shechemites plotted to overthrow him. The chief administrator in Shechem pretended to be on their side, but secretly he sent news to Abimelech (26-33). Abimelech came quickly and put down the rebellion (34-41).
But Abimelech did not stop at that. He decided to teach his subjects a lesson. He would destroy all the people of Shechem, both those who went out to work in the fields and those back in the town who took shelter in the city stronghold (42-49). In senseless fury Abimelech carried his attack to other towns, but his uncontrolled rage and lack of caution soon brought about his own death. The Shechemites who supported him were also destroyed, as Jotham had predicted (50-57).
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Flemming, Donald C. "Commentary on Judges 9". "Fleming's Bridgeway Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
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