Judges 8 & 9 Reign of Gideon Followed by Abimelech

After victory, the Israelites urge Gibeon to become their king, and credit him with the victory.  Gideon refuses.  Only God should be recognized as Israel’s monarch.  For the rest of Gideon’s life, the people refrain from Baal worship.

But Gideon’s story does not end here.  Later he names one of his sons Abimelech.  The name means “My father is king!”  This Abimelech, after Gideon’s death, murders his brothers and sets himself up as king, with the aid of the citizens of the city of Shechem.  Within three years, this association, based on murder and greed, breaks down.  Abimelech is killed attempting to put down a rebellion.

Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments that were on their camels’ necks. 8:21

Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” 23  But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.”  8:22-23

Then Gideon said to them, “I would like to make a request of you, that each of you would give me the earrings from his plunder.” For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites. 25  So they answered, “We will gladly give them.” And they spread out a garment, and each man threw into it the earrings from his plunder. 26  Now the weight of the gold earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, and purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around their camels’ necks. 27  Then Gideon made it into an ephod and set it up in his city, Ophrah. And all Israel played the harlot with it there. It became a snare to Gideon and to his house. 8:22-27

And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, whose name he called Abimelech32  Now Gideon the son of Joash died at a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 33  So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-Berith their god34  Thus the children of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; 35  nor did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal (Gideon) in accordance with the good he had done for Israel.


Judges 9  Reign of Abimelech

God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 that the crime done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his brothers.

–> Futility of human efforts.  Abimelech killed his 70 brothers to rule over the people.  People wanted to have a human leader rather than serving God.  The good ones – olive tree, fig tree and vine refused.  Wanted to please God and men with their fruit.  Abimelech, a bramble, wants to be the king.  People were eager to set him up as their leader.

Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers. 57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.