MLToday: [Judges Chapter Nine]: Abimelech – the First King of Isreal. In this chapter we discover the little known fact that Saul was not the first king is Israel. Abimelech a son of Gideon was the first king of Israel. He was not however chosen by God but by the people. He carried a spirit of offence toward others and was a man of war with deep insecurities. During his reign his youngest brother Jotham prophesies the only parable in the historical books of the bible about the difference between true and illegitimate authority.

Today: [Judges Chapter Nine]: Abimelech – the First King of Isreal. In this chapter we discover the little known fact that Saul was not the first king is Israel. Abimelech a son of Gideon was the first king of Israel. He was not however chosen by God but by the people. He carried a spirit of offence toward others and was a man of war with deep insecurities. During his reign his youngest brother Jotham prophesies the only parable in the historical books of the bible about the difference between true and illegitimate authority.

[Jdg 9:1-57 KJV] 1 And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother’s brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother’s father, saying, 2 Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether [is] better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, [which are] threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I [am] your bone and your flesh. 3 And his mother’s brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He [is] our brother. 4 And they gave him threescore and ten [pieces] of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. 5 And he went unto his father’s house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, [being] threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. 6 And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that [was] in Shechem. 7 And when they told [it] to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. 8 The trees went forth [on a time] to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. 9 But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 10 And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, [and] reign over us. 11 But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? 12 Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, [and] reign over us. 13 And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 14 Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, [and] reign over us. 15 And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, [then] come [and] put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. 16 Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands; 17 (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: 18 And ye are risen up against my father’s house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he [is] your brother;) 19 If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, [then] rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: 20 But 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. 21 And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.

In this chapter we see the first attempt to install a king over Israel. Gideon had 70 sons by his legitimate wife and 1 son by his concubine by the name of Abimelech. Abimelech conspires by subterfuge and kills all seventy of his brothers “on one stone…” It is important to remember this because in the end of his life Abimelech is killed when a woman on the wall of the city drops a millstone upon him. This is very likely reference that Jesus uses regarding offence when he taught on offence in Luke 17:3. It also speaks of the law of sowing and reaping.

[2Pe 2:19 KJV] 19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.

Abimelech was overcome by a spirit of murder and in the end was murdered himself in a similar manner. Abimelech’s name means “my father is a king”. Remember that Gideon is Abimelech’s father. In Judges 8:22 the people tried to make Gideon a king and he refused saying “no the Lord will rule over you…” Yet he named his son by a concubine “My father is a king…” This would indicate an undealt with illegitimate desire for recognition and power on Gideon’s part. No doubt he thought it couldn’t possibly do any harm to name his son this but it planted the seeds of destruction that led to the death of every one of his children save his youngest son Jotham.

Jotham’s name means “Jehovah is Perfect”. That was surely an encouragement to young Jotham when he saw all his brothers killed by one of their own. He moves in a spirit of prophecy and speaks a parable that reveals much about God’s heart concerning leadership. The trees elect a king but none of the fruit bearing trees are willing to be king. Rather a bramble bush with no roots and no fruit is quick to take the throne and oppress the people.

The Olive Tree – do you want position or influence? A position of power is a cheap substitute for the anointing of God.

The Fig Tree – speaks of destiny in God. In Luke 12:45 Jesus describes a leader who oppresses the people because in his opinion his Lord is “delays his coming …”

The Grape Vine – bringer of joy and the vintage of the Spirit. When you have an opportunity to influence a generation with the sweet move of the spirit you have no desire to run roughshod over the people.

The Bramble – with no roots and no fruit the bramble is perfectly willing to oppress the people because he has no anointing, no sense of destiny and no joy. These are the hidden character flaws in an abusive leader and in the people that choose them.

22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel, 23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: 24 That the cruelty [done] to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren. 25 And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech. 26 And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him. 27 And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode [the grapes], and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech. 28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who [is] Abimelech, and who [is] Shechem, that we should serve him? [is] not [he] the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serve him? 29 And would to God this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out. 30 And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31 And he sent messengers unto Abimelech privily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brethren be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify the city against thee. 32 Now therefore up by night, thou and the people that [is] with thee, and lie in wait in the field: 33 And it shall be, [that] in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, thou shalt rise early, and set upon the city: and, behold, [when] he and the people that [is] with him come out against thee, then mayest thou do to them as thou shalt find occasion. 34 And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that [were] with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies. 35 And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people that [were] with him, from lying in wait. 36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him, Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as [if they were] men. 37 And Gaal spake again and said, See there come people down by the middle of the land, and another company come along by the plain of Meonenim. 38 Then said Zebul unto him, Where [is] now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst, Who [is] Abimelech, that we should serve him? [is] not this the people that thou hast despised? go out, I pray now, and fight with them. 39 And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. 40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many were overthrown [and] wounded, [even] unto the entering of the gate. 41 And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren, that they should not dwell in Shechem.

Now God has purposed to deal with Abimelech by allowing strife between himself and the men of Shechem. You would think that immediately something negative would happen to Abimelech but the opposite is true. Abimelech wins a battle and is emboldened in his illegitimate rule.

When you see the enemies of God prosper you must use discernment and not be discouraged or confused at this. God was dealing with Abimelech but His thoughts are not our thoughts. He was dealing with him in the midst of allowing him to have victories that ultimately would set the stage for his own destruction. David learned this and wrote:

[Psa 73:2-3 KJV] 2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. 3 For I was envious at the foolish, [when] I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

The blessing of victory that Abimelech gained ultimately brought sorrow as we will see in the remainder of the chapter. We want to have the TRUE blessing of God that Prov. 10:2 speaks of that “the blessing of the Lord makes rich and adds no sorrow…”

42 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech. 43 And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field, and looked, and, behold, the people [were] come forth out of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them. 44 And Abimelech, and the company that [was] with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and the two [other] companies ran upon all [the people] that [were] in the fields, and slew them. 45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that [was] therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt. 46 And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard [that], they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith. 47 And it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that [were] with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid [it] on his shoulder, and said unto the people that [were] with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, [and] do as I [have done]. 49 And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put [them] to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women. 50 Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. 51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut [it] to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower. 52 And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and all to brake his skull. 54 Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. 55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place. 56 Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: 57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

True to the parable of Jotham Abimelech burns the city with fire. After besieging the next walled fortification a woman drops a millstone on his head. This is a lesson when you are facing walled fortifications in life. When you are rejected and shut out don’t lay siege. Better to move on and not be destroyed by the spirit of offence (millstone). Jesus taught in Matt. 10:23 that when you are persecuted in one city flee to the next there is no shortage of people needing to hear the gospel.

We hear this all the time in our ministry. Someone will sit in a church situation where they are not respected for their gifts, received by the leadership or the congregation and because they won’t move on a millstone – a spirit of offense grows in them until their anointing is contaminated, their joy is replaced by bitterness and their destiny becomes an abortion. Don’t be an Abimelech. Abimelech was insecure in his person and felt like he had something to prove. The end result of his life was heartached, destruction and unhappiness. You have nothing to prove. Just do what you see the Father do and keep seeking the kingdom. You will be rewarded in due season.

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