Your Sin Will Find You Out, Abimelech

Photo by Adonyi Gábor:

Judges 9:1-3 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.

The great Prophet Moses warned us all a long time ago:

Numbers 32:23 … be sure your sin will find you out.

Sin is nothing to wink at. When Cain sinned against God by offering the wrong sacrifice, God told Cain:

Genesis 4:7 (ESV) … sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is contrary to you, but you must rule over it

Because Cain would not rule over his sin by repenting, and doing as God said, he ended up murdering his brother Abel. The stepbrother of Jesus said:

James 1:14-15 (ESV) … each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. 15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

The Bible describes sin as if it is a living thing. And it is. The Apostle Paul spoke of sin inside his own life, saying it is no longer I who do it, but IT IS SIN LIVING IN ME THAT DOES IT”.

Sin unaddressed and unconfessed
Leads to terrible distress

Word Study: In Judges Chapter 9 we come to the story of a false judge named Abimelech. The title Abimelech (Hebrew ăḇîmeleḵ) is found 67 times in the Bible. The name means “Moloch is my father”, Moloch being a false god of the Canaanites. The name is NOT one you would expect to find among the children of God. The first time Abimelech is found in the Scripture is when Abraham told Abimelech the King of Gerar that Sarah was his sister (Genesis 20:2) because he feared for his life. When there was famine in the land, Isaac went to Abimelech King of the Philistines (Genesis 26:1) for aid, also claiming his wife Rebekah was his sister in fear for his life. When David ran from Saul, he changed his behavior before Abimelech (Psalm 34:1) and acted as a madman out of fear.

Abimelech is Gideon’s unconfessed sin come to life!

Gideon did a wonderful job in leading Israel to victory over the Midianite forces. At the end of the battles, the people came to Gideon and said:

Judges 8:22 … Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son’s son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.

They wanted Gideon to be their King, claiming he was the source of the victory over the Midianites. But Gideon refused, and rightly so. It was God Who gave the victory. In refusing to share glory with God, Gideon honored the Lord. But then Gideon let sin come into his life. He asked for all the earrings collected from the dead Midianites, and had them made into an Ephod, a Trophy that the people began to worship.

Judges 8:27 … all Israel went thither a whoring after {the Ephod}: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.

If you worship ANYTHING above God, this horrible sin will become a SNARE that will entrap you. Gideon – also known as Jerubbaal {killer of Baal} – set and baited his own trap. The people began to worship and serve the Ephod instead of God. Gideon then began to sexually wander from God. God designed marriage to be a covenant between man and woman. We read:

Judges 8:30-31 And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech.

Gideon not only had many wives” (which gave him 70 children), Gideon had a girlfriend on the side, a concubine that was in Shechem. This is where Abimelech came from. In other places in the Scripture, Abimelech is a TITLE. But here we see Gideon NAMING this illegitimate child Abimelech. When Abimelech came of age he started a conspiracy. Again,

Judges 9:1-3 And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal {Gideon’s child by a concubine} 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.

When Gideon sinned sexually, he did so in SHECHEM. Shechem is a very important place in the Scripture. It was at Shechem that God promised Abraham the land of Canaan. Shechem is where a Levitical city of refuge was given to the Kohathites (Joshua 21:20-21). It was in Shechem that Joseph’s bones were buried (Joshua 24:32). It was at Shechem that Abraham and his grandson Jacob built an altar to God (Genesis 12:7; 33:18-20). Gideon’s son Abimelech was from Shechem. Abimelech goes to his uncles, his mother’s brothers, and asks them to start a campaign to make him king of Israel. He did not do this because God raised him up. God raised up JUDGES once Israel repented, and the JUDGES led Israel to victory over those who had afflicted them.

Abimelech wanted what his father Gideon himself had turned down. He wanted to be king.

Abimelech did not believe in God, but in himself. His platform in gaining office was:

Judges 9:2 … 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?

What he suggested was that – if he were NOT made king – then the 70 sons of Gideon {Jerubbaal} would become kings. Abimelech hated his half brothers because he was the “non-inheritance” son of a concubine. One commentary notes:

Among the early Arabians, a concubine or secondary ‘wife’ stayed with her own clan and was visited by her ‘husband’ from time to time. The children of the union belonged to the wife’s clan. Abimelech, the son of a concubine, had close relations with the family of his mother. He sought their help in supporting his claims to the throne.”

Judges 9:4 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.

Word Study: Abimelech had threescore and ten half brothers. He rejected them, and was given threescore and ten” pieces of silver to hire vain and light persons that would follow him around and support him. The words vain and light is the Hebrew rêq pāḥaz, which means “worthless and wanton, absolutely useless”. The only purpose these people had was to follow Abimelech around like “yes” men and make him look good. This is the absolute opposite of what God ordered of those He chose for leadership. When Moses was overwhelmed with the leadership he had to give to the people, God told him:

Numbers 11:16-17 (ESV) … the LORD said to Moses, Gather for Me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom you know to be the elders of the people and officers over them, and bring them to the tent of meeting, and let them take their stand there with you. 17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.

The Council of 70 that God had Moses gather would later be known as the “Sanhedrin”. The Great Sanhedrin was a type of Supreme Court in Israel, led by the High Priest. The Got Questions site notes,

The Sanhedrin as a body claimed powers that lesser Jewish courts did not have. As such, they were the only ones who could try the king or extend the boundaries of the Temple and Jerusalem, and were the ones to whom all questions of law were finally put.”

The 70 assistants were not there to prop up a false king, but to guide God’s leadership in doing God’s work. Abimelech was not interested in God. This is shown in his murderous acts.

Judges 9:5-6 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.

All but Jotham the youngest son of Gideon was murdered by Abimelech. Before Jotham went into hiding, under the inspiration of God he prophesied the eventual disaster that would come about because those of Shechem chose to make Abimelech King. This is known as …

The First Parable In The Bible:
Leadership Matters!

Word Study: The name Jotham(Hebrew yôṯām) means “Jehovah is perfect”. Jehovah – our God – is perfect. When we choose Him to be our King, we can only expect blessing. But when we choose people divorced from God to be our leaders, we get the leadership we deserve. As “Jehovah is perfect” recites what is called the first parable in the Bible, he stands “in the top of mount Gerizim”:

Judges 9:7 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.

mount Gerizim” sits directly opposite Mount Ebal, with Shechem in their valleys. Mount Gerizim is about 30 miles from Jerusalem. When Israel entered the Promised Land, God had the Israelis build an altar to God on Mount Ebal. God had the tribes divide up:

Deuteronomy 27:12 (ESV) … these shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.

Deuteronomy 27:13 (ESV) … these shall stand on Mount Ebal for the curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali.

Gideon’s tribe was of Manasseh. It was Manasseh and Ephraim together which formed the Tribe of Joseph. So Jotham stood on Mount Gerizim where his ancestors stood, pronouncing the blessings of God on the obedience of His people.

As Jotham stood on Mount Gerizim, he cried out:

Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you

He is calling for the REPENTANCE of the men of Shechem. They have made a bad decision in calling for Abimelech, and their bad decision will end up hurting them badly. In the parable, the olives, fig trees, and grape vines represent GOOD leadership, the leaders that they should have chosen. The brambles represent Abimelech.

Judges 9:8-9 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 honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

The trees decided that they wanted a King. So they went to the olive tree, and asked him to leave his God given assignment to become their King. But the olive tree was too wise. He said, Should I leave my fatness – for the tree was richly blessed. Why? Because when you do what God calls you to do with ALL your strength, God will bless you with FATNESS. You honor God when you live for Him.

Proverbs 3:9-10 (NLT) Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. 10 Then he will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine.

Romans 14:8 (ESV) if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

Psalm 37:4 (ESV) Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

The Olive Tree had better sense than to leave his God given calling to be elevated above the other trees. Then the trees went to the Fig Tree:

Judges 9:10-11 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?

The TREES were emphatic. They wanted a King but did not want that King to be God. But the fig tree was equally smart. Why leave his God given calling to be promoted over the trees? The missionary Elisabeth Elliot said:

I have one desire now – to live a life of reckless abandon for the Lord, putting all my energy and strength into it.”

Abimelech passionately hated his brothers, a hate they did not deserve. The fig tree loved its sweetness and its good fruit. No good leader ever hates God, nor is indifferent about God’s love. Solomon was such a great King because he said:

Song of Solomon 3:4 (ESV) … I found Him whom my soul loves. I held Him, and would not let Him go …

Oh, the joy of finding and serving the Lord! The Fig Tree would not give up one moment of that bliss for the fame of fallen man!

Judges 9:12-13 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?

Again the trees sought a King outside of God. Though rebuffed by two great leaders, they turned to the vine. The fruit of the vine blesses both God and man. Why would the vine leave its calling to puff up itself with pride?

Proverbs 16:18 (CSB) Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.

None of the productive leaders would take the place of God as King. So finally the trees go to the “bramble”.

Judges 9:14-18 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;)

My commentary notes:

Brambles bore no fruit and offered no shelter or protection. They only injured those who got too close to them. Moreover, brambles sometimes spontaneously burst into flames in hot weather, and consequently caused much damage (v. 15). …

Even today when a good ruler comes into office, many folk say, ‘God raised him up.’ What about the wicked ruler? God permits him to come to the throne also [cf. Daniel 4:17]. Do you know why? Because the principle is ‘like priest, like people.’ That is, people get the ruler they deserve. The people of Israel wanted this boy Abimelech to rule over them; and they got the caliber of man they deserved. Friend, when we look around our world today, we find this principle is still true.”

God allows the wicked rulers to rise up to punish us when we reject Him as King. That BRAMBLE” Abimelech would not only murder 69 of his brothers and shame the legacy of his father Gideon, but he would end up destroying those who so faithfully supported him. Jotham now pronounces:

Judges 9:19-21 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.

Though Jotham went into hiding, it wasn’t long before the Parable came to pass. God allowed Abimelech to come to power and reign three years before problems came.

Vengeance Is Mine Saith The Lord

Judges 9:22-25 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 {sat in wait – ambushed} 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.

We are told that after three years God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and his family. God is the ultimate Source of all things. Just as God would later send a harmful spirit to afflict King Saul (1 Samuel 16:14; 18:10; 19:9) and to entice King Ahab that he would be defeated at Ramoth Gilead (1 Kings 22:19-23), God sends an evil spirit on Abimelech and his family. His family begins to rob travelers, humiliating the King. It is on thing when strangers are lawless, and quite another when your family is lawless.

Judges 9:26-29 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.

Gaal was a Canaanite who hated Abimelech because he was Gideon’s son. So he conspires with the men of Shechem to go to war against Abimelech and his army. What happens next is a bloodbath! In Judges 9:30-45 Zebul the ruler of the city of Shechem tells Abimelech about the insurrection in the city, so Abimelech surrounds the city with four companies of soldiers. As Gaal and his men were defeated, we are told:

Judges 9:41 … Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren, that they should not dwell in Shechem.

As Gaal and his men were thrust out, Abimelech led three companies of men against them (Judges 9:43), and utterly destroyed the opposition. Abimelech then led his men to cruelly burn to death (Judges 9:48-52) a thousand men and women. Yet, as Abimelech ordered the burning of these people, a woman who was high up in the tower …

Judges 9:53-57 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 women 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.

Be sure your sin will find you out! You can no more tame sin than you can a rabid dog. Turn away from evil, and follow God. REPENT! Choose Godly leadership while you can. May God touch your hearts with his Word! Amen and Amen.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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