Judges 9


God brings back our wickedness on our own souls


1 And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal (Gideon) went to Shechem to his mother’s brothers, and spoke with them and with all the family of the house of his mother’s father saying, 2 Please speak in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Which is better for you, that all the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy 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 brothers spoke of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts turned to follow Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother. 4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless persons who followed him. 5 And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah, and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy persons, on one stone: but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal remained alive because he hid himself.


  • God delivered Israel from the Midianites through Gideon (Judges 6-8).
  • He had many wives and seventy sons.
  • Abimelech was the son of Gideon’s concubine (Judges 8:30, 31), a slave girl, not one of his wives, so Abimelech was a bastard (Judges 9:18).
  • These men became killers for hire.
  • They were killing innocent persons and didn’t care.


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 called out and said to them, Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God may listen to you. 8 Once upon a time the trees went out to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, Reign over us. 9 But the olive tree said to them, Should I leave my fatness by which they honor God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 10 And the trees said to the fig tree, Come, reign over us. 11 But the fig tree said to them, Should I leave my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? 12 Then the trees said to the vine, Come, reign over us. 13 And the vine said to them, Should I leave my wine, which cheers God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? 14 Then all the trees said to the thorn tree, Come, reign over us. 15 And the bramble/thistle said to the trees, If in truth you 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.


  • Abimelech, like Satan, usurped power not given to him by God.
  • Then he killed all the competition, 70 of his brothers.
  • Jotham, Gideon’s only remaining son, stood on the hill where Israel had first pronounced the blessings as they received the Promised Land from God, and told a parable showing what Abimelech had done.


16 Now therefore, if you have dealt in truth and integrity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as he deserved; 17 (For my father fought for you, and greatly risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian:18 And you have risen up against my father’s house this day, and have killed his sons, seventy persons on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother)19 So if you have dealt in truth and integrity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice 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.


God sent an evil spirit on those who dealt treacherously


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 seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother who killed them; and on the men of Shechem who strengthened his hand in the killing of his brothers.


  • I Kings 22 shows another incident of God sending an evil spirit.


25 And the men of Shechem set an ambush for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along by them that way: and it was told Abimelech. 26 And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, 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 trod the grapes, and celebrated, and went into the house of their god, and ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech. 28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Isn’t he the son of Jerubbaal? And Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem! Why should we serve him? 29 And wish to God this people were under my hand! Then I would remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase your army, and come out. 30 And when Zebul, the steward of the city, heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech privately/craftily saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem; and behold, they are fortifying the city against you. 32 So get up at night, you and the people that are with you, and lie in wait in the field: 33 And in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you rise up early, and charge the city: and behold, when he and the people that are with him come out against you, then do to them as you are able.


  • Abimelech had been lured away from the city because of the ambushers that were robbing everyone along the road.
  • As he was away, Gaal came to suggest himself as ruler.
  • So Gaal was in the city as Abimelech brought forces against him from outside the city.


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, stood in the entrance of the city gate: 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, people are coming down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said to him, You see the shadow of the mountains as if they were men. 37 And Gaal spoke again and said, Look! There are people coming down by the middle of the land, and another company is coming along by the sorcerers oak. 38 Then Zebul said to him, Where is your boasting now, with which you said, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? Aren’t these the people that you have despised? Go out 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 to the entering of the gate.


  • Gaal was defeated by Abimelech and ran away.
  • Just like the king of Sodom in Genesis 14 and many other leaders in history. But our Lord fought and died for us.
  • John 15:13 Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down his life for his friends.

41 And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brothers, that they not dwell in Shechem. 42 And it happened the next day 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 coming out of the city; and he rose up against them, and struck them down. 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 killed them. 45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; he took the city, and killed the people that were in it, 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 a hold of the house of the god Berith. 47 And Abimelech was told that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 And Abimelech got himself up to Mt. 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 he said to the people that were with him, Do what you have seen me do; hurry and do as I have done! 49 And all the people, every man, cut down his bough in the same way, followed Abimelech, put them on the stronghold, 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 Abimelech went to Thebez, camped against Thebez, and took it. 51 But there was a strong tower inside the city, and all the men and women fled there, all those in the city, and shut it behind them. And they went up to the roof of the tower. 52 And Abimelech came to the tower, fought against it, and drew near the entrance of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 And a certain woman threw a riding millstone on Abimelech’s head, and crushed his skull.54 Then he called quickly to the young man, his armor bearer, and said to him, Draw your sword and kill me, so that men won’t say of me, A woman killed him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. 55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, every man departed to his place. 56 This is how God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did to his father, by killing his seventy brothers: 57 And God repaid all the evil of the men of Shechem on their heads: the curse of Jotham, the son of Jerubbaal, came on them.


  • In Judges 8 the people turned from God and trusted the gold ephod Gideon made.
  • In this chapter the discontented people of Shechem were persuaded that a change of leadership would solve their problems. These are deceptions of evil because God gives each person according to their own doings. Eden had two trees at its center just as we have two choices each day. One is the life that comes from God. The other is the wickedness that comes from evil. Right relationship with God brings great blessing.
  • Jeremiah 4:18 Your way and your doings have brought these things to you; this is your wickedness, because it is bitter, because it reaches to your heart.
  • Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatever a man sows, that is what he will reap.
  • Romans 12:19 Vengeance is mine, I will repay says the Lord.
  • Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life: in your presence is fullness of joy; at your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.


                                             Judges 10


1 And after Abimelech Tola the son of Puah arose to save Israel, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in mount Ephraim. 2 And he judged Israel 23 years, and died, and was buried in Shamir. 3 And after him Jair arose, a Gileadite, and judged Israel 22 years. 4 And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities called Havoth-jair/the villages of Jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Jair died, and was buried in Camon. 6 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, the gods of Zidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines, and forsook the LORD, and did not serve him.


  • Proverbs 15:3 The eyes of the LORD are in every place, observing the evil and the good. God’s anger burned hot against Israel and He sold them into the hands of their enemy


7 And the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon. 8 And that year they troubled and crushed the children of Israel for eighteen years, all the children of Israel that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9 Moreover the children of Ammon crossed over Jordan to fight against Judah, against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was deeply distressed.


  • Idolatry leads to eternal death. God has good reason to be angry.
  • Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
  • Judges 5:8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates:


10 And the children of Israel cried to the LORD saying, We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God, and served Baalim, 11 And the LORD said to the children of Israel, Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, from the Amorites, from the children of Ammon, and from the Philistines? 12 The Zidonians also, the Amalekites, and the Maonites oppressed you; and you cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand. 13 Yet you have forsaken me, and served other gods: therefore I will no longer deliver you. 14 Go and cry to the gods that you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. 15 And the children of Israel said to the LORD, We have sinned: do to us whatever seems good to you; only, we beg you, deliver us today.


  • God reasons with us about our sin.
  • Genesis 4:6 And the LORD said to Cain, Why are you wroth? and why is your countenance fallen? If you do well will you not be accepted?
  • 1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.


God’s soul is grieved for our misery


16 And they put away the gods of foreigners from among them, and served the LORD: and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.


  • Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.


17 Then the children of Ammon were gathered together, and camped in Gilead. And the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and camped in Mizpeh. 18 And the people and princes of Gilead said one to another, What man is he that will begin to fight against the children of Ammon? He will be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.





SUMMARY: Judges 9-10


  • The LORD brings back our wickedness on our own heads
  • He sent an evil spirit on those who dealt treacherously
  • God's anger burned hot against His idolatrous people
  • His soul is grieved for our misery