Ep. 064: King of Trees

Equiping You to Share the Gospel of Christ

Ep. 064: King of Trees

Gideon and his many wives produced seventy sons. He also had a son by a concubine in the town of Shechem. His name was Abimelech.
After the death of Gideon, Abimelech went to his uncles in Shechem. He said, “Talk to the officials of the city and say, ‘Do you want the seventy sons of Gideon to rule over you? Instead of them, select me. I’m a son of Gideon, but I’m also your blood relative.’ ”
The men of Shechem agreed to make him king of Israel. They gave him seventy silver coins from the Temple of Baal.
With this, he hired a gang of thugs as his private army. The first thing they did was to kill the seventy sons of Gideon. But they missed one
– the youngest – a man named Jotham.
The men of Shechem had a celebration to honor Abimelech. Suddenly they heard yelling off in the distance. It was Jotham. “Listen to me! The trees decided to have a king. They went to the olive tree and said, ‘Be our king.’
“The olive tree said, ‘I don’t have time for such foolishness. I produce precious oil that honors God and man.’
“So they went to the fig tree and said, ‘Be our king.’ The fig tree said, ‘I don’t have time for such foolishness. I produce sweet fruit that’s enjoyed by everyone.’
“They went to the grapevine and said, ‘Be our king.’ The grapevine said, ‘I don’t have time for such foolishness. I produce wine that brings happiness to people.’
“Finally the trees went to the thorn bush. They said, ‘Be our king.’ The thorn bush said, ‘Yes, I’ll be your king. But from now on, you’re under my shade of protection. If any of you rebel, fire will come from my thorns and burn you to ashes.’
“My father risked his life for you. And how did you reward him? You killed his sons! Now you’ve made the son of a slave girl your king.
“If this is right, I wish you well. But if it’s wrong, I ask that fire come from Abimelech and burn you up.” He then ran for his life because he knew his half brother would try to hunt him down.
Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. Then God put a bad spirit between him and the men of Shechem. This was to bring justice for what was done to the sons of Gideon.
The men started a rebellion against the king they had set up. At one point, they threw a big party and got drunk. They started cursing Abimelech and bragging about how they were going to overthrow him.
The mayor of the city became angry at this talk and sent for Abimelech. The mayor agreed to help his army ambush the men of Shechem.
That night, Abimelech put his men in hiding outside of the city so he could attack in the morning. At sunrise, one of the men of Shechem stood at the gate with the mayor. Suddenly he saw some movement. He said, “Look! What is that? Is it men coming to attack us?”
The mayor said, “No. That’s only shadows from the mountain.”
A few moments later, the man saw several units of men coming at the city. He ran back into the city and yelled, “We’re under attack!”
The battle lasted several days. Finally the city was captured and the people escaped to a tower. Abimelech and his men put tree branches around the tower and burned it down. Over 1,000 men and women died there that day. Jotham’s curse on the men of Shechem had come true.
Abimelech completely destroyed the city and tore it down. He spread salt over it so nothing could grow there.
When that was done, he and his men went to destroy another rebellious city. Again the people escaped to a tower. Abimelech and his men went and got wood so they could set it on fire. As they were putting it in place, a woman looked down and saw Abimelech directly beneath her. So she dropped a piece of a millstone down on his head.
Abimelech called for one of his soldiers. “Quick, kill me with your sword. I don’t want to be known as the man who was killed by a woman.”


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