Judges 9 Commentary
The history of Israel during this time was defined by the two idol temples mentioned in this chapter. Baal-Berith was a temple of crime. The other unnamed temple was a temple of sinful indulgence and revelry, from which Abimelek’s opponent mounted an insurrection. Idol temples have continued to influence world history. Today, advanced idol temples even decide who becomes president and how much people pay for essential commodities. Nothing has changed.
The chapter is however brightened by the thought that nothing escapes the attention of the LORD. Even when two sinners fight and cheat each other, the LORD moves in to direct the flow of events. One sinner is punished by the sin of another and vice-versa.
Chapter 9 is about Abimelek and his crimes. It shows us how crime punishes crime. The ungodliness of the men of Shechem is punished by Abimelek’s madness. Abimelek has his own date with fate as his career of crime comes to a sudden end.
Shouldn’t this chapter be about Gideon himself? He raised Abimelek on the sidelines without the normal family bonds. Of course, there is no justification for Abimelek’s crimes. Shouldn’t parents be worried about children raised this way?
Is it not shocking that we have heard more about Baal’s temples right in the midst of Israel than the Sanctuary? You wonder if it still existed. Sad.
For its value to the household of faith today, this chapter can as well be titled, ‘The People and the Thornbush’. Jotham’s parable held value for people that were blinded by mental laziness. They elected to approach a thornbush for a shade even when they knew very well that a thornbush didn’t have any shade. And for their thoughtfulness, the thornbush duly delivered – exactly as promised. You cannot give what you don’t have. The men of Shechem got what they asked for. Mental laziness can be very costly. When electing leaders in our churches or even in our countries, what reasons do we give for our choices?
It is very interesting that the location for Jothams curse is Mount Gerizim. The LORD had ordered that blessings be pronounced from Mount Gerizim and that Curses be pronounced from Mount Ebah. Deuteronomy 11 verse 29. The only surviving son of Gideon climbs the Mountain of blessings to curse Abimelek and his partners in crime – the men of Shechem. Sin has a way to reverse the order of life. There is a curse in place of a blessing. This curse affects not only the sinners but everyone else. Righteousness works in the opposite but with greater swipe and power. Stand up for what is right and an entire generation of your children may experience the compassions of the LORD.
The death of the murderer Abimelek should quieten things but we still fear for the nation that appears to have completely forgotten what it means to serve the LORD. Which saint doesn’t fear for our world today? The call to ‘come out of her and separate’ cannot be any louder.
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