Dec. 22. Rise and Fall of Abimelech
Gideon had many wives, a concubine in Shechem and seventy sons. (It’s probable that the number seventy was symbolic of many instead of a literal number.) He died at a “good old age” after a long life of service to God. The Israelites soon forgot the good life that they had with Gideon and once again also forgot God and began to serve idols.
Abimelech, the son of Gideon and his concubine was a shrewd operator. He conspired with the men of Shechem to make him king. Taking money that they had given him, he “hired worthless and reckless men” to help him carry out his scheme. Next, he killed all of his brothers, except Jotham, the younger one who escaped. He was then made king.
Jotham proclaimed a parable of the trees to the men of Shechem illustrating to them the fate that would befall them because of their actions.
Three years later that prophesy began to be fulfilled by ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. Through a series of skirmishes with various leaders, Abimelech destroyed many of the Shechemites and was himself killed at the conclusion because of the evil he had done to his father’s sons.