Apr 9, 2011

Judges Chapters 9-10, Gideon and Abimelech, March 21, 2011

Here is a chart comparing Gideon to his son Abimelech

Called by YHVH to liberate Israel
Designates self as king
Sacrifices bull on alter to YH
Slays 69 brothers on one stone to honor self
Spirit of YHVH energizes him
YH sends discord around him
YH/Gideon + 300 men – no more needed for battle
YH fought against Abimelech
Refuses kingship
Seizes kingship and worships Baal
40 yrs peace, dies ripe old age
After 3 yrs, killed ignominiously by woman

·         9:1-5 Abimelech is from Shechem, from the land of his father’s pilgesh (second wife or concubine).  This probably reflects the troubled transition from Canaanite stronghold to Israelite city.  Abimelech gathers his mother’s people, the men of Shechem, to kill the 70 sons of Gideon who have gone astray after Baalim.  69 are killed, all but Jotham.
·         9:6 – Abimelech is made king by Shechemites. 
·         9:7-21 – Jotham is the 70th son of Gideon, the one who was not killed by Abimelech.  He calls out to the men of Shechem a prophesy/curse - let fire come between Abimelech and the men he has recruited from Shechem if they have not acted uprightly with Jerubbaal (Gideon).  Remember Chapter 8 ended with the people forgetting to honor Gideon who had fought for them and brought them a long peace.   Jotham says his curse and runs away.
·         9:22-52 – Abimelech is the prince for 3 years.  Then God sends evil spirit – treachery between Abimelech and Shechemites so that all will bear the blood guilt of the 69 slain.  The Shechemites lay an ambush for Abimelech.  Gaal son of Ebed (a Shechemite) takes up arms against Abimelech.  Zebul is a Shechemite who remains loyal to Abimelech.
·         9:53 – A woman breaks Abimelech’s skull
– an ignominy for him, but it stops the war.
·         9:56-57 – God requites the wickedness of Abimelech and brings the curse of Jotham down upon the heads of all the Shechemites.
·         Note that God did not make the curse, nor did God speak through Jotham when Jotham cursed.   God’s action in this chapter is only to sew discord.   The men’s actions can be summed up by Ch 8:34 “And the children of Israel remembered not YHVH their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side.”

·         10:1-5 – After Abimelech is killed comes an apparent period of peace.  Toal son of Puah judges (sh-f-t) for 23 years and Jair judges (sh-f-t) for 22 years.   Jair has 30 sons on 30 ass colts.  To our ears this may sound comical or sarcastic.  However, it may mean that Jair presided over a large number of political units, rather than having so many offspring.
·         10:6-14 – Once again, the Israelites do evil and forsake YHVH.  They serve the gods of every possible local tribe but their own.  God gives them over to the Philistines, who will end up ruling them until Saul.  The Israelites cry out to God, saying we have sinned.  God reminds them of covenant and tells them to cry out to the gods which they have chosen.
·         10:15-16 – Israelites again say “we have sinned” and put away their strange gods.  God cannot bear the miseries of Israel.  This is most interesting.  God takes no action.  It is as if God’s hands are tied and God can only grieve.   We have reached a stage where God does not respond to save the people Israel.
·         10:18 – Therefore, the Gileadites look about for a human leader.  Whoever can triumph over the Ammonites will be made the head over all the Gileadites.   The people are looking for human deliverance rather than divine.   Much to think about.  Why does God not respond by sending a deliverer as God has done in the past?

No comments:

Post a Comment