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The Rule of Abimelech

Scripture Passage: 
Judges 9:1-57

INTRODUCTION: Much like the apostle Paul (Acts 7:58), the main character in this lesson is first mentioned as an afterthought in one verse (Judges 8:31). Like Paul, the Lord was providing insight into who would be the next person to watch. Unlike the apostle Paul, this man followed after wickedness and died as an enemy of God.

  1. ABIMELECH KILLS HIS BRETHREN TO BECOME KING (Judges 9:1-6)
    1. Abimelech Gathers Support from His Mother’s Family (Judges 9:1-3).
      1. He travels to Shechem to speak to his mother’s family (Judges 9:1).
      2. He suggests that it would be better for Shechem to have one man ruling over them rather than seventy (Judges 9:2).
      3. His mother’s brethren convince the men of Shechem to follow (Judges 9:3).
    2. Abimelech Hires an Army (Judges 9:4).
      1. Abimelech receives his campaign money.
      2. Abimelech hires a following.
    3. Abimelech Kills the Sons of Gideon (Judges 9:5).
      1. He goes to his father’s house and slays his brethren.
      2. Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal (Gideon) hides himself.
    4. The Men of Shechem Declare Abimelech King (Judges 9:6).
  2. JOTHAM DECLARES JUDGMENT ON ABIMELECH (Judges 9:7-21)
    1. Jotham Comes Out of Hiding (Judges 9:7).
      1. He receives news of Abimelech’s following.
      2. He goes to the top of Mount Gerizim and cries out to the men of Shechem.
    2. He Tells the Parable of the Trees (Judges 9:8-15).
      1. The trees go forth to anoint a king to reign over them (Judges 9:8).
      2. The call for the olive tree (Judges 9:8-9)
        1. The trees ask the olive to reign over them (Judges 9:8).
        2. The olive refuses to leave his fatness (Judges 9:9).
      3. The call for the fig tree (Judges 9:10-11)
        1. The trees ask the fig to reign over them (Judges 9:10).
        2. The fig refuses to leave his sweetness and good fruit (Judges 9:11).
      4. The call for the vine (Judges 9:12-13)
        1. The trees ask the vine to reign over them (Judges 9:12).
        2. The vine refuses to leave his wine (Judges 9:13).
      5. The call for the bramble (Judges 9:14-15)
        1. The trees ask the bramble to reign over them (Judges 9:14).
        2. The bramble provides two options (Judges 9:15).
    3. He Pronounces Judgment on the Men of Shechem (Judges 9:16-21).
      1. Jotham explains the two scenarios of the bramble (Judges 9:16-20).
      2. Jotham runs to Beer for fear of Abimelech (Judges 9:21).
  3. GAAL REBELS AGAINST ABIMELECH (Judges 9:22-29)
    1. Trouble between Abimelech and Shechem (Judges 9:22-24)
      1. Abimelech reigns three years over Israel (Judges 9:22).
      2. God sends an evil spirit between Abimlech and the men of Shechem (Judges 9:23).
      3. The men of Shechem deal treacherously with Abimelech (Judges 9:23).
      4. The evil spirit is sent by the Lord so that the blood of Jerubbaal’s sons might return upon Abimelech and the men of Shechem (Judges 9:24).
    2. The Men of Shechem Reject Abimelech for Gaal (Judges 9:25-29).
      1. The men of Shechem turn on Abimelech (Judges 9:25).
      2. The men of Shechem put their confidence in Gaal (Judges 9:26).
      3. The men of Shechem celebrate with pagan worship (Judges 9:27).
      4. Gaal speaks out against Abimelech (Judges 9:28-29).
  4. ABIMELECH DEFEATS THE ARMY OF GAAL (Judges 9:30-44)
    1. Zebul Warns Abimelech of the Treachery (Judges 9:30-33).
      1. He is angered by the words of Gaal (Judges 9:30).
      2. He sends messengers to Abimelech with news of Gaal (Judges 9:31).
      3. He calls upon Abimelech to come to war against Gaal (Judges 9:32-33).
    2. Abimelech Lies in Wait against Shechem (Judges 9:34-38).
      1. Abimelech divides his men and lays wait against Shechem (Judges 9:34).
      2. Gaal sees Abimelech and his men moving in on Shechem (Judges 9:35-36).
      3. Zebul tells Gaal that he is mistaken (Judges 9:36).
      4. Gaal reaffirms that he sees men coming (Judges 9:37).
      5. Zebul tells him to go out and fight (Judges 9:38).
    3. Gaal Comes Out to Fight Abimelech (Judges 9:39-44).
      1. Many are overthrown and Gaal is forced into the city (Judges 9:39-40).
      2. Zebul thrusts out Gaal and his brethren (Judges 9:41).
      3. Abimelech and his men attack outside the gate of the city (Judges 9:42-44).
  5. ABIMELECH DESTROYS THE PEOPLE OF SHECHEM (Judges 9:45-49)
    1. Abimelech Destroys the City of Shechem (Judges 9:45).
    2. Abimelech Burns the Tower of Shechem (Judges 9:46-49).
      1. The men of the tower of Shechem hide in the house of Berith (Judges 9:46).
      2. Abimelech and his men gather boughs of the trees to set the tower on fire (Judges 9:47-49).
  6. ABIMELECH DIES BY A MILLSTONE IN THEBEZ (Judges 9:50-57)
    1. Abimelech Moves against Thebez (Judges 9:50-52).
      1. Abimelech goes to Thebez and encamps against it (Judges 9:50).
      2. The people of Thebez flee to a tower and hide themselves (Judges 9:51).
      3. Abimelech fights against the tower and goes hard unto the door to burn it with fire (Judges 9:52).
    2. Abimelech Dies (Judges 9:53-55).
      1. A woman casts a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head and brakes his skull (Judges 9:53).
      2. Abimelech calls upon his armourbearer to kill him (Judges 9:54).
      3. The men of Israel see that Abimelech is dead and they depart to their own place (Judges 9:55).
    3. God Judges Abimelech and Shechem (Judges 9:56-57).
      1. The reaping of Abimelech (Judges 9:56)
      2. The reaping of Shechem (Judges 9:57)

CONCLUSION: Abimelech got his gain by wickedness, and the Lord retains His character by judging him. As the Scriptures declare, “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”

David Reagan and Andrew Ray

Daily Proverb

Proverbs 26:13

The slothful man saith, There is a lion in the way; a lion is in the streets.