When the temptation to rule over others gets hold of someone, there is sometimes no end to what that person will do to attain – and keep – power. In the time of Israel’s judges, a man named Abimelech even murdered his 70 brothers to become leader of his people.
Abimelech was the son of Gideon, a great leader of God’s people who saved them from the Midianites. So, one would think Abimelech would also be a great leader. But, from the beginning, it was clear Abimelech craved power and privilege more than leadership.
I. Abimelech’s Destruction (Judges 9:1-6)
After Gideon’s death, his 70 sons were regarded as the leaders of Israel. But, Abimelech wanted to be the sole leader… and he convinced the people of his hometown – Shechem – to help him. They gave him money, and he hired a gang of reckless men who went with him to Gideon’s hometown to murder Abimelech’s brothers… all except one.
II. Abimelech’s Denouncement (Judges 9:7-21)
By God’s mercy, Abimelech couldn’t count… the youngest, Jotham, escaped.
III. Abimelech’s Difficulties (Judges 9:22-41)
Jotham stirred up discontent in Shechem against Abimelech.
IV. Abimelech’s Depravity (Judges 9:42-49)
Abimelech put down the rebellion and ruthlessly punished the people of Shechem.
V. Abimelech’s Death (Judges 9:50-57)
When Abimelech went to Thebez to put down more rebellion there, the people ran to a tower; and Abimelech was killed by a woman who threw down a millstone on his head when he got too close to the tower wall.
The Bible makes it clear that Abimelech’s death was punishment for murdering his 70 brothers (Judges 9:56). “On one stone (he) murdered his seventy brothers” (Judges 9:5); and with one stone he, himself, was killed.
As is so many times the case, we truly do reap what we sow.
Do evil, and you will live your days surrounded by evil.
Do good, and you will live your days surrounded by goodness.
You can read Abimelech’s story in Judges 9.