Judges 9:34-57 (JDV)
Judges 9:34 So Abimelech and all the troops with him got up at night and waited in ambush for Shechem in four groups.
Judges 9:35 Gaal son of Ebed went out and stood at the entrance of the city gate. Then Abimelech and the troops who were with him got up from their ambush.
Judges 9:36 When Gaal saw the troops, he said to Zebul, “Notice, troops are coming down from the mountaintops!” But Zebul said to him, “The shadows of the mountains look like men to you.”
Judges 9:37 Then Gaal spoke again, “Notice, troops are coming down from the central part of the land, and one unit is coming from the direction of the Diviners’ Oak.”
Judges 9:38 Zebul replied,”What do you have to say now? You said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him? ‘ Aren’t these the troops you despised? Now go and fight them!”
Judges 9:39 So Gaal went out leading the landowners of Shechem and fought against Abimelech,
Judges 9:40 but Abimelech pursued him, and Gaal fled before him. Numerous bodies were strewn as far as the entrance of the city gate.
Judges 9:41 Abimelech stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his brothers from Shechem.
Judges 9:42 The next day when the people of Shechem went into the countryside, this was reported to Abimelech.
Judges 9:43 He took the troops, divided them into three companies, and waited in ambush in the countryside. He looked, and the people were coming out of the city, so he arose against them and struck them down.
Judges 9:44 Then Abimelech and the units that were with him rushed forward and took their stand at the entrance of the city gate. The other two units rushed against all who were in the countryside and struck them down.
Judges 9:45 So Abimelech fought against the city that entire day, captured it, and killed the people who were in it. Then he tore down the city and sowed it with salt.
Judges 9:46 When all the landowners of the Tower of Shechem heard, they entered the inner chamber of the temple of El-berith.
Judges 9:47 Then it was reported to Abimelech that all the landowners of the Tower of Shechem had gathered.
Judges 9:48 So Abimelech and all the troops who were with him went up to Mount Zalmon. Abimelech took his ax in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees. He picked up the branch, put it on his shoulder, and said to the troops who were with him, “Hurry and do what you have seen me do.”
Judges 9:49 Each of the troops also cut down his own branch and followed Abimelech. They put the branches against the inner chamber and set it on fire; about a thousand men and women died, including all the men of the Tower of Shechem.
Judges 9:50 Abimelech went to Thebez, camped against it, and captured it.
Judges 9:51 There was a strong tower inside the city, and all the men, women, and landowners of the city fled there. They locked themselves in and went up to the roof of the tower.
Judges 9:52 When Abimelech came to attack the tower, he approached its entrance to set it on fire.
Judges 9:53 But a woman threw the upper portion of a millstone on Abimelech’s head and fractured his skull.
Judges 9:54 He quickly called his armor-bearer and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, or they’ll say about me, ‘A woman killed him.'” So his armor-bearer ran him through, and he died.
Judges 9:55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they all went home.
Judges 9:56 In this way, God brought back Abimelech’s evil — the evil that Abimelech had done to his father when he killed his seventy brothers.
Judges 9:57 God also brought back to the men of Shechem all their evil. So the curse of Jotham son of Jerubbaal came upon them.
This chapter illustrates the violent aftermath of Gideon’s success. He did what he could, and we celebrate that, but he failed to bring lasting peace. His son Abimelech deals treacherously and murders his brothers. Jotham escapes, and calls down a curse upon Abimelech and the town of Shechem. God honors the curse and brings violence to Shechem, and a violent and ignoble death to Abimelech.
The point of all this is that although God had used Gideon, he did not bring in lasting peace.
LORD, give us the wisdom to do what we can, but to trust you to bring in lasting peace through Christ.