Abimelech: The Non Judge

February 19, 2021 Preacher: Gareth Franks Series: The Book of Judges

Topic: The Gospel, Christian Living Scripture: Judges 9:1–57

In chapter nine the familiar four-fold pattern of sin/ oppression/ crying out to God, and rescue by a judge is absent. Instead we have this blood-thirsty tyrant, Abimelech.

Abimelech is the son of Gideon’s servant girl/ concubine, and unlike the judges in this book, he is not raised up by the Lord; he is not a judge or deliverer for Israel. Rather he seeks greatness and power for himself, by appealing to people’s selfish nature, by wiping out all possible opponents, (even his half brothers) and by being funded by money given to an idol!

Abimelech is a perfect example of what a leader shouldn’t be. In contrast to the positive leadership of his father (Gideon), Abimelech focused on his own personal gain, hurting many in the process.

In Judges 9, we have recorded for us the lowest spiritual decline yet in Israel! Things are so bad in the mind of the author, that the covenantal name of God is not mentioned again until chapter 10. Even though sin may reach a heightened intensity, we must remember that God is in control and is sovereign over both the world and the church as Ruler and King.

Abimelech proves that Israel has deep-seated issues. He is arrogant, forgetful of what God has done, and completely ignores God and his laws. From verse 7 to 49, Abimelech continues to stir up chaos, adversity, and war. The people of Shechem, who once supported him, rise up against him in battle.

The events depicted in our text occurred many years ago, but they still have much to say to men and women today. That is because God has not changed, and neither has man. The corruption that we read about in our text is the same in essence as the corruption that we see on the television and read about in our daily newspaper. In this sermon Pastor Gareth helps us understand these lessons from our text and apply them to our everyday needs.

Discussion Questions

1. Who was Abimelech? What was his relationship to Gideon? What was his plan?

2. One of Israel’s sins mentioned in our text was forgetting God and the deliverance He achieved for Israel. How does this relate to the New Testament teaching and practice of remembering our Lord’s “deliverance” at the Lord’s Table? (1 Cor 11.)

3. The author mentions twice in chapter 9:15 and v.18 that the 70 sons of Gideon were killed on "one stone". Why do you think this attention to detail is mentioned? What does this stone symbolize? What poetic punishment does it represent?

4. A biblical reference to Abimelech’s death is made many years later during the reign of David in 2 Samuel 11:21. Read this verse and point out the spiritual connection intended for David with reference to Abimelech's death.

More in The Book of Judges

April 9, 2021

The Canaanite Within Us

March 26, 2021

Judges 17-18: Israel’s Ultimate Sin

March 19, 2021

Samson: The Unwanted Saviour