Authority of Jesus

Abimelech – The Worthless King

Bible Study Lesson — Judges 9:7-24

Abimelech the Worthless KingDo you know of anyone in politics who is absolutely worthless?

Wait! Don’t go naming names just yet.

The story today is about the parable of the trees told by Jotham and the anointing of a worthless king, Abimelech.

This king killed all who stood in his way and had nothing to offer the people he led. A recipe for disaster.


The Parable of the Trees

Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and called out.

Thus he said to them, “Listen to me, O men of Shechem, that God may listen to you.
Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’

But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’

Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come, reign over us!’

But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’

Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come, reign over us!’

But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?’

Finally all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come, reign over us!’

The bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.’ – Judges 9:7-15 NASB

Jotham’s Speech to Shechem

As you remember, Abimelech was the son of Gideon and was appointed king over Shechem – against God’s wishes.

Jotham was the only brother who escaped the massacre by hiding out. When he heard that Abimelech would be king, he spoke out from high on the mountain with his parable of the trees (7-15).

The Meaning of the Tree Parable

This is not too difficult to figure out. The trees and vine were productive. They were too busy producing good fruit to eat, with no time to worry about having power over others.

On the other hand, the worthless bramble was more than happy to take charge as it had nothing to offer, and nothing to lose.

The point to take from the parable is that bramble will eventually choke out the other plants and destroy them.

Which Brings Us to Abimelech

Not only was Abimelech a terrible choice for becoming a monarch, he was basically a worthless person who hired shiftless undesirables to help carry out his plans.

Nothing good can come of electing an evil person to power.

True Colors

Israel will soon learn that forgetting everything Gideon had accomplished and worshiping idols under Abimelech would lead to yet another disaster in their history.

Abimelech lasted only three years as king and then the disobedience was punished by God.

Why Did God Take So Long?

[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”160″ identifier=”1430031808″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”bobpardphot-20″ width=”140″]Firstly, God works in His own way and in His own time.

We may want to think about our lives before hastily judging God. What if He decided to punish us right away for our sins?

Do we really want quick justice for ourselves just as we many times want it for others? I believe I’d rather count on the forgiveness Christ provides rather than quick justice for myself.

Wouldn’t you?

Love in Christ

– Bob

If you would like to discover more about the love and life-changing experience of Jesus Christ, please take a moment to read John 3:16 here.


Read Today’s Passage Here:

New American Standard Bible

New King James Version

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