Judges 9:50-57

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, November 7, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“Next Abimelech went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. Abimelech went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.
Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’’ So his servant ran him through, and he died. When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they went home. Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them.” (Judges 9:50-57)

Look back a couple weeks ago at where we last left Abimelech in his story (here). Essentially, Abimelech and his army has just decimated the town of Shechem. Now, they’re headed to the next town of Thebez to capture it as well. We don’t know why Abimelech felt the need to take the town of Thebez as well, except for the fact of him being power hungry.

The town of Thebez was around 10 miles to the northeast of Shechem, but word apparently travels fast. The inhabitants of Thebez had heard what happened at Shechem, so they were as prepared as they could be. They all went up to the roof of their strong tower so they could potentially fight back against Abimelech and his army.

The story takes an unexpected twist when a woman drops an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head. An upper millstone was around 10” long, and it would go back and forth over the lower millstone, which was larger, as the grain was crushed in the process of milling. So at 10” long, this was not a huge stone, and perhaps the woman had it nearby and figured it could be a good weapon.

With factors such as wind and the height from which it was dropped, it would have been nearly impossible for the women to hit Abimelech square on the head except for pure luck - or God’s intervention. This had to be an act of divine retribution, of God’s judgment against Abimelech’s evil deeds.

Being killed by a woman was considered incredibly disgraceful, and power-hungry and image-conscious Abimelech definitely didn’t want that! Since he wasn’t dead yet from the impact of the stone, he had his armor bearer actually finish him off with his sword. But, that ended up being essentially irrelevant. The story of Abimelech being killed by a woman was what lived on, and it was even referenced later in Scripture, in 2 Samuel 11:21.

So now that their leader Abimelech was dead, Israel’s army had no purpose to stay there, so as it says in verse 55, they simply went home. They had no hard feelings against the people of Thebez; they were only there to follow their leader’s desire for power.

So remember way back in Judges 9:1-21 how Abimelech’s half-brother, Jotham, warned Israel how they would be cursed through Abimelech if they let him be their leader? That had finally come true, and it was fulfilled in multiple ways. The city of Shechem was destroyed when Abimelech set it on fire, and that fire was likely fed by thorn bushes in the city. In Jotham’s curse, he spoke of thorn bushes to represent Abimelech. It all came full circle now, with God providing this judgment up Abimelech for all the evil he had done.

There are always consequences for our actions, both good and bad, and sometimes it takes a while before we see them. The people of Israel allowed Abimelech to become their leader, even though they had already seen the evil he was capable of when he killed 68 of his half brothers so that he could be the one in charge. Because of this, the town of Shechem and all its inhabitants were completely destroyed. The town of Thebez fared a bit better, and only the buildings of the town and not its people were destroyed. They allowed a man who had already shown his evil character to become their leader, and they paid for it with the consequences later. Abimelech himself reaped the consequences of what he sowed. By killing many, many people, he was killed himself, and in a very disgraceful way.

What are you doing in your life that could lead to negative consequences later on? Take a look at your actions and attitudes today, and make whatever changes you need to so that you’ll have positive consequences later on.

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