Judges 9:30-41

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Monday, October 10, 2016 0 comments

by Katie Erickson

“When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry. Under cover he sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, ‘Gaal son of Ebed and his clan have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you. Now then, during the night you and your men should come and lie in wait in the fields. In the morning at sunrise, advance against the city. When Gaal and his men come out against you, seize the opportunity to attack them.'
So Abimelech and all his troops set out by night and took up concealed positions near Shechem in four companies. Now Gaal son of Ebed had gone out and was standing at the entrance of the city gate just as Abimelech and his troops came out from their hiding place.
When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, 'Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!'
Zebul replied, 'You mistake the shadows of the mountains for men.'
But Gaal spoke up again: 'Look, people are coming down from the central hill, and a company is coming from the direction of the diviners’ tree.'
Then Zebul said to him, 'Where is your big talk now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should be subject to him?’ Aren’t these the men you ridiculed? Go out and fight them!'
So Gaal led out the citizens of Shechem and fought Abimelech. Abimelech chased him all the way to the entrance of the gate, and many were killed as they fled. Then Abimelech stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his clan out of Shechem.” (Judges 9:30-41)

Make sure to read last week’s post for the context of this story. The short version is that Abimelech is facing some negative consequences for his violent acts, and a Canaanite man named Gaal is challenging his position as ruler. Abimelech didn’t live in Shechem, where this story takes place, but he had appointed Zebul to be the local ruler there.

Zebul found out about Gaal’s challenge to Abimelech’s rule, so he does exactly what he’s supposed to and informs Abimelech of the plot to overthrow him. Zebul recommends to Abimelech that he do something about this quickly, before the people have a chance to band together for this cause and make things worse. Abimelech does just that and sets out with his army overnight.

Zebul and Gaal are hanging out by the city gate, and Zebul gets worried that Gaal will see Abimelech’s army coming and prepare a defense. Zebul tries to distract Gaal but that doesn’t really work. Once Gaal figures out what’s going on, Zebul eggs him on and starts trash talking about how he’s going to get clobbered.

War breaks out, Abimelech and his army versus Gaal and the people of Shechem who were rallying for the cause of getting Abimelech out of power. Abimelech and Zebul work on getting Gaal and his family out of Shechem so they can’t cause any more trouble there.

So what can we learn from this story that helps us in our daily lives today? One lesson is that we need to face whatever our problems are. If you have someone in your life that you have a disagreement with, don’t just sit back and complain without doing anything. Don’t get into an all-out physical war with them like Abimelech did with Gaal, but do confront them in a loving manner. Do so as promptly as possible before the situation gets worse and you’re faced with a larger problem later on.

Another lesson we can learn from this passage is about how to be a good employee. Abimelech was Zebul’s boss. Zebul could have heard about Gaal’s plot and decided to go along with it, to overthrow Abimelech and maybe become the ruler himself. But instead, he informed Abimelech right away and sided with him rather than against him. It’s important to have open lines of communication with your employer (or your employees, depending on your situation) and keep them informed of situations that could cause issues later if left unchecked.

How are you like Zebul and Abimelech in your life? Or how are you like Gaal, stirring up trouble for other people? Take a look at your roles in life this week and ask God for guidance on where you may need to work on your attitude.

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