Continuing a plan to get through the entire Bible in a year, follow as I journal through the reading. I have chosen a straightforward approach that begins in Genesis and ends in Revelation. This will not be an in-depth study or a comprehensive commentary. There are plenty of sources for such material. This is stage one Bible reading, taking the text at face value and sharing impressions.
Today’s reading comes from the book of Judges, chapters 8 and 9, documenting the rise and fall of Abimelech. Some impressions from the text:
- Though Gideon had secured a remarkable victory over vastly superior forces, he was granted no respect from those whom he had saved in Succoth. On the contrary, Gideon was met with mockery and disrespect, a sin for which the men of the city were later chastised harshly.
- George Washington is credited with refusing an offer to become king of America after the revolutionary war. Washington’s humility was truly remarkable, but not unprecedented. Gideon similarly rejected Israel’s offer to make him king.
- Unfortunately, Gideon and his family were still fallen and prone to sin. “Gideon made an ephod of [golden earrings] and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family.”
- Gideon “had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives.” Such bigamy was not condoned by God, and likely contributed to the fate which befell Israel and Gideon’s family after his death. “As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god… and they did not show steadfast love to the family of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.”
- Abimelech was the son of Gideon by a concubine, and therefore illegitimate. This did not cause him to sin, but we know from other incidents in scripture that God sometimes curses the offspring of sinful unions.
- Abimelech conspired to murder his many brothers, but missed the youngest named Jotham. In turn, Jotham offers a prophetic word foretelling Abimelech’s downfall and that of those who supported him.
- All which Jotham foretold came to pass, Abimelech became a victim of the same treachery he had employed.
Return soon as we continue our year-long journey through the text of the Bible.
Catch up on the previous entries:
Israel drifts away after Joshua’s passing. – Judges 1 and 2
Judges and assassinations. – Judges 3 through 5
Gideon’s absurd victory over Midian. – Judges 6 and 7