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Kings Of Israel: Abimelech


Jeremy Mwangelwa


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Kings of Israel Series

Shalom, I felt called to start a new sermon series called: “The Kings of Israel”

Yahweh willing, we will go through all the kings of Israel, learning about their lives.

Israel was not always a kingdom. Israel did not always have a human king. Yahweh was Israel’s king, but Israel rejected Him because they wanted to be like other nations.

So, we will briefly look at Israel and its beginning. Then we will trace how Israel became a kingdom with human kings.

So, Adam had a child called Seth, who had a descendant called Noah, who had a descendant called Abraham.

Abraham had a son called Isaac, who had twin boys. One was called Esau and the other was called Jacob.

Yahweh later renamed Jacob, Israel.

Israel had 12 sons, who had children, who became tribes, people groups. Later, they got enslaved in Egypt. Yahweh raised up a man called Moses who delivered Israel out of slavery with mighty works, Yahweh’s mighty works.

Yahweh was Israel’s king. He delivered Israel out of slavery and gave them laws by which to worship Him.

Israel left Egypt and dwelt in a place called Canaan. Moses died. Joshua led them. Joshua died. Israel had judges, then they saw that other nations had kings. So, they asked for a human king because they felt that the judge at that time was not doing a good job.

So, who was Israel’s first king, that is human king?

OK, Saul was Israel’s first legitimate king. But there was another person, who was Israel’s first king. Not legitimate, but king anyway.

That is who we will look at today.

Anyone know who that first king of Israel was?

Judges 9

6 And all the leaders of Shechem came together, and all Beth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem.

22 Abimelech ruled over Israel three years.

So, Abimelech was the first king of Israel. Funny, the Hebrew word “melech” is in his name. He was an illegitimate king. He became king in a very bad way. So, we will look at him today.

Who is Abimelech?

Anyone remember Gideon? Remember Gideon and his 300 men?

Well Abimelech was Gideon’s son. After Gideon died, Abimelech became king in a very bad way.

Who knows what Gideon’s other name was?


After Gideon defeated the Midianites, the people asked him to be king. They wanted Gideon and his sons to rule over them as kings for as long as Israel stood.

Judges 8:22

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” 23 Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; Yahweh will rule over you.”

Gideon rejected that and said Yahweh would rule over them. That was correct. Gideon did right.

Gideon then built an ephod. Maybe it was to remind him, and the people of the salvation Yahweh had brought them. Was it wrong? It does not seem so.

But this ephod ensnared Gideon and his family and it caused people to sin.

Judges 8:27 ESV

And Gideon made an ephod of it [the gold of the spoil] 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.

We now look at the snare, at how it led to Israel’s first king, illegitimate king.

Summarize below:

29 Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30 Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abimelech.

32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, at Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and whored after the Baals and made Baal-berith their god.

34 And the people of Israel did not remember Yahweh their Elohim, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side,

35 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.

Summarize Judges 9.

1 Now Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s relatives and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother’s family,

2 “Say in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one rule over you?’ Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.”

3 And his mother’s relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.”

4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5 And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself.

6 And all the leaders of Shechem came together, and all Beth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem.

After this, Jotham convinced the people of Shechem that the leaders of Shechem had done wrong.

They had repaid Gideon badly by conspiring to kill his sons. Also, they did not honor Gideon for saving them from the Midianites.

7 When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim and cried aloud and said to them, “Listen to me, you leaders of Shechem, that God may listen to you.

Then he told a parable, then said:

16 “Now therefore, if you acted in good faith and integrity when you made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house and have done to him as his deeds deserved…19…then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you…

20 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and devour the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the leaders of Shechem and from Beth-millo and devour Abimelech.”

21 And Jotham ran away and fled and went to Beer and lived there, because of Abimelech his brother.

22 Abimelech ruled over Israel three years.

23 And Elohim sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,

24 that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.

Some people in Shechem started rising against Abimelech. Abimelech and his men killed them.

Then Abimelech started killing ordinary people of Shechem.

45 And Abimelech fought against the city [Shechem] all that day. He captured the city and killed the people who were in it, and he razed the city and sowed it with salt.

46 When all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the house of El-berith.

Proverbs 18:10 NKJV

The name of Yahweh is a strong tower; The righteous run to it and are safe.

Do yo think that god saved them? El-Berith is Ba’al Berith. A false god. Baal berith cannot save you!

Those who trust in false gods and false truths will find that their gods will not save them on the day of judgment.

Are you trusting on the truth of Scripture or on your tradition?

Many will realize that that tower will not save them. Blessed are those who love the Word and obey it.

49 So every one of the people [army] cut down his bundle [of tree branches] and following Abimelech put it against the stronghold, and they set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about 1,000 men and women.

50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez and encamped against Thebez and captured it.

51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women and all the leaders of the city fled to it and shut themselves in, and they went up to the roof of the tower.

52 And Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 And a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull.

54 Then he called quickly to the young man his armor-bearer and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest they say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, everyone departed to his home. 56 Thus Elohim returned the evil of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers.

57 And Elohim also made all the evil of the men of Shechem return on their heads, and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

So that’s the story of Israel’s first king: the illegitimate king.

Hab. 2:12 Woe to him who builds a town with blood and founds a city on iniquity!

So, what can we learn from this? Holy Spirit, my El, Help me!

In summary who was Abimelech? An illegitimate, violent, murderous king who got killed by a woman.

Next time, we will look at the first legitimate king of Israel.

Yahweh bless you!