A Bad Choice

Chris Watson Lee
8th March 2020

A Bad Choice

Judges 8 New International Version – UK (NIVUK)

33 No sooner had Gideon died than the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They set up Baal-Berith as their god 34 and did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35 They also failed to show any loyalty to the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) in spite of all the good things he had done for them.

Abimelek

Abimelek son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan, ‘Ask all the citizens of Shechem, “Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?” Remember, I am your flesh and blood.’

When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelek, for they said, ‘He is related to us.’ They gave him seventy shekels[a] of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers. He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding. Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelek king.

When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, ‘Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, “Be our king.”

‘But the olive tree answered, “Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honoured, to hold sway over the trees?”

10 ‘Next, the trees said to the fig-tree, “Come and be our king.”

11 ‘But the fig-tree replied, “Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?”

12 ‘Then the trees said to the vine, “Come and be our king.”

13 ‘But the vine answered, “Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?”

14 ‘Finally all the trees said to the thorn-bush, “Come and be our king.”

15 ‘The thorn-bush said to the trees, “If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thorn-bush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!”

16 ‘Have you acted honourably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Have you been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family? Have you treated him as he deserves? 17 Remember that my father fought for you and risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian. 18 But today you have revolted against my father’s family. You have murdered his seventy sons on a single stone and have made Abimelek, the son of his female slave, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is related to you. 19 So have you acted honourably and in good faith towards Jerub-Baal and his family today? If you have, may Abimelek be your joy, and may you be his, too! 20 But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelek and consume you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelek!’

21 Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelek.