What should be learn from the life of Abimelek son of Jerub-Baal (Gideon)
Community answers are sorted based on votes. The higher the vote, the further up an answer is.
I would say that the life of Abimelech (which is recounted in Judges 9) is meant as a negative example of how power should not be sought or gained merely for its own sake, but as a trust from God to be used in service to others or for the welfare of society as a whole. It also illustrates that abuse of such power will not be tolerated by God. Abimelech was a son of Gideon (Judges 6-8), a leader of Israel during the period of the judges. Gideon (who was from the half-tribe of Joseph's son Manasseh) had been called by God to deliver Israel from the Midianites, whom God had allowed to conquer Israel as a punishment for the Israelites' idolatry. After Gideon defeated the Midianites, Israel had forty years of peace. However, following Gideon's death, the Israelites again turned to idolatry. Gideon had had seventy sons from multiple wives. Although Gideon was also Abimelech's father, Abimelech's mother was not one of Gideon's wives, but a concubine from Shechem, which was one of the cities in the territory of Manasseh. After Gideon died, Abimelech went to his mother's relatives in Shechem, and sought their aid in making him the sole successor to Gideon. With money that the people of Shechem gave him, Abimelech gathered an army of mercenaries and killed all of Gideon's other sons except for Gideon's youngest son Jotham, who managed to escape. The people of Shechem then proclaimed Abimelech as their king, with control over all Israel. After Abimelech had been in power for three years, the men of Shechem turned on him. However, Abimelech then proceeded to kill all the people in Shechem, either in battle or by setting fire to the tower in the city into which they had fled seeking shelter. Abimelech next tried to conquer the walled city of Thebez, which also contained a fortified tower into which the inhabitants of the city fled. As Abimelech prepared to set fire to the tower, a woman in the tower dropped a millstone on Abimelech's head, which crushed Abimilech's skull, but did not kill him outright. Knowing that he was going to die, Abimelech then asked his armor-bearer to kill him by running him through with a sword, in order to save himself from the shame of having been killed by a woman. (The Bible specifically notes (Judges 9:56-57) that this happened to Abimelech as a retribution from God for having killed Gideon's other sons, and in fulfillment of a curse that Gideon's sole surviving son (Jotham) had placed on both Abimelech and Shechem in Judges 9:20.) (This incident is also later referenced in connection with the account of the death of Uriah the Hittite, whom David had ordered to be killed in battle in an effort to cover up David's adultery with Uriah's wife Bathsheba (2 Samuel 11:14-21).)
All answers are REVIEWED and MODERATED.
Please ensure your answer MEETS all our guidelines.
A good answer provides new insight and perspective. Here are guidelines to help facilitate a meaningful learning experience for everyone.