After Abimelech had reigned over Israel three years, God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech … Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers. And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.
Judges 9:22-23, 56-57
Judges chapter 9 verses 22 – 57 deal with the rebellion against Abimelech. What now happens is a clear picture of division, of a divided kingdom that could never stand. In the words of Jesus Christ: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand” (Matthew 12:25)
The root of the rebellion was a spirit of division aroused by God between Abimelech and Shechem. Note that the “evil spirit of division” was sent by God Himself. God’s purpose was to execute judgment upon this tyrant and upon the citizens of Shechem because of their horrible sin and evil. Abimelech’s rule had been brief, lasting only for three years. No doubt, his rule had been that of a tyrant, and opposition against him was soon aroused. In direct opposition to Abimelech, the leaders of Shechem hired bandits to ambush and rob the traitors (caravans) doing business with Abimelech. By being a major city, Shechem sat on one of the major routes of trade; therefore, the merchants passing through or spending the night in the city were an easy mark for bandits. But this was not the only problem created for Abimelech.
A conspiracy was being plotted by a man named Gaal who moved into the city with his brothers. He set out to exploit the displeasure of the citizens with their renegade king by seeking their political support. God was about to apply the principle of sowing and reaping in Abimelech’s life.
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