3-Week Series: Double Blessing

Sermons

Summary: We are given the fable in Chapter 38 and now in Judges 9:16-20, Jotham gives the application of his fable, because there was no necessity for any special explanation of it, since it was perfectly clear and intelligible in itself.

Chapter 39

Application of the Fable [Judges 9.16-9.21]

Scripture: Judges 9:16-21 (KJV)

16 Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands;

17 (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian:

18 And ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;)

19 If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you:

20 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech.

21 And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.

Introduction

We are given the fable in Chapter 38 and now in Judges 9:16-20, Jotham gives the application of his fable, because there was no necessity for any special explanation of it, since it was perfectly clear and intelligible in itself. Notice should be made that the whole point of reference in Chapter 38 is Abimelech: here it is the Lords of Shechem. Jotham attributes the slaying of his brothers to the citizens of Shechem, and he calls it a crime which they themselves had committed [1](Judges 9.4) because they had given Abimelech money out of their temple of Baal to carry out his plans against the sons of Jerubbaal. In this accusation, he had, strictly speaking, already pronounced sentence upon their evil actions. When, therefore, he proceeds still further in Judges 9:19 to say, "If ye have acted in truth towards Jerubbaal ... then rejoice," etc. This statement contains the bitterest scorn at the faithlessness manifested towards Jerubbaal. If that's the case nothing could follow but the fulfillment of the threat and the bursting forth of the fire. In carrying out this point the application goes beyond the actual meaning of the parable itself. Not only will fire go forth from Abimelech and consume the lords of Shechem and the inhabitants of Millo, but fire will also go forth from them and devour Abimelech himself. The fulfillment of this threat was not delayed for long, as the following history shows [2](Judges 9:23).

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[1](Judges 9:4; KJV) “And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him.”

[2](Judges 9:23; KJV) “Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:” God sent an evil spirit—He permitted jealousies to take place which produced factions; and these factions produced insurrections, civil contentions, and slaughter.—Adam Clarke's Commentary

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Commentary

16 Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands;–Judges 9:16 (KJV)

16 “If you acted with sincerity and integrity when you made Abimelech king, {be happy.} If you treated Jerubbaal and his family well, if you treated him as he deserved, be happy.–Judges 9:16 (GW)

Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king…If they had done this conscientiously, and honorably; taken such a corrupt man, and a murderer, and made him their king, which Jotham doubted, and so now he questions their motives and suggests that they ask themselves the same question and consider their actions. Now we know that the real reason the men of Shechem like Abimelech was because he was their brother - Abimelech's mother was from Shechem, and he probably grew up there—“And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech”(Judges 8:31; KJV). Jotham's warning to the men of Shechem is that their unwise choice will come back to hurt them; "fire" will come forth from Abimelech and it will devour them. The city of Shechem will be repaid for choosing such a worthless man.

Jehovah is known by the judgment which he carries out; His holiness and His revulsion at sin are often displayed in his actions against sinful men. A ruler who winked at evil would soon be known by all his subjects to be evil himself; on the other hand, a ruler who is consistently "just" in his judgments reveals that he is an honorable man, and he will gain the respect of all his subjects. So long as our God is God, he will not, he cannot spare the guilty; except through that one glorious way in which he is just, and yet the justifier of him that places his faith in Jesus. We must also notice that His judgments are especially wise, and indisputably just. He makes the wicked contribute to their own punishment by manipulating persons and circumstances. Here is how He does it. "The [3]heathen fall down into the pit that they dug themselves. Like cunning hunters, they prepared a deep pit for the godly, but they fell into it themselves: the foot of the victim escaped their crafty snares: the cruel snare proved its effectiveness by snaring its own maker. Persecutors and oppressors are often ruined by their own cruel projects. Drunkards kill themselves; prodigals (or spendthrifts) often end up in poverty; the quick-tempered are involved in actions that may ruin them; the vicious are consumed by fierce diseases; the envious are eaten up with jealousy, and blasphemers curse their own souls. As a consequence, men may recognize their sin in their punishment. They sowed the seed of sin, and the ripe fruit of damnation is the natural result.

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