1. Bible historians tell us that the first king of Israel was S __ __ __, of the tribe of Benjamin, who was crowned by the last judge of Israel, S __ __ __ __ __. While it is true that Saul was the first crowned king of all Israel, he was not the first king crowned in Israel. That honour belongs to A __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __, who had himself declared king in the city of Shechem some 200 years before the reign of Saul.

2. Abimelech was one of the _____ (!) sons of Gideon, the only one born of Gideon's c __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __. His story is told in the ninth chapter of the book of Judges.

a. His was the story of a "second class son" and a "b __ __ s __ __ __;" the story of a man who murdered all but one of this half-brothers!

b. His story is laced with p __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ intrigue, duplicity and revenge.

c. His story includes several memorable battle scenes -- including the complete destruction of a significant Canaanite city -- and ends with a less-than-glorious death at the hands of an unnamed w __ __ __ __ .

d. His story also features the first p __ __ __ __ __ __ in the Bible.

3. But the story of Abimelech as recorded in Judges 9 also reveals to us what can happen when a legitimate n __ __ __ is met by a legitimate p __ __ __ __ __ __ __ ambition but is accessed

through illegitimate m __ __ __ __ and addressed with illegitimate m __ __ __ __ __ __.

a. "We need to remind ourselves at this point of the basic lesson of Judges 9. If God is not King, a usurper will arise in His place. If God had been kept in His place as King, Abimelech would never have been successful. But when there is a spiritual vacuum, Satan will rush in to fill it." - Gary Inrig: Hearts of Iron, Feet of Clay

b. Galatians 5:16 [ TLB ]

I advise you to obey the Holy Spirit's instructions. He will tell you where to go and what to do, and then you won't always be doing the wrong things your evil nature wants you to.


1. Judges 8:29-35 contains the brief record of the life of Gideon after his great victory over the Midianites. His two great failures:

a. a life of personal I __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __;

(1) He assembled a virtual h __ __ __ __ of wives who bore him _____ sons (and, no doubt, a large number of daughters, too) and at least one c __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __.

(2) A popular misconception about concubines is that they were nothing more than "kept" women or extra-marital "girlfriends." Concubines were actually "second class" wives, either slaves or servants or Gentiles maidens of conquered peoples. They enjoyed legal status in Israel, but were clearly distinguished from wives and could be more easily divorced. Very often a concubine lived under the same roof with her man and his wife ( or wives ), but always came under the authority of the "veiled" wife. Sometimes, as was the case with the mother of Abimelech, the concubine lived elsewhere, maintaining a "second home" for the man to whom she belonged. Perhaps the most famous of the biblical concubines was H __ __ __ __, mother of Ishmael.

The practice of concubinage was fairly widespread in the ancient Mesopotamian world, but always created tension in families. By the time of the divided kingdom, prophets of God encouraged monogamy, which had become the accepted societal norm by the time of Christ.

ref: Exodus 21:7-11

Deuteronomy 21:10-14

Genesis 16:1 - 17:27; 21:1-21

b. a l __ __ __ __ __ of spiritual insignificance.

(1) Like the judges before him, Gideon's influence in Israel did not outlive him.

(2) The establishment of a hybrid Baal - Jahweh religion ( Baal-Berith is translated literally as "Baal of the Covenant" ) most likely occurred over a period of time during the life of Gideon.

(3) There is no evidence in the record of Abimelech of his possessing even a remote aware- ness of the One True God of Israel.

2. Judges 9:1-6 contains the record of Abimelech's rise to power.

a. He established a support base among his own family in the city of Shechem.

b. His "campaign" was financed through money taken from the Baal-Berith temple there. He used it to hire an army of "w __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ and r __ __ __ __ __ __ __ men" who assisted him in the systematic slaughter of all but one of his half-brothers ( v.5). That they were slain "on one stone" may indicate that they were sacrificed to Baal-Berith.

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