Thoughts on Judges 9

We’re reading through Judges at Oak Tree Church, and I’m posting some observations from my daily readings here within a day or two after the reading. I’d love for you to join in the discussion.

Thoughts on Judges 9

Now Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal went to Shechem to see his mother’s relatives. He said to them and to his mother’s entire extended family… Judges 9:1 NET

I wonder if this story would have been any different had Gideon (Jerub-Baal) simply not named his son “Abimelech” (meaning “my father is king”). Did Abimelech – who was not a legitimate heir – feel entitled to something because of Gideon’s stupid decision to name him that?

The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to choose me as your king, then come along, find safety under my branches! Otherwise may fire blaze from the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’ Judges 9:15 NET

Jotham’s parable has a great principle about leadership. The first three plants the trees asked to be king (olive tree, fig tree, grapevine) all said essentially the same thing: “In order for me to lead you, I would have to stop my daily tasks and rise to the occasion, but this would not be beneficial to me or you.”

The thornbush, on the other hand, replied, “If you want me to be your leader, you come down to my level, but I’m not going to change.” God has not wired everyone to be a leader, but those he has will be willing to step up to it.

Abimelech commanded Israel for three years. Judges 9:22 NET

The change of words is significant here. All of the other leaders of Israel so far are said to have “judged” or “delivered” or “ruled” Israel for a period of time. Abimelech “commanded” Israel, and it wasn’t for very long.

When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they went home. Judges 9:55 NET

Such an anticlimactic end to the story. Not one Bible translation I read even tries to make it look like they ran home scared. It’s a simple statement of fact: their leader died, so they went home (ready to follow the next whomever could buy their loyalty).

What did you see in these verses? What was important to you in Judges 9 that I did not see?

Thoughts on Judges 8

Note: I had some issues with my site over the weekend and lost a couple of posts. If you have already seen this, I apologize for the re-post.


We’re reading through Judges at Oak Tree Church, and I’m posting some observations from my daily readings here within a day or two after the reading. I’d love for you to join in the discussion.

Thoughts on Judges 8

The officials of Succoth said, “You have not yet overpowered Zebah and Zalmunna. So why should we give bread to your army?” … He went up from there to Penuel and made the same request. The men of Penuel responded the same way the men of Succoth had. Judges 8:6, 8 NET

Gideon’s request and response to these city elders remind me of what Jesus told his messengers to do if their message was rejected in a city (see Matthew 10:14-15). God seems to have little patience for those who talk a good spiritual/religious game but get in the way of those actually trying to do his work.

Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.” Gideon continued, “I would like to make one request. Each of you give me an earring from the plunder you have taken.” (The Midianites had gold earrings because they were Ishmaelites.) They said, “We are happy to give you earrings.” So they spread out a garment, and each one threw an earring from his plunder onto it. The total weight of the gold earrings he requested came to seventeen hundred gold shekels. This was in addition to the crescent-shaped ornaments, jewelry, purple clothing worn by the Midianite kings, and the necklaces on the camels. Gideon used all this to make an ephod, which he put in his hometown of Ophrah. All the Israelites prostituted themselves to it by worshiping it there. It became a snare to Gideon and his family.

The Israelites humiliated Midian; the Midianites’ fighting spirit was broken. The land had rest for forty years during Gideon’s time. Then Jerub-Baal son of Joash went home and settled down. Gideon fathered seventy sons through his many wives. His concubine, who lived in Shechem, also gave him a son, whom he named Abimelech. Gideon son of Joash died at a very old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash located in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. Judges 8:23-32 NET

Gideon did at least 5 things contrary to God’s plan that hurt him, his family, and all of Israel:

  1. Put on a face of false humility and spirituality that was not reflected in his actions (vs. 23)
  2. Took advantage of his popularity to gain great wealth at the expense of the people (vs. 24-26)
  3. Crossed the line between political leader/judge and spiritual leader/priest by making an ephod (a priest’s robe). Even though he didn’t accept worship directly, he led Israel and his family in false worship away God (vs. 27)
  4. Followed the practices of the pagan peoples around him in marrying many women (including those who didn’t worship God), thus turning his back on God’s ways for marriage and family (vs. 30)
  5. Set up a royal dynasty, even though he said he wouldn’t (vs. 23). He named his son “Abimelech” which means “my father is king” (vs. 31).

What did you see in these verses? What was important to you in Judges 8 that I did not see?

Thoughts on Judges 7

Note: I had some issues with my site over the weekend and lost a couple of posts. If you have already seen this, I apologize for the re-post.


We’re reading through Judges at Oak Tree Church, and I’m posting some observations from my daily readings here within a day or two after the reading. I’d love for you to join in the discussion.

Thoughts on Judges 7

The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men for me to hand Midian over to you. Israel might brag, ‘Our own strength has delivered us.'” Judges 7:2 NET

How often does God want to do something great through me, but won’t do it simply bhecause he knows that he won’t get the credit? This one principle could dramatically change how often we see God work in our lives!

I like the fact that God told Gideon why he needed a smaller army. Gideon didn’t have to wonder if he would win, just how it would happen (vs. 7)

But if you are afraid to attack, go down to the camp with Purah your servant and listen to what they are saying. Then you will be brave and attack the camp.” So he went down with Purah his servant to where the sentries were guarding the camp. Judges 7:10-11 NET

Many times people are afraid to say that they’re afraid of moving forward with God. God knows and gives permission to verify that what he says is true. (That’s what the miracles in the New Testament were all about – verifying the message God’s people were preaching.) If that’s your story right now, talk to someone who’s been in your situation and learn from them. See that God can be trusted.

The other man said, “Without a doubt this symbolizes the sword of Gideon son of Joash, the Israelite. God is handing Midian and all the army over to him.” Judges 7:14 NET

I’ve always wondered how in the world Gideon would have ever been on this soldier’s radar that he even knew who Gideon was (see Gideon’s description of himself in Judges 6:15). God has a way of proving himself to those who desperately want to know and follow him.

They captured the two Midianite generals, Oreb and Zeeb… Judges 7:25 NET

These guys sound like they should have been in the Men in Black movies.  🙂

What did you see in these verses? What was important to you in Judges 7 that I did not see?