Judges 9

* Abimelech murders his brethren, and is made king. (1-6) Jotham

rebukes the Shechemites. (7-21) The Shechemites conspire against

Abimelech. (22-29) Abimelech destroys Shechem. (30-49) Abimelech

slain. (50-57)

1-6 The men of Shechem chose Abimelech king. God was not

consulted whether they should have any king, much less who it

should be. If parents could see what their children would do,

and what they are to suffer, their joy in them often would be

turned into sorrow: we may be thankful that we cannot know what

shall happen. Above all, we should fear and watch against sin;

for our evil conduct may produce fatal effects upon our

families, after we are in our graves.
7-21 There was no occasion for the trees to choose a king, they

are all the trees of the Lord which he has planted. Nor was

there any occasion for Israel to set a king over them, for the

Lord was their King. Those who bear fruit for the public good,

are justly respected and honoured by all that are wise, more

than those who merely make a figure. All these fruit-trees gave

much the same reason for their refusal to be promoted over the

trees; or, as the margin reads it, to go up and down for the

trees. To rule, involves a man in a great deal both of toil and

care. Those who are preferred to public trust and power, must

forego all private interests and advantages, for the good of

others. And those advanced to honour and dignity, are in great

danger of losing their fruitfulness. For which reason, they that

desire to do good, are afraid of being too great. Jotham

compares Abimelech to the bramble or thistle, a worthless plant,

whose end is to be burned. Such a one was Abimelech.
22-29 Abimelech is seated in the throne his father refused. But

how long does this glory last? Stay but three years, and see the

bramble withered and burned. The prosperity of the wicked is

short and fickle. The Shechemites are plagued by no other hand

than Abimelech's. They raised him unjustly to the throne; they

first feel the weight of his sceptre.
30-49 Abimelech intended to punish the Schechemites for

slighting him now, but God punished them for their serving him

formerly in the murder of Gideon's sons. When God uses men as

instruments in his hand to do his work, he means one thing, and

they another. That, which they hoped would have been for their

welfare, proved a snare and a trap, as those will certainly

find, who run to idols for shelter; such will prove a refuge of

50-57 The Shechemites were ruined by Abimelech; now he is

reckoned with, who was their leader in villany. Evil pursues

sinners, and sometimes overtakes them, when not only at ease,

but triumphant. Though wickedness may prosper a while, it will

not prosper always. The history of mankind, if truly told, would

greatly resemble that of this chapter. The records of what are

called splendid events present to us such contests for power.

Such scenes, though praised of men, fully explain the Scripture

doctrine of the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of the

human heart, the force of men's lust, and the effect of Satan's

influence. Lord, thou has given us thy word of truth and

righteousness, O pour upon us thy spirit of purity, peace, and

love, and write thy holy law in our hearts.

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