Judges 9* Abimelech murders his brethren, and is made king. (1-6) Jothamrebukes the Shechemites. (7-21) The Shechemites conspire againstAbimelech. (22-29) Abimelech destroys Shechem. (30-49) Abimelechslain. (50-57)1-6 The men of Shechem chose Abimelech king. God was notconsulted whether they should have any king, much less who itshould be. If parents could see what their children would do,and what they are to suffer, their joy in them often would beturned into sorrow: we may be thankful that we cannot know whatshall happen. Above all, we should fear and watch against sin;for our evil conduct may produce fatal effects upon ourfamilies, after we are in our graves. 7-21 There was no occasion for the trees to choose a king, theyare all the trees of the Lord which he has planted. Nor wasthere any occasion for Israel to set a king over them, for theLord was their King. Those who bear fruit for the public good,are justly respected and honoured by all that are wise, morethan those who merely make a figure. All these fruit-trees gavemuch the same reason for their refusal to be promoted over thetrees; or, as the margin reads it, to go up and down for thetrees. To rule, involves a man in a great deal both of toil andcare. Those who are preferred to public trust and power, mustforego all private interests and advantages, for the good ofothers. And those advanced to honour and dignity, are in greatdanger of losing their fruitfulness. For which reason, they thatdesire to do good, are afraid of being too great. Jothamcompares 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. Buthow long does this glory last? Stay but three years, and see thebramble withered and burned. The prosperity of the wicked isshort and fickle. The Shechemites are plagued by no other handthan Abimelech's. They raised him unjustly to the throne; theyfirst feel the weight of his sceptre. 30-49 Abimelech intended to punish the Schechemites forslighting him now, but God punished them for their serving himformerly in the murder of Gideon's sons. When God uses men asinstruments in his hand to do his work, he means one thing, andthey another. That, which they hoped would have been for theirwelfare, proved a snare and a trap, as those will certainlyfind, who run to idols for shelter; such will prove a refuge oflies. 50-57 The Shechemites were ruined by Abimelech; now he isreckoned with, who was their leader in villany. Evil pursuessinners, and sometimes overtakes them, when not only at ease,but triumphant. Though wickedness may prosper a while, it willnot prosper always. The history of mankind, if truly told, wouldgreatly resemble that of this chapter. The records of what arecalled splendid events present to us such contests for power.Such scenes, though praised of men, fully explain the Scripturedoctrine of the deceitfulness and desperate wickedness of thehuman heart, the force of men's lust, and the effect of Satan'sinfluence. Lord, thou has given us thy word of truth andrighteousness, O pour upon us thy spirit of purity, peace, andlove, and write thy holy law in our hearts.
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