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Character Studies
Abimelech,
the Forgotten King

Judges 9

The son of Gideon who killed his brothers [Judges 9:1-6], and
became the first king of Israel (without the approval of God).
[Judges 9:7-20]

(4) A son of Gideon (Jg 9:1-57) who aspired to be king after the
death of his father, and did rule three years (Jg 9:22). He first won
the support of the members of his mother's family and their
recommendation of himself to all Israel (Jg 9:3-4). He then murdered
all the sons of his father, seventy in number, at Ophrah, the family
home in the tribe of Manasseh, Jotham the youngest son alone
escaping (Jg 9:5). After this Abimelech was made ruler by an
assembly of the people at Shechem. An insurrection led by Gaal the
son of Ebed having broken out in Shechem, Abimelech, although he
succeeded in capturing that city, was wounded to death by a
mill-stone, which a woman dropped from the wall upon his head,
while he was storming the citadel of Thebez, into which the defeated
rebels had retreated, after that city also had been taken (Jg 9:50-53).
Finding that he was mortally wounded and in order to avoid the
shame of death at a woman's hand, he required his armor-bearer to
kill him with his sword (Jg 9:54). His cruel treatment of the
Shechemites (Jg 9:46-49), when they took refuge from him in their
strong tower, was a just judgment for their acquiescence in his
crimes (Jg 9:20,57); while his own miserable death was retribution
for his bloody deeds (Jg 9:56).

-- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Abimelech