Chapter 47
Moral of the Story [Judges 9.56-9.57]


Scripture: Judges 9:56-9:57 (KJV)

56 Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren:
57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

Commentary (Judges 9:56-57; KJV)
Commentary (Judges 9:56-57; GW)

56 Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren:--Judges 9:56 (KJV)

56 So God paid back Abimelech for the evil he had done to his father when he killed his 70 brothers.—Judges 9:56 (GW)


The fratricide of Abimelech with the assistance of the unprincipled men of Shechem was pure evil, and because Jotham barely missed being included in the slaughter of his brethren, he uttered a curse against those evil men. But, the curse was only words until God took it up: Man's judgment may be avoided; but there is no escape from the judgments of God—“His own iniquities entrap the wicked man, And he is caught in the cords of his sin” (Prov 5:22; NKJV)

This is a sad ending for the life of Gideon who fathered this illegitimate son, Abimelech. God lifted Gideon from a very humble position to be the deliverer and judge of His people. How sad that a man who accomplished so much good for his people, would have a son like Abimelech, who lived a life God did not approve of and which resulted in civil war in Israel. His wickedness even touched the reputation of his deceased father, Gideon; he rooted out, as far as he could, the name and memory of his father.


57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.--Judges 9:57 (KJV)

57 God also paid back the men of Shechem for all their evil. So the curse of Jotham, son of Jerubbaal, came true.—Judges 9:57 (GW)


How was it that a woman casting a stone off the roof of the tower in Thebez upon Abimelech, who was involved with starting a fire at the door of the tower, can be interpreted as, “the fire coming out of Shechem and devouring Abimelech?” It was the very behavior that Abimelech had exhibited at Shechem where he burned the tower, and which he was in the process of repeating at Thebez, that resulted in his own death. Besides that, Thebez was obviously an ally of Shechem and was virtually a part of it, since it was only six miles away from it. This prophecy by Jotham, which was meant to be a curse, was most circumstantially fulfilled.

Admittedly, I have cursed, and though I am now sixty-nine years old, I will on the occasion of something extremely irritating me, issue a curse. But thank God he knows Tom Lowe is a weak man and a sinner who has been saved by the saving grace that is extended to all who are called, so my foul words and thoughts are forgiven when I confess them; and may I add, He washes me whiter than snow. But now, with my heart broken again with my own unworthiness, let’s return to this curse. It has never occurred to me to curse a man; what is there in my words that would feed a curse and bring it to fruition. And certainly we are not told of anything special about Jotham that would create a set of circumstances that would then become a self-fulfilling prophesy. It was the providence of Almighty God that caused this man to mouth these words: “But if not, let fire come from Abimelech and devour the men of Shechem and Beth Millo; and let fire come from the men of Shechem and from Beth Millo and devour Abimelech!” (Judges 9:20; NKJV). And then He made it happen. I’ll ask one question: shouldn’t the curse be renamed. This is not Jotham’s Curse; I would call it “God uses Jotham’s Desire for Revenge to Curse Abimelech.”


Illustration #16: Ebimelech Killed


Friend: You can be certain that God loves you. I will give you just one verse of proof: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16; KJV) Here though, we have in view The Certainty of God's Judgments:
• We can be certain that God will repay wickedness; either in this life or the life to come - and usually, He finds a way to do it both in this life and the life to come.
• However, God had warned the men of Shechem through Jotham - but they rejected the warning of God, and we have seen the outcome.
• What warning from God are you rejecting today? Consider the ruin you will bring to your life if you do not heed God's warning.

God's justice was glorified in this passage: Thus God punished the wickedness of Abimelech, and of the men of Shechem, and fulfilled Jotham's curse, for it was not a curse that lacked a cause. Thus he preserved the honor of his government, and gave a warning to all ages to expect blood; an eye for bloodan eye. The Lord is known by the judgments which he executes, when the wicked is snared in the work of his own hands. Though wickedness may prosper for awhile, it will not always prosper.