Today’s bible reading is brought to you by George R. R. Martin.
Gideon, like any tribal war leader has a harem and he has 70 sons. Biblical marriage, everyone! One of those sons decides he wants to be the chieftain, so he calls up the town elders where he’s from and gets their support for a coup promising them that they’ll reap the benefits of his rule. They give him money to hire some raiders and he goes to Gideon’s house and kills all of his brothers except Jotham who manages to hide himself and escape.
So Jotham goes to a bluff on a local mountain, and I like to think he says this while the city of Shecham is crowning Abimelech their chieftain, he tells a parable and condemns the city and his brother for murdering the house of Gideon who saved them from the Midianites, and slips away before his brother and the city can catch him and he goes to the town of Beer. I want to go to the town of Beer. Sounds fun.
Abimelech reigns over Israel for three years, before God decides to do something about it. He poisons the political relationship between Abimelech and Shecham, so God can avenge the death of Gideon’s other kids, which… come on… really? He’s God. He’s supposedly already used floods, plagues, fire, splitting the earth open under people’s feet, snakes, and food poisoning to kill thousands of people who angered Him for far lesser reasons than murder. Couldn’t he have stopped the 68 sons from getting murdered? Maybe have a snake bite Abimelech along the way? But He allows political intrigue to do the dirty work this time? Almost as if the series of events that followed were entirely human originated?
I’m not sure I follow this part, but I think Shechem has raiders lie in wait on trade routes and plundered traders, and word gets back to Abimelech, and one guy, Gaal gets wasted at a religious ceremony and trash talks Abimelech and the rulers of Shechem, saying if they put him in charge, he’d overthrow Abimelech.
The leader of Shechem decides to pit his enemies against each other, and sends messengers to Abimelech telling him of Gaal’s insurrection. So Abimelech brings down the army to kill Gaal and his family. The leader of Shechem, when Gaal sees the army, says “Neener neener neener” and Gaal fights Abimelech, but is defeated and he and his family get kicked out of Shechem.
But the people of Shechem still hate Abimelech and continue to fight, so he crushes their army, and when the leaders of Shechem attempt to flee to the city tower, he sets it on fire and kills everyone inside.
Then he moves his army to the next town, Thebez, and tries the same thing, but a woman throws an upper millstone on his head, crushing his skull. He orders his armor bearer to kill him because it would be a disgrace to be killed by a woman in his mind, so he dies and his army is just like “Uh… okay… I guess the war’s over…” and everyone goes home.
And God takes credit for everyone killing each other. Whatever you say, Big Guy.