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In Case You Missed It -- Judges 9-10:5, Psalm 141

Israel’s treachery swells during the time of Abimelek, son of Gideon. After Abimelek kills all but one of his brothers, the surviving brother, Jotham, recites a fable predicting Abimelek’s destruction. This fable then warns that the people of Shechem and Beth Millo will face destruction also because they have anointed a poisonous leader. Don’t let this aspect of the fable go unnoticed: “the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves” (Judges 9:8). It is subtle, but the problem begins when these Israelites lean on their own understanding. In search of their own leader instead of God’s appointed judge, Israel shows a desire to be rid of God’s rule, and after rejecting it, the people of Israel naturally take to fighting one another. Like the Canaanites who before them had ongoing tribal wars, so Israel has resorted to internal skirmishes instead of focusing on dispossessing the Canaanites. God’s commands have been rejected, and the consequences come as promised. To no surprise, the summaries of the reigns of two judges, Tola and Jair, are missing a familiar closing line—absent are the words, “and the land had peace.” Long gone are the days when this was true.

Jeremiah Vaught