“So then, if you acted in faith and devotion when you coronated Abimelek, and if you have created goodwill with Jeruba’al and his sons, and if the honor due his works has been given to him — for my father fought for you and risked his life, and with that he delivered you from the hand of Midian — yet, you rose up against my father’s house on the day and slaughtered his sons — seventy men on one stone — and coronated Abimelek, the son of his servant, before the leaders of Shekem, because he is your brother — if then you have acted in faith and in devotion to Jeruba’al and with his house on this day, then rejoice in Abimelek and let him rejoice also with you.”
And so, as Jotham so eloquently puts it, the bramble is preparing to suffocate the trees and the trees are blindly following along, consumed by their lust for a king of their own making, they cannot see the devastation that their sin will bring. And such is the way with men. These final words of Jotham’s are more of an accusation than a parable — his very presence, as a legitimate son of Gideon (Jeruba’al), seals the condemnation in its fullness. For how can the murderers of the sons of Gideon say with clear conscience that they have acted with faithfulnesss and goodwill or devotion in doing so?
More will come as we are not yet done with Jotham, but the condemnation has been made. As my mother used to say, “You’ve made your bed, now lie in it.” Jotham says, “rejoice together” — essentially, “you deserve one another and you deserve the fire that is to come.”
As we have mentioned before, how often churches are short-sighted. People wish for instant gratification and immediate results rather than taking the harder road of charting a path of faithfulness in the midst of a world that pulls people in many directions. Even here it would be three years before God would bring the curse of Jotham upon the head of Abimelek and his co-conspirators. People forget that God works on his own timetable, but the judgment he promises will come; one never “dodges a bullet” with respect to the God of eternity. Those who conspire to build their empires by enticing a generation away from the church will, in time, reap the vengeance of our God. Woe to them lest they repent of their wicked ways.