“And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelek and the leaders of Shekem and the leaders of Shekem betrayed Abimelek — the violence against the seventy sons of Jeruba’al was to come. And the blood of his brothers would be laid against Abimelek who slew them with the men of Shekem who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. So, the leaders of Shekem positioned against him brigands in the mountains and they robbed all who passed by them on the pass. This was told to Abimelek.”
Before you attempt any nefarious scheme, know this: if a group of people are willing to help you betray an honorable man, what is to stop them from betraying you if it is to their advantage? The evil that Abimelek schemed and perpetrated has come back upon him…and it will come upon him in spades. And so, to provoke Abimelek, the leaders of Shekem hired raiders — brigands — to ambush people in the mountain passes of their region, robbing them of all their goods. Surely it would not take long before news of these activities would reach the ears of the self-made king.
What we find taking place through the rest of this chapter is the outworking of this feud and the eventual death of Abimelek. In the end, the fire of Abimelek and of the leaders of Shekem would consume each other and God’s judgment, through the curse of Jotham, would be fully enacted.
What people sometimes miss in this is that the ones who ultimately will suffer the most are the people of Israel. Sadly, leaders often cannot see past their ambitions to realize just how much damage they are doing to the people and or culture around them. They pursue their own ends and their own goals all on the backs of the people…people who will suffer due to the arrogance of those leaders over them. How wretched we become when we choose wicked men to lead us and how rarely we choose righteous men to follow. Will we ever learn from our mistakes?