“So, Abimelek went to Tebets. He laid siege to Tebets and he captured it.”
Tebets, or Thebez (as it is ordinarily transliterated), is a city located about 8.5 miles northeast of Shekem (as the crow flies). The real question that one might ask is why Abimelek saw the need to lay siege to this city too. And, like so many questions we might ask, we are not given a definitive answer. Some suggest that perhaps this was just another rival city that stood against Abimelek’s rule, one that we have not heard about. Others suggest that perhaps it is to here that Ga’al has fled. Or, perhaps some of Ga’al’s compatriots have landed here because of the strong tower within this city.
In God’s economy, Abimelek’s motivation is not as significant as God’s motivation. God launched Abimelek (the bramble) against the leaders of Shekem (the trees) to burn them with fire. Now it is time for the trees to burn Abimelek. And it will be here in Thebez that God brings Abimelek to ruin. That is the reason Abimelek is here — because God is bringing down divine judgment against this wicked man. The prophesy of Jotham will soon be fulfilled.
So, what shall we take away from this move of Abimelek? Don’t try and avoid God’s wrath? Yes, but not so much in this case…Abimelek didn’t see it coming. The better answer is that God is sovereign and if you stand against him as his enemy, you will come under his wrath at a time and place of his choosing, not your own. So, repent and believe. Turn from your wicked ways and come to Jesus for salvation from your wicked deeds and the wicked motivations of your heart.