Abimelech met his death at the hands of his armorbearer (Judges 9:54). The constant mention of towers and strongholds in a time when men did what was right in the sight of their own eyes reveals the disturbed state of the country, and the Thebez tower to which all the people fled for safety as bloodthirsty Abimelech approached, speaks of the panic that prevailed. Fired with ambition for power, and scorning the decree of his father, “Neither shall my son rule over you. The Lord shall rule over you,” Abimelech was determined to be king. In order to make sure of his reign he murdered all rivals, including his 70 brothers—all except young Jotham who escaped. After the destruction of his own city, Shechem, flushed with victory, Abimelech attacked another revolted city, Thebez, but here he was to experience divine vengeance for his lust for blood and power.
Standing on the roof of the tower was an obscure daughter of Israel, who was to become the instrument of heaven to punish a sinner too bold and wicked to live. As a true patriot, this unknown heroine of Thebez saw her opportunity as Abimelech rushed against the tower to burn it and its terror-stricken occupants with fire. Seizing a large piece of millstone on the battlement she hurled it with all her strength upon Abimelech as he came near the tower door. As God was behind the aim of young David when with his sling and stone he killed the giant, Goliath, so He directed the fall of the millstone. It fell upon Abimelech’s head and broke his skull. As his armorbearer dragged him out of the perilous range of more millstones, Abimelech, recovering his senses for a moment, commanded his armorbearer to kill him off lest it should be said that a mere unknown woman killed him. He did not, however, escape the taunt (2 Samuel 11:21).
At a critical moment in her nation’s history this “certain woman” delivered her people of a cruel monster, and made possible forty-five years of national peace. Alas, there was no one to record the name and sing the praise of this heroine who must have received the gratitude of the now liberated people of the city! The fate of Abimelech at the hands of a woman is but another instance of God’s frequent method of justice—choosing the weak to destroy the strong. The battle is not always to the strong. The concluding verses of this dark chapter were doubtless added to prove that “God punishes both individual and national sin, and that men’s pleasant vices are made the instruments to scourge them. The murderer of his brothers ‘upon one stone’ (Judges 9:5), is slain by a stone flung on his head, and the treacherous idolaters are treacherously burnt in the temple of their idol.”
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