Judges 9.1-57 will give us insight into a character named Abimelech, but it will also give us insight into the Birth-pains, the False Messiah and the apostasy. As we have said before, these stories not only have a literal sense (Peshat) value but they they will have prophetic implications in the Sowd (hidden, secret) level. This chapter tells us about the crafty and cruel ways of Abimelech (“my father is king”), who is a type of the False Messiah. Abimelech is not the clear successor to his father and he had 70 other brothers (Judges 8.30, 9.5,18). In addition, a hereditary system of governing had not been established in Israel yet.
Abimelech went to Shechem (“shoulder”) to his mother’s relatives and he spoke with them about having one leader (himself) or 70 (all the sons of Gideon). The leaders heard these words and were inclined to follow Abimelech. They gave him 70 pieces of silver from the house of Baal-berith (“master of the covenant” and the false god of Apostate Christianity). His promotion was financial, religious and political. The False Messiah will get his power from the consent of unbelievers from the financial arena, Replacement Theology Christianity (RTC) and political leaders.
He went to his father’s house and killed all his brothers on one stone (the False Messiah will persecute his Jewish brethren who have faith in the living stone Yeshua-Rev 12.17). But Yotham (“Yehovah is perfect”) escaped and hid himself. He represents a small remnant who will escape the False Messiah during the Birth-pains. The men of Shechem and Beth-millo (“house of the earth” who represent the unbelieving Jew and Gentile in the world) assembled and made Abimelech king by the oak (represents the “tree” or crucifix which is the Abomination of Desolation in this case).
Yotham will be a type of the two witnesses and the 144,000 who will speak against the False Messiah. He goes to the top of Mount Gerizim (“cutting off”) near Shechem and he gives them a parable. He says that once the trees (Israel) went to anoint a king to reign over them, but the olive tree (Gideon, a good man) refused. Then the trees said to the fig tree (one of Gideon’s sons or another good man) to reign over them, but said no. Then they went to the vine (another symbol of a useful or good man) and asked it to reign over them, but the vine said no. Israel will not rule over the nations until it accepts Yeshua.
Finally the trees (Israel) went to the bramble (a useless fruitless tree) and asked it to reign over them. This is Abimelech (or the False Messiah). The bramble says, “If in truth you are anointing me as king, come and take refuge in my shade.” This was a false promise because a bramble is too low to cast a shadow. This is just like the empty promises of the False Messiah. The bramble says, “But if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon (the leaders and rulers).”
Yotham then says that if they have dealt in truth and integrity in making Abimelech king and have dealt well with Gideon and his house, then be happy with Abimelech and let him rejoice in you. But Gideon risked his life and delivered them from Midian, and they have risen up against his house and killed seventy men on one stone. But if they have not been dealing in truth and integrity, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume the men of Shechem and Beth-millo, and let fire come out from Shechem and from Beth-millo and consume Abimelech. This alludes to the False Messiah consuming the False Kahal of “church” of Apostate Christianity. Yotham escaped and fled and went to Beer (“well”-which is symbolic of the word of God). At the halfway point of the Birth-pains believers will flee from the False Messiah (Isa 16.1-5; Rev 12.1-17).
Abimelech ruled over Israel three years, and the False Messiah rule rule over Israel for three and a half years. Then Yehovah sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the people, just like the last three and a half years of the Birth-pains when many will turn against the False Messiah. As a result, there was war and the men of Shechem turn against Abimelech and try to ambush him, but he finds out. The men of Shechem have a festival and they curse Abimelech. Zebul (“exalted”), the ruler of the city, sent messengers to Abimelech and said that Gaal (“loathing”) has stirred up the city against him.
So Abimelech and his men arose by night (a type of spiritual darkness of the world under the False Messiah) and had 400 men waiting in ambush. When Gaal came to the city gate, Abimelech and his people rushed against him from the hills, and Gaal went out to meet him and many fell dead at the entrance to the city. The next day the people went out to the field and Abimelech rose up and went out against them. Abimelech fought against the city all that day and captured the city and destroyed it. The leaders of Shechem heard of this and entered the inner chamber of the temple of El-berith (“God of the covenant”). Abimelech was told about this and he and his men cut down branches and set the temple on fire, along with the tower of Shechem. About a thousand men and women died. The utter destruction of Shechem is a type of the utter destruction of apostate Christianity and the seizure of its wealth.
Then Abimelech went to Thebez (“whiteness”) and camped against it. There was a strong tower (a citadel with walls) in the center of the city (this alludes to the Messiah) and the people of the city went into it for safety. Abimelech came to it and fought against it and tried to burn the entrance with fire. But a certain woman threw a millstone on Abimelech’s head and killed him, crushing his skull. This is like what happened to Sisera in Judges 4.21. This is a type of the destruction of the False Messiah by the stone (Gen 3.15, 28.18, 49.24; 1 Sam 17.4; Hab 3.13; 1 Cor 10.4).
Abimelech called to his armor bearer and said, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest it be said of me, ‘A woman slew him.'” So he pierced him through, and he died. The sword is a picture of the word of God that comes against the False Messiah (Rev 19.11-16). When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each departed and went home. There is a concept in the Scriptures called “midah kneged midah” which means “measure for measure.” God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father, in killing his seventy brothers. God also returned all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Yotham the son of Gideon came upon them. This chapter is not only telling us about a literal historical event (Peshat), but it is telling us about eschatological concepts concerning the False Messiah and the Birth-pains.