Thursday, September 3, 2009

Was a curse needed?

"... but you have risen up against my father's house this day, and have killed his sons, seventy men on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his slave woman, king over the lords of Shechem, because he is your kinsman- if, I say, you have acted in good faith and honor with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you; but if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and devour the lords of Shechem and from Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the lords of Shechem and from Beth-millo and devour Abimelech." Judges 9: 18-20 NRSV

Things pretty much are going downhill in the book of Judges.

Gideon had seventy-two sons, including Abimelech who was the son of his slave woman, and Jotham, his youngest son. After Gideon's death, Abimelech kills all his brothers but Jotham and sets himself up as king. Jotham has fled and is now pronouncing a curse on his brother before he disappears into a neighboring country.

The curse basically states that if Abimelech was doing all this in a good cause or with God's instructions/blessings, then everything will be fine. However, if he has murdered in treachery, then he and his cohorts will end up destroying one another.

It is probably no surprise that the curse is fulfilled later in the chapter. I wonder if a curse was even needed. Often individuals and groups that plot and plan with evil intentions end up at each other's throats, becoming the downfall of one another. The sad part is that they end up taking many innocent people with them. Certainly the death toll in chapter 9 is very high.

However, the main problem is not Abimelech or his relatives in Shechem. The main problem is that, with Gideon's death, the people of Israel have been backsliding into Baal worship once more.

Putting anything or anyone before God can lead us on a slippery slope where curses are the least of our problems.

God, help us not to put anyone or anything before You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

Question of the day: What are you putting before God?

Copyright 2009 Amelia G. Sims

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