Who Are the Judges in the Bible?
The term “Judges” in the Bible refers to the general leaders of Israel. These leaders led the people from the time of the conquest of Canaan until the time of the monarchy. From the death of Joshua to the installation of Saul as the first king, the judges ruled Israel. The last judge was the prophet Samuel.
The biblical character Samson was a mighty warrior who escaped from his enemies in Gaza and defeated them by unhinging two giant gates. His enemies then tried to calm him down by burning the houses of his wife and her father. But Samson knew that his past victory was a promise for future deliverance.
When he was a young man, Samson was raised by his parents to follow God’s command. When he was a young boy, Samson had a vision of a woman who caught his eye. Samson asked her about her origin, but she was a Philistine.
Samson fell in love with a Philistine woman named Delilah. He offered her silver if she knew the secret to his strength, but she refused. The Philistine leaders wanted to know how Samson became so strong. Samson made up the answer three times. The first time, he said he needed seven bowstrings. The second time, he said he needed fresh ropes, and the third time, he said he needed seven new ones.
When the Israelites came into battle with the Midianites, Gideon was on his way to tear down his father’s altar to Baal. Though scared for his life and that of his family, he took the first step of faith. But the Midianites had already joined forces with the Amalekites and other eastern peoples. So, Gideon summoned the Abiezrites to follow him and send messengers throughout the land of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali.
Gideon’s action exemplifies the saying “a gentle answer turns away wrath.” Although he had a small army, Gideon was still able to gather enough men to defeat the Midianites. He encouraged the people of Ephraim and made good progress against the Midianites.
The story of Gideon has many applications today. He became a symbol of military triumph against overwhelming odds. His sword became a symbol of power and might, and his name has been associated with military success. Gideon is also celebrated on July 30 as a saint in the Armenian Apostolic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church.
Heber was a distant descendant of Israel and father-in-law to Moses. He separated from the Kenites and set up his tent near a terebinth tree near Kedesh. Heber’s son, Barak, later went up to Mount Tabor and gathered nine hundred iron chariots to attack the Israelites. Later, Heber becomes an ally of Jabin, a character who will prove important in the story.
The Judges were military leaders of Israel, appointed by Yahweh to help the people during periods of external danger. Each judge had authority over a tribe, and not the entire nation. The Bible includes several stories of these men. Six of them are described in detail and are considered Major Judges. The others are Minor Judges. The most notable of these men is Gideon, but the Bible also includes stories of Heber, Jair, Abdon, Shamagar, Tola, and Elon.
Other judges of Israel include Heber, Jael, and Samson. Heber is the most popular of the judges, although some of the others were lesser-known. His brother Jael fought alongside Israel, while the son of Gilead married a harlot. His half-brothers were driven out, but the elders of Gilead brought him back. Heber later became the chief of Mizpah, a city that the Israelites occupied during the time of the Exile. During this time, he defeated the Ammonites and captured twenty cities.
In the Bible, Abimelech is one of the 15 biblical judges. He was the leader of the people of Shechem. He hired lawless men as his followers. He also murdered seventy legitimate sons of Jerub-Baal, though Jotham was able to escape because he hid. The Bible says that Abimelech was crowned king by an oak near a pillar in Shechem.
Abimelech ruled Israel for three years. Then God sent an evil spirit to divide Abimelech and the “lords of Shechem”. This was a punishment for the violent death of Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons. Abimelech was forced to deal with the bloodshed, but the “lords of Shechem” didn’t want to pay for it. So, they sent men to ambush him on the top of a mountain. They robbed anyone who passed.
God’s anger at Abimelech was so great that God sent an evil spirit to Shechem to punish him. Abimelech’s brothers, Gaal and Obed, attempted to overthrow him, but Abimelech found out about this plot and destroyed Shechem. He also sowed the land with salt and drank its water. After this, he cursed Shechem, and the city of Shechem remained cursed for generations.
Heber’s son Abimelech
Abimelech was the son of Jerubbesheth. He was a violent person and died by the hands of a woman. His death was part of a prophecy that God had made about him. Abimelech’s death was also a fulfillment of Genesis’s prophecy.
Abimelech was a wicked man who hired mercenaries to attack the Israelites. They were a part of the Hebrew people, but they were mercenaries. The mercenaries paid Abimelech one silver piece for each of his kinsmen.
The name Abimelech means “shade,” and it is often used to describe shade. The shade was used to protect people from the scorching sun. As a king, Abimelech was expected to protect his people. But his son Abimelech did not want to protect people.
Another member of the Shechemites was Gaal, who was a Canaanite. He was the son of a slave. He was part of a brigandy band hired by the Shechemites. He was probably a Shechemite, since Abimelech did not reside in Shechem. The Shechemites were ruled by Zebul, so Gaal played on his dissatisfaction with Abimelech’s leadership.
Abimelech’s son Abimelech
Abimelech’s son, Gaal, is a Canaanite and a slave. He is also known as ben ebed in the Bible. Gaal was a member of a gang of brigands hired by the Shechemites. He was a strong man and fought against Abimelech. Then, a woman fell on him and broke his skull. He then asked the young man to kill him.
Abimelech’s story is central to the book of Judges. He seizes leadership from his father Jerubbaal. His plan was to eliminate all 70 of his sons, but he used his mother’s family to help him. Only Jotham, the youngest son, escaped the slaughter.
Abimelech’s ambitions were sparked by a desire to become king of Israel, but Gideon rejected his ambitions. He was born in Shechem, where his mother was from. His family had bad blood with the people of Manasseh. Abimelech inherited his mother’s family name from her mother. While he was not a king himself, his ambitions to be the king of Israel fueled him to kill all of his brothers, except for one. He eventually ruled for three troubled years.
Gideon’s son Abimelech
Abimelech was the son of Gideon, one of the judges of Israel. He was ambitious and wanted to become king of Israel, but his father refused. Then Abimelech was invited to become King of Shechem, and he killed all of his brothers except Jotham, and ruled that city for three troubled years.
The biblical account of Abimelech’s birth suggests he was the son of Gideon and a slave girl. He was eager to establish himself as the ruler of Shechem, and therefore killed Gideon’s other sons to establish his throne. He also went on to burn the Temple of Baal-Berith and the Tower of Shechem.
The story of Gideon’s sons is one of the rare literary pieces in the Bible. Although Gideon’s record of accomplishments is dominated by the victory over the Midianites, his sons are also worthy of attention. In addition to Abimelech, Gideon had 70 sons. However, the story of Gideon’s sons highlights his tragic ambition.