When God told Gideon to assemble men for a fight, he was too successful and was told that too many men had been gathered. The number was so great, God thought that the Israelites would claim the victory as their own instead of recognizing that it had been God that saved them. In this article, you will learn what happened next and the outcome of Gideon being a Judge.
Gideon was instructed to send home the men who were full of fear. He then let any man leave who desired to depart. 22,000 men went back to their homes, leaving behind 10,000 men. God still felt the number of men was too great.
In the night, God told Gideon to approach the Midianite camp. It was there that Gideon overheard a Midianite man tell a friend about a dream that he had. In the dream, he learned that God had given the Midianites over to Gideon. When Gideon returned to the Israelite camp, he armed each of his men with a trumpet and a clay jar. Inside of the jar, a torch was hidden inside. He then separated the men into three companies. Gideon marched into the enemy camp with his men.
In the end, the Israelites were triumphant and later begged Gideon to become their king, but he declined the offer. He told the people that only God was their ruler. While Gideon is alive, Israel is at peace for 40 years. Old age takes the life of Gideon and once again, the Israelites start worshipping a false god named Baal-Berith. They not only turn their backs on God, but also ignore the family of Gideon. In his lifetime, Gideon had 70 sons, including one called Abimelech, who will play a significant role in the Book of Judges.
The Role of his Son, Abimelech
Abimelech was the son of Gideon, who he had with a concubine. His name translates into ‘my father, the king’, which was a way to show that he was claiming the inherited right to rule. Since he was born to a concubine, he had to actively pursue his claim to rule over Manasseh. He chose to use force. With the help of his mother’s relatives, he was able to kill his 70 half-brothers. The youngest brother, Jotham, was able to escape. Following the death of his father, Abimelech was a ruler for only three years in Shechem.
The Bible describes him as a ruler full of ambition and without principles. He often started conflicts with his own subjects. The end of Abimelech’s rule came at the hands of a woman, but not in his eyes. During a revolt in the town of Thebez, a woman had thrown the millstone that delivered a fatal blow to his head. When he realized the injury was serious, he ordered is his armor-bearer to thrust him into his sword so that history would not record that he died by the hand of a woman.