Jotam-Jotham

Jotham’s Warning at Mt. Gerizim Resonates To This Day

When the Shechemites chose Abimelech as their ruler, despite knowing that he had just killed his 70 brothers (Judges, ch. 9), they became partners in the crime they consented to. Similarly, the curse that Jotham cast on the people above mount Gerizim echoes for the nations that, admitting the genocide of abortion, became accomplices to the rulers and law-makers who, distorting the truth, make this crime legal.

The story of Abimelech and Jotham

The city of Schechem. Clic to enlarge.

The facts mentioned in the book of Judges, ch. 9, occurred around 1236 BC, in the city of Shechem, in the region of Samaria (see map).

The book tells a tragic story, full of ambition, power and cruelty, and how it unfolds. It is that of two brothers of the same father, called one Abimelech and the other Jotham. His father, Jerubbaal Gideon, who had been Judge of Israel (Jud. ch. 6 to 8), dies at his advanced age, leaving about 70 children.

After his father’s death, and forgetting the promise he had made that no one in his family would rule Israel, but that God would be their only king (8,23), Abimelech cunningly tries to rise as the ruler of the city. To this end, he manages to gain the trust of the Shechemites with persuasive speeches in which he uses to his advantage, the fact of being the son of a Shechemite concubine of Gideon, and therefore identifying with its inhabitants by sharing the same blood.

Once the Shechemites are convinced, they finance with money from an idolatrous temple -from the cult to the «baals», Abimelech’s campaign who, using the money received, hires several thugs and orders the killing of Gideon’s 70 children, his own brothers. One of Gideon’s sons, Jotham, manages to escape alive.

After the massacre, the inhabitants of Shechem meet in formal act and proclaim Abimelech as their king. Having Jotham been informed, still deeply affected by the slaughter of his family, he climbs to mount Gerizim, which borders the city of Shechem to the west, and renders a curse in the form of a fable -or parable, against the Shechemites and their elect king.

Jotham strongly criticizes a people who had consciously chosen as ruler someone who was capable of killing his own family, and for this reason considers them accomplices to this injustice, which was consented by them, and worthy of punishment just like Abimelech.

In his parable, Jotham introduces three trees, all of them useful and essential in an agricultural community: the olive tree, the fig tree and the vine; they do not accept resigning to produce their fruits, with which they brighten the life of humans; to control, manipulate and rule over the other trees. Instead, the buckthorn, yes. On the one hand, the first three give life, bear fruit and give joy to human beings. The buckthorn all it gives is pain from the fire of its thorns and a threat. It has nothing to lose if it accepts to be the king, because it has nothing to give. If the buckthorn agrees to rule – and it will – it will only bring destruction and death to all the trees that shelter under its shadow.

Jotham tries to show through his fable the great error that the inhabitants of Shechem have made when they accepted for king a man as bloodthirsty as Abimelech, prophesying mutual destruction between the king and the people of Shechem. They, consenting to injustice, will have in Abimelech the deserved pay: «let fire come forth from Abimelech and devour the lords of Shechem and Beth-millo, and let fire come forth from the lords of Shechem and Beth-millo and devour Abimelech!» (20).

The Shechemites will rebel to Abimelech, for God, who always disapproves injustice, will command a spirit of discord between them (23). Indeed, the Shechemites rebel against Abimelech, who in turn makes war on them, killing as much of them as he can, being even capable of burning them alive while destroying the city. The excavations of Shechem reveal that a destruction of the city occurred during the 12th century BC, coinciding with the facts told in the book of Judges.

Death of Abimelech, by Gustave Doré. Clic to enlarge.

Finally, in an escalation of violence and destruction, Abimelech dies trying to burn alive people who had taken refuge inside a tower, in a city about 15 km north of Shequem called Thebez. From the top, a woman throws a piece of millstone that hits his head, breaking his skull. Wounded, Abimelech asks his armor-bearer to finish him off with his sword, so no one would say «a woman had killed him», thus ending his ignominious life while fulfilling Jotham’s prophecy. He only ruled for three years.

Whoever succeeds in reaching the power through falsehood and the blood of innocents, who has no foundation of virtue and justice or worth to rest upon, must continually pave with new crimes the path he has erected, adding another flame to the fire of vengeance that is stealthily being prepared around him, until at time, the situation bursts upon the wicked tyrant, destroying both reign and life.

Discord, fruit of the people’s complicity to the killing of innocents

It is noteworthy that this same spirit of discord, sent between the people and their ruler, is now at its apex in societies around the world, who find no satisfaction with relentless rulers, who seem not to have a vocation of service, or foster peace and the common good, and are seen as tyrants. Similarly, protests for any cause and all kind of rebelliousness to authority are the opposite face of this social phenomenon with high levels of discontent and discord among citizens over every matter.

As in Jotham’s time, fire comes out from the rulers which consumes the peoples and fire comes out from the peoples which consumes the rulers in a destructive spiral that we experience, among other causes, because as a society, we consent with our vote to leaders with no scruples who legalize (or manifest that they intend to legalize) the abortion genocide, or do not repeal previously approved abortion laws, or are reluctant to verify the enforcement of penalties for all those who commit this crime, such as for those who make its apology in the media, mostly using anti-Christian speeches, and distorting the truth about the beginning of human life.

As Jotham we can say with confidence: if the people chooses a ruler who approves of these killings and they consent to it, let fire come forth from those Abimelechs and devour them…


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Author: «Ahijah» for DEUNANUBE.COM

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