Judges 9:1 Now Abimelech son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s kinsfolk and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother’s family, 2 “Say in the hearing of all the lords of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one rule over you?’ Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.” 3 So his mother’s kinsfolk spoke all these words on his behalf in the hearing of all the lords of Shechem; and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.” 4 They gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the temple of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5 He went to his father’s house at Ophrah, and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone; but Jotham, the youngest son of Jerubbaal, survived, for he hid himself.
I’m struck this morning by the fact that the former ruler Abimelech had SEVENTY sons. Wow. I wonder how many children overall he had, and with how many different women. And I’m aware that over the course of human history, with hereditary transfer of sovereign status often the norm, kings and queens would often have all of their siblings killed in order to eliminate rivals for their crowns. Brutal.
It strikes me how different Jesus is in this regard. For the bible tells us that, in Christ Jesus, we have become sons and daughters of God – along with Jesus. Yet when Jesus assumes the throne he doesn’t kill his “siblings”, but gives his own life for us. Remarkable really. Jesus doesn’t protect his kingdom from others, but invites us to participate with him by faith, to be ambassadors who represent him in the world. We are a treasure to the Lord, not a threat to be eliminated.
Lord Jesus you truly are amazing. Rather than confer death upon your people you give life. Give us grace to live into our identity with you as heirs to the Kingdom of God. We pray this in your holy name. Amen.