Judges 9:18 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 9:18, NIV: But today you have revolted against my father's family. You have murdered his seventy sons on a single stone and have made Abimelek, the son of his female slave, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is related to you.

Judges 9:18, ESV: and 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 female servant, king over the leaders of Shechem, because he is your relative—

Judges 9:18, KJV: And ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;)

Judges 9:18, NASB: but in fact you have risen against my father’s house today and have killed his sons, seventy men, on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his female slave, king over the leaders of Shechem, because he is your relative—

Judges 9:18, NLT: But today you have revolted against my father and his descendants, killing his seventy sons on one stone. And you have chosen his slave woman's son, Abimelech, to be your king just because he is your relative.

Judges 9:18, CSB: and now you have attacked my father's family today, killed his seventy sons on top of a large stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his slave woman, king over the citizens of Shechem 'because he is your brother'--

What does Judges 9:18 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Jotham finally delivers a direct condemnation on the people of Shechem. His brother, Abimelech, is the one who carried out the murders of Gideon's other sons, but Jotham is holding the people of Shechem responsible. They agreed with Abimelech's plan and provided money to hire hooligans for the deed (Judges 9:1–6). This resulted in some form of public execution, possibly even a ritual sacrifice.

By funding Abimelech's murders, the people are guilty of rising against Gideon's house instead of honoring the hero used by God to deliver them. They are responsible for the slaughter of Gideon's seventy sons. They have even made Abimelech king over them simply because he is a relative to some of them.

This condemnation ties to the fable which began Jotham's speech (Judges 9:7–15). That imagery casts Abimelech as a worthless, dangerous choice. In fact, Jotham chooses language here that is deliberately dismissive. He describes Abimelech as "the son of [his father's] female servant." Abimelech's mother was not Gideon's wife, but a concubine (Judges 8:31). In ancient middle easter culture, especially, this was no small insult. The implication is that Abimelech is "merely" the unwanted son of a servant—making him unworthy of being Shechem's king. This remark also has an obscure connection to Abimelech's eventual rival, whose name includes a reference to servanthood (Judges 9:26).