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Judges 8:29–35

Then Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house. Gideon had seventy sons who were his own offspring, for he had many wives. And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, whose name he called Abimelech. Now Gideon the son of Joash died at a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made Baal-Berith their god. Thus the children of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; nor did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal (Gideon) in accordance with the good he had done for Israel.

Having seventy sons by many wives is creepy enough by itself, but the Hebrew in this passage proves that Gideon was slipping badly by the time he died. The Hebrew word for father is abba. Add the suffix for “my” (ee) and the combination reduces to “abbee” (spelled abi) for “my father.” The Hebrew word for king is “Melech.” Put them all together and you get Abimelech, which means “my father is king.” Not surprisingly, it’s a common name in the Old Testament for princes and kings.

Gideon called one of his kids (one by a concubine, no less) Abimelech. He never forgot that the people wanted him to be king. He turned their offer down (for all the right reasons) but it stayed in the back of his mind.

He couldn’t let it go.

Gideon said no to the offer of kingship once, but he couldn’t say no every day for the rest of his life. That’s what the offer felt like, and it messed with his head.

The lesson here is that sin is tireless in its pursuit of us. No matter how mature you get, no matter how close to the LORD, sin is patiently waiting for an opportunity to take over. Here it was Gideon’s sinful reaction to the offer of kingship. For us, it’s something else—but it’s always something.

And the secondary lesson is the biggie—those who look the least at risk are often the most at risk.

The problem is overconfidence. In the spiritual realm, almost all confidence is overconfidence. Never, ever think that you’re safe.

Better still, never ever think that your pastor is safe. Pastors are educated, trained, wise, mature Christians. Unfortunately, that makes us think they’re bulletproof. They’re anything but.

Power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” — Lord Acton

But this applies to more than just power. Fame has a similar effect. Any form of success can be dangerous. Just having a few dozen people look up to you puts you at risk.

Kill the humility, and you kill the man.

These Monday—Friday DEEPs are written by Mike Slay. The Weekend DEEPs are written by Matt Richardson. To subscribe to all the DEEPs click here:

The weekly study guides, which include the Monday–Friday devotionals plus related questions for discussion or meditation, are available for download here:

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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