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Judges 9:22–29

After Abimelech had reigned over Israel three years, God sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, that the crime done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his brothers. And the men of Shechem set men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was told Abimelech.

Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers and went over to Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him. So they went out into the fields, and gathered grapes from their vineyards and trod them, and made merry. And they went into the house of their god, and ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech. Then Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is not Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? If only this people were under my authority! Then I would remove Abimelech.” So he said to Abimelech, “Increase your army and come out!”

Partners in crime make lousy partners. Their willingness to victimize people makes them unsafe—even for their partners.

Men of no conscience will be men of no constancy. — Matthew Henry (in his comments on this passage)

So it’s not surprising that the partnership between Abimelech and Shechem collapses. That happens naturally all the time.

But God triggers this collapse supernaturally, sending a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. The sinful reactions of everyone involved quickly escalate things. At every step, they act like a bunch of pirates.

God is fulfilling Jotham’s courageous speech as prophecy.

But Jotham isn’t a prophet. Can a non-prophet prophesy?

Well, can someone who doesn’t have the gift of healing have a prayer for healing granted?

Of course. It happens all the time. The view that the gift of healing ceased at the end of the apostolic age doesn’t mean God stopped healing. It just means that everyone’s prayers for healing are merely requests. It’s up to Him what happens next.

And praise God that He honors so many of those mere requests. No one deserves His audience, much less His favor. Yet He commands us to bring our requests before Him.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. — Philippians 4:6–7

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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