Abimelech was a son of Gideon, the King of Israel, and his concubine from Shechem.  He sought to rule over Shechem by killing all other sons of Gideon, who were all slain except for Gideon's youngest son, Jotham.  Abimelech then became the King of Shechem, ruling for three years before a conspiracy arose against him.  He commanded by force, murdered his opposition, and led in such a manner that even his subjects sought to overthrow him.

A civil war broke out, leading to a battle at a town called Thebez where Abimelech surrounded the leaders of the city in a tower and approached with the intention of burning it down.  However, a woman in the tower heroically dropped a large rock on Abimelech's head and cracked his skull.  Nearing death, he called out to a comrade to stab him as being killed by a woman was considered disgraceful in that time.  This was an appropriate end for Abimelech's malevolent regime and the evil he had committed against his own brothers and people.  In contrast to the positive lead of his father, Abimelech focused on his own personal gain, hurting many in the process.  

Read the full story of Abimelech from the book of Judges below and find articles, video and audio sermons relating to this cautionary story. 

Photo credit: Death of Abimelech, Judges, 1852-60 illustration by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld Bibel in Bildern