士师记 9

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1 亚比米勒杀基甸的众子

2 “请你们给示剑的:‘是耶路.巴力的众子七十都统治你们呢?还是统治你们呢?’你们也要记得我是你们的。”

3 他的众母舅就把这一切为他示剑的众人听;他们的都倾向亚比米勒,因为他们:“他本是我们的亲族。”

4 他们就从巴力.比利土的庙里,取了八百克亚比米勒,亚比米勒用这些子雇了一些无赖流氓,那些人就跟随了他。

5 他回到俄弗拉他父亲的家,把自己的兄弟,耶路.巴力的众子七十,都石头上;只下耶路.巴力的小儿子约坦,因为他藏了起

6 示剑的众人和伯特米罗人都聚集起来,到示剑橡树旁的望楼那里,立亚比米勒为

7 约坦的寓言有人把这事告诉了约坦,约坦就去,站在基利心顶上,高声向他们呼喊,:“示剑人哪,你们要我的话,也就你们的话。

8 有一次,众要去立一个统治它们,就对橄榄:‘请你作统治我们吧。’

9 橄榄对它们:‘我怎可以放弃生产人用来荣耀和尊崇人的油,飘摇在众之上呢?’

10 无花果树:‘请你来作王统治我们吧。’

11 无花果树对它们:‘我怎可以放弃结出我的甜美果子,飘摇在众之上呢?’

12 对葡萄:‘请你来作王统治我们吧。’

13 葡萄对它们:‘我怎可以放弃生产那使和世人都喜乐的新酒,飘摇在众之上呢?’

14 于是众都对荆棘:‘请你来作王统治我们吧。’

15 荆棘对众:‘如果你们真诚地立我作统治你们,就要,投靠在我的荫下;否则,必从荆棘里出,吞灭黎巴嫩的香柏。’

16 “现在你们立亚比米勒为王,你们若是诚实和正直,如果你们善待耶路.巴力和他的家,照着他所作的待他;

17 父亲从前冒死为你们争战,把你们从米甸人中救了出来;

18 今日你们竟起来攻击我的父家,在石头了他七十个儿子,又立了他的婢女所生的儿子亚比米勒作示剑的王,因为他原是你们的亲族。

19 今日你们若是按着诚实和正直待耶路.巴力和他的家,你们就可以因亚比米勒得喜乐,亚比米勒也可以因你们得喜乐。

20 若不是这样,愿从亚比米勒出来,吞灭示剑人和伯特米罗人;又愿示剑人和伯特米罗人出来,吞灭亚比米勒。”

21 接着约坦就逃跑了;他逃到比珥去,在那里,躲避他的兄弟亚比米勒。

22 示剑人背叛亚比米勒王亚比米勒治理以色列人年。

23 差派邪恶的灵来到亚比米勒与示剑人中间,示剑人就背弃了亚比米勒。

24 这是要报复对耶路.巴力七十个儿子的暴行,把流他们血的罪归到他们的兄弟亚比米勒身上,就是那害他们的;也归到示剑人身上,就是那些帮助亚比米勒去他自己的兄弟的。

25 示剑人在顶上设下埋伏,过他们那里的,他们都劫掠;有人把这事告诉亚比米勒。

26 那时,以别的儿子迦勒与他的兄弟来了,到示剑去,示剑人竟信任他。

27 他们出到田间去,收取葡萄,榨酒,举行庆祝会,进入他们的,并且咒诅亚比米勒。

28 以别的儿子迦勒:“亚比米勒是谁?示剑是谁?竟要我们服事他呢?他不是耶路.巴力的儿子吗?他的副不是西布勒吗?你们要服事示剑的始祖哈抹的后人啊;我们为什么要服事亚比米勒呢?

29 但愿这些人民都归在我,我好把亚比米勒除掉。”迦勒又对亚比米勒:“增添你的军队出来吧!”

30 那城的首长西布勒了以别的儿子迦勒的,他的怒气就发作,

31 秘密差派使者去见亚比米勒,说:“以别的儿子迦勒和他的兄弟已经到了示剑,他们正在煽动那城的人反叛你。

32 现在,你和与你在一起的人,要在夜间起来,在野地埋伏。

33 到了早晨太阳出来的时候,你就要起来攻城;你要注意,迦勒和与他在一起的人出来对抗你的时候,你就把握机会对付他们。”

34 于是亚比米勒与他在一起的人,都在夜间起来,分作队,埋伏着等候示剑人。

35 以别的儿子迦勒出去,站在城门口;亚比米勒和与他在一起的人,从埋伏的地方起来

36 迦勒见了那些人,就对西布勒:“你,有人从顶上来。”西布勒:“你的影子以为是人。”

37 迦勒又:“看哪,有人从,又有队从米恶尼尼橡树的径而。”

38 西布勒对他:“你曾经说过:‘亚比米勒是谁,竟要我们服事他呢?’现在你这话的嘴在哪里呢?这不是你轻视的人吗?现在请你出去与他们交战吧。”

39 于是迦勒在示剑人面前出去,与亚比米勒争战。

40 亚比米勒追赶迦勒,迦勒在他面前逃跑,直到城门口,有很多受伤的人仆倒。

41 亚比米勒在亚鲁玛;西布勒把迦勒和他的兄弟赶走,不许他们示剑

42 亚比米勒的反击次日,城中众人出到田间去,有人把这事告诉亚比米勒。

43 亚比米勒就把他的人分作队,埋伏在田间;他在那里观,见有人从城里出来,就起来攻击他们,把他们击杀了。

44 亚比米勒与他在一起的一队人忽然冲过去,站在城门口;其他两队人也冲出来攻打所有在田间的人,把他们击杀了。

45 一天,亚比米勒整攻打那城,把城攻下了,了城中的众人;把城拆毁,又撒上

46 示剑楼的众人见了这事,就逃入伊勒.比利土庙的地穴里。

47 有人告诉亚比米勒,说:“示剑楼所有的人都聚集在一起。”

48 亚比米勒和与他在一起的人都上了撒们;亚比米勒里拿着斧子,砍下一根枝,拿起来放在自己的肩头上,然后对与他在一起的人:“你们我作什么,你们也要赶照样作。”

49 于是众也各自砍下一根树枝,跟随着亚比米勒,把树枝放在地穴上,放烧了地穴,以致示剑楼的死了女约有一

50 亚比米勒的结局后来亚比米勒到提备斯去,安营攻打提备斯,攻取了那城。

51 城中有一座坚固的城楼;那城所有的人,无论男女,都逃到那里去,上门,上了楼顶。

52 亚比米勒到了城楼前,攻打城楼;他走城楼口,要用焚烧。

53 妇人块上磨石拋在亚比米勒的上,打破了他的盖骨。

54 他急忙呼喊替他拿兵器的少年人,对他:“拔出你的刀来,把我吧。免得人讲论我:‘他被一个妇人。’”于是那少年人把他刺透,他就死了

55 以色列人见亚比米勒死了,就各回自己的地方去了。

56 这样,报应了亚比米勒向他父亲所行的恶事,就是他了自己的兄弟七十个人。

57 也把示剑人的一切恶事,都报应在他们的上;耶路.巴力的儿子约坦的咒诅,也归到他们身上。

  

Exploring the Meaning of 士师记 9      

Napsal(a) Rev. Julian Duckworth

Judges 9: Abimelech’s conspiracy, the parable of the trees, Abimelech’s downfall.

This chapter follows the story of Gideon’s many sons; he had seventy sons by his many wives, and also one other son, Abimelech, by a concubine. After Gideon’s death, Abimelech went to the men of Shechem, where his mother’s family lived, and asked them if they would rather be ruled by seventy sons, or by him. The men of Shechem agreed it would be better to have one king, so they gave him seventy pieces of silver from the temple of Baal. Using the silver, Abimelech hired men to come with him, and they killed the seventy sons of Gideon except the youngest, Jotham, who hid. Then they anointed Abimelech king.

When Jotham heard the news, he stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and taunted the men of Shechem with a parable. In his parable, the trees were searching for a king to lead them; they ask the olive, then the fig, then the vine to rule over them. Each refuses, because they do not want to give up their special purpose. Finally, the bramble agrees to lead them, but gives them the choice of either sheltering in its non-existent shade or being consumed by its own fire.

Jotham explained the parable, warning that Abimelech and the men of Shechem would more than likely tear each other down in the end. Then he fled to Beer to escape his brother’s vengeance.

After Abimelech had ruled Israel for three years, the Lord sent an evil spirit to spark ill-will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. This evil spirit was meant to avenge the killing of Gideon’s seventy sons.

The rest of this chapter describes the city’s descent into chaos, illustrating the various manifestations of evil and falsity through many examples. Robbers were sent to ambush travellers in the mountains, the people of Shechem drunkenly cursed Abimelech in the temple of their god, and the tower of Shechem was burned, killing a thousand hiding in it. Finally, Abimelech lay siege to Thebez, and the people took shelter on the top of a tower there. When he tried to burn that tower, a woman hurled down a millstone to break Abimelech’s skull. In his final moments, Abimelech commanded his armourbearer to kill him with his sword, so that people would not say he was killed by a woman. All of these incidents depict the absolute corruption under Abimelech’s rule.

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The key to understanding this story is that Gideon’s son, Abimelech, is the son of a concubine, not a lawful wife. Spiritually speaking, a concubine stands for a love that has become distorted. A genuine love for someone is a love for sake of that other person, while a distorted love means loving someone for what we can get from them (see Swedenborg’s work, Divine Love and Wisdom 271[2], on the love of dominating for the sake of self-love).

The references to Gideon’s seventy sons stand for the enormity of Abimelech’s wrongdoing. The number ‘seven’ stands for something fully worked through, and seventy even more so.

Jotham’s parable presents three levels of pure love: the love of the Lord (the olive with its fragrant oil), the love of truth (the vine with its rich wine), and the love of use (the fig with its abundant seeds). The bramble, with its painful grip, stands for a love of evil and falsity (see Swedenborg’s work, Arcana Caelestia 273).

The evil spirit sent by the Lord seems to show that God was punishing his own people, but that is only how things appear (Arcana Caelestia 1838). When we look deeper, we will realize that we are punished by our own evil actions, for evil breeds more evil and there is no rest for the wicked (see Isaiah 48:22). In regeneration, the process of breaking down the power of evil and false states in ourselves is called “vastation”. Once we have done the grueling work to minimize these influences over us, we can fully appreciate the joys of spiritual life (Arcana Caelestia 2694[2]).

Spiritually, an ambush depicts the way hell attacks our minds: without warning. Drunkenness and cursing a former ally stands for the abandonment of all values and integrity. The tower represents the pride which rises up in self-love and love of dominance, and beyond that, Abimelech’s aversion to being killed by a woman stands for the rejection of all that is good and true. Her millstone grinds corn to make it edible, in the same way that we must process truths to put them to use (see Swedenborg’s work, Apocalypse Explained 1182).

This powerful chapter shows the descent of evil into greater evils, until they become so consuming they have no vestige of good left, and no recognition of truth remaining. The final two verses state: “Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers. And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Gideon.”

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