Abagwebi 9

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1 Waya uAbhimeleki kaYerubhahali kwaShekem kubazalwana bonina, wathetha kubo nakwimizalwane yonke yendlu kayise yonina, wathi,

2 Khanithethe ezindlebeni zabemi bakwaShekem bonke, nithi, Okona kulungileyo kuni, kukuthi nilawulwe ngamadoda amashumi asixhenxe, oonyana bonke bakaYerubhahali, kukuthi nilawulwe yindoda ibe nye, kusini na? Khumbulani ukuba ndilithambo lenu; ndiyinyama yenu.

3 Bathetha abazalwana bonina ngaye, ezindebeni zabemi bakwaShekem bonke loo mazwi onke, intliziyo yabo yakuthobela ukumlandela uAbhimeleki; ngokuba bathi, Ngumzalwana wethu.

4 Bamnika iisilivere ezimashumi asixhenxe ezivela endlwini kaBhahali-bheriti; uAbhimeleki waqesha ngazo amadoda angenabuntu, agasileyo; amlandela ke.

5 Weza endlwini kayise eOfra, wababulala abazalwana bakhe, oonyana bakaYerubhahali, amadoda amashumi asixhenxe, tyeni linye; kwasala uYotam, unyana omncinane kaYerubhahali, ngokuba wazimela.

6 Bahlangana bonke abemi bakwaShekem nendlu yonke yeMilo, baya bamenza uAbhimeleki ukumkani ngasemokini wesikhumbuzo okwaShekem.

7 Waxelelwa uYotam, waya wema encotsheni yentaba yeGerizim, waliphakamisa izwi lakhe, wadanduluka, wathi kubo, Ndiveni, nina bemi bakwaShekem, aze uYehova anive nani.

8 Yaya imithi ukuya kuthambisa ukumkani ukuba abe phezu kwayo. Yathi kumnquma, Yiba ngukumkani wethu.

9 Wathi umnquma kuyo, Ndingade ndikuncame na ukutyeba kwam abakuzukisayo oothixo nabantu, ndiye kujingajinga phezu kwemithi?

10 Yathi imithi kumkhiwane, Yiza wena, ube ngukumkani wethu.

11 Wathi umkhiwane kuyo, Ndingade ndiyincame na incasa yam, neziveliso zam ezihle, ndiye kujingajinga phezu kwemithi?

12 Yathi imithi kumdiliya, Yiza wena, ube ngukumkani wethu.

13 Wathi umdiliya kuyo, Ndingade ndiyincame na iwayini yam evuyisa oothixo nabantu, ndiye kujingajinga phezu kwemithi?

14 Yathi yonke imithi kwiqunube, Yiza wena, ube ngukumkani wethu.

15 Lathi iqunube kuyo imithi, Ukuba okunene niyandithambisa ndibe ngukumkani wenu, yizani nizimele ngomthunzi wam; ukuba akunjalo, makuphume umlilo equnubeni, uyidle imisedare yaseLebhanon.

16 Ukuba ke ngoko nenze ngenyaniso nangokugqibeleleyo, uAbhimeleki nimenze ukumkani nje, ukuba nenze okulungileyo kuYerubhahali nakwindlu yakhe, ukuba nimenzele ngokwempatho yezandla zakhe;

17 (ekubeni ubawo wanilwelayo, wawulahlayo umphefumlo wakhe, wanihlagulayo esandleni samaMidiyan;

18 ke nina nisuke nayivunukela indlu kabawo namhla, nababulala oonyana bakhe, amadoda angamashumi asixhenxe, tyeni linye, namenza ukumkani wabemi bakwaShekem uAbhimeleki, unyana womkhonzazana wakhe, ngokuba engumzalwana wenu);

19 ukuba ke nenze ngenyaniso nangokugqibeleleyo namhla kuYerubhahali nakwindlu yakhe: vuyani ke ngoAbhimeleki, avuye naye ngani.

20 Ukuba akunjalo, makuphume umlilo kuAbhimeleki, ubadle abemi bakwaShekem nendlu yeMilo, uphume umlilo kubemi bakwaShekem nakwindlu yeMilo, umdle uAbhimeleki.

21 Wabaleka ke uYotam, wasaba, waya eBhere, wahlala khona ngenxa ka-Abhimeleki umzalwana wakhe.

22 UAbhimeleki waba ngumthetheli wamaSirayeli iminyaka emithathu.

23 UThixo wathuma umoya ombi phakathi koAbhimeleki nabemi bakwaShekem, bamkhohlisa uAbhimeleki abemi bakwaShekem;

24 ukuze ukungonyanyelwa koonyana abangamashumi asixhenxe bakaYerubhahali kufike, igazi labo libekwe phezu koAbhimeleki umzalwana wabo, owababulalayo, naphezu kwabemi bakwaShekem, abasomelezayo isandla sakhe, wababulala abazalwana bakhe.

25 Abemi bakwaShekem bammisela abalaleli ezincotsheni zeentaba, baxhakamfula bonke abadlula kubo ngendlela. Waxelelwa ke uAbhimeleki.

26 Waya uGahali unyana kaEbhede, nabazalwana bakhe, badlula besiya kwaShekem. Abemi bakwaShekem bakholosa ngaye.

27 Baphuma baya emasimini, bavuna izidiliya zabo, bazixovula, benza iminikelo yendumiso, baya endlwini yothixo wabo, badla, basela, bamqalekisa uAbhimeleki.

28 Wathi uGahali unyana kaEbhede, Ngubani na yena uAbhimeleki? Engubani na yena uShekem, ukuba simkhonze? Akanyana kaYerubhahali na, waye uZebhule engemveleli wakhe na? Khonzani amadoda akwaHamore, usoShekem. Kungani na ukuba simkhonze yena?

29 Ababa aba bantu babesesandleni sam! Kukhona bendingamsusayo uAbhimeleki. Wathi, esingisa kuAbhimeleki, Wandise umkhosi wakho, uphume.

30 Waweva uZebhule, umphathi waloo mzi, amazwi kaGahali unyana kaEbhede, wavutha umsindo wakhe.

31 Wathuma abathunywa kuAbhimeleki ngenkohliso, esithi, Nanku uGahali unyana kaEbhede, nabazalwana bakhe, befike kwaShekem; yabona, bayawubandezela umzi ukuba uchasane nawe.

32 Vuka ke ngoko ebusuku, wena nabantu onabo, ulalele emasimini;

33 kothi, kusasa ukuphuma kwelanga, uvuke kusasa, wakhe uluhlu uye kuloo mzi; nanko yena nabantu anabo bephuma besiza kuwe; wenze kuye, njengoko sithe safumana ngako isandla sakho.

34 Wavuka ke ebusuku uAbhimeleki nabantu bonke anabo, bawulalela owakwaShekem, bemaqela mane.

35 Waphuma uGahali unyana kaEbhede, wema ekungeneni kwesango lomzi; wesuka uAbhimeleki nabantu anabo ekulaleleni.

36 UGahali wababona abantu, wathi kuZebhule, Naba abantu besihla ezincotsheni zeentaba. Wathi uZebhule kuye, Ubona amathunzi eentaba ngathi ngabantu.

37 Waphinda waqokela uGahali, wathi ukuthetha, Naba abantu besihla emnyeleni welizwe, elinye iqela lisiza ngendlela yoMoki wamaTola.

38 Wathi uZebhule kuye, Uphi na kaloku umlomo wakho owathi ngawo, Ngubani na uAbhimeleki ukuba simkhonze? Asingabo abo bantu na wabacekisayo? Khawuphume kaloku, ulwe nabo.

39 Waphuma uGahali phambi kwabemi bakwaShekem, walwa noAbhimeleki.

40 UAbhimeleki wamsukela; wasaba yena phambi kwakhe. Kwawa ababuleweyo baba baninzi, kwada kwesa ekungeneni kwesango.

41 UAbhimeleki wahlala eAruma; uZebhule wamgxotha uGahali nabazalwana bakhe ukuba bangahlali kwaShekem.

42 Kwathi ngengomso, baphuma abantu baya emasimini; waxelewa uAbhimeleki.

43 Wabathabatha abantu, wabahlula baba maqela mathathu, walalela emasimini; wakhangela, wabona abantu bephuma kuloo mzi, wabavunukela wabaxabela.

44 UAbhimeleki namaqela abenawo badwela ekungeneni kwesango lomzi; aza amaqela amabini akha uluhlu kubo bonke ababesemasimini, abaxabela ke.

45 UAbhimeleki walwa naloo mzi imini yonke, wawuthimba umzi, nabantu abakuwo wababulala; wawudiliza umzi, wawuhlwayela ityuwa.

46 Beva ke bonke abasenqabeni ende yakwaShekem, bangena engontsini yendlu yoEle-Bheriti.

47 Waxelelwa uAbhimeleki, ukuba babuthelene khona bonke abasenqabeni ende yakwaShekem.

48 Wayinyuka uAbhimeleki intaba yaseTsalimon, yena nabantu bonke abenabo; uAbhimeleki waphatha amazembe ngesandla, wagawula isebe emithini, walifunqula, walibeka egxalabeni lakhe; wathi ebantwini abenabo, Into enibone ndiyenza, ngxamani nenze njengam.

49 Bagawula ke nabo abantu bonke, elowo isebe lakhe, bamlandela uAbhimeleki, bawabeka engontsini leyo, bayifaka isikhuni ingontsi, bekuyo abasenqabeni; kwafa nabantu bonke benqaba ende yakwaShekem, ngathi liwaka lamadoda nabafazi.

50 UAbhimeleki waya eTebhetse, wayingqinga iTebhetse, wayithimba.

51 Kwakukho inqaba ende eliqele phakathi komzi, abalekela khona onke amadoda, nabafazi, nabemi bonke bomzi, bazivalela, bakhwela phezu kwentungo yenqaba leyo inde.

52 Wafika ke uAbhimeleki enqabeni ende, walwa nayo, wasondela emnyango wenqaba ende, ukuze ayitshise ngomlilo.

53 Yasuka inkazana ethile, yaphosa ilitye lokusila langaphezulu entlokweni ka-Abhimeleki, yamtyumza ukakayi.

54 Wabiza kamsinya umfana wakwakhe obephethe iintonga zakhe, wathi kuye, Rhola ikrele lakho, undibulale, hleze kuthiwe ngam, Ubulewe yinkazana. Umfana wakwakhe wamhlaba amahlanza, wafa ke.

55 Abona amaSirayeli ukuba ufile uAbhimeleki, aya elowo endaweni yakhe.

56 UThixo wabubuyisela entlokweni yakhe ububi buka-Abhimeleki abebenzile kuyise, ngokubulala abazalwana bakhe abamashumi asixhenxe;

57 nobubi bonke bamadoda akwaShekem uThixo wabubuyisela ezintlokweni zawo; afikelwa sisiqalekiso sikaYotam, unyana kaYerubhahali.

  

Exploring the Meaning of Abagwebi 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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