In addition to Gideon’s many wives, he had a concubine who lived in Shechem. She bore Gideon a son who he called Abimelech, which means “my father is king”.

Gideon died in peace at a good old age, but as soon as he died, the people of Israel went back to the worship of Baal. They quickly forgot how the Lord delivered them from their enemies, nor did they show kindness to the house of Gideon.

In Judges 9 we’re told that Abimelech went to Shechem to talk to his uncles and other members of his clan saying, “Ask the leading citizens of Shechem whether they want to be ruled by all seventy of Gideon’s sons or by one man. And remember that I am your own flesh and blood!” (Judges 9:2 NLT)

The men agreed to follow Abimelech, so they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal, and Abimelech used the money to hire worthless and reckless men. He led them to his father’s house and killed all seventy of his brothers except Jotham, the youngest son who hid himself. 

All the men of Shechem then gathered together and made Abimelech king. For three years he reigned before the men of Shechem turned on him. In the end, he was killed by a woman. 

Who was this unnamed concubine of the mighty Gideon? Though she was denied the status of being a full-fledged wife, it was her son who became king. Did she raise him to resent his brothers? Did she live to see him become a murderer? How much of Abimelech’s character came from his mother? We’ll never know.

Read about Gideon’s concubine in Scripture: Judges 8

Gideon's Concubine

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