Only 2 kings of Midian escape Gideon's small army and they follow in hot pursuit. Along the way he asks 2 different towns for bread and water for his men. They reply "no" so after he achieves victory, he thrashes them with thorns and tears down one of their towers. Israel loves Gideon--he is like a god among men and they beg to follow him. He tells them to only follow God, but takes gold from them and makes it into an ephod (photo below). The people begin worshipping the ephod and it becomes a snare to the Israelites.
After Gideon's death, his son Abimelech rises to power. He is one of 70 sons born to Gideon. In his thirst for power, he murders his brothers...all of them; except for Jotham (the youngest) who escapes. Jotham warns the people after they make him king and press them to truly think about their actions. Abimelech's reign is filled with bloodshed and evil-doing. Ultimately, he turns all of his beloved followers against him and he fights a few epic battles--ending in putting everyone in a tower and burning them alive. On his final burning (he did this several times) a woman drops a millstone from the tower and strikes him in the head--cracking his skull. At the sake of not being killed by a woman, he has a fellow soldier run him through with a sword.
All of this transpired as a means for God to set right a number of evils that had come upon the land. So far, I've noticed that good and evil in the land comes and goes in waves. During Gideon's time there was years and years of peace and prosperity followed by years and years of oppression under Abimelech. Its a way of God balancing and weighing everything out. We can't appreciate the good without the bad...
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