Draw your sword and kill me, lest they say of me, “A woman killed him.” Judges 9:54
An alcoholic recently shared this thought with me – When I don’t drink, I do good. When I drink, bad things happen. My internal response was condescending – No kidding professor. Then maybe you should stop drinking.
Though I have personally relapsed multiple times, now, because I have been clean for a few years, my pride has grown to the point where I sometimes look down to those still failing. Though I have required so much forgiveness from God and others, I still manage to be proud and condescending.
In today’s passage, the story of Abimilech reveals how ridiculous and deadly pride can be. Abimilech was one of the sons of Gideon, a judge of Israel, who was a successful military leader and father, defeating the Midianites and producing 70 sons.
In a mad grab for control after Gideon’s death, Abimilech put most of his 70 brothers to the sword. His attempt to consolidate power eventually led him to lay siege to a tower in the town of Thebez, where a woman threw down a millstone, striking Abimelech in the head. Dying but conscious, he commanded his armor-bearer to run him through with a sword so that his death would not come at the hand of a woman.
In his pride, Abimilech hungered for power, killing his brothers. In his pride, he destroyed those who opposed him. His pride led him to his death and it was his pride that he clung to, even in death. Of all the things he could spend his last moments thinking of, Abimelech worried that history would remember him as being killed by a woman. Abimilech’s pride was his undoing and, in the end, was all he had.
I know that my pride, like Abimilech’s, is ridiculous and deadly, but still, I indulge in it, injuring myself and others. I think to myself – When I am humble, I do good. When I am prideful, bad things happen.
Then, I hear a familiar voice – No kidding professor, maybe you should stop being so prideful . . .