Some years ago, my grandfather on my mom’s side did some genealogical work on his family. After spending 20 years digging through painstaking print and microfiche records and only getting so far, he was able – thanks to the modern miracle of the internet – to trace family history back to Wales. Now, I take this with a grain of salt, not because my grandfather is dishonest or has delusions of grandeur, but because records beyond the 19th century are sketchy at best.
The most interesting thing about his research, as far as we can believe it, is that our family is apparently descended from Welsh royalty. Two fascinating names in the family tree emerge: one is Arthwys ap Meurig, the man who is believed to be the historical basis for the legend of King Arthur, while the other is a king named Coel ap Meurig I, otherwise known as “Old King Cole.” As a result, I’ve joked about moving to Wales to reestablish myself as the ruler of my kingdom.
Now, Judges 9 and the first five verses of Judges 10 are kind of strange – like some really violent soap opera. There’s a lot going on and a large cast of characters, and God doesn’t even get a mention! But today we’re going to dwell on one aspect of this meandering tale: Abimelek’s attempt at a hostile takeover of the judgeship of Israel.
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