After Gideon had helped deliver the Israelites from the hand of the Midianites they requested that he rule over them,but he declined.

Judges 8:22 NASB

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” 23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you

But years later they made the same request to Abimelech the son of Gideon who agreed to lead them

Judges 9:6 NASB

6 All the men of Shechem and all [e]Beth-millo assembled together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the [f]oak of the pillar which was in Shechem.

He went on to rule over them for three years

Judges 9:22 NASB

22 Now Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,

Could Abimelech be regarded as the first king of Israel?


It is only the men of Shechem and the house of Millo which the text mentions. It is not even a complete tribe. So, therefore, significant though the use of the word 'king' is, the last words in Judges still stand :

In those days there was no king in Israel.

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  • 1
    Well done - suitably succinct. +1 – user25930 May 16 '19 at 11:40

Judges 9:22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,

Can't be clearer than this.

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