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22 When [Avimelech] had reigned 3 years over Israel [shalosh shanim over Yisroel],

For three years Abimelech enjoyed the fruits of his unrighteousness in peace.

23 Then Elohim sent an evil spirit [ruach ra'ah] between [Avimelech] and the men [ba'alei] of Shechem; and the men [ba'alei] of Shechem dealt treacherously with [Avimelech]:

An evil spirit. Yahweh impelled the men in question into the channel of bad temper and mutual animosity.

Here was the beginning of a retribution which afterwards destroyed both Abimelech and his friends in guilt-the stirring-up of discord between them. Had we been witnesses of what went on between them, we should not have discerned any visible intervention of God. We should have noticed, perhaps, an irritability and proneness to take offence, which, if we had been asked the cause, we might have attributed to disordered liver. In this, perhaps, we should not have been wrong: but it might not have occurred to us that the disordered livers were due to a cause set in motion further back, for the purpose of making mischief between Abimelech and his friends

.The Ways of Providence Ch 13

55 And when the men of Israel [Ish Yisroel] saw that [Avimelech] was dead, they departed every man unto his place.

The evil spirit enkindled between Abimelech and his friends worked itself out in acts of mutual hostility, until they came to fighting, and in the fighting, Abimelech was slain and the men of Shechem burnt to ashes in their stronghold. It all came about in a perfectly natural manner, yet it was all of God, whence arises the obvious reflection that, as God has not deserted the earth, He works out retribution now in special cases in a perfectly natural way.

56 Thus Elohim rendered [repaid] the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father [ av], in slaying his 70 brethren:

57 And all the evil of the men [anshei] of Shechem did Elohim render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse [Kelalat] of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal [Yotam ben Yerubaal.].

The unenlightened natural man sees only natural mischance in the case; enlightenment discerns the hand of God.

The Ways of Providence Ch 13