The book of Judges records the story of Jotham the son of Gideon. After Gideon’s death, another son, Abimelech, killed his brothers and, with the help of some worthless men from Shechem, established himself ‘king’. Jotham, who was the only one of Gideon’s sons to escape the massacre, told a parable to warn the Shechemites of the trouble they had brought upon themselves (Judg 9:1-21). His forecast of doom came true when Abimelech’s ambition brought about his own death and the destruction of his supporters (Judg 9:57). About five hundred years later another man named Jotham appears in the Bible story. He was the son of King Uzziah, and helped his father rule Judah when Uzziah became a leper in his later years (2 Chron 26:21). After his father’s death (739 BC), Jotham maintained the policies of national development his father had introduced. Judah continued to enjoy prosperity (2 Chron 27:1-6; see also UZZIAH). Nevertheless, the greed and corruption of Uzziah’s reign continued through the reign of Jotham. The prophets Hosea, Isaiah and Micah denounced the social and religious evils of the self-satisfied people (Isa 1:1; Hosea 1:1; Micah 1:1). (For details of social conditions in Judah during the reign of Jotham see ISAIAH; MICAH.)

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