(an outtake from Once More, From the Beginning. This is one of the bits that didn’t make it into the book.)
Abimelech, son of Gideon, followed in his father’s footsteps as a soldier, although God never actually appointed him a bona fide judge. The Lord’s decision might well have been influenced when Abimelech murdered seventy of his seventy-one brothers in his spirited scramble to the top of the heap. (The seventy-first, smaller and more effectively hidden than the others, was overlooked in error.) Even in those more tempestuous days, this zeal may have seemed somewhat excessive.
His illustrious career reached its pinnacle in a battle against his own disillusioned people in the city of Thebez. Having driven its inhabitants to shelter in the strongest tower available, he paused in the doorway, searching for easy access in order to set fire to the structure – people and all. One of the entrapped women, noticing him prowling about, firebrand in hand, suspected his intent and pitched down a convenient chunk of millstone. She must have been practicing her aim for just such an eventuality for she hit him square on the head and broke his skull.
Realizing in horror that he was in danger of dying ignominiously by the hand of a mere woman, this proud warrior called his trusty armour-bearer to his side and ordered the young man to run him through with a sword without delay. He was skewered just in the nick of time. His reputation was preserved (except for the small matter of fratricide, of course) and the angry woman watching from the tower didn’t give a damn, since he was just as dead one way as the other.