I was in a relatively small group of people in September 2016 before the election when a prominent Evangelical leader and author told us God had told him He had raised up Donald Trump to be a Cyrus. I thought his remarks inappropriate before a group who had assembled to hear about the kingdom of God, and I expressed my concerns to the host of the meeting, whom I deeply respect. We both said something to the effect of “Well, we will see.”
I have been an admirer of Cyrus the Great as a leader, not only because of the Biblical account but also because of Xenophon’s biography and Herodotus’s history, all of which describe a good, generous, and magnanimous ruler. I even named my Persian cat after Cyrus.
Here’s where we ended up with Trump in the final year of his presidency: (i) an out-of-control pandemic that while not his fault has to date killed 450,000 Americans (25% of those who have died worldwide) and was made worse because of Trump’s politicization of the issue; (ii) a racial uprising and riots like we have not seen since the late 1960s, not only because of a video of police killing black Americans but because of Trump’s pandering to white nationalists; and (iii) an insurrection which I doubt was intended by Trump but am convinced was caused by him.
Even if one accepts the Trump spin on all three of these crises, any one of them is sufficient to stain any president’s four year term; Trump had them all in one year. He is now the only American President to be impeached twice. Members of his own party have voted for his impeachment, and judges appointed by him have voted against his lawsuits alleging a fraudulent election. Was Donald Trump a Cyrus, or is there another Biblical character who Trump more closely resembles?
Abimelech was the son of Gideon by a concubine (Judges 8:30-31). At a time when Israel had abandoned the true God to embrace the pagan gods of their neighbors (sound familiar?), Abimelech went to his relatives and suggested they follow him rather than Gideon’s sons. The people agreed and gave Abimelech their support. (Trump ran against a number of traditional republicans and eventually gained the support of the people over all of them). Abimelech then hired “worthless and reckless fellows, and they followed him.” (Take your pick: Steve Bannon, Michael Cohen, Anthony Scaramucci, etc.).
Abimelech then killed all but one of Gideon’s sons. (Trump threatened or attempted to destroy the political career of any Republican who crossed him, beginning with Jeff Sessions and ending with Mike Pence). The youngest son, Jotham, survived and warned against following Abimelech, telling people if they compromised “truth and integrity” in following Abimelech then they and Abimelech would ultimately destroy one another. (Judges 9:19-20). (Many Christians warned in 2016 of compromising one’s integrity to follow Trump, as this blog did).
Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years (Trump, four years), but God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the people who empowered him. (Judges 9:23-24). At the end of the three years, Abimelech, apparently attempting to save himself, duped 1,000 of his followers carrying combustible material to enter a tower and then set the tower on fire to kill all of them. (Judges 9:48-49). (Trump caused an insurrection then refused to pardon his followers who were arrested and jailed).
Abimelech was then killed by a woman who crushed his skull with a rock she threw from the tower; although, Abimelech had his armour bearer run him through with a sword so it would not be said he was actually killed by a woman. (Judges 9:54). (Nancy Pelosi or Kamala Harris?).
Cyrus or Abimelech? You choose. GS