Jotham hid himself to protect his life.
Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5 And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself.Judges 9:4b-5, ESV
He ran away and fled.
21 And Jotham ran away and fled and went to Beer and lived there, because of Abimelech his brother.Judges 9:21, ESV
Hiding and running away might not seem like brave acts, but when you’re being hunted (and outnumbered) by “worthless and reckless fellows” and a power-hungry brother out for literal blood, there’s wisdom and prudence in taking cover, of seeing a threat and acting on it.
22 Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23 And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.Judges 9:22-24, ESV, emphasis added
Jotham wasn’t able to fight for his life or avenge his brothers on his own. In God’s timing, and with God’s way, it was handled for him. It took three years. So Jotham lived in Beer for three years because of his brother, and I imagine he was always on guard.
The disciples are wonder-struck by the architecture of a temple. Jesus gives them food for thought to really wonder over:
2 And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? There will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”Mark 13:2, ESV
He goes on to tell them of things that will come–war, famine, persecution, hatred, deception.
These are but the beginning of the birth pains. 9 But be on your guard … 13 And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved … 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect. 23 But be on guard; I have told you all things beforehand … 33 Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. 34 It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. 35 Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.”Mark 13:8b-9, 13, 22-23, 33-37, ESV, emphasis added
Jotham didn’t know how long he’d wait. And Jesus tells us we also won’t know when the time will come when God will act and Jesus will return, but in his love he gives warning.
Lord, when I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? (Ps 56:3-4, ESV) Your word is hidden in my heart. I trust in you and your timing. I trust in your strength and your promise. Help me to live alert, expectant, and hopeful. I thank you for all the doors you’ve closed to protect me.
Be not afraid when a man becomes rich,Psalm 49:16-20, ESV
when the glory of his house increases.
17 For when he dies he will carry nothing away;
his glory will not go down after him.
18 For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed
—and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—
19 his soul will go to the generation of his fathers,
who will never again see light.
20 Man in his pomp yet without understanding is like the beasts that perish.