Judges 9

VIN(i) 1 Now Abimelech, the son of Jerubbaal, went to Shechem to his mother's family, and said to them and to all the family of his mother's father, 2 "Ask the men of Shechem: 'Which is better for you. To have all seventy of Gideon's sons govern you or to have just one man? Remember that Abimelech is your own flesh and blood.'" 3 His mother's brothers told all the men of Shechem all these words, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, He is our brother. 4 They gave him seventy pieces of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith. Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men to join him. 5 He went to his father's house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy persons, on one stone; but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal escaped, for he hid himself. 6 All the men of Shechem and Bethmillo got together and went to the sacred oak tree at Shechem, where they made Abimelech king. 7 When they told Jotham he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, Listen to me, you men of Shechem, so that God will listen to you. 8 "The trees went out to anoint a king over them. They said to the olive tree: 'Be our king.' 9 And the olive tree replied, 'Should I stop producing my oil, which by me gods and men are honored, to go sway over the trees?' 10 "'Then the trees said to the fig tree: 'Come and be our king.' 11 But the fig tree said to them, 'Should I give up my good, sweet fruit to go to hold sway over the trees?' 12 Then the trees said to the vine, Come and reign over us. 13 And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheers God and man, to go and sway over the trees? 14 "'So then all the trees said to the thorn bush: 'You come and be our king!" 15 The thorn bush said to the trees, 'If in truth you anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; if not, let fire come out of the thorn bush and devour the cedars of Lebanon'. 16 And now if you have acted in truth and integrity when you made Abimelech king; and if you have done well with Jerubbaal and his house; and you have done to him as his hands did, 17 (for my father fought for you, risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian; 18 and you have risen up against my father's house, and have slain his seventy sons on one stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his concubine, king over the men of Sychem, because he is your brother; 19 If then you have done what is true and upright to Jerubbaal and his family this day, may you have joy in Abimelech, and may he have joy in you; 20 but if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the lords of Shechem, and Beth Millo; and let fire come out from the lords of Shechem, and from Beth Millo, and devour Abimelech." 21 And Jotham hurried and fled, and went to Beer and lived there, away from the face of his brother Abimelech. 22 And Abimelech ruled over Israel three years; 23 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. The men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: 24 that the violence against Jerubbaal's seventy sons, even their blood, might be put on their brother Abimelech who killed them, and on the leaders of Shechem, who made his hands strong to kill his brothers. 25 And the men of Shechem set men in ambush on the top of the mountains. They robbed all who came along that way. This was reported to Abimelech. 26 And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him. 27 And they went out into the fields and gathered in their grapes and trod them and made merry: and went into the house of their God, and did eat and drink and cursed Abimelech. 28 And Gaal, the son of Ebed, said, Who is Abimelech and who is Shechem that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal? And is not Zebul his deputy? Serve the men of Hamor, the father of Shechem. For why should we serve him? 29 If only this people were under my hand! Then I would remove Abimelech. He said to Abimelech, Increase your army and come out! 30 And Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, and he was very angry. 31 And craftily he sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, Behold, Gaal, the son of Ebed, and his brothers have come to Shechem. And, behold, they are fortifying the city against you. 32 Now therefore arise by night, thou, and the people with thee, and lie in wait in the fields; 33 Tomorrow morning when the sun is up, get up early and attack the city. When Gaal and his army come out to fight you, do whatever you can to them." 34 Abimelech and all his troops, in four companies, took up concealed positions at night against Shechem. 35 Ebed's son Gaal went out and stood in the entrance to the city gate while Abimelech and his army were creeping out of their ambush. 36 When Gaal saw the people he said to Zebul, Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains. Zebul said to him, You are seeing the shadows of the mountains as if they were men. 37 And Gaal spoke again and said, Behold, people are coming down from the high part of the land, and one company is coming by the way of the Sorcerers' Oak. 38 Then Zebul said to him, Now where is your boast when you said 'Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?' Isn't this the people that you have despised? Go out now and fight with them. 39 And Gaal went out before the citizens of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. 40 Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many fell wounded, even to the entrance of the gate. 41 And Abimelech remained in Arumah. And Zebul threw Gaal and his brothers out from living in Shechem. 42 On the next day the people went out to the field; and it was reported to Abimelech, 43 And he took his army, and divided it into three companies, and laid ambushes in the fields. And seeing that the people came out of the city, he arose, and set upon them, 44 Abimelech and the companies that were with him rushed forward and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city; and the two companies rushed on all who were in the field and struck them. 45 And then Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and took it, and slew the people that were therein, and destroyed the city and sowed salt in the place. 46 When all the lords of the tower of Shechem heard, they went to the vault of the temple of El-Berith. 47 Abimelech was informed that they had gathered there, 48 He traveled up to Mount Zalmon with his men. He took an ax, cut a limb off a tree, and put it on his shoulder. He told his men to hurry and do the same thing. 49 And all the people also cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put the same to the stronghold, and set the stronghold over them on fire: and thus died also all the people of the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women. 50 And Abimelech went unto Thebez, and besieged it, and first took it. 51 But in the middle of the town there was a strong tower, to which all the men and women of the town went in flight and, shutting themselves in, went up to the roof of the tower. 52 Abimelech came up to the tower and fought against it, and he came near the entrance of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 A woman cast an upper millstone on Abimelech's head and broke his skull. 54 whereupon he cried hastily to the young man who carried his armour, and said to him, Draw my sword, and kill me, that they may not say, A woman killed him. So his servant run him through, and he died. 55 When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each one went to his home. 56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did to his father in killing his seventy brothers; 57 God also repaid the men of Shechem for their wickedness, and the curse of Jerubbaal's son Jotham came true for them.