1Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s
brothers, and spoke with them, and with all the family of the house of his
mother’s father, saying,
2Please speak in the ears of all the men of
Shechem, Whether is better for you, that all the sons of Jerubbaal, who are
seventy persons, rule over you, or that one rule over you? Remember also that
I am your bone and your flesh.
3His mother’s brothers spoke of him in the
ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to
follow Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother.
4They gave him
seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal Berith, with which
Abimelech hired vain and light fellows, who followed him.
5He went to his
father’s house at Ophrah, and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal,
being seventy persons, on one stone: but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal
was left; for he hid himself.
6All the men of Shechem assembled
themselves together, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech
king, by the oak of the pillar that was in Shechem.
7When they told it to
Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted up his
voice, and cried, and said to them, Listen to me, you men of Shechem,
that God may listen to you.
8The trees went forth on a time to anoint a
king over them; and they said to the olive tree, Reign you over us.
the olive tree said to them, Should I leave my fatness, with which by me they
honor God and man, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?
trees said to the fig tree, Come you, and reign over us.
11But the fig
tree said to them, Should I leave my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to
wave back and forth over the trees?
12The trees said to the vine, Come
you, and reign over us.
13The vine said to them, Should I leave my new
wine, which cheers God and man, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?
14Then said all the trees to the bramble, Come you, and reign over us.
15The bramble said to the trees, If in truth you anoint me king over
you, then come and take refuge in my shade; and if not, let fire come out of
the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.
16Now therefore, if
you have dealt truly and righteously, in that you have made
Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house,
and have done to him according to the deserving of his hands
father fought for you, and adventured his life, and delivered you out of the
hand of Midian:
18and you are risen up against my father’s house
this day, and have slain his sons, seventy persons, on one stone, and have
made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem,
because he is your brother);
19if you then have dealt truly and
righteously with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice you
in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you:
20but if not, let fire
come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of
Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of
Millo, and devour Abimelech.
21Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to
Beer, and lived there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
prince over Israel three years.
23God sent an evil spirit between
Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously
24that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal
might come, and that their blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother,
who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to
kill his brothers.
25The men of Shechem set an ambush for him on the
tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who came along that way by them:
and it was told Abimelech.
26Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers,
and went over to Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their trust in him.
27They went out into the field, and gathered their vineyards, and trod
the grapes, and held festival, and went into the house of their god,
and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.
28Gaal the son of Ebed said,
Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Isn’t he the
son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? serve you the men of Hamor the
father of Shechem: but why should we serve him?
29Would that this people
were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. He said to Abimelech,
Increase your army, and come out.
30When Zebul the ruler of the city
heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled.
messengers to Abimelech craftily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and
his brothers are come to Shechem; and behold, they constrain the city to
take part against you.
32Now therefore, up by night, you and the
people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field:
33and it shall be,
that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early, and rush
on the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out
against you, then may you do to them as you shall find occasion.
34Abimelech rose up, and all the people who were with him, by night, and
they laid wait against Shechem in four companies.
35Gaal the son of Ebed
went out, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city: and Abimelech
rose up, and the people who were with him, from the ambush.
saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the
tops of the mountains. Zebul said to him, You see the shadow of the mountains
as if they were men.
37Gaal spoke again and said, Behold, there come
people down by the middle of the land, and one company comes by the way of
the oak of Meonenim.
38Then said Zebul to him, Where is now your mouth,
that you said, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the
people that you have despised? go out now, I pray, and fight with them.
39Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
40Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and there fell many
wounded, even to the entrance of the gate.
41Abimelech lived at Arumah:
and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, that they should not dwell in
42It happened on the next day, that the people went out into the
field; and they told Abimelech.
43He took the people, and divided them
into three companies, and laid wait in the field; and he looked, and behold,
the people came forth out of the city; He rose up against them, and struck
44Abimelech, 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.
against the city all that day; and he took the city, and killed the people
who were therein: and he beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.
46When all the men of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered into
the stronghold of the house of Elberith.
47It was told Abimelech that all
the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.
him up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him; and
Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and
took it up, and laid it on his shoulder: and he said to the people who were
with him, What you have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done.
49All the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed
Abimelech, and put them to the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire on
them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand
men and women.
50Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against
Thebez, and took it.
51But there was a strong tower within the city, and
there fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut
themselves in, and got them up to the roof of the tower.
to the tower, and fought against it, and drew near to the door of the tower
to burn it with fire.
53A certain woman cast an upper millstone on
Abimelech’s head, and broke his skull.
54Then he called hastily to the
young man his armor bearer, and said to him, Draw your sword, and kill me,
that men not say of me, A woman killed him. His young man thrust him through,
and he died.
55When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they
departed every man to his place.
56Thus God requited the wickedness of
Abimelech, which he did to his father, in killing his seventy brothers;
57and all the wickedness of the men of Shechem did God requite on their
heads: and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.