9 Now Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to phis mother’s relatives and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother’s family, 2 “Say in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that all qseventy of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one rule over you?’ Remember also that pI am ryour bone and your flesh.”
3 And his mother’s relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, s“He is our brother.” 4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of tBaal-berith with which Abimelech hired uworthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5 And he went to his father’s house at vOphrah wand 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. 6 And all the leaders of Shechem came together, and all xBeth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem.
7 When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on top of yMount Gerizim and cried aloud and said to them, “Listen to me, you leaders of Shechem, that God may listen to you. 8 zThe trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, a‘Reign over us.’ 9 But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my abundance, by which gods and men are honored, and go hold sway over the trees?’ 10 And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit and go hold sway over the trees?’ 12 And the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine that bcheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?’ 14 Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 15 And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and ctake refuge in my shade, but if not, dlet fire come out of the bramble and devour ethe cedars of Lebanon.’
16 “Now therefore, if you acted in good faith and integrity when you made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with fJerubbaal and his house and have done to him gas his deeds deserved— 17 for my father fought for you and risked his life and delivered you from the hand of Midian, 18 and you have risen up against my father’s house this day hand have killed his sons, seventy men on one stone, and have made iAbimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the leaders of Shechem, jbecause he is your relative— 19 if you then have acted in good faith and integrity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then krejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. 20 But if not, llet fire come out from Abimelech and devour the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the leaders of Shechem and from Beth-millo and devour Abimelech.” 21 And Jotham ran away and fled and went to mBeer and lived there, because of Abimelech his brother.
The Downfall of Abimelech
22 Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23 nAnd God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem odealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 pthat 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. 25 And the leaders of Shechem put men in ambush against him on the mountaintops, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way. And it was told to Abimelech.
26 And Gaal the son of Ebed moved into Shechem with his relatives, and the leaders of Shechem put confidence in him. 27 And they went out into the field and gathered the grapes from their vineyards and trod them and held a festival; and they went into qthe house of their god and ate and drank and reviled Abimelech. 28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, r“Who is Abimelech, and who are we of Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is not Zebul his officer? Serve the men of sHamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? 29 Would that this people were under my hand! Then I would remove Abimelech. I would say1 to Abimelech, ‘Increase your army, and come out.’”
30 When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly,2 saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem, and they are stirring up3 the city against you. 32 Now therefore, go by night, you and the people who are with you, and set an ambush in the field. 33 Then in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, rise early and rush upon the city. And when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you may do to them tas your hand finds to do.”
34 So Abimelech and all the men who were with him rose up by night and set an ambush against Shechem in four companies. 35 And Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, and Abimelech and the people who were with him rose from the ambush. 36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from uthe mountaintops!” And Zebul said to him, “You mistake4 the shadow of the mountains for men.” 37 Gaal spoke again and said, “Look, people are coming down from the center of the land, and one company is coming from the direction of the Diviners’ Oak.” 38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your mouth now, you who said, v‘Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?’ Are not these the people whom you despised? Go out now and fight with them.” 39 And Gaal went out at the head of the leaders of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him. And many fell wounded, up to the entrance of the gate. 41 And Abimelech lived at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his relatives, so that they could not dwell at Shechem.
42 On the following day, the people went out into the field, and Abimelech was told. 43 He took his people and divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. And he looked and saw the people coming out of the city. So he rose against them and killed them. 44 Abimelech and the company that was with him wrushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city, while the two companies rushed upon all who were in the field and killed them. 45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He captured the city and killed the people who were in it, and xhe razed the city and ysowed it with salt.
46 When all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered zthe stronghold of the house of aEl-berith. 47 Abimelech was told that all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 And Abimelech went up to Mount bZalmon, he and all the people who were with him. And Abimelech took an axe in his hand and cut down a bundle of brushwood and took it up and laid it on his shoulder. And he said to the men who were with him, “What you have seen me do, hurry and do as I have done.” 49 So every one of the people cut down his bundle and following Abimelech put it against cthe stronghold, and they set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about 1,000 men and women.
50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez and encamped against Thebez and captured it. 51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women and all the leaders of the city fled to it and shut themselves in, and they went up to the roof of the tower. 52 And Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 dAnd a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. 54 eThen he called quickly to the young man his armor-bearer and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest they say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” And his young man thrust him through, and he died. 55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, everyone departed to his home. 56 fThus God returned the evil of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers. 57 And God also made all the evil of the men of Shechem return on their heads, and upon them came gthe curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.
Tola and Jair
10 After Abimelech there arose to hsave Israel Tola the son of Puah, son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, and he lived at Shamir in ithe hill country of Ephraim. 2 And he judged Israel twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried at Shamir.
3 After him arose Jair the Gileadite, who judged Israel twenty-two years. 4 And he had thirty sons who jrode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities, called Havvoth-jair to this day, kwhich are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
Further Disobedience and Oppression
6 lThe people of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord mand served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, nthe gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. And they oforsook the Lord and did not serve him. 7 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and phe sold them into the hand of the Philistines and into the hand of the Ammonites, 8 and they crushed and oppressed the people of Israel that year. For eighteen years they oppressed all the people of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9 And the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah and against Benjamin and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was severely distressed.
10 And the people of Israel qcried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against you, because rwe have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.” 11 And the Lord said to the people of Israel, “Did I not save you sfrom the Egyptians and tfrom the Amorites, ufrom the Ammonites and vfrom the Philistines? 12 The Sidonians also, and wthe Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I xsaved you out of their hand. 13 Yet you have yforsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. 14 Go and cry out zto the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” 15 And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and ahe became impatient over the misery of Israel.
17 Then the Ammonites were called to arms, and they encamped in Gilead. And the people of Israel came together, and they encamped at bMizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said one to another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the Ammonites? cHe shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”