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Judges 9

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 1 Now Abimelech the son of Jerub-baal [Gideon] went to Shechem to his mother's brothers and said to them and all the family of his mother's father,

 2 "Say, I pray you, to all the men of Shechem: 'Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerub-baal rule over you, or that one rules over you?' Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh."

 3 And his mother's brothers spoke all these words concerning him in the ears of all the men of Shechem, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, "He is our brother."

 4 So they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-Berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men who followed him.

 5 Then he went to his father's house at Ophrah and slew his brothers the sons of Jerub-baal, seventy men upon one stone. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerubbaal, was left, for he had hidden himself.

 6 Then all the men of Shechem and all the house of Millo gathered together, and they made Abimelech king beside the oak at the pillar that was in Shechem.

 7 Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and lifted up his voice and cried out. And he said to them, "Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God may listen to you.

 8 Once the trees went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us.'

 9 But the olive tree said to them, 'Should I leave my olive oil, with which they honor both man and God, and go to wave over the trees?'

 10 Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'You come and reign over us.'

 11 But the fig tree said to them, 'Should I forsake my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?'

 12 Then the trees said to the grapevine, 'You come and reign over us.'

 13 But the vine said to them, 'Should I leave my wine, which cheers both God and man, and go to wave over the trees?'

 14 Then said all the trees to the bramble, 'You come and reign over us.'

 15 But the bramble said to the trees, 'If in truth you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.'

 16 Now therefore, if you have acted honorably and sincerely when you made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerub-baal and his house, and have done to him as he deserved —

 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 this day and have slain his sons, seventy men, upon one stone and have made Abimelech the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother

 19 If you then have dealt honorably and sincerely with Jerub-baal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you;

 20 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and devour the people of Shechem and the house of Millo, and let fire come out from the people of Shechem and the house of Millo and devour Abimelech."

 21 Then Jotham ran away and fled, and went to Beer and dwelt there for fear of Abimelech his brother.

 22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,

 23 Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem, and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,

 24 So that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerub-baal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, who slew them, and upon the men of Shechem, who aided him in the killing of his brothers.

 25 And the men of Shechem set men in ambush against him on the top of the mountains, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was reported to Abimelech.

 26 Now 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 So they went out into the fields, gathered their vineyard fruits and trampled the grapes, and held a festival; and they went into the house of their god, and ate and drank and cursed Abimelech.

 28 Then Gaal, the son of Ebed, said, "Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Were not the son of Jerub-baal and Zebu, his officer, servants of the men of Hamor the father of Shechem? Why then should we serve him?

 29 Would to God that this people were under my hand! Then I would remove Abimelech. I would say to Abimelech, 'Increase your army and come out.'"

 30 When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal son of Ebed, his anger was kindled.

 31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, saying, "Behold, Gaal son of Ebed, and his brothers have come to Shechem; and behold, they are stirring up the city against you.

 32 Now therefore, rise up by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field.

 33 And in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, rise early and set upon the city; and, behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then do to them whatever you can."

 34 So Abimelech and all the people who were with him rose up by night, and they laid in wait against Shechem in four companies.

 35 Now Gaal, the son of Ebed, went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, and Abimelech and the people that were with him rose up from lying in wait.

 36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, "Behold, men are coming down from the top of the mountains." And Zebul said to him, "You see the shadow of the mountains as if they were men."

 37 And Gaal spoke again and said, "See, men are coming down from the middle of the land, and another company is coming along from the oak of Meonenim."

 38 Then Zebul said to him, "Where is your mouth now, with which you said, 'Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?' Is not this the people whom you have despised? Go out now and fight with them."

 39 So Gaal went out before the men of Shechem and fought with Abimelech.

 40 And Abimelech chased him and he fled before him; and many were overthrown and wounded, even to the entrance of the gate.

 41 Then Abimelech dwelt at Arumah, and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his kinsmen so that they could not dwell in Shechem.

 42 Now it came to pass on the next day, that the people went out into the field and told Abimelech.

 43 So he took the men and divided them into three companies and laid in wait in the field; and he looked and behold, the people were coming out of the city. And he rose up against them and smote them.

 44 And Abimelech and the company who were with him rushed forward and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, while the two other companies rushed upon all the people who were in the fields and slew them.

 45 So Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city and slew the people who were in it. And he demolished the city and sowed it with salt.

 46 Now when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that, they entered into the stronghold of the temple of the god Berith.

 47 And Abimelech was told that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.

 48 Then Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the men who were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees, and took it and laid it on his shoulder. And he said to the men who were with him, "What you have seen me do, make haste and do as I have done."

 49 So all the men likewise cut down his branch and followed Abimelech, and put them against the stronghold and set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the men of the tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.

 50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez and encamped against Thebez and took it.

 51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women fled there, shut themselves in, and went up to the top 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 But a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone down upon Abimelech's head and broke his skull.

 54 Then he called hastily to the young man, his armour bearer, and said to him, "Draw your sword and slay me, so that men not say of me, 'A women slew him.'" And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

 55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man to his home.

 56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did to his father, in slaying his seventy brothers;

 57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem God repaid upon their heads, and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerub-baal [Gideon].


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