1 Now Abimelech son of Jerubbaal (Gideon) went to Shechem to his mother's kinsmen and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother's family, 2 Say, I pray you, in the hearing of all the men of Shechem, Which is better for you: that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal reign over you, or that one man rule over you? Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh. 3 And his mother's kinsmen spoke all these words concerning him in the hearing of all the men of Shechem, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, He is our brother. 4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and foolhardy men who followed him. 5 And he went to his father's house at Ophrah and slew 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 men of Shechem gathered together and all of Beth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king by the oak (terebinth) of the pillar at Shechem.
7 When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood at the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, Hear me, men of Shechem, that God may hear you. 8 One time the trees went forth 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 fatness, by which God and man are honored, 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 leave my sweetness and my good fruit and go to wave over the trees? 12 Then the trees said to the vine (grapevine), You come and reign over us. 13 And the vine (grapevine) replied, Should I leave my new wine, which rejoices God and man, and go to wave 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 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 acted sincerely and honorably when you made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house and have done to him as his deeds deserved -- " 17 For my father fought for you, jeopardized his life, and rescued you from the hand of Midian; 18 And you have risen up against my father's house this day and have slain his sons, seventy men, on one stone and have made Abimelech, son of his maidservant, king over the people of Shechem because he is your kinsman -- " 19 If you then have acted sincerely and honorably with Jerubbaal and 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 Beth-millo, and let fire come out from the people of Shechem and Beth-millo and devour Abimelech. 21 And Jotham ran away and fled, and went to Beer and dwelt there for fear of Abimelech his brother.
Shechem and Abimelech Fall
22 Abimelech reigned three years over Israel. 23 And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem, and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 That the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and that their blood might be laid upon Abimelech their brother, who slew them, and upon the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to slay his brothers. 25 And the men of Shechem set men in ambush against [Abimelech] on the mountaintops, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was told to Abimelech.
26 And Gaal son of Ebed came with his kinsmen and moved into Shechem, and the men of Shechem put confidence in him. 27 And they went out into the field, gathered their vineyard fruits and trod them, and held a festival; and going into the house of their god, they ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. 28 Gaal son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who are we of Shechem, that we should serve him? Were not the son of Jerubbaal and Zebul, his officer, servants of the men of Hamor the father and founder of Shechem? Then why should we serve him? 29 Would that this people were under my hand! Then would I remove Abimelech and say to him, Increase your army and come out.
30 When Zebul the city's mayor heard the words of Gaal son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech slyly, saying, Behold, Gaal son of Ebed and his kinsmen have come to Shechem; and behold, they stir up the city to rise against you. 32 Now therefore, rise up by night, you and the men with you, and lie in wait in the field. 33 Then in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, rise early and set upon the city; and when Gaal and the men with him come out against you, do to them as opportunity permits.
34 And Abimelech rose up by night, and all the men with him, and they laid in wait against Shechem in four companies. 35 And Gaal son of Ebed came out and stood in the entrance of the city's gate. Then Abimelech and the men with him rose up from ambush. 36 When Gaal saw the men, he said to Zebul, Look, men are coming down from the mountaintops! Zebul said to him, The shadow of the mountains looks to you like men. 37 And Gaal spoke again and said, See, men are coming down from the center of the land, and one company is coming from the direction of the oak of Meonenim [the sorcerers]. 38 Then said Zebul to Gaal, Where is your [big] mouth now, you who said, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? Are not these the men whom you have despised? Go out now and fight with them. 39 And Gaal went out ahead of the men of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him; and many fell wounded -- "even to the entrance of the gate. 41 And Abimelech lodged at Arumah, and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his kinsmen so that they could not live in Shechem.
42 The next day the men went out into the fields, and Abimelech was told. 43 He took his 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 with him rushed forward and stood in the entrance of the city's gate, while the two other companies rushed upon all who were in the field and slew them. 45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He took the city and slew the people who were in it. He demolished the city and sowed it with salt.
46 And when all the men of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the house of El-berith [the god of Berith]. 47 Abimelech was told that all the people of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 And Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the men with him; and Abimelech took an ax in his hand and cut down a bundle of brush, picked it up, and laid it on his shoulder. And he said to the men with him, What you have seen me do, make haste to do also. 49 So each of the men cut down his bundle and following Abimelech put it against the stronghold and set [the stronghold] on fire over the people in it, 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 took it. 51 But there was a strong tower in the city, and all the people of the city -- "men and women -- "fled to it, shut themselves in, and went to the roof of the tower. 52 And Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it and drew near the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 But a certain woman cast an upper millstone [down] upon Abimelech's head and broke his skull. 54 Then he called hastily to the young man, his armor-bearer, and said to him, Draw your sword and slay me, so that men may not say of me, A woman 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 each man to his home. 56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech which he had done to his father [Gideon] by slaying his seventy brothers; 57 And all the wickedness of the men of Shechem God repaid upon their heads and caused to come upon them the curse of Jotham son of Jerubbaal.