Judges 9
The Scriptures (ISR 1998)

1And Aḇimeleḵ son of Yerubba‛al went to Sheḵem, to his mother’s brothers, and spoke with them and with all the clan of the house of his mother’s father, saying,

2“Please speak in the hearing of all the masters of Sheḵem, ‘Which is better for you, that seventy men, all the sons of Yerubba‛al rule over you, or that one man rule over you?’ And you shall remember that I am your own flesh and bone.”

3And his mother’s brothers spoke all these words concerning him in the hearing of all the masters of Sheḵem. And their heart inclined toward Aḇimeleḵ, for they said, “He is our brother.”

4And they gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of Ba‛al-Berith, with which Aḇimeleḵ hired worthless and reckless men. And they followed him.

5And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and slew his brothers, the seventy sons of Yerubba‛al, on one stone. But Yotham the youngest son of Yerubba‛al was left, because he hid himself.

6And all the masters of Sheḵem gathered together, and all of Bĕyth Millo, and they went and made Aḇimeleḵ sovereign beside the terebinth tree at the post that was in Sheḵem.

7And they informed Yotham, and he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and cried out, and said to them, “Hear me, you masters of Sheḵem, and let Elohim hear you!

8“The trees went forth to anoint a sovereign over them. And they said to the olive tree, ‘reign over us!’

9“And the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my oil, with which they esteem mighty ones and men, and go to sway over trees?’

10“Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come, reign over us!’

11“And the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to sway over trees?’

12“Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come, reign over us!’

13“And the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which rejoices mighty ones and men, and go to sway over trees?’

14“Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘Come, reign over us!’

15“And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you anoint me as sovereign over you, come, take shelter in my shade. But if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Leḇanon!’

16“And now, if you have acted in truth and integrity in setting up Aḇimeleḵ to reign, and if you have acted well with Yerubba‛al and his house, and have done to him as his hands did to you –

17for my father fought for you and risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Miḏyan,

18but you have risen up against my father’s house today, and slew his seventy sons on one stone, and set up Aḇimeleḵ, the son of his female servant, to reign over the masters of Sheḵem, because he is your brother –

19if then you have acted in truth and integrity with Yerubba‛al and with his house this day, then rejoice in Aḇimeleḵ, and let him also rejoice in you.

20“But if not, let fire come out from Aḇimeleḵ and devour the masters of Sheḵem and Bĕyth Millo, and let fire come out from the masters of Sheḵem and from Bĕyth Millo and devour Aḇimeleḵ!”

21Then Yotham ran away and fled, and he went to Be’ĕr and dwelt there, for fear of Aḇimeleḵ his brother.

22And Aḇimeleḵ governed Yisra’ĕl three years,

23and Elohim sent an evil spirit between Aḇimeleḵ and the masters of Sheḵem. And the masters of Sheḵem acted treacherously against Aḇimeleḵ,

24in order that the violence done to the seventy sons of Yerubba‛al might come, and their blood be laid on Aḇimeleḵ their brother, who slew them, and on the masters of Sheḵem, who strengthened his hands to slay his brothers.

25And the masters of Sheḵem set men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who passed over by them along that way. And it was reported to Aḇimeleḵ.

26And Ga‛al son of Eḇeḏ came with his brothers and passed over to Sheḵem. And the masters of Sheḵem put their trust in him,

27and went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards and trod out, and held a feast. And they went into the house of their mighty one, and ate and drank, and cursed Aḇimeleḵ.

28And Ga‛al son of Eḇeḏ said, “Who is Aḇimeleḵ, and who is Sheḵem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Yerubba‛al, and is not Zeḇul his officer? Serve the men of Ḥamor the father of Sheḵem! But why should we serve him?

29“If only this people were under my hand! Then I would remove Aḇimeleḵ.” And he said to Aḇimeleḵ, “Increase your army and come out!”

30And when Zeḇul, the governor of the city, heard the words of Ga‛al son of Eḇeḏ, his displeasure burned.

31And he sent messengers to Aḇimeleḵ by deceit, saying, “See, Ga‛al son of Eḇeḏ and his brothers have come to Sheḵem. And see, they are besieging the city against you.

32“And now, get up by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field.

33“And it shall be, as soon as the sun is up in the morning, then rise early and rush upon the city. And see, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you shall do to them as your hand finds to do.”

34And Aḇimeleḵ and all the people who were with him rose up by night, and laid in wait against Sheḵem in four companies.

35Now Ga‛al son of Eḇeḏ went out and stood in the entrance to the city gate, and Aḇimeleḵ and the people who were with him rose from lying in wait.

36And when Ga‛al saw the people, he said to Zeḇul, “See, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!” But Zeḇul said to him, “You are seeing the shadows of the mountains like men.”

37And Ga‛al spoke again and said, “See, people are coming down from the high part of the land, and another company is coming from the Diviners’ Terebinth Tree.”

38And Zeḇul said to him, “Now where is your mouth with which you said, ‘Who is Aḇimeleḵ, that we should serve him?’ Are not these the people whom you despised? I beg you, go out and fight them now.”

39So Ga‛al went out, leading the masters of Sheḵem, and fought Aḇimeleḵ.

40And Aḇimeleḵ pursued him, and he fled from him. And many fell wounded, up to the entrance of the gate.

41And Aḇimeleḵ stayed at Arumah, and Zeḇul drove out Ga‛al and his brothers, so that they would not dwell in Sheḵem.

42And it came to be the next day that the people went out into the field, and they informed Aḇimeleḵ.

43And he took his people, and divided them into three companies, and laid in wait in the field, and looked and saw the people coming out of the city. And he rose against them and smote them.

44And Aḇimeleḵ and the company that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city. And the other two companies rushed upon all who were in the fields and smote them.

45And Aḇimeleḵ fought against the city all that day, and captured the city and slew the people who were in it. And he broke down the city and sowed it with salt.

46And all the masters of the tower of Sheḵem had heard that, and entered the stronghold of the house of Ěl Berith.

47And it was reported to Aḇimeleḵ that all the masters of the tower of Sheḵem were gathered together.

48So Aḇimeleḵ went up to Mount Tsalmon, he and all the people who were with him. And Aḇimeleḵ took an axe in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees, and took it and laid it on his shoulder. Then he said to the people who were with him, “What you have seen me do, hurry, do as I have done.”

49And all the people likewise cut down each one his own branch and followed Aḇimeleḵ, and put them against the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire above them, so that all the men of the tower of Sheḵem died, about a thousand men and women.

50Aḇimeleḵ then went to Thĕḇĕts, and he encamped against Thĕḇĕts and captured it.

51However, there was a strong tower in the city, and all the men and women and all the masters of the city fled there and shut themselves in, and went up to the top of the tower.

52And Aḇimeleḵ came to the tower and fought against it, and approached the door of the tower to burn it with fire.

53But a certain woman dropped an upper millstone on the head of Aḇimeleḵ, and crushed his skull.

54He then immediately called the young man, his armour-bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest men say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

55And when the men of Yisra’ĕl saw that Aḇimeleḵ was dead, each one went to his own place.

56Thus did Elohim repay the evil of Aḇimeleḵ, which he had done to his father to slay his seventy brothers.

57And all the evil of the men of Sheḵem Elohim turned back on their own heads, and the curse of Yotham son of Yerubba‛al came on them.

Judges 8
Top of Page
Top of Page