New Heart English Bible
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, 2"Please speak in the ears of all the lords of Shechem, 'Is it 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.'" 3And his mother's brothers spoke of him in the ears of all the lords 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. 6And all the lords of Shechem assembled themselves together, and all Beth Millo, and went and made Abimelech king by the oak which is found at the pillar in Shechem.
7And when 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 lords 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.' 9"But 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?' 10"The trees said to the fig tree, '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 back and forth over the trees?' 12"The trees said to the vine, 'Come, and reign over us.' 13"The 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?' 14"Then all the trees said to the bramble, 'Come, and reign over us.' 15"The 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.'
16"Now 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 17(for my father fought for you, and risked 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 lords 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 lords of Shechem, and Beth Millo; and let fire come out from the lords of Shechem, and from Beth Millo, and devour Abimelech." 21And Jotham escaped and fled and went to Beer and lived there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
22Abimelech was prince over Israel three years. 23And God sent a spirit of hostility between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem; and the lords of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: 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. 25And the lords 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 to Abimelech.
26And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and went over to Shechem; and the lords 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 the men of Hamor the father of Shechem. But why should we serve him? 29Would that this people were under my hand. Then I would remove Abimelech. I would say 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. 31He sent messengers to Abimelech in (Arumah), saying, "Look, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers are come to Shechem; and look, they constrain the city to take part against you. 32Now therefore, rise 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 look, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then do whatever you can to them."
34Abimelech rose up, and all the people who were with him, by night, and they lay in wait against Shechem in four companies. 35And it happened early in the morning that Gaal 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. 36When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, "Look, there are people coming 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, "Look, there are people coming down by the central part of the land, and one company comes by the way of the Diviners' Oak." 38Then Zebul said 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? Please go out now and fight with them." 39And Gaal went out before the lords 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 of the city. 41And Abimelech returned to Arumah; and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, so that they could not dwell in Shechem.
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 waited in ambush in the field; and he looked, and look, the people came forth out of the city. He rose up against them, and struck them. 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 against all who were in the field, and struck them. 45Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and killed the people who were in it. And he destroyed the city, and sowed it with salt.
46And when all the lords of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered into the stronghold of the house of El Berith. 47Ant it was told Abimelech that all the lords of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48So Abimelech went 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 branch 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, do quickly, and do as I have done." 49All the people likewise cut down his branch and followed Abimelech, and put them on 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 Abimelech went to Thebez, and camped against Thebez, and took it. 51But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women fled, and all the lords of the city, and shut themselves in, and got them up to the roof of the tower. 52Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53A certain woman threw down an upper millstone on Abimelech's head, and broke his skull. 54Then he called quickly 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.'" So the 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 return on their heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.