World 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 men 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." 3His mother's brothers spoke of him in the ears of all the men 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. 6All the men of Shechem assembled themselves together, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar that was in Shechem.
7When 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 men 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 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 have 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 men 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 in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: 20but if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech." 21Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and lived there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
Gaal Conspires with the Shechemites
22Abimelech was prince over Israel three years. 23God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men 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. 25The men 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 Abimelech.
26Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and went over to Shechem; and the men 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." He said 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 craftily, saying, "Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers are come to Shechem; and behold, they constrain the city [to take part] against you. 32Now therefore, go 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 behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then may you do to them as you shall find occasion."
Abimelech Sows the City with Salt
34Abimelech rose up, and all the people who were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies. 35Gaal 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, "Behold, people are 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, "Behold, people are coming down by the middle of the land, and one company comes by the way of the oak of Meonenim." 38Then Zebul said to him, "Now where is your mouth, that you said, 'Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?' Isn't this the people that you have despised? Please go out now and fight with them." 39Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. 40Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many fell wounded, even to the entrance of the gate. 41Abimelech lived at Arumah: and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, that they should 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 laid wait in the field; and he looked, and behold, 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 on 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 therein: and he beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.
46When all the men of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered into the stronghold of the house of Elberith. 47It was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48Abimelech 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 bough 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, make haste, and do as I have done!" 49All the people likewise each cut down his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them at the base of the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire on them; so that all the people of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.
A Millstone Dropped on Abimelech
50Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. 51But there was a strong tower within the city, and there fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut themselves in, and went 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 cast an upper millstone on Abimelech's head, and broke his skull. 54Then he called hastily 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.' His 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.
Jotham's Curse Fulfilled
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 requite on their heads: and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.
The World English Bible is a 1997 revision of the American Standard Version of the Holy Bible, first published in 1901. It is in the Public Domain. Please feel free to copy and distribute it freely. Thank you to Michael Paul Johnson for making this work available. For the latest information, to report corrections, or for other correspondence, visit www.ebible.org.
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