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Judges 9:1-57

9  And Abimelec the son of Jerubbaal went to his mother’s brothers in Shekem and talked to them and to all the clan of his mother’s family, telling them 2  “Say publicly to the citizens of Shekem ‘Which is better for you, to have seventy men rule over you, the whole company of Jerubbaal’s sons, or to have one man rule over you? and remember that I am your own flesh and blood.’” 3  And his mother’s brothers said all these things to the citizens of Shekem on his behalf, and they were disposed to second Abimelec, because they said “He is our brother”; 4  and they gave him seventy shekels of silver out of the temple of Baal-berith, with which he hired a set of reckless riffraff who went behind him. 5  And he came to his father’s house at Ghophrah and killed his brothers, Jerubbaal’s sons, seventy men on one stone; but Jerubbaal’s youngest son Jotham survived, because he hid. 6  And all the citizens of Shekem and all the house of Millo came together and went and made Abimelec king by the Obelisk Oak at Shekem. 7  And people told Jotham, and he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizzim and raised his voice and cried out to them “Listen to me, citizens of Shekem, that God may listen to you. 8  “The trees went to anoint a king over them, and said to the olive ‘Reign over us’; 9**  but the olive said to them ‘Leave off my fatness, I by whom they honor gods and men, and go to sway over the trees?’ 10  And the trees said to the fig ‘Come, do you reign over us’; 11  but the fig said to them ‘Leave off my sweetness and my good crops and go to sway over the trees?’ 12  And the trees said to the grapevine ‘Come, do you reign over us’; 13*  but the grapevine said to them ‘Leave off my juice that gladdens gods and men, and go to sway over the trees?’ 14  And all the trees said to the thornbush ‘Come, do you reign over us’; 15*  but the thornbush said to the trees ‘If you are anointing me king over you loyally, come take shelter in my shadow; but if not, let fire go out from the thornbush to devour the cedars of the Lebanon.’ 16  “And now, if you have acted loyally and honestly in making Abimelec king, and if you have done well by Jerubbaal and his family, and if you have done to him as he deserved, 17*  when my father had fought for you and taken his life in his hand and delivered you out of the hands of the Midianites, 18  and you have stood up against my father’s family today and killed his sons, seventy men on one stone, and made his slave-girl’s son Abimelec king over the citizens of Shekem because he is your brother,— 19  if you have done loyally and honestly by Jerubbaal and his family this day, have joy of Abimelec and may he have joy of you too; 20*  but if not, let fire go out from Abimelec to devour the citizens of Shekem and the house of Millo, and let fire go out from the citizens of Shekem and the house of Millo to devour Abimelec.” 21  And Jotham made his escape and fled away, and went to Beer and lived there for fear of his brother Abimelec. 22  And Abimelec held dominion over Israel for three years. 23  And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelec and the citizens of Shekem, and the citizens of Shekem played Abimelec false, 24*  that the outrage committed upon the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come home, and their blood to lay on their brother Abimelec who had killed them and on the citizens of Shekem who had backed him in killing his brothers. 25  And the citizens of Shekem laid him ambushes on the mountaintops and robbed everybody who passed by them on the road; and Abimelec was told of it. 26*  And Goʽal the son of ʽObed and his brothers came and moved into Shekem, and the citizens of Shekem relied on him. 27  And they went out in the country and harvested their vineyards and trod the grapes; and they held a thanksgiving and went to the house of their god and ate and drank and cursed Abimelec, 28  and Goʽal the son of ʽObed said “Who is Abimelec and who is Shekem, that we are to be subject to him? why, the son of Jerubbaal and his deputy Zebul were subject to the men of Hamor the father of Shekem, and how comes it we are to be subject to him? 29  I wish I had this people in my hands, and I would put Abimelec down!” and to Abimelec he said “Raise your largest levy and come out!” 30  And Zebul the captain of the city heard the words of Goʽal the son of ʽObed, and was angry; 31*  and he sent messengers to Abimelec at Bathram with the message “Here are Goʽal the son of ʽObed and his brothers coming into Shekem; and they are making the city hostile to you. 32  Now make a night start, you and the people you have with you, and lie in ambush in the field; 33  and the first thing in the morning, at sunrise, make a dash at the city. He and the people he has with him will be coming out to meet you, and you will do with him as you find opportunity.” 34  And Abimelec and all the people he had with him made a night start and lay in ambush against Shekem in four columns. 35  And Goʽal the son of ʽObed went out and stood at the gate of the city; and Abimelec and the people he had with him started from their place of ambush, 36  and Goʽal saw the people and said to Zebul “There is a body of people coming down from the mountaintops”; and Zebul said to him “The shadows of the mountains look to you like men.” 37  And Goʽal spoke once more, and said “There are people coming down from by the Land’s Navel, and one column is coming from toward Fortune-Tellers’ Oak.” 38  And Zebul said to him “Where on earth is that mouth of yours, the way you used to say ‘Who is Abimelec that we are to be subject to him?’ Are not these the people you did not care for? now go out and fight them!” 39  And Goʽal went out at the head of the citizens of Shekem and fought Abimelec; 40  and Abimelec routed him, and he fled before him, and many fell killed, up to the gate. 41  And Abimelec remained at Arumah, and Zebul ejected Goʽal and his brothers from quartering in Shekem. 42  And the next day the people went out to the field, and Abimelec was told of it. 43  And he took the people and divided them into three columns and lay in ambush in the field; and he saw when the people came out of the city, and started up and struck them, 44  Abimelec and the column he had with him making a dash and standing at the gate of the city, and the two columns dashing upon all who were in they field and striking them. 45  And Abimelec attacked the city all that day, and took the city, and killed the people in it, and pulled down the city and sowed it with salt. 46  And all the citizens of Shekem Tower heard of it, and went into the vault of the house of El-berith; 47  and Abimelec was told that all the citizens of Shekem Tower had gathered. 48**  And Abimelec went up on Mount Salmon, he and all the people he had with him; and Abimelec took an ax in his hand and cut a bush of wood, and took it up and put it on his shoulder, and said to the people he had with him “I have done what you saw; be quick and do like me.” 49*  And the people too all cut a bush each, and, following Abimelec, went and laid them against the vault and set the vault on fire over the people in it; so all the men of Shekem Tower too came to their death, about a thousand men and women. 50  And Abimelec went to Tebes, and camped at Tebes and took it. 51  And there was a strong tower in the middle of the city; and all the men and women, and all the citizens of the city, fled to that and locked themselves in, and went up on the roof of the tower. 52  And Abimelec came to the tower and attacked it, and approached the doorway of the tower to burn it. 53*  But one woman threw a quern-stone on Abimelec’s head and cracked his skull; 54  and he cried in haste to his squire “Draw your sword and give me my death-stroke, that it may not be said of me ‘a woman killed him’”; and his man ran him through, so that he died. 55  And the men of Israel saw that Abimelec was dead, and went home to their places. 56  So God sent back Abimelec’s mischief that he had done to his father in killing his seventy brothers, 57  and the mischief of the men of Shekem God sent back on their own heads, and the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal came upon them.

Footnotes

9:9 Var. fatness, by which
9:9 Or honor God
9:13 Or gladdens God
9:15 Or fire will go out
9:17 Lit. thrown his life in front of him
9:20 (in two places) Or fire will go out
9:24 Conj. and that their blood might come back on
9:26 Unc.; the words would ordinarily be translated passed through Shekem
9:31 The name of the place is uncertain, and whether it is the name of a place at all or some such word as clandestinely
9:48 Salmon means Heavy-Shade
9:48 Var. axes
9:49 Lit. over them
9:53 Lit. a riding-piece, that is, the upper stone of a quern