Judges 9:1-57

Judges 9:1-2-56-57 The Message (MSG)

Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal went to Shechem to his uncles and all his mother’s relatives and said to them, “Ask all the leading men of Shechem, ‘What do you think is best, that seventy men rule you—all those sons of Jerub-Baal—or that one man rule? You’ll remember that I am your own flesh and blood.’” His mother’s relatives reported the proposal to the leaders of Shechem. They were inclined to take Abimelech. “Because,” they said, “he is, after all, one of us.” They gave him seventy silver pieces from the shrine of Baal-of-the-Covenant. With the money he hired some reckless riffraff soldiers and they followed along after him. He went to his father’s house in Ophrah and killed his half brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal—seventy men! And on one stone! The youngest, Jotham son of Jerub-Baal, managed to hide, the only survivor. Then all the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered at the Oak by the Standing Stone at Shechem and crowned Abimelech king. When this was all told to Jotham, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim, raised his voice, and shouted: Listen to me, leaders of Shechem. And let God listen to you! The trees set out one day to anoint a king for themselves. They said to Olive Tree, “Rule over us.” But Olive Tree told them, “Am I no longer good for making oil That gives glory to gods and men, and to be demoted to waving over trees?” The trees then said to Fig Tree, “You come and rule over us.” But Fig Tree said to them, “Am I no longer good for making sweets, My mouthwatering sweet fruits, and to be demoted to waving over trees?” The trees then said to Vine, “You come and rule over us.” But Vine said to them, “Am I no longer good for making wine, Wine that cheers gods and men, and to be demoted to waving over trees?” All the trees then said to Tumbleweed, “You come and reign over us.” But Tumbleweed said to the trees: “If you’re serious about making me your king, Come and find shelter in my shade. But if not, let fire shoot from Tumbleweed and burn down the cedars of Lebanon!” “Now listen: Do you think you did a right and honorable thing when you made Abimelech king? Do you think you treated Jerub-Baal and his family well, did for him what he deserved? My father fought for you, risked his own life, and rescued you from Midian’s tyranny, and you have, just now, betrayed him. You massacred his sons—seventy men on a single stone! You made Abimelech, the son by his maidservant, king over Shechem’s leaders because he’s your relative. If you think that this is an honest day’s work, this way you have treated Jerub-Baal today, then enjoy Abimelech and let him enjoy you. But if not, let fire break from Abimelech and burn up the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo. And let fire break from the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo and burn up Abimelech.” And Jotham fled. He ran for his life. He went to Beer and settled down there, because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech. * * * Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. Then God brought bad blood between Abimelech and Shechem’s leaders, who now worked treacherously behind his back. Violence boomeranged: The murderous violence that killed the seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal, was now loose among Abimelech and Shechem’s leaders, who had supported the violence. To undermine Abimelech, Shechem’s leaders put men in ambush on the mountain passes who robbed travelers on those roads. And Abimelech was told. At that time Gaal son of Ebed arrived with his relatives and moved into Shechem. The leaders of Shechem trusted him. One day they went out into the fields, gathered grapes in the vineyards, and trod them in the winepress. Then they held a celebration in their god’s temple, a feast, eating and drinking. And then they started putting down Abimelech. Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is this Abimelech? And who are we Shechemites to take orders from him? Isn’t he the son of Jerub-Baal, and isn’t this his henchman Zebul? We belong to the race of Hamor and bear the noble name of Shechem. Why should we be toadies of Abimelech? If I were in charge of this people, the first thing I’d do is get rid of Abimelech! I’d say, ‘Show me your stuff, Abimelech— let’s see who’s boss here!’” Zebul, governor of the city, heard what Gaal son of Ebed was saying and got angry. Secretly he sent messengers to Abimelech with the message, “Gaal son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem and are stirring up trouble against you. Here’s what you do: Tonight bring your troops and wait in ambush in the field. In the morning, as soon as the sun breaks, get moving and charge the city. Gaal and his troops will come out to you, and you’ll know what to do next.” Abimelech and his troops, four companies of them, went up that night and waited in ambush approaching Shechem. Gaal son of Ebed had gotten up and was standing in the city gate. Abimelech and his troops left their cover. When Gaal saw them he said to Zebul, “Look at that, people coming down from the tops of the mountains!” Zebul said, “That’s nothing but mountain shadows; they just look like men.” Gaal kept chattering away. Then he said again, “Look at the troops coming down off Tabbur-erez (the Navel of the World)—and one company coming straight from the Oracle Oak.” Zebul said, “Where is that big mouth of yours now? You who said, ‘And who is Abimelech that we should take orders from him?’ Well, there he is with the troops you ridiculed. Here’s your chance. Fight away!” Gaal went out, backed by the leaders of Shechem, and did battle with Abimelech. Abimelech chased him, and Gaal turned tail and ran. Many fell wounded, right up to the city gate. Abimelech set up his field headquarters at Arumah while Zebul kept Gaal and his relatives out of Shechem. * * * The next day the people went out to the fields. This was reported to Abimelech. He took his troops, divided them into three companies, and placed them in ambush in the fields. When he saw that the people were well out in the open, he sprang up and attacked them. Abimelech and the company with him charged ahead and took control of the entrance to the city gate; the other two companies chased down those who were in the open fields and killed them. Abimelech fought at the city all that day. He captured the city and massacred everyone in it. He leveled the city to the ground, then sowed it with salt. When the leaders connected with Shechem’s Tower heard this, they went into the fortified God-of-the-Covenant temple. This was reported to Abimelech that the Shechem’s Tower bunch were gathered together. He and his troops climbed Mount Zalmon (Dark Mountain). Abimelech took his ax and chopped a bundle of firewood, picked it up, and put it on his shoulder. He said to his troops, “Do what you’ve seen me do, and quickly.” So each of his men cut his own bundle. They followed Abimelech, piled their bundles against the Tower fortifications, and set the whole structure on fire. Everyone in Shechem’s Tower died, about a thousand men and women. Abimelech went on to Thebez. He camped at Thebez and captured it. The Tower-of-Strength stood in the middle of the city; all the men and women of the city along with the city’s leaders had fled there and locked themselves in. They were up on the tower roof. Abimelech got as far as the tower and assaulted it. He came up to the tower door to set it on fire. Just then some woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and crushed his skull. He called urgently to his young armor bearer and said, “Draw your sword and kill me so they can’t say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” His armor bearer drove in his sword, and Abimelech died. When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they went home. * * * God avenged the evil Abimelech had done to his father, murdering his seventy brothers. And God brought down on the heads of the men of Shechem all the evil that they had done, the curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal.

Judges 9:1-57 New American Standard Bible - NASB 1995 (NASB1995)

And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s relatives, and spoke to them and to the whole clan of the household of his mother’s father, saying, “Speak, now, in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that seventy men, all the sons of Jerubbaal, rule over you, or that one man rule over you?’ Also, remember that I am your bone and your flesh.” And his mother’s relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem; and they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our relative.” They gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, and they followed him. Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself. All the men of Shechem and all Beth-millo assembled together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar which was in Shechem. Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and called out. Thus he said to them, “Listen to me, O men of Shechem, that God may listen to you. Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come, reign over us!’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come, reign over us!’ But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?’ Finally all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come, reign over us!’ The bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.’ “Now therefore, if you have dealt in truth and integrity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have dealt with him as he deserved— for my father fought for you and risked his life and delivered you from the hand of Midian; but you have risen against my father’s house today and have killed his sons, seventy men, on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your relative— if then you have dealt in truth and integrity with Jerubbaal and his house this day, rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume the men of Shechem and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem and from Beth-millo, and consume Abimelech.” Then Jotham escaped and fled, and went to Beer and remained there because of Abimelech his brother. Now Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, so that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and 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. The men of Shechem set men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who might pass by them along the road; and it was told to Abimelech. Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his relatives, and crossed over into Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their trust in him. They went out into the field and gathered the grapes of their vineyards and trod them, and held a festival; and they went into the house of their god, and ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. Then Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is Zebul not his lieutenant? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? Would, therefore, that this people were under my authority! Then I would remove Abimelech.” And he said to Abimelech, “Increase your army and come out.” When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger burned. He sent messengers to Abimelech deceitfully, saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem; and behold, they are stirring up the city against you. Now therefore, arise by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field. In the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early and rush upon the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you shall do to them whatever you can.” So Abimelech and all the people who were with him arose by night and lay in wait against Shechem in four companies. Now Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the city gate; and Abimelech and the people who were with him arose from the ambush. When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains.” But Zebul said to him, “You are seeing the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.” Gaal spoke again and said, “Behold, people are coming down from the highest part of the land, and one company comes by the way of the diviners’ oak.” Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your boasting now with which you said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Is this not the people whom you despised? Go out now and fight with them!” So Gaal went out before the leaders of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him; and many fell wounded up to the entrance of the gate. Then Abimelech remained at Arumah, but Zebul drove out Gaal and his relatives so that they could not remain in Shechem. Now it came about the next day, that the people went out to the field, and it was told to Abimelech. So he took his people and divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the field; when he looked and saw the people coming out from the city, he arose against them and slew them. Then Abimelech and the company who was with him dashed forward and stood in the entrance of the city gate; the other two companies then dashed against all who were in the field and slew them. Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and he captured the city and killed the people who were in it; then he razed the city and sowed it with salt. When all the leaders of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the inner chamber of the temple of El-berith. It was told Abimelech that all the leaders of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. So 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 lifted it and laid it on his shoulder. Then he said to the people who were with him, “What you have seen me do, hurry and do likewise.” All the people also cut down each one his branch and followed Abimelech, and put them on the inner chamber and set the inner chamber on fire over those inside, so that all the men of the tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women. Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and he camped against Thebez and captured it. But there was a strong tower in the center of the city, and all the men and women with all the leaders of the city fled there and shut themselves in; and they went up on the roof of the tower. So Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it, and approached the entrance of the tower to burn it with fire. But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. Then he called quickly to the young man, his armor bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that it will not be said of me, ‘A woman slew him.’ ” So the young man pierced him through, and he died. When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each departed to his home. Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father in killing his seventy brothers. Also God returned all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal came upon them.

Judges 9:1-57 New Living Translation (NLT)

One day Gideon’s son Abimelech went to Shechem to visit his uncles—his mother’s brothers. He said to them and to the rest of his mother’s family, “Ask the leading citizens of Shechem whether they want to be ruled by all seventy of Gideon’s sons or by one man. And remember that I am your own flesh and blood!” So Abimelech’s uncles gave his message to all the citizens of Shechem on his behalf. And after listening to this proposal, the people of Shechem decided in favor of Abimelech because he was their relative. They gave him seventy silver coins from the temple of Baal-berith, which he used to hire some reckless troublemakers who agreed to follow him. He went to his father’s home at Ophrah, and there, on one stone, they killed all seventy of his half brothers, the sons of Gideon. But the youngest brother, Jotham, escaped and hid. Then all the leading citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo called a meeting under the oak beside the pillar at Shechem and made Abimelech their king. When Jotham heard about this, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem! Listen to me if you want God to listen to you! Once upon a time the trees decided to choose a king. First they said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king!’ But the olive tree refused, saying, ‘Should I quit producing the olive oil that blesses both God and people, just to wave back and forth over the trees?’ “Then they said to the fig tree, ‘You be our king!’ But the fig tree also refused, saying, ‘Should I quit producing my sweet fruit just to wave back and forth over the trees?’ “Then they said to the grapevine, ‘You be our king!’ But the grapevine also refused, saying, ‘Should I quit producing the wine that cheers both God and people, just to wave back and forth over the trees?’ “Then all the trees finally turned to the thornbush and said, ‘Come, you be our king!’ And the thornbush replied to the trees, ‘If you truly want to make me your king, come and take shelter in my shade. If not, let fire come out from me and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’” Jotham continued, “Now make sure you have acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelech your king, and that you have done right by Gideon and all of his descendants. Have you treated him with the honor he deserves for all he accomplished? For he fought for you and risked his life when he rescued you from the Midianites. But today you have revolted against my father and his descendants, killing his seventy sons on one stone. And you have chosen his slave woman’s son, Abimelech, to be your king just because he is your relative. “If you have acted honorably and in good faith toward Gideon and his descendants today, then may you find joy in Abimelech, and may he find joy in you. But if you have not acted in good faith, then may fire come out from Abimelech and devour the leading citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo; and may fire come out from the citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo and devour Abimelech!” Then Jotham escaped and lived in Beer because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech. After Abimelech had ruled over Israel for three years, God sent a spirit that stirred up trouble between Abimelech and the leading citizens of Shechem, and they revolted. God was punishing Abimelech for murdering Gideon’s seventy sons, and the citizens of Shechem for supporting him in this treachery of murdering his brothers. The citizens of Shechem set an ambush for Abimelech on the hilltops and robbed everyone who passed that way. But someone warned Abimelech about their plot. One day Gaal son of Ebed moved to Shechem with his brothers and gained the confidence of the leading citizens of Shechem. During the annual harvest festival at Shechem, held in the temple of the local god, the wine flowed freely, and everyone began cursing Abimelech. “Who is Abimelech?” Gaal shouted. “He’s not a true son of Shechem, so why should we be his servants? He’s merely the son of Gideon, and this Zebul is merely his deputy. Serve the true sons of Hamor, the founder of Shechem. Why should we serve Abimelech? If I were in charge here, I would get rid of Abimelech. I would say to him, ‘Get some soldiers, and come out and fight!’” But when Zebul, the leader of the city, heard what Gaal was saying, he was furious. He sent messengers to Abimelech in Arumah, telling him, “Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to live in Shechem, and now they are inciting the city to rebel against you. Come by night with an army and hide out in the fields. In the morning, as soon as it is daylight, attack the city. When Gaal and those who are with him come out against you, you can do with them as you wish.” So Abimelech and all his men went by night and split into four groups, stationing themselves around Shechem. Gaal was standing at the city gates when Abimelech and his army came out of hiding. When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, “Look, there are people coming down from the hilltops!” Zebul replied, “It’s just the shadows on the hills that look like men.” But again Gaal said, “No, people are coming down from the hills. And another group is coming down the road past the Diviners’ Oak.” Then Zebul turned on him and asked, “Now where is that big mouth of yours? Wasn’t it you that said, ‘Who is Abimelech, and why should we be his servants?’ The men you mocked are right outside the city! Go out and fight them!” So Gaal led the leading citizens of Shechem into battle against Abimelech. But Abimelech chased him, and many of Shechem’s men were wounded and fell along the road as they retreated to the city gate. Abimelech returned to Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem. The next day the people of Shechem went out into the fields to battle. When Abimelech heard about it, he divided his men into three groups and set an ambush in the fields. When Abimelech saw the people coming out of the city, he and his men jumped up from their hiding places and attacked them. Abimelech and his group stormed the city gate to keep the men of Shechem from getting back in, while Abimelech’s other two groups cut them down in the fields. The battle went on all day before Abimelech finally captured the city. He killed the people, leveled the city, and scattered salt all over the ground. When the leading citizens who lived in the tower of Shechem heard what had happened, they ran and hid in the temple of Baal-berith. Someone reported to Abimelech that the citizens had gathered in the temple, so he led his forces to Mount Zalmon. He took an ax and chopped some branches from a tree, then put them on his shoulder. “Quick, do as I have done!” he told his men. So each of them cut down some branches, following Abimelech’s example. They piled the branches against the walls of the temple and set them on fire. So all the people who had lived in the tower of Shechem died—about 1,000 men and women. Then Abimelech attacked the town of Thebez and captured it. But there was a strong tower inside the town, and all the men and women—the entire population—fled to it. They barricaded themselves in and climbed up to the roof of the tower. Abimelech followed them to attack the tower. But as he prepared to set fire to the entrance, a woman on the roof dropped a millstone that landed on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. He quickly said to his young armor bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me! Don’t let it be said that a woman killed Abimelech!” So the young man ran him through with his sword, and he died. When Abimelech’s men saw that he was dead, they disbanded and returned to their homes. In this way, God punished Abimelech for the evil he had done against his father by murdering his seventy brothers. God also punished the men of Shechem for all their evil. So the curse of Jotham son of Gideon was fulfilled.

Judges 9:1-57 King James Version (KJV)

And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh. And his mother's brethren spake 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. And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him. And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem. And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands; (for my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: and ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;) if ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: but 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. And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother. When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel, then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: that the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren. And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech. And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him. And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech. And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? is not he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serve him? And would to God this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out. And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. And he sent messengers unto Abimelech privily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brethren be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify the city against thee. Now therefore up by night, thou and the people that is with thee, and lie in wait in the field: and it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, thou shalt rise early, and set upon the city: and, behold, when he and the people that is with him come out against thee, then mayest thou do to them as thou shalt find occasion. And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies. And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people that were with him, from lying in wait. And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him, Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as if they were men. And Gaal spake again and said, See there come people down by the middle of the land, and another company come along by the plain of Meonenim. Then said Zebul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou hast despised? go out, I pray now, and fight with them. And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many were overthrown and wounded, even unto the entering of the gate. And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren, that they should not dwell in Shechem. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech. And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field, and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them. And Abimelech, and the company that was with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and the two other companies ran upon all the people that were in the fields, and slew them. And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt. And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that, they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith. And it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said unto the people that were with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done. And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women. Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower. And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull. Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place. Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: and all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

Judges 9:1-57 New Century Version (NCV)

Abimelech son of Gideon went to his uncles in the city of Shechem. He said to his uncles and all of his mother’s family group, “Ask the leaders of Shechem, ‘Is it better for the seventy sons of Gideon to rule over you or for one man to rule?’ Remember, I am your relative.” Abimelech’s uncles spoke to all the leaders of Shechem about this. And they decided to follow Abimelech, because they said, “He is our relative.” So the leaders of Shechem gave Abimelech about one and three-quarter pounds of silver from the temple of the god Baal-Berith. Abimelech used the silver to hire some worthless, reckless men, who followed him wherever he went. He went to Ophrah, the hometown of his father, and murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Gideon. He killed them all on one stone. But Gideon’s youngest son, Jotham, hid from Abimelech and escaped. Then all of the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree standing in Shechem. There they made Abimelech their king. When Jotham heard this, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim. He shouted to the people: “Listen to me, you leaders of Shechem, so that God will listen to you! One day the trees decided to appoint a king to rule over them. They said to the olive tree, ‘You be king over us!’ “But the olive tree said, ‘Men and gods are honored by my oil. Should I stop making it and go and sway over the other trees?’ “Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be king over us!’ “But the fig tree answered, ‘Should I stop making my sweet and good fruit and go and sway over the other trees?’ “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be king over us!’ “But the vine answered, ‘My new wine makes men and gods happy. Should I stop making it and go and sway over the trees?’ “Then all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be king over us.’ “But the thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to appoint me king over you, come and find shelter in my shade! But if not, let fire come out of the thornbush and burn up the cedars of Lebanon!’ “Now, were you completely honest and sincere when you made Abimelech king? Have you been fair to Gideon and his family? Have you treated Gideon as you should? Remember, my father fought for you and risked his life to save you from the power of the Midianites. But now you have turned against my father’s family and have killed his seventy sons on one stone. You have made Abimelech, the son of my father’s slave girl, king over the leaders of Shechem just because he is your relative! So then, if you have been honest and sincere to Gideon and his family today, be happy with Abimelech as your king. And may he be happy with you! But if not, may fire come out of Abimelech and completely burn you leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo! Also may fire come out of the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo and burn up Abimelech!” Then Jotham ran away and escaped to the city of Beer. He lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech. Abimelech ruled Israel for three years. Then God sent an evil spirit to make trouble between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem so that the leaders of Shechem turned against him. Abimelech had killed Gideon’s seventy sons, his own brothers, and the leaders of Shechem had helped him. So God sent the evil spirit to punish them. The leaders of Shechem were against Abimelech then. They put men on the hilltops in ambush who robbed everyone going by. And Abimelech was told. A man named Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers moved into Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem trusted him. They went out to the vineyards to pick grapes, and they squeezed the grapes. Then they had a feast in the temple of their god, where they ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. Gaal son of Ebed said, “We are the men of Shechem. Who is Abimelech that we should serve him? Isn’t he one of Gideon’s sons, and isn’t Zebul his officer? We should serve the men of Hamor, Shechem’s father. Why should we serve Abimelech? If you made me commander of these people, I would get rid of Abimelech. I would say to him, ‘Get your army ready and come out to battle.’ ” Now when Zebul, the ruler of Shechem, heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry. He sent secret messengers to Abimelech, saying, “Gaal son of Ebed and Gaal’s brothers have come to Shechem, and they are turning the city against you! You and your men should get up during the night and hide in the fields outside the city. As soon as the sun comes up in the morning, attack the city. When Gaal and his men come out to fight you, do what you can to them.” So Abimelech and all his soldiers got up during the night and hid near Shechem in four groups. Gaal son of Ebed went out and was standing at the entrance to the city gate. As he was standing there, Abimelech and his soldiers came out of their hiding places. When Gaal saw the soldiers, he said to Zebul, “Look! There are people coming down from the mountains!” But Zebul said, “You are seeing the shadows of the mountains. The shadows just look like people.” But again Gaal said, “Look, there are people coming down from the center of the land, and there is a group coming from the fortune-tellers’ tree!” Zebul said to Gaal, “Where is your bragging now? You said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ You made fun of these men. Now go out and fight them.” So Gaal led the men of Shechem out to fight Abimelech. Abimelech and his men chased them, and many of Gaal’s men were killed before they could get back to the city gate. While Abimelech stayed at Arumah, Zebul forced Gaal and his brothers to leave Shechem. The next day the people of Shechem went out to the fields. When Abimelech was told about it, he separated his men into three groups and hid them in the fields. When he saw the people coming out of the city, he jumped up and attacked them. Abimelech and his group ran to the entrance gate to the city. The other two groups ran out to the people in the fields and struck them down. Abimelech and his men fought the city of Shechem all day until they captured it and killed its people. Then he tore it down and threw salt over the ruins. When the leaders who were in the Tower of Shechem heard what had happened to Shechem, they gathered in the safest room of the temple of El Berith. Abimelech heard that all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem had gathered there. So he and all his men went up Mount Zalmon, near Shechem. Abimelech took an ax and cut some branches and put them on his shoulders. He said to all those with him, “Hurry! Do what I have done!” So all those men cut branches and followed Abimelech and piled them against the safest room of the temple. Then they set them on fire and burned the people inside. So all the people who were at the Tower of Shechem also died—about a thousand men and women. Then Abimelech went to the city of Thebez. He surrounded the city, attacked it, and captured it. But inside the city was a strong tower, so all the men, women, and leaders of that city ran to the tower. When they got inside, they locked the door behind them. Then they climbed up to the roof of the tower. Abimelech came to the tower to attack it. He approached the door of the tower to set it on fire, but as he came near, a woman dropped a grinding stone on his head, crushing his skull. He quickly called to the officer who carried his armor and said, “Take out your sword and kill me. I don’t want people to say, ‘A woman killed Abimelech.’ ” So the officer stabbed Abimelech, and he died. When the people of Israel saw Abimelech was dead, they all returned home. In that way God punished Abimelech for all the evil he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers. God also punished the men of Shechem for the evil they had done. So the curse spoken by Jotham, the youngest son of Gideon, came true.

Judges 9:1-57 American Standard Version (ASV)

And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother’s brethren, and spake with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother’s father, saying, Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, that all the sons of Jerubbaal, who are threescore and ten persons, rule over you, or that one rule over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh. And his mother’s brethren spake 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. And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light fellows, who followed him. And he went unto his father’s house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself. And all 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. And 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 unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive-tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive-tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honor God and man, and go to wave to and fro over the trees? And the trees said to the fig-tree, Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig-tree said unto them, Should I leave my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to wave to and fro over the trees? And the trees said unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my new wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to wave to and fro over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us. And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye 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. Now therefore, if ye have dealt truly and uprightly, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands (for my father fought for you, and adventured his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian: and ye are risen up against my father’s house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maid-servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother); if ye then have dealt truly and uprightly with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you: but 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. And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother. And Abimelech was prince over Israel three years. And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech: that the violence done to the threescore and ten 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 brethren. And the men of Shechem set liers-in-wait for him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech. And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their trust in him. And they 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. And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? is not he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? serve ye the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: but why should we serve him? And would that this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out. And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. And he sent messengers unto Abimelech craftily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brethren are come to Shechem; and, behold, they constrain the city to take part against thee. Now therefore, up by night, thou and the people that are with thee, and lie in wait in the field: and it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, thou shalt rise early, and rush upon the city; and, behold, when he and the people that are with him come out against thee, then mayest thou do to them as thou shalt find occasion. And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies. And 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 that were with him, from the ambushment. And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the tops of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him, Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as if they were men. And Gaal spake again and said, See, there come people down by the middle of the land, and one company cometh by the way of the oak of Meonenim. Then said Zebul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, that thou saidst, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou hast despised? go out now, I pray, and fight with them. And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and there fell many wounded, even unto the entrance of the gate. And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brethren, that they should not dwell in Shechem. And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech. And he 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; and he rose up against them, and smote them. And Abimelech, 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 upon all that were in the field, and smote them. And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that were therein: and he beat down the city, and sowed it with salt. And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard thereof, they entered into the stronghold of the house of Elberith. And it was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that 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 unto the people that were with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done. And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women. Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut themselves in, and gat them up to the roof of the tower. And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and drew near unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman cast an upper millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and brake his skull. Then he called hastily unto the young man his armorbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and kill me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place. Thus God requited the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren; and all the wickedness of the men of Shechem did God requite upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

Judges 9:1-57 New International Version (NIV)

Abimelek son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan, “Ask all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’ Remember, I am your flesh and blood.” When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelek, for they said, “He is related to us.” They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers. He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding. Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelek king. When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’ “But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’ “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’ “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’ “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’ “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’ “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’ “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’ “Have you acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Have you been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family? Have you treated him as he deserves? Remember that my father fought for you and risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian. But today you have revolted against my father’s family. You have murdered his seventy sons on a single stone and have made Abimelek, the son of his female slave, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is related to you. So have you acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today? If you have, may Abimelek be your joy, and may you be his, too! But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelek and consume you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelek!” Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelek. After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. In opposition to him these citizens of Shechem set men on the hilltops to ambush and rob everyone who passed by, and this was reported to Abimelek. Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his clan into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him. After they had gone out into the fields and gathered the grapes and trodden them, they held a festival in the temple of their god. While they were eating and drinking, they cursed Abimelek. Then Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelek, and why should we Shechemites be subject to him? Isn’t he Jerub-Baal’s son, and isn’t Zebul his deputy? Serve the family of Hamor, Shechem’s father! Why should we serve Abimelek? If only this people were under my command! Then I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelek, ‘Call out your whole army!’ ” When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry. Under cover he sent messengers to Abimelek, saying, “Gaal son of Ebed and his clan have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you. Now then, during the night you and your men should come and lie in wait in the fields. In the morning at sunrise, advance against the city. When Gaal and his men come out against you, seize the opportunity to attack them.” So Abimelek and all his troops set out by night and took up concealed positions near Shechem in four companies. Now Gaal son of Ebed had gone out and was standing at the entrance of the city gate just as Abimelek and his troops came out from their hiding place. When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!” Zebul replied, “You mistake the shadows of the mountains for men.” But Gaal spoke up again: “Look, people are coming down from the central hill, and a company is coming from the direction of the diviners’ tree.” Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your big talk now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelek that we should be subject to him?’ Aren’t these the men you ridiculed? Go out and fight them!” So Gaal led out the citizens of Shechem and fought Abimelek. Abimelek chased him all the way to the entrance of the gate, and many were killed as they fled. Then Abimelek stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his clan out of Shechem. The next day the people of Shechem went out to the fields, and this was reported to Abimelek. So he took his men, divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. When he saw the people coming out of the city, he rose to attack them. Abimelek and the companies with him rushed forward to a position at the entrance of the city gate. Then two companies attacked those in the fields and struck them down. All that day Abimelek pressed his attack against the city until he had captured it and killed its people. Then he destroyed the city and scattered salt over it. On hearing this, the citizens in the tower of Shechem went into the stronghold of the temple of El-Berith. When Abimelek heard that they had assembled there, he and all his men went up Mount Zalmon. He took an ax and cut off some branches, which he lifted to his shoulders. He ordered the men with him, “Quick! Do what you have seen me do!” So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelek. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire with the people still inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died. Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull. Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So his servant ran him through, and he died. When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home. Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelek had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them.

Judges 9:1-57 Amplified Bible (AMP)

Now Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal (Gideon) went to Shechem to his mother’s relatives, and said to them and to the whole clan of the household of his mother’s father, “Speak now in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that seventy men, all of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one man rule over you?’ Also, remember that I am your own bone and flesh.” So his mother’s relatives spoke all these words concerning him so that all the leaders of Shechem could hear; and their hearts were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our relative.” And they gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of Baal-berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and undisciplined men, and they followed (supported) him. Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and murdered his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, [in a public execution] on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left alive, because he had hidden himself. All the men of Shechem and all of Beth-millo assembled together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak (terebinth) of the pillar (memorial stone) at Shechem. When they told Jotham, he went and stood at the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Hear me, O men of Shechem, so that God may hear you. Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I give up my fatness by which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us!’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I give up my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ And the vine replied, ‘Should I give up my new wine, which makes God and men happy, and go to wave over the trees?’ Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’ So the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth 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.’ “Now then, if you acted in truth and integrity when you made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have dealt with him as he deserved— for my father fought for you and risked his life and rescued you from the hand of Midian; but you have risen against my father’s house today and have murdered 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 relative— if then you have acted in truth and integrity with Jerubbaal and his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. But if not, may fire come out from Abimelech and devour the people of Shechem and Beth-millo; and may fire come out from the people of Shechem and Beth-millo, and devour Abimelech.” Then Jotham escaped and fled, and went to Beer and lived there because of Abimelech his brother. Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem; and the leaders of Shechem acted treacherously against Abimelech, so that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal (Gideon) might come [on the guilty], and that their [innocent] blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother, who had killed them, and on the leaders of Shechem, who strengthened his hands (encouraged him) to kill his brothers. The leaders of Shechem set men in ambush against Abimelech on the mountaintops, and they robbed all who passed by them along the road; and it was reported to Abimelech. Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his relatives, and moved into Shechem; and the leaders of Shechem trusted him. They went out into the field, gathered the grapes of their vineyard and trod them, and held a festival; and they entered the house of their god, and they ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech. Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not [merely] the son of Jerubbaal and is Zebul not his lieutenant? Serve the men of Hamor the father (founder) of Shechem. Why then should we serve Abimelech? If only this people were under my authority! Then I would remove Abimelech and say to him, ‘Increase [the size of] your army and come out [to fight].’ ” When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger burned. He sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem; and they are stirring up the city against you. Now then, get up during the night, you and the people who are with you, and set up an ambush in the field. Then in the morning, at sunrise, you will get up early and rush upon and attack the city; and when Gaal and the people who are with him come out against you, you shall do to them whatever you can.” So Abimelech and all the people who were with him got up during the night, and set up an ambush against Shechem, in four companies. Now Gaal the son of Ebed came out and stood in the entrance of the city gate; then Abimelech and the people who were with him got up from the ambush. When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the mountaintops.” But Zebul said to him, “You are only seeing the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.” Gaal spoke again and said, “Look! People are coming down from the highest part of the land, and one company is coming by way of the sorcerers’ oak tree.” Then Zebul said to Gaal, “Where is your [boasting] mouth now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Is this not the people whom you despised? Go out now and fight with them!” So Gaal went out ahead of the leaders of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him; and many fell wounded as far as the entrance of the gate. Then Abimelech stayed at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his relatives so that they could not remain in Shechem. The next day the people went out to the field, and it was reported to Abimelech. So he took his people and divided them into three companies, and set an ambush in the field; and he looked and saw the people coming out of the city. And he rose up against them and struck them down. Then Abimelech and the company with him advanced forward and stood in the entrance of the city gate; the two other companies attacked all who were in the field and killed them. Abimelech fought against the city that entire day. He took the city and killed the people who were in it; he demolished the city and sowed it with salt. When all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem heard about it, they entered the inner chamber (stronghold) of the temple of El-berith (the god of a covenant). Abimelech was told that all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem were assembled together. So Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees, picked it up, and laid it on his shoulder. And he said to the people with him, “What you have seen me do, hurry and do just as I have done.” So everyone of the people also cut down his branch and followed Abimelech, and they put the branches on top of the inner chamber and set it on fire over those inside, so that all the people in the Tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women. Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and camped against Thebez and took it. But there was a strong (fortified) tower in the center of the city, and all the men and women with all the leaders of the city fled to it and shut themselves in; and they went up on the roof of the tower. So Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it, and approached the entrance of the tower to burn it down with fire. But a certain woman threw an upper millstone [down] on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. Then he called quickly to the young man who was his armor bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that it will not be said of me, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So the young man pierced him through, and he died. When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each departed to his home. In this way God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father [Jerubbaal] by killing his seventy brothers. Also God repaid all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal (Gideon) came upon them.

Judges 9:1-57 English Standard Version 2016 (ESV)

Now Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother’s relatives and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother’s family, “Say in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one rule over you?’ Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.” And his mother’s relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.” And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself. And all the leaders of Shechem came together, and all Beth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem. When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim and cried aloud and said to them, “Listen to me, you leaders of Shechem, that God may listen to you. The trees once went out to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my abundance, by which gods and men are honored, and go hold sway over the trees?’ And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit and go hold sway over the trees?’ And the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine that cheers God and men and go hold sway over the trees?’ Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 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.’ “Now therefore, if you acted in good faith and integrity 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— for my father fought for you and risked his life and delivered you from the hand of Midian, and you have risen up against my father’s house this day and have killed his sons, seventy men on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the leaders of Shechem, because he is your relative— if you then have acted in good faith and integrity with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and devour the leaders of Shechem and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the leaders of Shechem and from Beth-millo and devour Abimelech.” And Jotham ran away and fled and went to Beer and lived there, because of Abimelech his brother. Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. And the leaders of Shechem put men in ambush against him on the mountaintops, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way. And it was told to Abimelech. And Gaal the son of Ebed moved into Shechem with his relatives, and the leaders of Shechem put confidence in him. And they went out into the field and gathered the grapes from their vineyards and trod them and held a festival; and they went into the house of their god and ate and drank and reviled Abimelech. And Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who are we of Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is not Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? Would that this people were under my hand! Then I would remove Abimelech. I would say to Abimelech, ‘Increase your army, and come out.’” When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem, and they are stirring up the city against you. Now therefore, go by night, you and the people who are with you, and set an ambush in the field. Then in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, rise early and rush upon the city. And when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you may do to them as your hand finds to do.” So Abimelech and all the men who were with him rose up by night and set an ambush against Shechem in four companies. And Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, and Abimelech and the people who were with him rose from the ambush. And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the mountaintops!” And Zebul said to him, “You mistake the shadow of the mountains for men.” Gaal spoke again and said, “Look, people are coming down from the center of the land, and one company is coming from the direction of the Diviners’ Oak.” Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your mouth now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?’ Are not these the people whom you despised? Go out now and fight with them.” And Gaal went out at the head of the leaders of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him. And many fell wounded, up to the entrance of the gate. And Abimelech lived at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his relatives, so that they could not dwell at Shechem. On the following day, the people went out into the field, and Abimelech was told. He took his people and divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. And he looked and saw the people coming out of the city. So he rose against them and killed them. Abimelech and the company that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city, while the two companies rushed upon all who were in the field and killed them. And Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He captured the city and killed the people who were in it, and he razed the city and sowed it with salt. When all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the house of El-berith. Abimelech was told that all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. And 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 bundle of brushwood and took it up and laid it on his shoulder. And he said to the men who were with him, “What you have seen me do, hurry and do as I have done.” So every one of the people cut down his bundle and following Abimelech put it against the stronghold, and they set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about 1,000 men and women. Then Abimelech went to Thebez and encamped against Thebez and captured it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women and all the leaders of the city fled to it and shut themselves in, and they went up to the roof of the tower. And Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. Then he called quickly to the young man his armor-bearer and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest they say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, everyone departed to his home. Thus God returned the evil of Abimelech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers. And God also made all the evil of the men of Shechem return on their heads, and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.