Judges 9 Tree of Life Version (TLV)
Bloodshed of Abimelech and Shechem
9 Now Abimelech son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother’s brothers, and spoke to them and the whole clan of his mother’s father’s household saying, 2 “Speak now, in the ears of all the leaders of Shechem: Which is better for you, that 70 men—all the sons of Jerubbaal—rule over you, or that a single man rules over you? Remember also that I am your flesh and bone.”
3 When his mother’s brothers discussed all these words of his in the ears of all Shechem’s leaders, their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.” 4 So they gave him 70 pieces of silver from the temple of Baal-berith[a]. Abimelech then hired idle and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5 Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and slew his brothers, the sons of Jerubbaal, 70 men, on top of one stone. But Jotam, the youngest son of Jerubbaal, survived, for he hid himself. 6 Then all the leaders of Shechem and all Beth-millo assembled themselves together and went and made Abimelech king at the terebinth of the pillar that was in Shechem.
7 Now when they told Jotam, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, lifted up his voice, called out and said to them, “Listen to me, O lords of Shechem, that God may listen to you! 8 Once the trees set out to anoint a king over them. So they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ 9 But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I stop yielding my oil, that honors God and man, and go wave over the trees?’ 10 Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I stop yielding my sweetness and my delicious fruit, and go wave over the trees?’ 12 So the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Should I stop yielding my new wine, which cheers God and man, and go wave over the trees?’ 14 Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 15 And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If you truly are going to anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shadow; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’
16 “So now, if you have acted in truth and integrity by making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt kindly with Jerubbaal and his household, and have done for him as he deserved— 17 for my father fought for you, and risked his life and delivered you from the hand of Midian, 18 but you have risen up against my father’s household today and have slain his sons—70 men on one stone—and have made Abimelech, son of his maidservant, king over the lords of Shechem just because he is your brother— 19 if you then have dealt in truth and integrity with Jerubbaal and with his household today, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. 20 But 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!”
21 Then Jotam ran away and fled, and went to Beer and remained there because of his brother Abimelech.
22 After Abimelech had ruled over Israel for three years, 23 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem. So the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech— 24 in order that the violence done to Jerubbaal’s 70 sons might come due, so their blood might be laid on their brother Abimelech who slew them, and on the lords of Shechem who strengthened his hands to slay his brothers.
25 So the lords of Shechem set up ambushers on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed anyone who passed by them along that road. So it was reported to Abimelech. 26 Now Gaal son of Ebed had come with his relatives and moved to Shechem, and the lords of Shechem put their trust in him. 27 When they went out into the field, they gathered grapes of their vineyards, trod them and had a party. Then they went into the house of their god, ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech.
28 Then Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Isn’t he the son of Jerubbaal? Isn’t Zebul his deputy? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem—but why should we serve him? 29 Now, if this people were under my hand, then I would get rid of Abimelech.” So he said to Abimelech, “Muster your army and come out!”
30 When Zebul the governor of the city heard the words of Gaal son of Ebed, his anger burned. 31 So he sent messengers to Abimelech in deceit saying, “Watch out, Gaal son of Ebed and his relatives have moved to Shechem, and look, they are inciting the city against you. 32 So now, arise by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field. 33 So it will be in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you will rise early and advance on the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then you should do to them whatever your hand finds.”
34 So Abimelech and all the people who were with him rose up by night and lay in wait against Shechem in four columns. 35 Now Gaal son of Ebed went out and stood at the entrance of the city gate. Then Abimelech and the people who were with him emerged from the ambush. 36 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’re seeing the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.”
37 Then Gaal spoke up again and said, “Look, people are coming down from the middle of the land, and one column is coming by the road of the Diviner’s Oak.”
38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your mouth now? With it you said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Isn’t this the people that you have trashed? Now go out and fight him!” 39 So Gaal went out ahead of the lords of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40 But Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many fell wounded up to the entrance of the gate. 41 While Abimelech stayed in Arumah, Zebul drove Gaal and his relatives out so that they could not stay in Shechem.
42 Now it came to pass the next day that the people went out into the field, and it was reported to Abimelech. 43 So he took his people, divided them into three columns, and lay in ambush in the field. When he looked and saw the people were coming out of the city, he pounced on them and struck them down. 44 Then Abimelech and the column that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the city gate, and the other two columns rushed on all who were in the open field and struck them down. 45 So Abimelech fought against the city all that day, captured the city and killed the people that were in it. Then he razed the city and sowed it with salt.
46 Now when all the lords of Shechem’s Tower heard about it, they went into the vault of the temple of El-berith. 47 When Abimelech was told that all the lords of Shechem’s Tower had gathered there, 48 he and all the people with him went up to Mount Zalmon. Then Abimelech took an axe in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees and lifted it up and laid it on his shoulder. Then he said to the people who were with him, “What you’ve seen me do, hurry and do likewise.” 49 So all the people likewise each cut down his branch and followed Abimelech. He laid them against the vault and set the vault on fire over them. So all the people of Shechem’s Tower also died—about a thousand men and women.
50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez, camped against Thebez and captured it. 51 But there was a strong tower in the center of the city, and all the men and women with all the city leaders fled there and shut themselves in, and went up to the roof of the tower. 52 So Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it, and approached the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. 54 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 slew him.’” So his young man thrust him through, and he died. 55 So when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they each departed to his place. 56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech—what he had done to his father by slaying his 70 brothers. 57 Also all the wickedness of the men of Shechem God requited on their heads. Thus on them came the curse of Jotam son of Jerubbaal.
Judges 9 New International Version (NIV)
9 Abimelek son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan, 2 “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.”
3 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.” 4 They gave him seventy shekels[a] of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers. 5 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. 6 Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelek king.
7 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. 8 One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’
9 “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?’
10 “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’
11 “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’
12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’
13 “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’
14 “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’
15 “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!’
16 “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? 17 Remember that my father fought for you and risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian. 18 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. 19 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! 20 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!”
21 Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelek.
22 After Abimelek had governed Israel three years, 23 God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek. 24 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. 25 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.
26 Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his clan into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him. 27 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. 28 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? 29 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!’”[b]
30 When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry. 31 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. 32 Now then, during the night you and your men should come and lie in wait in the fields. 33 In the morning at sunrise, advance against the city. When Gaal and his men come out against you, seize the opportunity to attack them.”
34 So Abimelek and all his troops set out by night and took up concealed positions near Shechem in four companies. 35 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.
36 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.”
37 But Gaal spoke up again: “Look, people are coming down from the central hill,[c] and a company is coming from the direction of the diviners’ tree.”
38 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!”
39 So Gaal led out[d] the citizens of Shechem and fought Abimelek. 40 Abimelek chased him all the way to the entrance of the gate, and many were killed as they fled. 41 Then Abimelek stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his clan out of Shechem.
42 The next day the people of Shechem went out to the fields, and this was reported to Abimelek. 43 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. 44 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. 45 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.
46 On hearing this, the citizens in the tower of Shechem went into the stronghold of the temple of El-Berith. 47 When Abimelek heard that they had assembled there, 48 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!” 49 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.
50 Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. 51 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. 52 Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.
54 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. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home.
56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelek had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. 57 God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them.