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(A) 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.(B)

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(C) just as Abimelek and his troops came out from their hiding place.(D)

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,[a] 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?(E) Go out and fight them!”

39 So Gaal led out[b] 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(F) and set an ambush(G) 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(H) and scattered salt(I) over it.

46 On hearing this, the citizens in the tower of Shechem went into the stronghold of the temple(J) of El-Berith. 47 When Abimelek heard that they had assembled there, 48 he and all his men went up Mount Zalmon.(K) 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(L) 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.(M)

54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me,(N) 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.(O) The curse of Jotham(P) son of Jerub-Baal came on them.


10 After the time of Abimelek,(Q) a man of Issachar(R) named Tola son of Puah,(S) the son of Dodo, rose to save(T) Israel. He lived in Shamir,(U) in the hill country of Ephraim. He led[c] Israel twenty-three years; then he died, and was buried in Shamir.


He was followed by Jair(V) of Gilead, who led Israel twenty-two years. He had thirty sons, who rode thirty donkeys.(W) They controlled thirty towns in Gilead, which to this day are called Havvoth Jair.[d](X) When Jair(Y) died, he was buried in Kamon.


Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord.(Z) They served the Baals and the Ashtoreths,(AA) and the gods of Aram,(AB) the gods of Sidon,(AC) the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites(AD) and the gods of the Philistines.(AE) And because the Israelites forsook the Lord(AF) and no longer served him, he became angry(AG) with them. He sold them(AH) into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, who that year shattered and crushed them. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites on the east side of the Jordan in Gilead,(AI) the land of the Amorites. The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah,(AJ) Benjamin and Ephraim;(AK) Israel was in great distress. 10 Then the Israelites cried(AL) out to the Lord, “We have sinned(AM) against you, forsaking our God and serving the Baals.”(AN)

11 The Lord replied, “When the Egyptians,(AO) the Amorites,(AP) the Ammonites,(AQ) the Philistines,(AR) 12 the Sidonians, the Amalekites(AS) and the Maonites[e](AT) oppressed you(AU) and you cried to me for help, did I not save you from their hands? 13 But you have forsaken(AV) me and served other gods,(AW) so I will no longer save you. 14 Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save(AX) you when you are in trouble!(AY)

15 But the Israelites said to the Lord, “We have sinned. Do with us whatever you think best,(AZ) but please rescue us now.” 16 Then they got rid of the foreign gods among them and served the Lord.(BA) And he could bear Israel’s misery(BB) no longer.(BC)

17 When the Ammonites were called to arms and camped in Gilead, the Israelites assembled and camped at Mizpah.(BD) 18 The leaders of the people of Gilead said to each other, “Whoever will take the lead in attacking the Ammonites will be head(BE) over all who live in Gilead.”

11 Jephthah(BF) the Gileadite was a mighty warrior.(BG) His father was Gilead;(BH) his mother was a prostitute.(BI) Gilead’s wife also bore him sons, and when they were grown up, they drove Jephthah away. “You are not going to get any inheritance in our family,” they said, “because you are the son of another woman.” So Jephthah fled from his brothers and settled in the land of Tob,(BJ) where a gang of scoundrels(BK) gathered around him and followed him.

Some time later, when the Ammonites(BL) were fighting against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. “Come,” they said, “be our commander, so we can fight the Ammonites.”

Jephthah said to them, “Didn’t you hate me and drive me from my father’s house?(BM) Why do you come to me now, when you’re in trouble?”

The elders of Gilead said to him, “Nevertheless, we are turning to you now; come with us to fight the Ammonites, and you will be head(BN) over all of us who live in Gilead.”

Jephthah answered, “Suppose you take me back to fight the Ammonites and the Lord gives them to me—will I really be your head?”

10 The elders of Gilead replied, “The Lord is our witness;(BO) we will certainly do as you say.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders(BP) of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And he repeated(BQ) all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.(BR)


  1. Judges 9:37 The Hebrew for this phrase means the navel of the earth.
  2. Judges 9:39 Or Gaal went out in the sight of
  3. Judges 10:2 Traditionally judged; also in verse 3
  4. Judges 10:4 Or called the settlements of Jair
  5. Judges 10:12 Hebrew; some Septuagint manuscripts Midianites

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