Zebah and Zalmunna Routed

Then the men of Ephraim said to [a]Gideon, “(A)What is this thing that you have done to us, not calling upon us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they quarreled with him vehemently. But he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim not better than the vintage of Abiezer? God has handed over to you the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their [b]anger toward him subsided when he said [c]that.

Then Gideon and the three hundred men who were with him came (B)to the Jordan and crossed over, exhausted yet still pursuing. And he said to the men of (C)Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are [d]following me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” But the leaders of Succoth said, “[e](D)Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?” So Gideon said, “For this answer, (E)when the Lord has handed over to me Zebah and Zalmunna, I will [f]thrash your [g]bodies with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” Then he went up from there to [h](F)Penuel and spoke similarly to them; and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. So he said also to the men of [i]Penuel, “When I return safely, (G)I will tear down this tower.”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their [j]armies with them, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of the entire [k]army of the [l]people of the east; (H)for the fallen were 120,000 [m]swordsmen. 11 Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents to the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and he [n]attacked the camp when the camp was unsuspecting. 12 When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the entire [o]army.

13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle [p]by the ascent of Heres. 14 And he captured a youth from [q]Succoth and questioned him. Then the youth wrote down for him the leaders of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15 And he came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, ‘[r](I)Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?’” 16 Then he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and he [s]disciplined the men of Succoth with them. 17 (J)And he tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.

18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “Where were the men whom you killed at Tabor?” But they said, “You and they were alike, each one [t]resembling the son of a king.” 19 And he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20 So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise, kill them.” But the youth did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. 21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself, and attack us; for as the man, so is his strength.” (K)So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and (L)took the crescent amulets which were on their camels’ necks.

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, your son’s son as well, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian!” 23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; (M)the Lord shall rule over you.” 24 Yet Gideon said to them, “I would [u]request of you, that each of you give me [v]an earring from his plunder.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were (N)Ishmaelites.) 25 And they said, “We will certainly give them to you.” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them tossed an earring there from his plunder. 26 The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, apart from the crescent amulets, the ear pendants, and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and apart from the neck chains that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made it into (O)an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah; but all Israel [w]committed infidelity with it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household.

Forty Years of Peace

28 So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon.

29 Then (P)Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30 Now Gideon had (Q)seventy sons who [x]were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he [y]named him Abimelech. 32 And Gideon the son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, (R)that the sons of Israel again [z]committed infidelity with the Baals, and made (S)Baal-berith their god. 34 So the sons of Israel (T)did not remember the Lord their God, who had saved them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; 35 (U)nor did they show kindness to the household of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in accordance with all the good that he had done for Israel.

Abimelech’s Conspiracy

Now (V)Abimelech the son of [aa]Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother’s relatives, and spoke to them and to the entire family of the household of his mother’s father, saying, “Speak, now, in the hearing of all the [ab]leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: for (W)seventy men, all the sons of Jerubbaal, to rule over you, or for one man to rule over you?’ Also, remember that I am (X)your bone and your flesh.” So his mother’s relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the hearing of all the [ac]leaders of Shechem; and [ad]they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is (Y)our relative.” And they gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of (Z)Baal-berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men, and they followed him. Then he went to his father’s house in Ophrah and (AA)killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, (AB)seventy men, [ae]on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, because he hid himself. All the [af]leaders of Shechem and all [ag]Beth-millo assembled together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the [ah]oak of the memorial stone which was in Shechem.

Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on the top of (AC)Mount Gerizim, and raised his voice and called out. And he said to them, “Listen to me, you [ai]leaders of Shechem, that God may listen to you. Once the trees went 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 give up my fatness with [aj]which God and mankind are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’ 10 Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You, come, reign over us!’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I give up my sweetness and my good [ak]fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’ 12 Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You, come, reign over us!’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I give up my new wine, which cheers God and mankind, and go to wave over the trees?’ 14 Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You, come, reign over us!’ 15 And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If you [al]really are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out of the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.’

16 “Now then, if you have acted with [am]honesty and integrity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with (AD)Jerubbaal and his house, and [an]have dealt with him [ao]as he deserved— 17 for my father fought for you, and [ap]risked his life and saved you from the hand of Midian; 18 but in fact you have risen against my father’s house today and have killed (AE)his sons, seventy men, on one stone, and have made Abimelech, (AF)the son of his female slave, king over the [aq]leaders of Shechem, because he is your relative— 19 so if you have acted with [ar]honesty and integrity toward Jerubbaal and his house this day, be joyful about Abimelech, and may he also be joyful about you. 20 But if not, may fire come out of Abimelech and consume the [as]leaders of Shechem and [at]Beth-millo; and may fire come out of the [au]leaders of Shechem and from [av]Beth-millo, and consume Abimelech.” 21 Then Jotham escaped and fled, and went to Beer; and he stayed there because of his brother Abimelech.

Shechem and Abimelech Fall

22 Now Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. 23 (AG)Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the [aw]leaders of Shechem; and the [ax]leaders of Shechem (AH)dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 (AI)so that the violence [ay]done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal would come, and the responsibility for (AJ)their blood would be placed on their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and on the [az]leaders of Shechem, who [ba]encouraged him to kill his brothers. 25 The [bb]leaders of Shechem set up men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed everyone who would pass by them on the road; and it was reported to Abimelech.

26 Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his relatives, and crossed over into Shechem; and the [bc]leaders of Shechem trusted him. 27 So they went out to the field and gathered the grapes of their vineyards and trampled them, and held a festival; and they went into the house of (AK)their god, and ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. 28 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 governor? Serve the men of (AL)Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? 29 [bd](AM)If only this people were under my authority! Then I would do away with Abimelech.” And he said to Abimelech, “Enlarge your army and come out!”

30 When Zebul the leader of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger burned. 31 So using deception, he successfully sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem; and behold, they are [be]stirring up 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 Then in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early and attack the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you shall (AN)do to them [bf]whatever you can.”

34 So Abimelech and all the people who were with him got up at night, and lay in wait against Shechem, in four [bg]units. 35 Now Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood at the entrance of the city gate; and Abimelech and the people who were with him arose from the ambush. 36 When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “[bh]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 people.” 37 And Gaal spoke yet again and said, “Look, people are coming down from (AO)the [bi]highest part of the land, and one [bj]unit is coming by way of [bk]the diviners’ [bl]oak.” 38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where then is your [bm]boasting with which you said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Is this not the people whom you rejected? Go out now and fight them!” 39 So Gaal went out [bn]in the sight of the [bo]leaders of Shechem and fought Abimelech. 40 But Abimelech chased him, and he fled from him; and many fell wounded up to the entrance of the gate. 41 Then Abimelech stayed in Arumah, but Zebul drove out Gaal and his relatives so that they could not stay in Shechem.

42 Now it came about the next day, that the people went out to the field, and it was reported to Abimelech. 43 So he took [bp]his people and divided them into three [bq]units, and lay in wait in the field; when he looked and [br]saw the people coming out from the city, he [bs]attacked them and killed them. 44 Then Abimelech and the [bt]company who was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the city gate; the other two [bu]companies then attacked all who were in the field and killed them. 45 Abimelech fought against the city that whole day, and he captured the city and killed the people who were in it; then he (AP)tore down the city and sowed it with salt.

46 When all the [bv]leaders of the tower of Shechem heard about it, they entered the inner chamber of the [bw]temple of (AQ)El-berith. 47 And it was reported to Abimelech that all the [bx]leaders of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 So Abimelech went up to Mount (AR)Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him; and Abimelech took [by]an axe in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees, and lifted it and put it on his shoulder. Then he said to the people who were with him, “What you saw me do, hurry and do [bz]likewise.” 49 So all the people also cut down, each one, his branch and followed Abimelech, and put them on top of the inner chamber and set the inner chamber on fire over those inside, so that all the people of the tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.

50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and he 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 [ca]leaders of the city fled there and shut themselves in; and they went up on the roof of the tower. 52 So Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it, and approached the entrance of the tower to burn it down with fire. 53 But (AS)a woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. 54 Then (AT)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 killed him.’” So [cb]the young man pierced him through, and he died. 55 Now when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each left for his [cc]home. 56 So (AU)God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father in killing his seventy brothers. 57 God also returned all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal came [cd]upon them.

Footnotes

  1. Judges 8:1 Lit him
  2. Judges 8:3 Lit spirit
  3. Judges 8:3 Lit this thing
  4. Judges 8:5 Lit at my feet
  5. Judges 8:6 Lit Is the palm of...; i.e., are you so sure of victory that
  6. Judges 8:7 Or trample
  7. Judges 8:7 Lit flesh
  8. Judges 8:8 In Gen 32:30, Peniel
  9. Judges 8:9 Lit Penuel, saying,
  10. Judges 8:10 Or camps
  11. Judges 8:10 Or camp
  12. Judges 8:10 Lit sons
  13. Judges 8:10 Lit men who drew the sword
  14. Judges 8:11 Lit struck
  15. Judges 8:12 Or camp
  16. Judges 8:13 Or from
  17. Judges 8:14 Lit the men of
  18. Judges 8:15 Lit Is the palm of...; i.e., are you so sure of victory
  19. Judges 8:16 Lit taught
  20. Judges 8:18 Lit like the form of the sons
  21. Judges 8:24 Lit request a request
  22. Judges 8:24 Or a nose ring
  23. Judges 8:27 I.e., against God
  24. Judges 8:30 Lit came from his loins
  25. Judges 8:31 Lit appointed his name
  26. Judges 8:33 I.e., against God
  27. Judges 9:1 I.e., Gideon
  28. Judges 9:2 Or landowners
  29. Judges 9:3 Or landowners
  30. Judges 9:3 Lit their hearts inclined after
  31. Judges 9:5 Perhaps a mass human sacrifice
  32. Judges 9:6 Or landowners
  33. Judges 9:6 Or the house of Millo
  34. Judges 9:6 Or terebinth
  35. Judges 9:7 Or landowners
  36. Judges 9:9 Lit which by me
  37. Judges 9:11 Lit produce
  38. Judges 9:15 Or sincerely
  39. Judges 9:16 Or sincerity
  40. Judges 9:16 Lit if you have
  41. Judges 9:16 Lit according to the accomplishment of his hands
  42. Judges 9:17 Lit threw his soul away
  43. Judges 9:18 Or landowners
  44. Judges 9:19 Or sincerity
  45. Judges 9:20 Or landowners
  46. Judges 9:20 Or the house of Millo
  47. Judges 9:20 Or landowners
  48. Judges 9:20 Or the house of Millo
  49. Judges 9:23 Or landowners
  50. Judges 9:23 Or landowners
  51. Judges 9:24 Lit of the seventy
  52. Judges 9:24 Or landowners
  53. Judges 9:24 Lit strengthened his hands
  54. Judges 9:25 Or landowners
  55. Judges 9:26 Or landowners
  56. Judges 9:29 Lit And who will hand this people over to me
  57. Judges 9:31 Or besieging
  58. Judges 9:33 Lit as your hand finds
  59. Judges 9:34 Lit heads
  60. Judges 9:36 Lit Behold
  61. Judges 9:37 Lit center
  62. Judges 9:37 Lit head
  63. Judges 9:37 Heb Elon-meonenim
  64. Judges 9:37 Or terebinth
  65. Judges 9:38 Lit mouth
  66. Judges 9:39 Or at the head of
  67. Judges 9:39 Or landowners
  68. Judges 9:43 Lit the
  69. Judges 9:43 Lit heads
  70. Judges 9:43 Lit behold, the
  71. Judges 9:43 Lit rose against
  72. Judges 9:44 Lit heads
  73. Judges 9:44 Lit heads
  74. Judges 9:46 Or landowners
  75. Judges 9:46 Lit house
  76. Judges 9:47 Or landowners
  77. Judges 9:48 Lit the axes
  78. Judges 9:48 Lit like me
  79. Judges 9:51 Or landowners
  80. Judges 9:54 Lit his
  81. Judges 9:55 Lit place
  82. Judges 9:57 Lit to