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Shofetim 9 Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)

And Avimelech ben Yerubaal went to Shechem unto achei immo, and spoke with them, and with all the mishpakhat bais avi immo, saying,

Speak, now, in the ears of all the ba’alei Shechem, Which is better for you, either that all the Bnei Yerubaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one man reign over you? Remember also that I am your etzem (bone) and your basar (flesh).

And the achei immo spoke of him in the ears of all the ba’alei Shechem all these words; and their lev inclined to follow Avimelech; for they said, He is acheinu.

And they gave him 70 pieces of kesef out of the bais Baal-brit, wherewith Avimelech hired morally empty and reckless persons, which followed him.

And he went unto his bais avi at Ophrah, and slaughtered his brethren the Bnei Yerubaal, being 70 persons, upon one even (stone); notwithstanding yet Yotam the youngest ben Yerubaal escaped; for he hid himself.

And all the ba’alei Shechem gathered together, and all the Bais Millo, and went, and crowned Avimelech melech, by the great tree near the pillar that was in Shechem.

And when they told it to Yotam, he went and stood on top of Mt Gerizim, lifted up his voice, cried out, and said unto them, Pay heed unto me, ye ba’alei Shechem, that Elohim may pay heed unto you.

The etzim (trees) went forth one day to anoint a melech over them; and they said unto the zayit (olive tree), Reign thou over us.

But the zayit said unto them, Should I leave my oil, wherewith by me they honor Elohim and anashim, and go to be promoted over the etzim?

10 And the etzim (trees) said to the te’enah (fig tree), Come thou, and reign over us.

11 But the te’enah said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the etzim (trees)?

12 Then said the etzim (trees) unto the gefen, Come thou, and reign over us.

13 And the gefen said unto them, Should I leave my tirosh, which cheereth Elohim and anashim, and go to be promoted over the etzim?

14 Then said all the etzim (trees) unto the thornbush, Come thou, and reign over us.

15 And the thornbush said unto the etzim (trees), If b’emes ye anoint me melech over you, then come and take refuge in my tzel (shade): and if not, let eish come out of the thornbush, and devour the cedars of the Levanon.

16 Now therefore, if ye have done b’emes and in good faith, in that ye have made Avimelech melech, and if ye have dealt tovah with Yerubaal [Gid’on] and his bais, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands—

17 For avi [Gid’on] fought for you, and risked his nefesh, and delivered you out of the yad Midyan;

18 And ye are risen up against bais avi this day, and have slain his banim, threescore and ten persons, upon one even (stone), and have made Avimelech, ben amah (son of his slave girl), melech over the ba’alei Shechem, because he is your brother—

19 If ye then have dealt b’emes and in good faith with Yerubaal and with his bais this day, then rejoice ye in Avimelech, and let him also rejoice in you;

20 But if not, let eish come out from Avimelech, and devour the ba’alei Shechem, and the Bais Millo; and let eish come out from the ba’alei Shechem, and from the Bais Millo, and devour Avimelech.

21 And Yotam ran away, and escaped, and went to Be’er, and dwelt there, for fear of Avimelech his brother.

22 When Avimelech had reigned shalosh shanim over Yisroel,

23 Then Elohim sent a ruach ra’ah between Avimelech and the ba’alei Shechem; and the ba’alei Shechem dealt treacherously with Avimelech;

24 That the chamas done to the 70 Bnei Yerubaal might come, and their dahm be laid upon Avimelech their brother, which slaughtered them; and upon the ba’alei Shechem, which aided him in the slaughter of his brethren.

25 And the ba’alei Shechem set ambushers in wait for him on top of the hills, and they robbed all that passed along that derech by them; and it was told Avimelech.

26 And Gaal ben Eved came with his achim, went over to Shechem; the ba’alei Shechem put their confidence in him.

27 And they went out into the sadeh, and gathered their kramim, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the bais eloheihem, and did eat and drink, and cursed Avimelech.

28 And Gaal ben Eved said, Who is Avimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is not he ben Yerubaal? And Zevul his pakid? Serve the anshei Chamor avi Shechem. For why should we serve him?

29 O that this people were under my yad! Then would I remove Avimelech. And he said to Avimelech, Gather thine tze’va (army), and come out!

30 And when Zevul the sar of the Ir heard the words of Gaal ben Eved, his anger was kindled.

31 And he sent malachim unto Avimelech covertly, saying, Hinei, Gaal ben Eved and his brethren have come to Shechem; and, hinei, they incite the Ir against thee.

32 Now therefore go up by lailah, thou and the people with thee, and lie in wait in the sadeh:

33 And it shall be, that in the boker, as soon as the shemesh is up, thou shalt rise early, and set upon the Ir; and, hinei, when he and the people with him come out against thee, then mayest thou do to them just as thy hand finds to do.

34 And Avimelech rose up, and kol haAm that were with him, by lailah, and they laid wait in ambush against Shechem in four companies.

35 And Gaal ben Eved went out, and stood in the petach sha’ar haIr; and Avimelech and the people that were with him rose up from lying in wait for ambush.

36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zevul, Hinei, there come people down from the top of the mountains. And Zevul said unto him, Thou seest the tzel of the mountains as if seeing anashim.

37 And Gaal spoke again, and said, Hinei, there come people down the middle of the land, and another company come along by the Elon Me’onenim.

38 Then said Zevul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst, Who is Avimelech that we should serve him? Is not this the people that thou hast despised? Go out, now, and fight against him.

39 And Gaal went out before the ba’alei Shechem, and fought with Avimelech.

40 And Avimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many were overthrown and chalalim (wounded), even unto the petach hasha’ar.

41 And Avimelech dwelt at Arumah; and Zevul thrust out Gaal and his achim, that they should not dwell in Shechem.

42 And it came to pass on the next day, that the people went out into the sadeh; and they told Avimelech.

43 And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait concealed in the sadeh, and looked, and, hinei, the people were come forth out of the Ir; and he rose up against them, and attacked them.

44 And Avimelech, and the company that was with him, rushed forward, and stood in the petach sha’ar of the Ir; and the two other companies rushed upon all who were in the sadeh, and slaughtered them.

45 And Avimelech fought against the Ir all that day; and he took the Ir, and slaughtered the people that was therein, and destroyed the Ir, and sowed it with melach (salt).

46 And when all the ba’alei migdal Shechem heard that, they entered into the stronghold of the bais el brit.

47 And it was told Avimelech, that all the ba’alei migdal Shechem were gathered together.

48 And Avimelech got him up to Mt Tzalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Avimelech took axes in his yad, and cut down a branch from the etzim (trees), and lifted 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.

49 And kol haAm likewise cut down every man his branch, and followed Avimelech, and piled them against the stronghold, and set the stronghold on eish over them; so that all the anshei migdal Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.

50 Then went Avimelech to Tevetz, and encamped against Tevetz, and captured it.

51 But there was a migdal oz within the Ir, and there fled all the anashim and nashim, and all ba’alei haIr, and locked it after them, and got them up to the top of the migdal.

52 And Avimelech came unto the migdal, and fought against it, and drew near unto the petach of the migdal to burn it with eish.

53 And a certain woman dropped an upper millstone upon Avimelech’s head, and cracked his gulgolet (skull).

54 Then he called hastily unto the na’ar his armorbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy cherev, and slay me, that men say not of me, An isha slaughtered him. And his na’ar thrust him through, and he died.

55 And when the Ish Yisroel saw that Avimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place.

56 Thus Elohim repaid the wickedness of Avimelech, which he did unto his av, in slaying his seventy brethren;

57 And all the evil of the anshei Shechem did Elohim render upon their heads: and upon them came the Kelalat Yotam ben Yerubaal.

Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB)

Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International

Judges 9 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[a] 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?’

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.


  1. Judges 9:4 That is, about 1 3/4 pounds or about 800 grams
  2. Judges 9:29 Septuagint; Hebrew him.” Then he said to Abimelek, “Call out your whole army!”
  3. Judges 9:37 The Hebrew for this phrase means the navel of the earth.
  4. Judges 9:39 Or Gaal went out in the sight of
New International Version (NIV)

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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