Judges 9:22-11:28 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Shechem and Abimelech Fall
22 Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. 23 Then God sent an [a]evil spirit between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem; and the leaders of Shechem acted treacherously against Abimelech, 24 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. 25 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.
26 Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his relatives, and moved into Shechem; and the leaders of Shechem trusted him. 27 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. 28 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? 29 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].’”
30 When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger burned. 31 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. 32 Now then, get up during the night, you and the people who are with you, and set up an ambush in the field. 33 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 [b]whatever you can.”
34 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. 35 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. 36 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.” 37 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.” 38 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!” 39 So Gaal went out ahead of the leaders of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40 Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him; and many fell wounded as far as the entrance of the gate. 41 Then Abimelech stayed at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his relatives so that they could not remain in Shechem.
42 The next day the people went out to the field, and it was reported to Abimelech. 43 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. 44 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. 45 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 [c]sowed it with salt.
46 When all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem heard about it, they entered the inner chamber (stronghold) of the [d]temple of El-berith (the god of a covenant). 47 Abimelech was told that all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem were assembled together. 48 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.” 49 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.
50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and camped against Thebez and took it. 51 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. 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 a certain woman threw an upper millstone [down] on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. 54 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. 55 When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each departed to his home. 56 In this way God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father [Jerubbaal] by killing his seventy brothers. 57 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.
Oppression of Philistines and Ammonites
10 After Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir, in the hill country of Ephraim. 2 Tola judged Israel for twenty-three years; then he died and was buried in Shamir.
3 After him, Jair the Gileadite arose, and he judged Israel for twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty towns in the land of Gilead that are called Havvoth-jair (towns of Jair) to this day. 5 And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
6 Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; they served the Baals, the Ashtaroth (female deities), the gods of Aram (Syria), the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines. They abandoned the Lord and did not serve Him. 7 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the Ammonites, 8 and they oppressed and crushed Israel that year. For eighteen years they oppressed all the Israelites who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9 The Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was greatly distressed.
10 Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord [for help], saying, “We have sinned against You, because we have abandoned (rejected) our God and have served the Baals.” 11 The Lord said to the Israelites, “Did I not rescue you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, and the Philistines? 12 Also when the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites oppressed and crushed you, you cried out to Me, and I rescued you from their hands. 13 Yet you have abandoned (rejected) Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer rescue you. 14 Go, cry out to the gods you have chosen; let them rescue you in your time of distress.” 15 The Israelites said to the Lord, “We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to You; only please rescue us this day.” 16 So they removed the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord; and He could bear the misery of Israel no longer.
17 Then the Ammonites were assembled together and they camped in Gilead. And the sons of Israel assembled and camped at Mizpah. 18 The people, the leaders of Gilead (Israel) said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the Ammonites? He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”
Jephthah the Ninth Judge
11 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a brave warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2 Gilead’s wife bore him sons, and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, because you are the son of another woman.” 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob; and worthless and unprincipled men gathered around Jephthah, and went out [on raids] with him.
4 Now it happened after a while that the Ammonites fought against Israel. 5 When the Ammonites fought against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob; 6 and they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, so that we may fight against the Ammonites.” 7 But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me from the house of my father? Why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?” 8 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “This is why we have turned to you now: that you may go with us and fight the Ammonites and become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” 9 So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you take me back [home] to fight against the Ammonites and the Lord gives them over to me, will I [really] become your head?” 10 The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lord is [e]the witness between us; be assured that we will do as you have said.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and leader over them. And Jephthah [f]repeated everything that he had promised before the Lord at Mizpah.
12 Now Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites, saying, “What is [the problem] between you and me, that you have come against me to fight in my land?” 13 The Ammonites’ king replied to the messengers of Jephthah, “It is because Israel took away [g]my land when they came up from Egypt, from the [river] Arnon as far as the Jabbok and [east of] the Jordan; so now, return those lands peaceably.” 14 But Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the Ammonites, 15 and they said to him, “This is what Jephthah says: ‘Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites. 16 For when they came up from Egypt, Israel walked through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh; 17 then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let us pass through your land,” but the king of Edom would not listen. Also they sent word to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel stayed at Kadesh. 18 Then they went through the wilderness and went around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, and came to the east side of the land of Moab, and they camped on the other side of the [river] Arnon; but they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the [northern] boundary of Moab. 19 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, “Please let us pass through your land to our place.” 20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory; so Sihon gathered together all his people and camped at Jahaz and fought against Israel. 21 The Lord, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them; so Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22 They took possession of all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness [westward] as far as the Jordan. 23 [h]And now the Lord God of Israel has dispossessed and driven out the Amorites from before His people Israel, so [why] should you possess it? 24 Do you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? And everything that the Lord our God dispossessed before us, we will possess. 25 Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever go to war against them? 26 While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities along the banks of the Arnon for three hundred years, why did you not recover your lost lands during that time? 27 So I have not sinned against you, but you are doing me wrong by making war against me; may the Lord, the [righteous] Judge, judge this day between the Israelites and the Ammonites.’” 28 But the king of the Ammonites disregarded the message of Jephthah, which he sent to him.
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