Judges 9:1-16 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
Abimelech Attempts to Establish a Monarchy
9 Now Abim′elech the son of Jerubba′al went to Shechem to his mother’s kinsmen and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother’s family, 2 “Say in the ears of all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubba′al rule over you, or that one rule over you?’ Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.” 3 And his mother’s kinsmen spoke all these words on his behalf in the ears of all the men of Shechem; and their hearts inclined to follow Abim′elech, for they said, “He is our brother.” 4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Ba′al-be′rith with which Abim′elech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5 And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah, and slew his brothers the sons of Jerubba′al, seventy men, upon one stone; but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubba′al was left, for he hid himself. 6 And all the citizens of Shechem came together, and all Beth-millo, and they went and made Abim′elech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem.
The Parable of the Trees
7 When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Ger′izim, and cried aloud and said to them, “Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God may listen to you. 8 The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ 9 But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my fatness, by which gods and men are honored, and go to sway over the trees?’ 10 And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to sway over the trees?’ 12 And the trees said to the vine, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my wine which cheers gods and men, and go to sway over the trees?’ 14 Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘Come you, and reign over us.’ 15 And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’
16 “Now therefore, if you acted in good faith and honor when you made Abim′elech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubba′al and his house, and have done to him as his deeds deserved—
Judges 9:19-21 Revised Standard Version (RSV)
19 if you then have acted in good faith and honor with Jerubba′al and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abim′elech, and let him also rejoice in you; 20 but if not, let fire come out from Abim′elech, and devour the citizens of Shechem, and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the citizens of Shechem, and from Beth-millo, and devour Abim′elech.” 21 And Jotham ran away and fled, and went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abim′elech his brother.