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22 Abimelech had been a military commander of Israel for three years, 23-24 when God decided to punish him and the leaders of Shechem for killing Gideon’s seventy sons.
So God turned the leaders of Shechem against Abimelech. 25 Then they sent some men to hide on the hilltops and watch for Abimelech and his troops, while they sent others to rob everyone that went by on the road. But Abimelech found out what they were doing.
26 One day, Gaal son of Ebed went to live in Shechem. His brothers moved there too, and soon the leaders of Shechem started trusting him.
27 The time came for the grape harvest, and the people of Shechem went into their vineyards and picked the grapes. They put the grapes in their wine-pits and walked on them to squeeze out the juice in order to make wine. Then they went into the temple of their god and threw a big party. There was a lot of eating and drinking, and before long they were cursing Abimelech.
28 Gaal said:
Hamor was the founder of Shechem, and one of his descendants should be our ruler. But Abimelech’s father was Gideon, so Abimelech isn’t really one of us. He shouldn’t be our king, and we shouldn’t have to obey him or Zebul, who rules Shechem for him. 29 If I were the ruler of Shechem, I’d get rid of that Abimelech. I’d tell him, “Get yourself an even bigger army, and we will still defeat you.”
30 Zebul was angry when he found out what Gaal had said. 31 And so he sent some messengers to Abimelech. But they had to pretend to be doing something else, or they would not have been allowed to leave Shechem.[a] Zebul told the messengers to say:
Gaal the son of Ebed has come to Shechem along with his brothers, and they have persuaded the people to let Gaal rule Shechem instead of you. 32 This is what I think you should do. Lead your army here during the night and hide in the fields. 33 Get up the next morning at sunrise and rush out of your hiding places to attack the town. Gaal and his followers will come out to fight you, but you will easily defeat them.
34 So one night, Abimelech led his soldiers to Shechem. He divided them into four groups, and they all hid near the town.
35 The next morning, Gaal went out and stood in the opening of the town gate. Abimelech and his soldiers left their hiding places, 36 and Gaal saw them. Zebul was standing there with Gaal, and Gaal remarked, “Zebul, that looks like a crowd of people coming down from the mountaintops.”
“No,” Zebul answered, “it’s just the shadows of the mountains. It only looks like people moving.”
37 “But Zebul, look over there,” Gaal said. “There’s a crowd coming down from the sacred mountain,[b] and another group is coming along the road from the tree where people talk with the spirits of the dead.”
38 Then Zebul replied, “What good is all of your bragging now? You were the one who said Abimelech shouldn’t be the ruler of Shechem. Out there is the army that you made fun of. So go out and fight them!”
39 Gaal and the leaders of Shechem went out and fought Abimelech. 40 Soon the people of Shechem turned and ran back into the town. However, Abimelech and his troops were close behind and killed many of them along the way.
41 Abimelech stayed at Arumah,[c] and Zebul forced Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem.
42 The next morning, the people of Shechem were getting ready to work in their fields as usual, but someone told Abimelech about it. 43 Abimelech divided his army into three groups and set up an ambush in the fields near Shechem. When the people came out of the town, he and his army rushed out from their hiding places and attacked. 44 Abimelech and the troops with him ran to the town gate and took control of it, while two other groups attacked and killed the people who were in the fields. 45 He and his troops fought in Shechem all day, until they had killed everyone in town. Then he and his men tore down the houses and buildings and scattered salt[d] everywhere.
46 Earlier that day, the leaders of the temple of El Berith[e] at Shechem had heard about the attack. So they went into the temple fortress, 47 but Abimelech found out where they were. 48 He led his troops to Mount Zalmon, where he took an ax and chopped off a tree branch. He lifted the branch onto his shoulder and shouted, “Hurry! Cut off a branch just as I did.”
49 When they all had branches, they followed Abimelech back to Shechem. They piled the branches against the fortress and set them on fire, burning down the fortress and killing about one thousand men and women.
50 After destroying Shechem, Abimelech went to Thebez. He surrounded the town and captured it. 51 But there was a tall fortress in the middle of the town, and the town leaders and everyone else went inside. Then they barred the gates and went up to the flat roof.
52 Abimelech and his army rushed to the fortress and tried to force their way inside. Abimelech himself was about to set the heavy wooden doors on fire, 53 when a woman on the roof dropped a large rock[f] on his head and cracked his skull. 54 The soldier who carried his weapons was nearby, and Abimelech told him, “Take out your sword and kill me. I don’t want people to say that I was killed by a woman!”
So the soldier ran his sword through Abimelech. 55 And when the Israelite soldiers saw that their leader was dead, they went back home.
56 That’s how God punished Abimelech for killing his brothers and bringing shame on his father’s family. 57 God also punished the people of Shechem for helping Abimelech.[g] Everything happened just as Jotham’s curse said it would.
10 Tola was the next person to rescue Israel. He belonged to the Issachar tribe, but he lived in Shamir, a town in the hill country of Ephraim. His father was Puah, and his grandfather was Dodo. 2 Tola was a leader[h] of Israel for twenty-three years, then he died and was buried in Shamir.
3 The next leader[i] of Israel was Jair, who lived in Gilead. He was a leader for twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons, and each son had his own mule [j] and was in charge of one town in Gilead. Those thirty towns are still called The Settlements of Jair.[k] 5 When he died, he was buried in the town of Kamon.
6 Before long, the Israelites began disobeying the Lord by worshiping Baal, Astarte, and gods from Syria, Sidon, Moab, Ammon, and Philistia.
7 The Lord was angry at Israel and decided to let Philistia and Ammon conquer them. 8 So the same year that Jair died, Israel’s army was crushed by these two nations. For eighteen years, Ammon was cruel to the Israelites who lived in Gilead, the region east of the Jordan River that had once belonged to the Amorites. 9 Then the Ammonites began crossing the Jordan and attacking the tribes of Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. Life was miserable for the Israelites. 10 They begged the Lord for help and confessed, “We were unfaithful to you, our Lord. We stopped worshiping you and started worshiping idols of Baal.”
11-12 The Lord answered:
In the past when you came crying to me for help, I rescued you. At one time or another I’ve rescued you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the Ammonites, the Philistines, the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites.[l] 13-14 But I’m not going to rescue you any more! You’ve left me and gone off to worship other gods. If you’re in such big trouble, go cry to them for help!
15 “We have been unfaithful,” the Israelites admitted. “If we must be punished, do it yourself, but please rescue us from the Ammonites.”
16 Then the Israelites got rid of the idols of the foreign gods, and they began worshiping only the Lord. Finally, there came a time when the Lord could no longer stand to see them suffer.
17 The rulers of Ammon called their soldiers together and led them to Gilead, where they set up camp.
The Israelites gathered at Mizpah[m] and set up camp there. 18 The leaders of Gilead asked each other, “Who can lead an attack on the Ammonites?” Then they agreed, “If we can find someone who can lead the attack, we’ll make him the ruler of Gilead.”
13 That same day two of Jesus' disciples were going to the village of Emmaus, which was about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 As they were talking and thinking about what had happened, 15 Jesus came near and started walking along beside them. 16 But they did not know who he was.
17 Jesus asked them, “What were you talking about as you walked along?”
The two of them stood there looking sad and gloomy. 18 Then the one named Cleopas asked Jesus, “Are you the only person from Jerusalem who didn’t know what was happening there these last few days?”
19 “What do you mean?” Jesus asked.
Those things that happened to Jesus from Nazareth. By what he did and said he showed that he was a powerful prophet, who pleased God and all the people. 20 Then the chief priests and our leaders had him arrested and sentenced to die on a cross. 21 We had hoped that he would be the one to set Israel free! But it has already been three days since all this happened.
22 Some women in our group surprised us. They had gone to the tomb early in the morning, 23 but did not find the body of Jesus. They came back, saying that they had seen a vision of angels who told them that he is alive. 24 Some men from our group went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said. But they didn’t see Jesus either.
25 Then Jesus asked the two disciples, “Why can’t you understand? How can you be so slow to believe all that the prophets said? 26 Didn’t you know that the Messiah would have to suffer before he was given his glory?” 27 Jesus then explained everything written about himself in the Scriptures, beginning with the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets.[a]
28 When the two of them came near the village where they were going, Jesus seemed to be going farther. 29 They begged him, “Stay with us! It’s already late, and the sun is going down.” So Jesus went into the house to stay with them.
30 After Jesus sat down to eat, he took some bread. He blessed it and broke it. Then he gave it to them. 31 At once they knew who he was, but he disappeared. 32 They said to each other, “When he talked with us along the road and explained the Scriptures to us, didn’t it warm our hearts?” 33 So they got right up and returned to Jerusalem.
The two disciples found the eleven apostles and the others gathered together. 34 And they learned from the group that the Lord was really alive and had appeared to Peter. 35 Then the disciples from Emmaus told what happened on the road and how they knew he was the Lord when he broke the bread.
36 While Jesus' disciples were talking about what had happened, Jesus appeared and greeted them. 37 They were frightened and terrified because they thought they were seeing a ghost.
38 But Jesus said, “Why are you so frightened? Why do you doubt? 39 Look at my hands and my feet and see who I am! Touch me and find out for yourselves. Ghosts don’t have flesh and bones as you see I have.”
40 After Jesus said this, he showed them his hands and his feet. 41 The disciples were so glad and amazed that they could not believe it. Jesus then asked them, “Do you have something to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish. 43 He took it and ate it as they watched.
44 Jesus said to them, “While I was still with you, I told you that everything written about me in the Law of Moses, the Books of the Prophets, and in the Psalms[b] had to happen.”
45 Then he helped them understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them:
The Scriptures say that the Messiah must suffer, then three days later he will rise from death. 47 They also say that all people of every nation must be told in my name to turn to God, in order to be forgiven. So beginning in Jerusalem, 48 you must tell everything that has happened. 49 I will send you the one my Father has promised,[c] but you must stay in the city until you are given power from heaven.
50 Jesus led his disciples out to Bethany, where he raised his hands and blessed them. 51 As he was doing this, he left and was taken up to heaven.[d] 52 After his disciples had worshiped him,[e] they returned to Jerusalem and were very happy. 53 They spent their time in the temple, praising God.
100 Shout praises to the Lord,
everyone on this earth.
2 Be joyful and sing
as you come in
to worship the Lord!
3 You know the Lord is God!
He created us,
and we belong to him;
we are his people,
the sheep in his pasture.
4 Be thankful and praise the Lord
as you enter his temple.
5 The Lord is good!
His love and faithfulness
will last forever.
11 The tent of a good person
than the house
of someone evil.
12 You may think you are
on the right road
and still end up dead.