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22 Avimelekh was chief over Isra’el for three years. 23 But God sent a spirit of discord between Avimelekh and the men of Sh’khem, so that the men of Sh’khem dealt treacherously with Avimelekh. 24 This came about so that the crime against the seventy sons of Yeruba‘al might be avenged and the responsibility for their bloody death be placed on Avimelekh their brother, who murdered them, and on the men of Sh’khem, who helped him kill his brothers. 25 So the men of Sh’khem sent out men to ambush him on the mountaintops. They robbed everyone who went past them, and Avimelekh was told about it.
26 Ga‘al the son of a slave came with his brothers and went on to Sh’khem, and the men of Sh’khem put their trust in him. 27 They went out into the field, gathered their grapes and pressed the juice out of them. Then they held a feast and went into the house of their god to eat and drink, and there they insulted Avimelekh. 28 Ga‘al the son of a slave said, “Who is Avimelekh? Think of the contrast with Sh’khem! Why should we serve Avimelekh? Isn’t he the son of Yeruba‘al? Isn’t Z’vul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Sh’khem! Why should we serve Avimelekh? 29 If I were in control of this people, I’d get rid of Avimelekh!” Then, addressing his words to Avimelekh, he said, “Come out and fight! I don’t care if you make your army even larger!”
30 When Z’vul the ruler of the city heard the words of Ga‘al the son of a slave, he was enraged. 31 He sent messengers to Avimelekh in Tormah with this message: “Ga‘al the son of a slave and his brothers have come to Sh’khem, and they’re inciting the city against you. 32 You and the men with you should come up now at night and lie in wait in the field. 33 In the morning, get up early, as soon as the sun rises; and attack the city. Then, when Ga‘al and the men with him come out to fight you, do whatever you can to them.”
34 Avimelekh and all the men with him came up by night and lay in wait against Sh’khem in four groups. 35 Ga‘al the son of a slave went out and stationed himself at the entrance to the city gate. Then Avimelekh and his men rose from their ambush. 36 When Ga‘al saw the men, he said to Z’vul, “Look, there are men coming down from the mountaintops.” Z’vul answered, “You’re seeing the shadows of the mountains as if they were men.” 37 Ga‘al said again, “Look, there are men coming down from the main hill in the land, and one group is coming on the road from the Fortuneteller’s Oak. 38 Z’vul said to him, “Where’s your mouth now? You said, ‘Who is Avimelekh? Why should we serve him?’ Aren’t these the people you despise? Go on out and fight them!” 39 So Ga‘al went out, leading the men of Sh’khem, and fought Avimelekh. 40 But Avimelekh gave chase, and Ga‘al took to flight; many fell wounded, strewn all along the way to the city gate.
41 Then Avimelekh took up residence in Arumah, and Z’vul drove out Ga‘al and his brothers, so that they could not live in Sh’khem. 42 But the very next day, the people went out into the field, and Avimelekh was told about it. 43 He took his men, divided them into three groups, and lay in wait in the field. When he saw the people going out of the city, he came out of hiding and slaughtered them. 44 Avimelekh and his group rushed forward and occupied the entrance to the city gate, while the other two groups attacked all those in the field and killed them. 45 Avimelekh fought against the city all that day; captured it, killed its people, destroyed its buildings and sowed its land with salt.
46 When all the men in the fortress at Sh’khem heard about this, they took refuge in the stronghold of the temple of El-B’rit. 47 Avimelekh was told that all the men from the Sh’khem fortress had gathered together; 48 so he led all his men up to Mount Tzalmon, where he took an axe in his hand, cut a branch off a tree, and laid it on his shoulder. Then he said to those with him, “Quick! Do just what you saw me do!” 49 They all did likewise, each man cutting off his branch; and they followed Avimelekh. They put the branches up against the stronghold, set them on fire, and burned down the stronghold; so that all the people from the Sh’khem fortress died, about a thousand men and women.
50 Then Avimelekh went to Tevetz, set up camp against Tevetz and captured it. 51 But there was a fortified tower inside the city; and all the men and women took refuge in it, everyone in the city. They shut themselves inside and went up onto the roof of the tower. 52 However, when Avimelekh approached the tower, attacked it, and then came up close to the tower’s door in order to burn it down, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on Avimelekh’s head, cracking his skull. 54 He quickly called out to the young man holding his armor, “Draw your sword, and finish me off, so that people won’t say a woman killed me.” So his attendant ran him through, and he died. 55 When the men of Isra’el saw that Avimelekh was dead, they all went back home.
56 This is how God paid back Avimelekh for the wrong he did to his father in murdering his seventy brothers. 57 God also repaid the men of Sh’khem for all the wrong they had done; on them came the curse of Yotam the son of Yeruba‘al.
10 After Avimelekh there arose to save Isra’el Tola the son of Pu’ah, the son of Dodo, from the tribe of Yissakhar. He lived in Shamir, in the hills of Efrayim. 2 He judged Isra’el twenty-three years, and when he died he was buried in Shamir.
3 After him arose Ya’ir, from Gil‘ad. He judged Isra’el twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons who rode on thirty young donkeys. They owned thirty cities which are called Havot-Ya’ir to this day; they are in the territory of Gil‘ad. 5 When Ya’ir died, he was buried in Kamon.
6 Again the people of Isra’el did what was evil from Adonai’s perspective — they served the ba‘alim, the ‘ashtarot, the gods of Aram, the gods of Tzidon, the gods of Mo’av, the gods of the people of ‘Amon and the gods of the P’lishtim. They abandoned Adonai and did not serve him; 7 so the anger of Adonai blazed against Isra’el, and he handed them over to the P’lishtim and the people of ‘Amon. 8 For eighteen years, starting that year, they oppressed and persecuted all the people of Isra’el who lived beyond the Yarden, in the territory of the Emorim, in Gil‘ad. 9 The people of ‘Amon also crossed the Yarden to fight Y’hudah, Binyamin and the house of Efrayim; so that Isra’el was greatly distressed.
10 Then the people of Isra’el cried to Adonai, “We have sinned against you by forsaking our God and serving the ba‘alim.” 11 Adonai said to the people of Isra’el, “I saved you from the Egyptians, the Emorim, the people of ‘Amon, and the P’lishtim, didn’t I? 12 Likewise, when the people of Tzidon, ‘Amalek and Ma‘on oppressed you, you cried out to me; and I rescued you from their power. 13 Yet you abandoned me and served other gods; therefore I will not rescue you any more. 14 Go and cry to the gods you chose; let them rescue you when you’re in trouble!” 15 The people of Isra’el said to Adonai, “We have sinned! Treat us in whatever way seems good to you, but save us today, please!” 16 They got rid of their foreign gods and served Adonai, and he became troubled by Isra’el’s misery.
17 Then the people of ‘Amon gathered together and set up camp in Gil‘ad, while the people of Isra’el assembled and camped at Mitzpah. 18 The people, the chiefs of Gil‘ad, said to each other, “Whoever leads the battle against the army of ‘Amon will be head over everyone living in Gil‘ad.”
13 That same day, two of them were going toward a village about seven miles from Yerushalayim called Amma’us, 14 and they were talking with each other about all the things that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed, Yeshua himself came up and walked along with them, 16 but something kept them from recognizing him. 17 He asked them, “What are you talking about with each other as you walk along?” They stopped short, their faces downcast; 18 and one of them, named Cleopas, answered him, “Are you the only person staying in Yerushalayim that doesn’t know the things that have been going on there the last few days?” 19 “What things?” he asked them. They said to him, “The things about Yeshua from Natzeret. He was a prophet and proved it by the things he did and said before God and all the people. 20 Our head cohanim and our leaders handed him over, so that he could be sentenced to death and executed on a stake as a criminal. 21 And we had hoped that he would be the one to liberate Isra’el! Besides all that, today is the third day since these things happened; 22 and this morning, some of the women astounded us. They were at the tomb early 23 and couldn’t find his body, so they came back; but they also reported that they had seen a vision of angels who say he’s alive! 24 Some of our friends went to the tomb and found it exactly as the women had said, but they didn’t see him.”
25 He said to them, “Foolish people! So unwilling to put your trust in everything the prophets spoke! 26 Didn’t the Messiah have to die like this before entering his glory?” 27 Then, starting with Moshe and all the prophets, he explained to them the things that can be found throughout the Tanakh concerning himself.
28 They approached the village where they were going. He made as if he were going on farther; 29 but they held him back, saying, “Stay with us, for it’s almost evening, and it’s getting dark.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 As he was reclining with them at the table, he took the matzah, made the b’rakhah, broke it and handed it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But he became invisible to them. 32 They said to each other, “Didn’t our hearts burn inside us as he spoke to us on the road, opening up the Tanakh to us?”
33 They got up at once, returned to Yerushalayim and found the Eleven gathered together with their friends, 34 saying, “It’s true! The Lord has risen! Shim‘on saw him!” 35 Then the two told what had happened on the road and how he had become known to them in the breaking of the matzah.
36 They were still talking about it when — there he was, standing among them! 37 Startled and terrified, they thought they were seeing a ghost. 38 But he said to them, “Why are you so upset? Why are these doubts welling up inside you? 39 Look at my hands and my feet — it is I, myself! Touch me and see — a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones, as you can see I do.” 40 As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 While they were still unable to believe it for joy and stood there dumbfounded, he said to them, “Have you something here to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish, 43 which he took and ate in their presence.
44 Yeshua said to them, “This is what I meant when I was still with you and told you that everything written about me in the Torah of Moshe, the Prophets and the Psalms had to be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds, so that they could understand the Tanakh, 46 telling them, “Here is what it says: the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day; 47 and in his name repentance leading to forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed to people from all nations, starting with Yerushalayim. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 Now I am sending forth upon you what my Father promised, so stay here in the city until you have been equipped with power from above.”
50 He led them out toward Beit-Anyah; then, raising his hands, he said a b’rakhah over them; 51 and as he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52 They bowed in worship to him, then returned to Yerushalayim, overflowing with joy. 53 And they spent all their time in the Temple courts, praising God.
100 (0) A psalm of thanksgiving:
(1) Shout for joy to Adonai, all the earth!
2 Serve Adonai with gladness.
Enter his presence with joyful songs.
3 Be aware that Adonai is God;
it is he who made us; and we are his,
his people, the flock in his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
enter his courtyards with praise;
give thanks to him, and bless his name.
5 For Adonai is good, his grace continues forever,
and his faithfulness lasts through all generations.
11 The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
but the tent of the upright will flourish.
12 There can be a way which seems right to a person,
but at its end are the ways of death.