1 Then Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother's brothers, and
spoke with them and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying,
2 Please speak in the ears of all the lords of Shechem: Which is better for you, for all
seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal to rule over you, or for one to rule over you? Remember
that I am your own flesh and bone.
3 And his mother's brothers spoke all these words concerning him in the ears of all the
lords of Shechem; and their heart was inclined after Abimelech, for they said, He is our
4 And they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the house of Baal-Berith, with which
Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men, who went after him.
5 And he went to his father's house at Ophrah and killed his brothers, the seventy sons of
Jerubbaal, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, because he
had hidden himself.
6 And all the lords of Shechem gathered together, all the house of Millo, and they went
and made Abimelech king beside the terebinth tree that was situated at Shechem.
7 Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted
his voice and cried out. And he said to them: Listen to me, you lords 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, Should I cease from my fatness, with which they honor
God and men, and go to sway over the trees?
10 Then the trees said to the fig tree, You come and reign over us!
11 But the fig tree said to them, Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to
sway over the trees?
12 Then the trees said to the vine, You come and reign over us!
13 But the vine said to them, Should I cease my new wine, which cheers both God and
men, and go to sway over the trees?
14 Then all the trees said to the bramble, You come and reign over us!
15 And the bramble said to the trees, If in truth you anoint me as king over you, then
come and seek 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 have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and
if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him according to the
dealings of his hands;
17 for my father fought for you, cast aside his own soul, and delivered you out of the hand
18 but you have risen up against my father's house this day, and killed his seventy sons on
one stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the lords of
Shechem, because he is your brother;
19 if then you have dealt in truth and integrity towards Jerubbaal and with his house this
day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you.
20 But if not, let fire come from Abimelech and devour the lords of Shechem and the
house of Millo; and let fire come from the lords of Shechem and from the house of Millo
and devour Abimelech!
21 And Jotham fled and escaped; and he went to Beer and dwelt there, away from the
face of Abimelech his brother.
22 After Abimelech had reigned over Israel three years,
23 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem; and the lords of
Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech,
24 that the wrong done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be settled and their blood
be laid upon Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and upon the lords of Shechem,
who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.
25 And the lords of Shechem set an ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and
they robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was reported to Abimelech.
26 Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers and went over to Shechem; and the
lords of Shechem trusted him.
27 And they went out into the fields, and gathered grapes from their vineyards and trod
them, and rejoiced. And they went into the house of their god, and ate and drank, and
28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we
should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is not Zebul his officer? Serve the
men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him?
29 Would therefore that this people were given into my hand! Then I would remove
Abimelech. So he said to Abimelech, Increase your army and come out!
30 And when Zebul, the ruler of the city, heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his
31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech deceitfully, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of
Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem; and behold, they are fortifying the city
32 Now therefore, rise up by night, you and the people with you, and lie in wait in the
33 And it shall be in the morning as the sun rises, that you shall rise up early and rush
upon the city; and when he and the people with him come out against you, you shall do to
them as your hand shall find to do.
34 So Abimelech and all the people with him rose by night, and lay in wait against
Shechem in four companies.
35 When Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance to the city gate,
Abimelech and the people with him rose up from the ambush.
36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, people are coming down
from the tops of the mountains! But Zebul said to him, You are seeing the shadows of the
mountains as if they were men.
37 And Gaal spoke again and said, Behold, people are coming down from the midst of the
land, and another company is coming from the plain by way of the fortunetellers.
38 Then Zebul said to him, Where indeed is your mouth now, with which you said, Who
is Abimelech, that we should serve him? Are not these the people whom you have
despised? Go out now and fight with them.
39 So Gaal went out before the lords of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him; and many fell wounded, to the
entrance of the gate.
41 Then Abimelech dwelt at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, so as to
not dwell in Shechem.
42 And it came about on the next day that the people went out into the field, and they
reported to Abimelech.
43 And he took his people, divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the field,
watching. And behold, the people were coming out of the city; and he rose up against them
and struck them.
44 And Abimelech and the company that was with him rushed forward and stood at the
entrance of the gate of the city; and the other two companies rushed upon all who were in
the fields and struck them.
45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; he took the city and killed the
people who were in it; and he broke down the city and sowed it with salt.
46 And when all the lords of the tower of Shechem heard it, they entered the underground
chambers of the house of the god Berith.
47 And it was reported to Abimelech that all the lords of the tower of Shechem had
48 And Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people with him. And
Abimelech took an ax in his hand and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it and
laid it on his shoulder; then he said to the people with him, What you have seen me do,
make haste and do as I have done.
49 So each of the people likewise cut down his own bough and followed Abimelech, put
them against the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people
of the tower of Shechem died, about a thousand men and women.
50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and he encamped against Thebez and took it.
51 But there was a strong tower in the middle of the city, and all the men and women, all
the lords of the city, fled there and shut themselves in; and they went up to the top of the
52 So Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it; and he drew near the door of
the tower to burn it with fire.
53 And a certain woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech's head and crushed
54 And he called quickly to the young man, his armorbearer, and said to him, Draw your
sword and kill me, that they not say of me, A woman killed him. So his young man thrust
him through, and he died.
55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed, every man to
56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father by
killing his seventy brothers.
57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned upon their own heads, and upon
them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.