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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

Chapter 9

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1Now Abimelech son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's kinsfolk and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother's family, 2“Say in the hearing of all the lords of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal rule over you, or that one rule over you?’ Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.” 3So his mother's kinsfolk spoke all these words on his behalf in the hearing of all the lords of Shechem; and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.” 4They gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the temple of Baal‐berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5He went to his father's house at Ophrah, and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on onestone; but Jotham, the youngest son of Jerubbaal, survived, for he hid himself. 6Then all the lords of Shechem and all Beth‐millo came together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar a Gk: Heb and he said at Shechem.

7When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and cried aloud and said to them, “Listen to me, you lords of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.

8

The trees once went out to anoint a king over themselves. So they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ 9 The olive tree answered them, ‘Shall I stop producing my rich oil by which gods and mortals are honored, 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 answered them, ‘Shall I stop producing my sweetness and my delicious 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, ‘Shall I stop producing my wine that cheers gods and mortals, and go to sway over the trees?’ 14 So all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come 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 Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as his actions deserved— 17for my father fought for you, and risked his life, and rescued you from the hand of Midian; 18but you have risen up against my father's house this day, and have killed his sons, seventy men on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his slave woman, king over the lords of Shechem, because he is your kinsman— 19if, I say, you have acted in good faith and honor with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you; 20but if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the lords of Shechem, and Beth‐millo; and let fire come out from the lords of Shechem, and from Beth‐millo, and devour Abimelech.” 21Then Jotham ran away and fled, going to Beer, where he remained for fear of his brother Abimelech.

22Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23But God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem; and the lords of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech. 24This happened so that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be avenged b Cn See 9.41. Heb Tormah and their blood be laid on their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and on the lords of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. 25So, out of hostility to him, the lords of Shechem set ambushes on the mountain tops. They robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was reported to Abimelech.

26When Gaal son of Ebed moved into Shechem with his kinsfolk, the lords of Shechem put confidence in him. 27They went out into the field and gathered the grapes from their vineyards, trod them, and celebrated. Then they went into the temple of their god, ate and drank, and ridiculed Abimelech. 28Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who are we of Shechem, that we should serve him? Did not the son of Jerubbaal and Zebul his officer serve the men of Hamor father of Shechem? Why then should we serve him? 29If only this people were under my command! Then I would remove Abimelech; I would say a Cn: Heb are besieging to him, ‘Increase your army, and come out.’ ”

30When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31He sent messengers to Abimelech at Arumah, b That is Diviners’ Oak saying, “Look, Gaal son of Ebed and his kinsfolk have come to Shechem, and they are stirring up c Heb mouth the city against you. 32Now therefore, go by night, you and the troops that are with you, and lie in wait in the fields. 33Then early in the morning, as soon as the sun rises, get up and rush on the city; and when he and the troops that are with him come out against you, you may deal with them as best you can.”

34So Abimelech and all the troops with him got up by night and lay in wait against Shechem in four companies. 35When Gaal son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, Abimelech and the troops with him rose from the ambush. 36And when Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the mountain tops!” And Zebul said to him, “The shadows on the mountains look like people to you.” 37Gaal spoke again and said, “Look, people are coming down from Tabbur‐erez, and one company is coming from the direction of Elonmeonenim.” d Vg and some Gk Mss: Heb companies that were 38Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your boast e Heb lacks Did I not deliver you now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?’ Are not these the troops you made light of? Go out now and fight with them.” 39So Gaal went out at the head of the lords of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. 40Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him. Many fell wounded, up to the entrance of the gate. 41So Abimelech resided at Arumah; and Zebul drove out Gaal and his kinsfolk, so that they could not live on at Shechem.

42On the following day the people went out into the fields. When Abimelech was told, 43he took his troops and divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the fields. When he looked and saw the people coming out of the city, he rose against them and killed them. 44Abimelech and the company that was f Or Sea of Reeds with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city, while the two companies rushed on all who were in the fields and killed them. 45Abimelech fought against the city all that day; he took the city, and killed the people that were in it; and he razed the city and sowed it with salt.

46When all the lords of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the temple of El‐berith. 47Abimelech was told that all the lords of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48So Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the troops that were with him. Abimelech took an ax in his hand, cut down a bundle of brushwood, and took it up and laid it on his shoulder. Then he said to the troops with him, “What you have seen me do, do quickly, as I have done.” 49So every one of the troops cut down a bundle and following Abimelech put it against the stronghold, and they set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.

50Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. 51But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women and all the lords of the city fled to it and shut themselves in; and they went to the roof of the tower. 52Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and came near to the entrance of the tower to burn it with fire. 53But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech's head, and crushed his skull. 54Immediately he called to the young man who carried his armor and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, so people will not say about me, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So the young man thrust him through, and he died. 55When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they all went home. 56Thus God repaid Abimelech for the crime he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers; 57and God also made all the wickedness of the people of Shechem fall back on their heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham son of Jerubbaal.

Notes:

a Gk: Heb and he said

b Cn See 9.41. Heb Tormah

c Cn: Heb are besieging

d That is Diviners’ Oak

e Heb mouth

f Vg and some Gk Mss: Heb companies that were

a Heb lacks Did I not deliver you

a Or Sea of Reeds

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