1 Gideons son Abimelech went to the town of Shechem. All his mothers relatives lived there. He told them:
2 »Ask the men of Shechem: Which is better for you. To have all seventy of Gideons sons govern you or to have just one man? Remember that Abimelech is your own flesh and blood.«
3 His mothers relatives talked to the men of Shechem about this for him. The men of Shechem decided to follow Abimelech because: »He is our relative.«
4 They gave him seventy pieces of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith. Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men to join him.
5 He went to his fathers house at Ophrah. There on top of a single stone he killed his seventy brothers, Gideons sons. Gideons youngest son Jotham hid and therefore was not killed.
6 All the men of Shechem and Bethmillo got together and went to the sacred oak tree at Shechem, where they made Abimelech king.
7 Jotham heard about this. He stood on top of Mount Gerizim and shouted out to them: »Men of Shechem, listen to me and God may listen to you!
8 »The trees went out to anoint a king over them. They said to the olive tree: Be our king.
9 »The olive tree answered: I would have to stop producing my oil in order to govern you. My oil is used to honor gods and human beings.
10 »Then the trees said to the fig tree: Come and be our king.
11 »The fig tree replied: I would have to stop producing my good sweet fruit that I may govern you.
12 »Then the trees spoke to the grapevine: You come and be our king.
13 »But the vine answered: I could not govern you for I would have to stop producing my wine. It makes gods and human beings happy.
14 »So then all the trees said to the thorn bush: You come and be our king!«
15 »The thorn bush answered: If you really want to make me your king, then come and take shelter in my shade. If you do not, fire will blaze out of my thorny branches and burn up the cedars of Lebanon.
16 »Think about it, Jotham continued: Were you really honest and sincere when you made Abimelech king? Have you respected Gideons memory? Did you treat his family properly, as his actions deserved?
17 »My father fought for you. He risked his life to deliver you from the Midianites.
18 »Today you turned against my fathers family. You killed his sons, seventy men on a single stone. And this because Abimelech, his son by his servant woman, is your relative, you have made him king of Shechem.
19 »If you have acted in truth and sincerity today to Gideon and his family then be happy with Abimelech and let him be happy with you.
20 »But if not, may fire blaze out from Abimelech and burn up the men of Shechem and Bethmillo. May fire blaze out from the men of Shechem and Bethmillo and burn Abimelech up.«
21 Jotham ran away to Beer and lived there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
22 When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,
23 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. The men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:
24 That the cruelty done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might be avenged on their brother Abimelech. For he killed them and the men of Shechem helped him kill his brother.
25 And the men of Shechem set men in ambush on the top of the mountains. They robbed all who came along that way. This was reported to Abimelech.
26 Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.
27 They all went to their vineyards and picked the grapes. Then they made wine from them, and held a festival. They went to the temple of their god, where they ate and drank and made fun of Abimelech.
28 Gaal said: »Who is Abimelech and who is Schechem that we should serve them? Who is he? The son of Gideon! And Zebul takes orders from him, but why should we serve him? Be loyal to your ancestor Hamor, the one who founded your clan!
29 »If I were leading this people I would get rid of Abimelech! I would tell him to: call out your army, come on out and fight!«
30 The ruler of the city, Zebul, became angry when he heard what Gaal said.
31 He sent messengers to Abimelech at Arumah. They said: »Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem. They are not going to let you enter into the city.
32 »You and your men should move by night and hide in the fields.
33 »Get up early in the morning at sunrise and attack the city. When he and the people who are with him come out against you do what you can against them.«
34 Abimelech and all his troops, in four companies, took up concealed positions at night against Shechem.
35 Abimelech and his men saw Gaal come out and stand at the city gate. So they got up from their hiding places.
36 Gaal saw them and said to Zebul: »There are men coming down from the mountaintops!« Zebul answered: »They are not men. They are only shadows on the mountains.«
37 Gaal responded: »Do you see? There are men coming down from the top of the mountain. Some are coming along the road from the big tree of Meonenim big tree of magic!«
38 Zebul said to him: »Where is all your big talk now? You asked why we should serve this man Abimelech. These are the men you made fun of. You go fight them!«
39 Gaal led the men of Shechem out to fight Abimelech.
40 Abimelech chased Gaal, and Gaal ran away. Many were wounded at the city gate.
41 Abimelech lived in Arumah. Zebul drove Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem. They could no longer live there.
42 The next day it was reported to Abimelech that the people of Shechem were planning to go out into the fields.
43 He divided his men into three groups. They hid in the fields, waiting. When he saw the people come out of the city, he came out of hiding to kill them.
44 Abimelech and his group rushed forward to guard the city gate. The other two companies attacked the people in the fields and killed all of them.
45 The fighting lasted all day. Abimelech captured the city and killed its people. He tore down the city and covered the ground with salt.
46 When all the men in the fort at Shechem heard this, they sought safety in the stronghold of the temple of Baal-Berith.
47 Abimelech was informed that they had gathered there,
48 He traveled up to Mount Zalmon with his men. He took an ax, cut a limb off a tree, and put it on his shoulder. He told his men to hurry and do the same thing.
49 So everyone cut off a tree limb. They followed Abimelech and piled the wood up against the stronghold. They set the fort on fire. All the people of the fort died. About a thousand men and women died.
50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez. They surrounded that city, and captured it.
51 There was a strong tower there. The men and women in the city, including the leaders, ran to it. They locked themselves in and went up to the roof.
52 When Abimelech attacked the tower he went to the door to set the tower on fire.
53 A woman threw a millstone down on his head and fractured his skull.
54 He quickly called the young man who was carrying his weapons and told him: »Draw your sword and kill me. I do not want it said that a woman killed me.« The young man ran him through with his sword and he died.
55 The Israelites went home as soon as they saw that Abimelech was dead.
56 Thus God paid Abimelech back for the crime that he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers.
57 God also made the men of Shechem suffer for their wickedness. Jotham, Gideons son, said they would when he cursed them.