Chapter 9: Abimelech Tries to Be King
1 Then Abimelech the son of Yerubbaal (Gideon) 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 hearing of all the men of Shechem: Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Yerubbaal reign over you or that one reign 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 hearing of all the men of Shechem and their heart was inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother”. 4 So they gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men and they followed him. 5 Then he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers, the seventy sons of Yerubbaal, on one stone. But Yotham, the youngest son of Yerubbaal was left because he hid himself. 6 And all the men of Shechem gathered together, all of Beth Millo and they went and made Abimelech king beside the terebinth tree at the pillar that was in Shechem.
The Parable of the Trees
7 Now when they told Yotham, 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 men of Shechem that Yah 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 giving my oil, with which they honor Yah and men and go to sway over 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 trees’? 12 Then the trees said to the (grape) vine, ‘You come and reign over us’! 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Should I cease my new wine which cheers both Yah and men and go to sway over 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 take shelter in my shade. But if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon”!
Yotham Puts a Curse on Abimelech
16 “Now therefore, if you have acted in truth and sincerity in making Abimelech king and if you have dealt well with Yerubbaal and his house and have done to him as he deserves–17 For my father fought for you, risked his life and delivered you out of the hand of Midian. 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 female servant (concubine), king over the men of Shechem because he is your brother–19 If then you have acted in truth and sincerity with Jerbbaal 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 men of Shechem and Beth Millo and let fire come from the men of Shechem and from Beth Millo and devour Abimelech!” 21 And Yotham ran away and fled and he went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
Yah Repays Abimelech for His Wickedness
22 After Abimelech had reigned over Ysrayl three years–23 Yah sent a spirit of ill will between Abimelech and the men of Shechem and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech–24 That the crime done to the seventy sons of Yerubbaal might be settled and their blood be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them and on the men of Shechem who aided him in the killing of his brothers. 25 And the men of Shechem set men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains and they robbed all who passed by them along that way and it was told Abimelech.
26 Now 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 So they went out into the fields and gathered grapes from their vineyards and trod them and made merry. And they went into the house of their god and ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. 28 Then Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech and who is Shechem that we should serve him”? Is he not the son of Yerbbaal and is not Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem but why should we serve him? 29 If only this people were under my authority (Literally hand)! Then I would remove Abimelech”. So he said to Abimelech, “Increase your army and come out”!
30 When Zebul, the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was aroused. 31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly saying, “Take note! Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem and here they are, fortifying the city against you. 32 Now therefore, get up by night, you and the people who are with you and lie in wait in the field. 33 And it shall be, as soon as the sun is up in the morning, that you shall rise early and rush upon the city and when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you may then do to them as you find opportunity”.
34 So Abimelech and all the people who were 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 who were with him rose from lying in wait. 36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains”! But Zebul said to him, “You see the shadows of the mountains as if they were men”. 37 So Gaal spoke against and said, “See people are coming down from the center of the land and another company is coming from the Diviners (Hebrew Meonenim) Terebinth Tree”. 38 Then Zebul said to them, “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 despised? Go out, if you will and fight with them now”. 39 So Gaal went out, leading the men of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40 And Abimelech chased him and he fled from him and many fell wounded, to the very entrance of the gate. 41 Then Abimelech dwelt at Arumah and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers so that they would not dwell in Shechem.
42 And it came about on the next day that the people went out into the field and they told Abimelech. 43 So he took his people, divided them into three companies and lay in wait in the field. And he looked and there were the people coming out of the city and he rose against them and attacked them. 44 Then 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 killed them. 45 So Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He took the city and killed the people who were in it and he demolished the city and sowed it with salt.
46 Now when all the men of the tower of Shechem had heard that, they entered the stronghold of the temple of the god Berith. 47 And it was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 Then Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who were 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 who were 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 above them, so that all the people of the tower of Shemchem 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 city and all the men and women–all the people of the city–fled there and shut themselves in. Then they went up to the top of the tower. 52 So Abimelech came as far as the tower and fought against it and he drew near the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 But a certain woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. 54 Then he called quickly to the young man, his armor-bearer and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, lest men say of me, ‘A woman killed him’.” So his young man thrust him through and he died. 55 And when the men of Ysrayl saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed, every man to his place.
56 Thus Yah 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, Yah returned on their own heads and on them came the curse of Yotham the son of Yerubbaal (Gideon).
Chapter 10: Tola: Sixth Judge of the Book of Judges
1 After Abimelech there arose to save Ysrayl Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar and he dwelt in Shamir in the mountains of Ephraim. 2 He judged Ysrayl twenty-three years and he died and was buried in Shamir.
Yahir: Seventh Judge of the Book of Judges
3 After him arose Yahir, a Gileadite and he judged Ysrayl twenty-two years. 4 Now he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys. They also had thirty towns which are called “Havoth Yahir” (Literally towns of Yahir, compare to Numbers 32:41 and Deuteronomy 3:14) to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Yahir died and was buried in Camon.
Ysrayl Unfaithful Again; Ysrayl Oppressed Again
6 Then the children of Ysrayl again did evil in the sight of Yah and served the baals and the ashtoreths, the gods of Syria, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the people of Ammon and the gods of the Philistines and they forsook Yah and did not serve Him. 7 So the anger of Yah was hot against Ysrayl and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and into the hands of the people of Ammon. 8 From that year they harassed and oppressed the children of Ysrayl for eighteen years–all the children of Ysrayl who were on the other side of the Yordan in the land of the Amorites, in Gilead. 9 Moreover, the people of Ammon crossed over the Yordan to fight against Yahudah also, against Benyamin and against the house of Ephraim, so that Ysrayl was severely distressed.
10 And the children of Ysrayl cried out to Yah saying, “We have sinned against You because we have both forsaken our Yah and served the baals”! 11 So Yah said to the children of Ysrayl, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites and from the people of Ammon and from the Philistines? 12 Also the Sidonites and Amalekites and Moanites (Midianites) oppressed you and you cried out to Me and I delivered you from their hand. 13 Yet you have forsaken Me and served the gods. Therefore, I will deliver you no more. 14 Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen. Let them deliver you in your time of distress”.
15 And the children of Ysrayl said to Yah, “We have sinned! Do to us whatever seems best to You. Only deliver us this day, we pray”. 16 So they put away the gods from among them and served Yah. And His soul could no longer endure the misery of Ysrayl.
17 Then the people of Ammon gathered together and encamped in Gilead. And the children of Ysrayl assembled together and encamped in Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin the fight against the people of Ammon? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead”.