And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother’s
brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his
mother’s father, saying,
Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for
you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign
over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your
And his mother’s brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem
all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He is
And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of
Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him.
And he went unto his father’s house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons
of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet
Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself.
And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went,
and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem.
And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and
lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem,
that God may hearken unto you.
The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the
olive tree, Reign thou over us.
But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they
honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?
And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us.
But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit,
and go to be promoted over the trees?
Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.
And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man,
and go to be promoted over the trees?
Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.
And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then
come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and
devour the cedars of Lebanon.
Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech
king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him
according to the deserving of his hands;
(For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out
of the hand of Midian:
And ye are risen up against my father’s house this day, and have slain his
sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of
his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;)
If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this
day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you:
But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and
the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house
of Millo, and devour Abimelech.
And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of
Abimelech his brother.
When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,
Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men
of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:
That the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and
their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of
Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren.
And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and
they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech.
And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the
men of Shechem put their confidence in him.
And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode the
grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink,
and cursed Abimelech.
And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should
serve him? is not he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? serve the men of
Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serve him?
And would to God this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And
he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out.
And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his
anger was kindled.
And he sent messengers unto Abimelech privily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed
and his brethren be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify the city against
Now therefore up by night, thou and the people that is with thee, and lie in wait
in the field:
And it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, thou shalt rise
early, and set upon the city: and, behold, when he and the people that is with him come
out against thee, then mayest thou do to them as thou shalt find occasion.
And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they
laid wait against Shechem in four companies.
And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entering of the gate of the
city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people that were with him, from lying in
And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from
the top of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him, Thou seest the shadow of the
mountains as if they were men.
And Gaal spake again, and said, See there come people down by the middle of the
land, and another company come along by the plain of Meonenim.
Then said Zebul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst, Who is
Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou hast despised? go
out, I pray now, and fight with them.
And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many were overthrown and
wounded, even unto the entering of the gate.
And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren, that
they should not dwell in Shechem.
And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the field; and
they told Abimelech.
And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the
field, and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out of the city; and he rose
up against them, and smote them.
And Abimelech, and the company that was with him, rushed forward, and stood in the
entering of the gate of the city: and the two other companies ran upon all the people
that were in the fields, and slew them.
And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew
the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.
And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that, they entered into an hold
of the house of the god Berith.
And it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered
And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him;
and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took
it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said unto the people that were with him, What ye
have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done.
And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech,
and put them to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of
the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.
Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.
But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and
women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the
And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the
door of the tower to burn it with fire.
And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech’s head, and
all to brake his skull.
Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw
thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A women slew him. And his young man
thrust him through, and he died.
And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man
unto his place.
Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in
slaying his seventy brethren:
And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon
them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.