And aAbimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's relatives, and spoke to them and to the whole clan of the household of his mother's father, saying,
"Speak, now, in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem, 'Which is better for you, that aseventy men, all the sons of Jerubbaal, rule over you, or that one man rule over you?' Also, remember that I am byour bone and your flesh."
And his mother's relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem; and they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, "He is aour relative."
They gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of aBaal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, and they followed him.
Then he went to his father's house at Ophrah and akilled his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, bseventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself.
All the men of Shechem and all Beth-millo assembled together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar which was in Shechem.
Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on the top of aMount Gerizim, and lifted his voice and called out. Thus he said to them, "Listen to me, O men of Shechem, that God may listen to you.
"Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us!'
"But the olive tree said to them, 'Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave over the trees?'
"Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'You come, reign over us!'
"But the fig tree said to them, 'Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave over the trees?'
"Then the trees said to the vine, 'You come, reign over us!'
"But the vine said to them, 'Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave over the trees?'
"Finally all the trees said to the bramble, 'You come, reign over us!'
"The bramble said to the trees, 'If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.'
"Now therefore, if you have dealt in truth and integrity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with aJerubbaal and his house, and have dealt with him as he deserved--
for my father fought for you and risked his life and delivered you from the hand of Midian;
but you have risen against my father's house today and have killed ahis sons, seventy men, on one stone, and have made Abimelech, bthe son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your relative--
if then you have dealt in truth and integrity with Jerubbaal and his house this day, rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you.
"But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume the men of Shechem and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem and from Beth-millo, and consume Abimelech."
Then Jotham escaped and fled, and went to Beer and remained there because of Abimelech his brother.
Now Abimelech ruled over Israel three years.
aThen God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem bdealt treacherously with Abimelech,
aso that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and btheir blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers.
The men of Shechem set men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who might pass by them along the road; and it was told to Abimelech.
Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his relatives, and crossed over into Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their trust in him.
They went out into the field and gathered the grapes of their vineyards and trod them, and held a festival; and they went into the house of atheir god, and ate and drank and cursed Abimelech.
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 Jerubbaal, and is Zebul not his lieutenant? Serve the men of aHamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him?
"aWould, therefore, that this people were under my authority! Then I would remove Abimelech." And he said to Abimelech, "Increase your army and come out."
When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger burned.
He sent messengers to Abimelech deceitfully, saying, "Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem; and behold, they are stirring up the city against you.
"Now therefore, arise by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field.
"In the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early and rush upon the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you shall ado to them whatever you can."
So Abimelech and all the people who were with him arose by night and lay in wait against Shechem in four companies.
Now Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the city gate; and Abimelech and the people who were with him arose from the ambush.
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 are seeing the shadow of the mountains as if they were men."
Gaal spoke again and said, "Behold, people are coming down from athe highest part of the land, and one company comes by the way of the diviners'