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God Fulfills Jotham’s Curse

9:22 Abimelech commanded44 Israel for three years. 9:23 God sent a spirit to stir up hostility45 between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem. He made the leaders of Shechem disloyal46 to Abimelech. 9:24 He did this so the violent deaths of Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons might be avenged and Abimelech, their half-brother47 who murdered them, might have to pay for their spilled blood, along with the leaders of Shechem who helped him murder them.48 9:25 The leaders of Shechem rebelled against Abimelech by putting49 bandits in50 the hills, who robbed everyone who traveled by on the road. But Abimelech found out about it.51

9:26 Gaal son of Ebed52 came through Shechem with his brothers. The leaders of Shechem transferred their loyalty to him.53 9:27 They went out to the field, harvested their grapes,54 squeezed out the juice,55 and celebrated. They came to the temple56 of their god and ate, drank, and cursed Abimelech. 9:28 Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerub-Baal, and is not Zebul the deputy he appointed?57 Serve the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem! But why should we serve Abimelech?58 9:29 If only these men59 were under my command,60 I would get rid of Abimelech!” He challenged Abimelech,61 “Muster62 your army and come out for battle!”63

9:30 When Zebul, the city commissioner, heard the words of Gaal son of Ebed, he was furious.64 9:31 He sent messengers to Abimelech, who was in Arumah,65 reporting, “Beware!66 Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers are coming67 to Shechem and inciting the city to rebel against you.68 9:32 Now, come up69 at night with your men70 and set an ambush in the field outside the city.71 9:33 In the morning at sunrise quickly attack the city. When he and his men come out to fight you, do what you can to him.”72

9:34 So Abimelech and all his men came up73 at night and set an ambush outside Shechem—they divided into74 four units. 9:35 When Gaal son of Ebed came out and stood at the entrance to the city’s gate, Abimelech and his men got up from their hiding places. 9:36 Gaal saw the men75 and said to Zebul, “Look, men are coming down from the tops of the hills.” But Zebul said to him, “You are seeing the shadows on the hills—it just looks like men.”76 9:37 Gaal again said, “Look, men are coming down from the very center77 of the land. A unit78 is coming by way of the Oak Tree of the Diviners.”79 9:38 Zebul said to him, “Where now are your bragging words,80 ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Are these not the men81 you insulted?82 Go out now and fight them!” 9:39 So Gaal led the leaders of Shechem out83 and fought Abimelech. 9:40 Abimelech chased him, and Gaal84 ran from him. Many Shechemites85 fell wounded at the entrance of the gate. 9:41 Abimelech went back86 to Arumah; Zebul drove Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem.87

9:42 The next day the Shechemites88 came out to the field. When Abimelech heard about it,89 9:43 he took his men90 and divided them into three units and set an ambush in the field. When he saw the people coming out of the city,91 he attacked and struck them down.92 9:44 Abimelech and his units93 attacked and blocked94 the entrance to the city’s gate. Two units then attacked all the people in the field and struck them down. 9:45 Abimelech fought against the city all that day. He captured the city and killed all the people in it. Then he leveled95 the city and spread salt over it.96

9:46 When all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem97 heard the news, they went to the stronghold98 of the temple of El-Berith.99 9:47 Abimelech heard100 that all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem were in one place.101 9:48 He and all his men102 went up on Mount Zalmon. He103 took an ax104 in his hand and cut off a tree branch. He put it105 on his shoulder and said to his men, “Quickly, do what you have just seen me do!”106 9:49 So each of his men also cut off a branch and followed Abimelech. They put the branches107 against the stronghold and set fire to it.108 All the people109 of the Tower of Shechem died—about a thousand men and women.

9:50 Abimelech moved on110 to Thebez; he besieged and captured it.111 9:51 There was a fortified112 tower113 in the center of the city, so all the men and women, as well as the city’s leaders, ran into it and locked the entrance. Then they went up to the roof of the tower. 9:52 Abimelech came and attacked the tower. When he approached the entrance of the tower to set it on fire, 9:53 a woman threw an upper millstone114 down on his115 head and shattered his skull. 9:54 He quickly called to the young man who carried his weapons,116 “Draw your sword and kill me, so they will not say,117 ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So the young man stabbed him and he died. 9:55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they went home.118

9:56 God repaid Abimelech for the evil he did to his father by murdering his seventy half-brothers.119 9:57 God also repaid the men of Shechem for their evil deeds. The curse spoken by Jotham son of Jerub-Baal fell120 on them.


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