Judges chapter .ix.

For Abimelech the son of Ierobaal went to Sichem, unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them and with all his mother's father's kindred saying: say I pray you, in the ears of all the inhabiters of Sichem: whether is better for you that all the sons of Ierobaal which are seventy persons reign over you, either that one reign over you. And remember thereto, that I am your bones and your flesh. And his mother's brethren rehearsed of him in the audience of all the Citizens of Sichem, all these words, and moved their hearts to follow Abimelech, in that they said how he was their brother. And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal Berith, with which Abimelech hired Iehel and light persons which went with him. And they went unto his father's house at Ephrah, and slew all his brethren, the sons of Ierobaal, even seventy persons with one stone. Notwithstanding yet Ioatham the youngest son of Ierobaal escaped, for he hid himself. And all the citizens of Sichem gathered together with all the house of Mello, and went and made Abimelech king at a certain oak that was by Sichem.
And when it was told Ioatham, he went and stood in the top of mount Garizim, and lift up his voice and called, and said unto them: Hearken unto me you citizens of Sichem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went to anoint a king over them, and said unto the olive tree, reign over us. But the olive tree said unto them: should I leave my fatness which both God and man praiseth in me, and go to be promoted over the trees. Then said the trees to the fig tree, come thou and be king over us. And the fig tree answered them, should I forsake my sweetness and my good fruit, and should go to be promoted over the trees. Then said the trees unto the vine, come thou and be king over us. And the vine answered, should I leave my wine that cheereth both God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees. Then said all the trees unto the furze bush come thou and reign over us. And the furze bush said unto the trees: if it will be true that ye will anoint me king over you, then come and rest under my shadow, and ye shall see that a fire shall come out of the furze bush and waste the cypress trees of Libanon. And even so now, if ye have done truly and uncorruptly to make Abimelech king. And if ye have dealt well with Ierobaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands, forasmuch as my father fought for you and adventured his life, and rid you out of the hands of the Madianites. And ye are risen up against my father's house this day. And have slain his children, even seventy persons with one stone and have made Abimelech the son of his maidservant king over the citizens of Sichem, because he is your brother, if then ye have dealt purely and truly with Ierobaal and with his house this day: then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. But if ye have not dealt truly, then I pray God a fire may come out of Abimelech and consume the citizens of Sichem and the house of Mello. And that there come a fire out of the citizens of Sichem, and out of the house Mello and consume Abimelech. And Ioatham ran away and fled and went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.
When Abimelech had reigned three years God sent an hate between Abimelech and the citizens of Sichem. And the citizens of Sichem railed upon Abimelech, and wished that the wickedness done to the seventy sons of Ierobaal might come on him, and laid the blood of them unto Abimelech their brother which slew them, and unto the other citizens of Sichem which aided him in the killing of his brethren. And the citizens of Sichem set men to lay await for him in the top of the mountains, which men robbed all that came along the way by them. And it was told Abimelech. And Gaal the son of Abed and his brethren went and gat them to Sichem. And the men of Sichem put their confidence in him. And they went out into the fields and gathered in their grapes and trod them and made merry: and went into the house of their God, and did eat and drink and cursed Abimelech. And Gaal the son of Abed said: what is Abimelech? and what is Sichem? that we should serve him, is he not the son of Ierobaal? and Zebul is his officer? serve such as come of Hemor the father of Sichem, for what reason is it that we should serve him? would God this people were under my hand, then I would take Abimelech out of the way. And one said unto Abimelech, make thine host greater and go out. And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Abed, he was wroth and sent messengers unto Abimelech privily saying: Behold Gaal the son of Abed and his brethren be come to Sichem: and behold they set the city against thee. Now therefore up by night, both thou and all the people that is with thee, and lie in wait in the fields. And rise early in the morning as soon as the son is up and come upon the city. And when he and the people that is with him come out against thee, do to him what thine hands shall be able. And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night. And they laid await to the city in four companies. And Gaal the son of Abed went out and stood in the entering of the gate of the city. And Abimelech rose up and the folk that were with him, from lying await. 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: the shadow of the hills seem men unto thee. And Gaal answered again and said: see there come folk down by the middle of the land and another company come along by the charmer's Oak. Then said Zebul unto him: where is now thy mouth that said, what fellow is Abimelech, that we should serve him. These are the people that thou so despisest. Go out now a fellowship and fight with them. And Gaal went out before the citizens of Sichem, and fought with Abimelech. And Abimelech chased him that he fled before him and many were overthrown and slain, even until they came unto the entering of the gate. And then Abimelech went and dwelt at Arumah. And then Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren, and would not suffer them to dwell in Sichem. And on the morrow the people went out into the field. And it was told Abimelech. And he took his people and divided them into three companies and lay await in the fields. And when he saw that the people were come out of the city, he ran upon them and laid upon them. And Abimelech and the companies that were with him, ran 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 then Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and took it, and slew the people that were therein, and destroyed the city and sowed salt in the place. And when all the men of the town of Sichem heard that, they entered into a stronghold of the house of their god Baal Berith. And when it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Sichem were gathered together, he gat him to mount Zelmon, both he and all that were with him, and took axes with him and cut down an arm of a tree, and took it up, and put it on his shoulder, and said unto the folk that were with him, whatsoever ye see me do: speed yourselves and do likewise. And all the people cut down also every man a bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them into the hold, and set the hold a fire upon them: so that all the men of the tower of Sichem were slain, upon a thousand persons what of men and women together.
Then went Abimelech to Thebes and besieged it and took it. But there was a strong tower in the midst of the city, and thither ran all the men and women and all the citizens of the city and shut it to them, and got them up upon the top of the tower. Then came Abimelech unto the tower and fought against it, and went hard unto the entering of the gate, to set it on fire. But a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon his head and all to brake his brain pan. Then Abimelech called hastily unto the young man that bare his harness, and said unto him: draw thy sword and slay me, that men say not of me, a woman slew him. And his lad thrust him thorow and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed, every man unto his own house. And thus all the wickedness of Abimelech which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren, and thereto all the wickedness of the men of Sichem, God did bring upon their heads: And upon them came the curse of Ioatham the son of Ierobaal.


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Praise the Everlasting Lord for His Faithful Word.