1Then Abimelech the sonne of Ierubbaal went to Shechem vnto his mothers brethren, and communed with them, and with all the familie, and house of his mothers father, saying,
2Say, I pray you, in the audience of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, that all the sonnes of Ierubbaal, which are seuentie persons, reigne ouer you, either that one reigne ouer you? Remember also, that I am your bone, and your flesh.
3Then his mothers brethren spake of him in the audience of all the men of Shechem, all these wordes: and their hearts were moued to follow Abimelech: for sayd they, He is our brother.
4And they gaue him seuentie pieces of siluer out of the house of Baal-berith, wherewith Abimelech hired vayne and light fellowes which followed him.
5And he went vnto his fathers house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren, the sonnes of Ierubbaal, about seuentie persons vpon one stone: yet Iotham the yongest sonne of Ierubbaal was left: for he hid himselfe.
6And all the men of Shechem gathered together with all the house of Millo, and came and made Abimelech King in the playne, where the stone was erected in Shechem.
7And when they told it to Iotham, he went and stoode in the top of mount Gerizim, and lift vp his voyce, and cryed, and sayd vnto them, Hearken vnto mee, you men of Shechem, that God may hearken vnto you.
8The trees went foorth to anoynt a King ouer them, and sayde vnto the oliue tree, Reigne thou ouer vs.
9But the oliue tree said vnto them, Should I leaue my fatnes, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to aduance me aboue ye trees?
10Then the trees sayde to the fig tree, Come thou, and be King ouer vs.
11But the fig tree answered them, Should I forsake my sweetenesse, and my good fruite, and goe to aduance me aboue the trees?
12Then sayd the trees vnto the Vine, Come thou, and be king ouer vs.
13But the Vine sayde vnto them, Should I leaue my wine, whereby I cheare God and man, and goe to aduance me aboue the trees?
14Then said all the trees vnto the bramble, Come thou, and reigne ouer vs.
15And the bramble said vnto the trees, If ye will in deede anoynt me King ouer you, come, and put your trust vnder my shadowe: and if not, the fire shall come out of the bramble, and consume the Cedars of Lebanon.
16Now therefore, if ye doe truely and vncorruptly to make Abimelech King, and if ye haue delt well with Ierubbaal and with his house, and haue done vnto him according to the deseruing of his handes,
17(For my father fought for you, and aduentured his life, and deliuered you out of the handes of Midian.
18And yee are risen vp against my fathers house this day, and haue slayne his children, about seuentie persons vpon one stone, and haue made Abimelech the sonne of his mayde seruant, King ouer the men of Shechem, because hee is your brother)
19If ye then haue delt truely and purely with Ierubbaal, and with his house this day, then reioyce with you.
20But if not, let a fire come out from Abimelech, and consume the men of Shechem and the house of Millo: also let a fire come foorth from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and consume Abimelech.
21And Iotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there for feare of Abimelech his brother.
22So Abimelech reigned three yeere ouer Israel.
23But God sent an euil spirit betweene Abimelech, and the men of Shechem: and the men of Shechem brake their promise to Abimelech,
24That the crueltie toward the seuentie sonnes of Ierubbaal and their blood might come and be laide vpon Abimelech their brother, which had slayne them, and vpon the men of Shechem, which had ayded him to kill his brethren.
25So the men of Shechem set men in wayte for him in the toppes of the mountaines: who robbed all that passed that way by them: and it was tolde Abimelech.
26Then Gaal the sonne of Ebed came with his brethren, and they went to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.
27Therefore they went out into the field, and gathered in their grapes and troade them, and made merie, and went into the house of their gods, and did eate and drinke, and cursed Abimelech.
28Then Gaal the sonne of Ebed sayde, Who is Abimelech? and who is Shechem, that wee should serue him? Is he not the sonne of Ierubbaal? and Zebul is his officer? Serue rather the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serue him?
29Now would God this people were vnder mine hand: then would I put away Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out.
30And when Zebul the ruler of the citie heard the wordes of Gaal the sonne of Ebed, his wrath was kindled.
31Therefore he sent messengers vnto Abimelech priuily, saying, Beholde, Gaal the sonne of Ebed and his brethren be come to Shechem, and beholde, they fortifie the citie against thee.
32Now therefore arise by night, thou and the people that is with thee, and lye in wayte in the fielde.
33And rise early in the morning as soone as the sunne is vp, and assault the citie: and when he and the people that is with him, shall come out against thee, doe to him what thou canst.
34So Abimelech rose vp, and all the people that were with him by night: and they lay in wayte against Shechem in foure bandes.
35Then Gaal the sonne of Ebed went out and stood in the entring of the gate of the citie: and Abimelech rose vp, and the folke that were with him, from lying in waite.
36And when Gaal sawe the people, he said to Zebul, Beholde, there come people downe from the tops of the mountaines: and Zebul said vnto him, The shadowe of the mountaines seeme men vnto thee.
37And Gaal spake againe, and said, See, there come folke downe by the middle of the land, and another bande commeth by the way of the plaine of Meonenim.
38Then sayd Zebul vnto him, Where is now thy mouth, that said, Who is Abimelech, that we should serue him? Is not this the people that thou hast despised? Go out now, I pray thee, and fight with them.
39And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
40But Abimelech pursued him, and he fledde before him, and many were ouerthrowen and wounded, euen vnto the entring of the gate.
41And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren that they should not dwell in Shechem.
42And on the morowe, the people went out into the fielde: which was tolde Abimelech.
43And he tooke the people, and deuided them into three bandes, and layde wayte in the fieldes, and looked, and beholde, the people were come out of the citie, and he rose vp against them, and smote them.
44And Abimelech, and the bandes that were with him, russhed forwarde, and stoode in the entring of the gate of the citie: and the two other bandes ran vpon all the people that were in the fielde and slewe them.
45And when Abimelech had fought against the citie all that day, he tooke the citie, and slewe the people that was therein, and destroyed the citie and sowed salt in it.
46And when all the men of the towre of Shechem heard it, they entred into an holde of the house of the god Berith.
47And it was tolde Abimelech, that all the men of the towre of Shechem were gathered together.
48And Abimelech gate him vp to mounte Zalmon, hee and all the people that were with him: and Abimelech tooke axes with him, and cut downe boughes of trees, and tooke them, and bare them on his shoulder, and sayde vnto the folke that were with him, What ye haue seene me doe, make haste, and doe like me.
49Then all the people also cut downe euery man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the holde, and set the holde on fire with them: so all the men of the towre of Shechem dyed also, about a thousand men and women.
50Then went Abimelech to Tebez, and besieged Tebez, and tooke it.
51But there was a strong towre within the citie, and thither fledde all the men and women, and all the chiefe of the citie, and shut it to them, and went vp to the toppe of the towre.
52And Abimelech came vnto the towre and fought against it, and went hard vnto the doore of the towre to set it on fire.
53But a certaine woman cast a piece of a milstone vpon Abimelechs head, and brake his braine pan.
54Then Abimelech called hastily his page that bare his harneis, and sayde vnto him, Drawe thy sworde and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slewe him. And his page thrust him thorowe, and he dyed.
55And when the men of Israel sawe that Abimelech was dead, they departed euery man vnto his owne place.
56Thus God rendred the wickednes of Abimelech, which he did vnto his father, in slaying his seuentie brethren.
57Also all the wickednes of the men of Shechem did God bring vpon their heads. So vpon them came the curse of Iotham the sonne of Ierubbaal.