1 Then 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,
2 Say, 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.
3 Then 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.
4 And they gaue him seuentie pieces of siluer out of the house of Baal-berith, wherewith Abimelech hired vayne and light fellowes which followed him.
5 And 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.
¶ 6 And 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.
7 And 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.
8 The trees went foorth to anoynt a King ouer them, and sayde vnto the oliue tree, Reigne thou ouer vs.
9 But 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?
11 But the fig tree answered them, Should I forsake my sweetenesse, and my good fruite, and goe to aduance me aboue the trees?
13 But the Vine sayde vnto them, Should I leaue my wine, whereby I cheare God and man, and goe to aduance me aboue the trees?
15 And 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.
16 Now 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.
18 And 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)
19 If ye then haue delt truely and purely with Ierubbaal, and with his house this day, then reioyce with you.
20 But 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.
21 And Iotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there for feare of Abimelech his brother.
23 But God sent an euil spirit betweene Abimelech, and the men of Shechem: and the men of Shechem brake their promise to Abimelech,
24 That 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.
25 So 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.
26 Then Gaal the sonne of Ebed came with his brethren, and they went to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.
27 Therefore 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.
28 Then 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?
29 Now 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.
¶ 30 And when Zebul the ruler of the citie heard the wordes of Gaal the sonne of Ebed, his wrath was kindled.
31 Therefore 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.
32 Now therefore arise by night, thou and the people that is with thee, and lye in wayte in the fielde.
33 And 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.
¶ 34 So Abimelech rose vp, and all the people that were with him by night: and they lay in wayte against Shechem in foure bandes.
35 Then 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.
36 And 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.
37 And 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.
38 Then 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.
40 But Abimelech pursued him, and he fledde before him, and many were ouerthrowen and wounded, euen vnto the entring of the gate.
41 And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren that they should not dwell in Shechem.
43 And 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.
44 And 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.
45 And 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.
¶ 46 And when all the men of the towre of Shechem heard it, they entred into an holde of the house of the god Berith.
48 And 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.
49 Then 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.
51 But 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.
52 And Abimelech came vnto the towre and fought against it, and went hard vnto the doore of the towre to set it on fire.
54 Then 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.
55 And when the men of Israel sawe that Abimelech was dead, they departed euery man vnto his owne place.
56 Thus God rendred the wickednes of Abimelech, which he did vnto his father, in slaying his seuentie brethren.
57 Also 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.