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¶ AND Abimeleck the son of Nedo-baal went to Shechem to his mother’s brothers, and spoke to them and to all the family of the house of his mother’s father, saying,
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Speak, before all the lords of Shechem, Which is better for you, that all the seventy men, the sons of Nedo-baal, rule over you, or that one man rule over you?
Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.
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And his mother’s brothers spoke of him before all the lords of Shechem all these words;
and their hearts inclined to follow Abimeleck;
for they said, He is our brother.
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And they gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of Baal-kiama, with which Abimeleck hired vain and wanton persons, who followed him.
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And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah, and slew his brothers, the sons of Nedo-baal, seventy men, upon one stone;
but Jotham the youngest son of Nedo-baal was left;
for he hid himself.
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And all the lords of Shechem gathered together, and all the people of Beth-millo, and went and made Abimeleck king over them, by the oak of Mazpiah which is in Shechem.
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¶ And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice and cried, and said to them, Hearken to me, O lords of Shechem, that God may hearken to you.
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Once upon a time the trees went forth to anoint a king over them;
and they said to the olive tree, Reign over us.
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But the olive tree said to them, Should I leave my fertility, by which gods and men are honored, to be abominated for reigning over the trees?
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And the trees said to the fig tree, Come you, and reign over us.
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But the fig tree said to them, I am not going to leave my sweetness and my good fruit, to be abominated for reigning over the trees.
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Then the trees said to the vine, Come you, and reign over us.
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But the vine said to them, I am not going to leave my wine which cheers the hearts of gods and men, to be abominated for reigning over the trees.
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Then all the trees said to the bramble, Come you, and reign over us.
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And the bramble said to the trees, If in truth you anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade;
and if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.
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Now therefore, if you have done truly and sincerely, in that you have made Abimeleck king, and if you have dealt well with Nedo-baal and his household, and have rewarded him according to the deeds of his hands;
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(For my father fought for you, and ventured his life afar, and delivered you from the hand of Midian;
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And you have risen up against my father’s house this day, and have slain his sons, seventy men, upon one stone, and have made Abimeleck, the son of his maidservant, king over the lords of Shechem, because he is your brother;)
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If you then have dealt truly and sincerely with Nedo-baal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimeleck, and let him also rejoice in you;
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But if not, let fire come out from Abimeleck, and devour the lords of Shechem and the lords of Millo;
and let fire come out from the lords of Shechem and from the lords of Millo, and devour Abimeleck.
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And Jotham ran away and escaped, and went to Debir, and dwelt there, the place where Abimeleck had lived before.
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When Abimeleck had reigned over Israel three years,
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Then God sent an evil spirit upon Abimeleck and upon the lords of Shechem;
and the lords of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimeleck,
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That the cruelty done to the seventy sons of Nedo-baal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimeleck their brother, who slew them;
and upon the lords of Shechem, who strengthened his hands in the killing of his brothers.
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And the men of Shechem laid an ambush against him on the top of the mountain, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way;
and it was told Abimeleck.
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And Gaal the son of Epar came with his brothers, and went over to Shechem;
and the lords of Shechem put their confidence in him.
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And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards and trod the grapes, and they made a banquet and went into the house of their gods and did eat and drink, and reviled Abimeleck.
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And Gaal the son of Epar said, Who is Abimeleck and who is Shechem that we would serve him?
Is he not the son of Nedo-baal?
And Zebul because he changed his allegiance served the men of Hamor the father of Shechem;
why then should we serve him?
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And would to God this people were under my command!
Then I would remove Abimeleck.
And he said to Abimeleck, Increase your army, and come out.
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And when Zebul the governor of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Epar, his anger was kindled.
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And he sent messengers to Abimeleck deceitfully, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Epar and his brothers have come to Shechem;
and, behold, they fortify the city against you.
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Now therefore arise by night, you and the people that are with you, and lie in wait in the field;
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And in the morning as soon as the sun is up, you must rise early, and march upon the city;
and, behold, when he and the people that are with him come out against you, you may do to them as you are able to do.
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And Abimeleck and all the people that were with him rose up by night, and they laid in ambush against Shechem in four companies.
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And Gaal the son of Epar went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city;
and Abimeleck and the people that were with him rose up from ambush.
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And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there are people coming down from the top of the mountains.
And Zebul said to him, You see the shadows of the mountains that look like men.
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And Gaal spoke again and said, Behold, there are people coming down from the center of the land, and one company is coming along from the way of the house of the oak of Meaonin.
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Then Zebul said to him, Where is now your mouth with which you said, Who is Abimeleck that we should serve him?
Are not these the people whom you have despised?
Go out now and fight with them.
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And Gaal went out before the lords of Shechem and fought with Abimeleck.
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And Abimeleck chased him, and he fled before him, and many people fell slain, even to the entrance of the gate.
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And Abimeleck dwelt at Adomah;
and Zebul expelled Gaal and his brethren, that they should not dwell in Shechem.
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And it came to pass on the next day, that the people went out into the fields, and they told Abimeleck.
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And he took the people and divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the fields, and he looked, and, behold, the people were coming forth out of the city;
and he rose up against them and slew them.
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And Abimeleck and the company that was with him rushed forward, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city;
and the two other companies rushed against all the people who were in the fields, and slew them.
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And Abimeleck fought in the city all that day;
and he took the city, and he slew all the people that were in it, and he destroyed the city, and sowed it with salt.
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And when all the lords of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they came to take refuge in the house of the god of the covenant.
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And it was told Abimeleck that all the lords of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.
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And Abimeleck went up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him;
and Abimeleck took an axe in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees, and took it and laid it on his shoulder, and said to the people that were with him, What you have seen me do, make haste and do as I have done.
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So every man cut down his branch and followed Abimeleck, and they piled them up, and then set the city on fire, so that all the men that were in the tower of Shechem died in fire, about a thousand men and women.
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Then Abimeleck went to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez and took it.
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But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women and all the lords of the city, and shut it behind themselves, and went to the top of the tower.
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And Abimeleck advanced as far as the tower, and fought against it, and drew near to the door of the tower to set it on fire.
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And a certain woman threw a piece of an upper millstone upon Abimeleck’s head and broke his skull.
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Then he called hastily to his young armorbearer, and said to him, Draw your sword and slay me with it, that men may not say of me, A woman slew him.
So the young man thrust him through, and he died.
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And when the men of Israel saw that Abimeleck was dead, they departed every man to his place.
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Thus God requited the wickedness of Abimeleck, which he did to his father, in slaying his seventy brothers;
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And all the wickedness of the men of Shechem did God bring upon their heads;
and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Nedo-baal.