Abimelech1 son of Jerub-Baal2 went to his mother's brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother's clan,
"Ask all the citizens of Shechem, 'Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal's sons rule over you, or just one man?' Remember, I am your flesh and blood.3"
When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, "He is our brother."
They gave him seventy shekelsa of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith,4 and Abimelech used it to hire reckless adventurers,5 who became his followers.
He went to his father's home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers,6 the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham,7 the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding.86
Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo9 gathered beside the great tree10 at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelech king.
When Jotham11 was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim12 and shouted to them, "Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.
One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, 'Be our king.'
"But the olive tree answered, 'Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and men are honored, to hold sway over the trees?'
"Next, the trees said to the fig tree, 'Come and be our king.'
"But the fig tree replied, 'Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?'
"Then the trees said to the vine, 'Come and be our king.'
"But the vine answered, 'Should I give up my wine,13 which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees?'
"Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, 'Come and be our king.'
"The thornbush said to the trees, 'If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade;14 but if not, then let fire come out15 of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!'1616
"Now if you have acted honorably and in good faith when you made Abimelech king, and if you have been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family, and if you have treated him as he deserves--
and to think that my father fought for you, risked17 his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian
(but today you have revolted against my father's family, murdered his seventy sons18 on a single stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his slave girl, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is your brother)--
if then you have acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today,19 may Abimelech be your joy, and may you be his, too!
But if you have not, let fire come out20 from Abimelech and consume you, citizens of Shechem21 and Beth Millo,22 and let fire come out from you, citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelech!"
Then Jotham23 fled, escaping to Beer,24 and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech.
After Abimelech had governed Israel three years,
God sent an evil spirit25 between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech.
God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal's seventy sons,26 the shedding27 of their blood, might be avenged28 on their brother Abimelech and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him29 murder his brothers.
In opposition to him these citizens of Shechem set men on the hilltops to ambush and rob everyone who passed by, and this was reported to Abimelech.
Now Gaal son of Ebed30 moved with his brothers into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him.