After Abimelech had governed Israel three years,
God sent an evil spirit1 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,2 the shedding3 of their blood, might be avenged4 on their brother Abimelech and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him5 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 Ebed6 moved with his brothers into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him.
After they had gone out into the fields and gathered the grapes and trodden7 them, they held a festival in the temple of their god.8 While they were eating and drinking, they cursed Abimelech.
Then Gaal son of Ebed9 said, "Who10 is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should be subject to him? Isn't he Jerub-Baal's son, and isn't Zebul his deputy? Serve the men of Hamor,11 Shechem's father! Why should we serve Abimelech?
If only this people were under my command!12 Then I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelech, 'Call out your whole army!' "a1330
When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry.
Under cover he sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, "Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you.
Now then, during the night you and your men should come and lie in wait14 in the fields.