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Judges 9

MSG 1 Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal went to Shechem to his uncles and all his mother's relatives and said to them, NIV 1 Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother's brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother's clan, MSG 2 "Ask all the leading men of Shechem, 'What do you think is best, that seventy men rule you - all those sons of Jerub-Baal - or that one man rule? You'll remember that I am your own flesh and blood.'" NIV 2 "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." MSG 3 His mother's relatives reported the proposal to the leaders of Shechem. They were inclined to take Abimelech. "Because," they said, "he is, after all, one of us." NIV 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." MSG 4 They gave him seventy silver pieces from the shrine of Baal-of-the-Covenant. With the money he hired some reckless riff-raff soldiers and they followed along after him. NIV 4 They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelech used it to hire reckless adventurers, who became his followers. MSG 5 He went to his father's house in Ophrah and killed his half brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal - seventy men! And on one stone! The youngest, Jotham son of Jerub-Baal, managed to hide, the only survivor. NIV 5 He went to his father's home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding. MSG 6 Then all the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered at the Oak by the Standing Stone at Shechem and crowned Abimelech king. NIV 6 Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelech king. MSG 7 When this was all told to Jotham, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim, raised his voice, and shouted: Listen to me, leaders of Shechem. And let God listen to you! NIV 7 When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, "Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you. MSG 8 The trees set out one day to anoint a king for themselves. They said to Olive Tree, "Rule over us." NIV 8 One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, 'Be our king.' MSG 9 But Olive Tree told them, "Am I no longer good for making oil That gives glory to gods and men, and to be demoted to waving over trees?" NIV 9 "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?' MSG 10 The trees then said to Fig Tree, "You come and rule over us." NIV 10 "Next, the trees said to the fig tree, 'Come and be our king.' MSG 11 But Fig Tree said to them, "Am I no longer good for making sweets, My mouthwatering sweet fruits, and to be demoted to waving over trees?" NIV 11 "But the fig tree replied, 'Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?' MSG 12 The trees then said to Vine, "You come and rule over us." NIV 12 "Then the trees said to the vine, 'Come and be our king.' MSG 13 But Vine said to them, "Am I no longer good for making wine, Wine that cheers gods and men, and to be demoted to waving over trees?" NIV 13 "But the vine answered, 'Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and men, to hold sway over the trees?' MSG 14 All the trees then said to Tumbleweed, "You come and reign over us." NIV 14 "Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, 'Come and be our king.' MSG 15 But Tumbleweed said to the trees: "If you're serious about making me your king, Come and find shelter in my shade. But if not, let fire shoot from Tumbleweed and burn down the cedars of Lebanon!" NIV 15 "The thornbush said to the trees, 'If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!' MSG 16 "Now listen: Do you think you did a right and honorable thing when you made Abimelech king? Do you think you treated Jerub-Baal and his family well, did for him what he deserved? NIV 16 "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-- MSG 17 My father fought for you, risked his own life, and rescued you from Midian's tyranny, NIV 17 and to think that my father fought for you, risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian MSG 18 and you have, just now, betrayed him. You massacred his sons - seventy men on a single stone! You made Abimelech, the son by his maidservant, king over Shechem's leaders because he's your relative. NIV 18 (but today you have revolted against my father's family, murdered his seventy sons on a single stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his slave girl, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is your brother)-- MSG 19 If you think that this is an honest day's work, this way you have treated Jerub-Baal today, then enjoy Abimelech and let him enjoy you. NIV 19 if then you have acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today, may Abimelech be your joy, and may you be his, too! MSG 20 But if not, let fire break from Abimelech and burn up the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo. And let fire break from the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo and burn up Abimelech." NIV 20 But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelech and consume you, citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelech!" MSG 21 And Jotham fled. He ran for his life. He went to Beer and settled down there, because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech. NIV 21 Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech. MSG 22 Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. NIV 22 After Abimelech had governed Israel three years, MSG 23 Then God brought bad blood between Abimelech and Shechem's leaders, who now worked treacherously behind his back. NIV 23 God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the citizens of Shechem, who acted treacherously against Abimelech. MSG 24 Violence boomeranged: The murderous violence that killed the seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal, was now loose among Abimelech and Shechem's leaders, who had supported the violence. NIV 24 God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal's seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelech and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers. MSG 25 To undermine Abimelech, Shechem's leaders put men in ambush on the mountain passes who robbed travelers on those roads. And Abimelech was told. NIV 25 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. MSG 26 At that time Gaal son of Ebed arrived with his relatives and moved into Shechem. The leaders of Shechem trusted him. NIV 26 Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his brothers into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him. MSG 27 One day they went out into the fields, gathered grapes in the vineyards, and trod them in the winepress. Then they held a celebration in their god's temple, a feast, eating and drinking. And then they started putting down Abimelech. NIV 27 After they had gone out into the fields and gathered the grapes and trodden them, they held a festival in the temple of their god. While they were eating and drinking, they cursed Abimelech. MSG 28 Gaal son of Ebed said, "Who is this Abimelech? And who are we Shechemites to take orders from him? Isn't he the son of Jerub-Baal, and isn't this his henchman Zebul? We belong to the race of Hamor and bear the noble name of Shechem. Why should we be toadies of Abimelech? NIV 28 Then Gaal son of Ebed said, "Who 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, Shechem's father! Why should we serve Abimelech? MSG 29 If I were in charge of this people, the first thing I'd do is get rid of Abimelech! I'd say, 'Show me your stuff, Abimelech - let's see who's boss here!'" NIV 29 If only this people were under my command! Then I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelech, 'Call out your whole army!' " MSG 30 Zebul, governor of the city, heard what Gaal son of Ebed was saying and got angry. NIV 30 When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry. MSG 31 Secretly he sent messengers to Abimelech with the message, "Gaal son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem and are stirring up trouble against you. NIV 31 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. MSG 32 Here's what you do: Tonight bring your troops and wait in ambush in the field. NIV 32 Now then, during the night you and your men should come and lie in wait in the fields. MSG 33 In the morning, as soon as the sun breaks, get moving and charge the city. Gaal and his troops will come out to you, and you'll know what to do next." NIV 33 In the morning at sunrise, advance against the city. When Gaal and his men come out against you, do whatever your hand finds to do." MSG 34 Abimelech and his troops, four companies of them, went up that night and waited in ambush approaching Shechem. NIV 34 So Abimelech and all his troops set out by night and took up concealed positions near Shechem in four companies. MSG 35 Gaal son of Ebed had gotten up and was standing in the city gate. Abimelech and his troops left their cover. NIV 35 Now Gaal son of Ebed had gone out and was standing at the entrance to the city gate just as Abimelech and his soldiers came out from their hiding place. MSG 36 When Gaal saw them he said to Zebul, "Look at that, people coming down from the tops of the mountains!" Zebul said, "That's nothing but mountain shadows; they just look like men." Gaal kept chattering away. NIV 36 When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, "Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!" Zebul replied, "You mistake the shadows of the mountains for men." MSG 37 Then he said again, "Look at the troops coming down off Tabbur-erez (the Navel of the World) - and one company coming straight from the Oracle Oak." NIV 37 But Gaal spoke up again: "Look, people are coming down from the center of the land, and a company is coming from the direction of the soothsayers' tree." MSG 38 Zebul said, "Where is that big mouth of yours now? You who said, 'And who is Abimelech that we should take orders from him?' Well, there he is with the troops you ridiculed. Here's your chance. Fight away!" NIV 38 Then Zebul said to him, "Where is your big talk now, you who said, 'Who is Abimelech that we should be subject to him?' Aren't these the men you ridiculed? Go out and fight them!" MSG 39 Gaal went out, backed by the leaders of Shechem, and did battle with Abimelech. NIV 39 So Gaal led out the citizens of Shechem and fought Abimelech. MSG 40 Abimelech chased him, and Gaal turned tail and ran. Many fell wounded, right up to the city gate. NIV 40 Abimelech chased him, and many fell wounded in the flight--all the way to the entrance to the gate. MSG 41 Abimelech set up his field headquarters at Arumah while Zebul kept Gaal and his relatives out of Shechem. NIV 41 Abimelech stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem. MSG 42 The next day the people went out to the fields. This was reported to Abimelech. NIV 42 The next day the people of Shechem went out to the fields, and this was reported to Abimelech. MSG 43 He took his troops, divided them into three companies, and placed them in ambush in the fields. When he saw that the people were well out in the open, he sprang up and attacked them. NIV 43 So he took his men, divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. When he saw the people coming out of the city, he rose to attack them. MSG 44 Abimelech and the company with him charged ahead and took control of the entrance to the city gate; the other two companies chased down those who were in the open fields and killed them. NIV 44 Abimelech and the companies with him rushed forward to a position at the entrance to the city gate. Then two companies rushed upon those in the fields and struck them down. MSG 45 Abimelech fought at the city all that day. He captured the city and massacred everyone in it. He leveled the city to the ground, then sowed it with salt. NIV 45 All that day Abimelech pressed his attack against the city until he had captured it and killed its people. Then he destroyed the city and scattered salt over it. MSG 46 When the leaders connected with Shechem's Tower heard this, they went into the fortified God-of-the-Covenant temple. NIV 46 On hearing this, the citizens in the tower of Shechem went into the stronghold of the temple of El-Berith. MSG 47 This was reported to Abimelech that the Shechem's Tower bunch were gathered together. NIV 47 When Abimelech heard that they had assembled there, MSG 48 He and his troops climbed Mount Zalmon (Dark Mountain). Abimelech took his ax and chopped a bundle of firewood, picked it up, and put it on his shoulder. He said to his troops, "Do what you've seen me do, and quickly." NIV 48 he and all his men went up Mount Zalmon. He took an ax and cut off some branches, which he lifted to his shoulders. He ordered the men with him, "Quick! Do what you have seen me do!" MSG 49 So each of his men cut his own bundle. They followed Abimelech, piled their bundles against the Tower fortifications, and set the whole structure on fire. Everyone in Shechem's Tower died, about a thousand men and women. NIV 49 So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire over the people inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died. MSG 50 Abimelech went on to Thebez. He camped at Thebez and captured it. NIV 50 Next Abimelech went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. MSG 51 The Tower-of-Strength stood in the middle of the city; all the men and women of the city along with the city's leaders had fled there and locked themselves in. They were up on the tower roof. NIV 51 Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women--all the people of the city--fled. They locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. MSG 52 Abimelech got as far as the tower and assaulted it. He came up to the tower door to set it on fire. NIV 52 Abimelech went to the tower and stormed it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, MSG 53 Just then some woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and crushed his skull. NIV 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull. MSG 54 He called urgently to his young armor-bearer and said, "Draw your sword and kill me so they can't say of me, 'A woman killed him.'" His armor bearer drove in his sword, and Abimelech died. NIV 54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, "Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can't say, 'A woman killed him.' " So his servant ran him through, and he died. MSG 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they went home. NIV 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they went home. MSG 56 God avenged the evil Abimelech had done to his father, murdering his seventy brothers. NIV 56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. MSG 57 And God brought down on the heads of the men of Shechem all the evil that they had done, the curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal. NIV 57 God also made the men of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them.