When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry.
Under cover he sent messengers to Abimelek, saying, “Gaal son of Ebed and his clan 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 wait in the fields.
In the morning at sunrise, advance against the city. When Gaal and his men come out against you, seize the opportunity to attack them.”
So Abimelek and all his troops set out by night and took up concealed positions near Shechem in four companies.
Now Gaal son of Ebed had gone out and was standing at the entrance of the city gate just as Abimelek and his troops came out from their hiding place.
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.”
But Gaal spoke up again: “Look, people are coming down from the central hill, and a company is coming from the direction of the diviners’ tree.”
Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your big talk now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelek that we should be subject to him?’ Aren’t these the men you ridiculed? Go out and fight them!”
So Gaal led out the citizens of Shechem and fought Abimelek.
Abimelek chased him all the way to the entrance of the gate, and many were killed as they fled.
Then Abimelek stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his clan out of Shechem.
The next day the people of Shechem went out to the fields, and this was reported to Abimelek.
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.
Abimelek and the companies with him rushed forward to a position at the entrance of the city gate. Then two companies attacked those in the fields and struck them down.
All that day Abimelek 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.
On hearing this, the citizens in the tower of Shechem went into the stronghold of the temple of El-Berith.
When Abimelek heard that they had assembled there,
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!”
So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelek. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire with the people still inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died.