Judges 9 - Prayer Tents



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Judges 9
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Abimelech Rules over Shechem

9One day Gideon'sc son Abimelech went to Shechem to visit his uncles—his mother's brothers. He said to them and to the rest of his mother's family,H40H1121H3378H3212H7927H517H251H1696H4940H1004H517H1H5592"Ask the leading citizens of Shechem whether they want to be ruled by all seventy of Gideon's sons or by one man. And remember that I am your own flesh and blood!"H1696H241H1167H7927H2896H1121H3378H7657H376H4910H259H4910H2142H6106H13203So Abimelech's uncles gave his message to all the citizens of Shechem on his behalf. And after listening to this proposal, the people of Shechem decided in favor of Abimelech because he was their relative.H517H251H1696H241H1167H7927H1697H3820H5186H310H40H559H2514They gave him seventy silver coins from the temple of Baal-berith, which he used to hire some reckless troublemakers who agreed to follow him.H5414H7657H3701H1004H1170H40H7936H7386H6348H582H3212H3105He went to his father's home at Ophrah, and there, on one stone, they killed all seventy of his half brothers, the sons of Gideonc. But the youngest brother, Jotham, escaped and hid.H935H1H1004H6084H2026H251H1121H3378H7657H376H259H68H3147H6996H1121H3378H3498H22446Then all the leading citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo called a meeting under the oak beside the pillarc at Shechem and made Abimelech their king.H1167H7927H622H1004H4407H1037H3212H4427H40H4428H436H5324H7927

Jotham’s Parable

7When Jotham heard about this, he climbed to the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted, "Listen to me, citizens of Shechem! Listen to me if you want God to listen to you!H5046H3147H3212H5975H7218H2022H1630H5375H6963H7121H559H8085H1167H7927H430H80858Once upon a time the trees decided to choose a king. First they said to the olive tree, 'Be our king!'H6086H1980H1980H4886H4428H559H2132H44279But the olive tree refused, saying, 'Should I quit producing the olive oil that blesses both God and people, just to wave back and forth over the trees?'H2132H559H2308H1880H3513H430H582H1980H5128H608610"Then they said to the fig tree, 'You be our king!'H6086H559H8384H3212H442711But the fig tree also refused, saying, 'Should I quit producing my sweet fruit just to wave back and forth over the trees?'H8384H559H2308H4987H2896H8570H1980H5128H608612"Then they said to the grapevine, 'You be our king!'H559H6086H1612H3212H442713But the grapevine also refused, saying, 'Should I quit producing the wine that cheers both God and people, just to wave back and forth over the trees?'H1612H559H2308H8492H8055H430H582H1980H5128H608614"Then all the trees finally turned to the thornbush and said, 'Come, you be our king!'H559H6086H329H3212H442715And the thornbush replied to the trees, 'If you truly want to make me your king, come and take shelter in my shade. If not, let fire come out from me and devour the cedars of Lebanon.'"H329H559H6086H571H4886H4428H935H2620H6738H784H3318H329H398H730H384416Jotham continued, "Now make sure you have acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelech your king, and that you have done right by Gideon and all of his descendants. Have you treated him with the honor he deserves for all he accomplished?H6213H571H8549H40H4427H6213H2896H3378H1004H6213H1576H302717For he fought for you and risked his life when he rescued you from the Midianites.H1H3898H7993H5315H5048H5337H3027H408018But today you have revolted against my father and his descendants, killing his seventy sons on one stone. And you have chosen his slave woman's son, Abimelech, to be your king just because he is your relative.H6965H1H1004H3117H2026H1121H7657H376H259H68H40H1121H519H4427H1167H7927H25119"If you have acted honorably and in good faith toward Gideon and his descendants today, then may you find joy in Abimelech, and may he find joy in you.H6213H571H8549H3378H1004H3117H8055H40H805520But if you have not acted in good faith, then may fire come out from Abimelech and devour the leading citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo; and may fire come out from the citizens of Shechem and Beth-millo and devour Abimelech!"H784H3318H40H398H1167H7927H1004H4407H1037H784H3318H1167H7927H1004H4407H1037H398H4021Then Jotham escaped and lived in Beer because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech.H3147H1272H5127H3212H876H3427H6440H40H251

Shechem Rebels against Abimelech

22After Abimelech had ruled over Israel for three years,H40H7786H7969H8141H347823God sent a spirit that stirred up trouble between Abimelech and the leading citizens of Shechem, and they revolted.H430H7971H7451H7307H40H1167H7927H1167H7927H898H4024God was punishing Abimelech for murdering Gideon's seventy sons, and the citizens of Shechem for supporting him in this treachery of murdering his brothers.H2555H7657H1121H3378H935H1818H7760H40H251H2026H1167H7927H2388H3027H2026H25125The citizens of Shechem set an ambush for Abimelech on the hilltops and robbed everyone who passed that way. But someone warned Abimelech about their plot.H1167H7927H7760H693H7218H2022H1497H5674H1870H5046H4026One day Gaal son of Ebed moved to Shechem with his brothers and gained the confidence of the leading citizens of Shechem.H1603H1121H5651H935H251H5674H7927H1167H7927H98227During the annual harvest festival at Shechem, held in the temple of the local god, the wine flowed freely, and everyone began cursing Abimelech.H3318H7704H1219H3754H1869H6213H1974H935H1004H430H398H8354H7043H4028"Who is Abimelech?" Gaal shouted. "He's not a true son of Shechemc, so why should we be his servants? He's merely the son of Gideon, and this Zebul is merely his deputy. Serve the true sons of Hamor, the founder of Shechem. Why should we serve Abimelech?H1603H1121H5651H559H40H7927H5647H1121H3378H2083H6496H5647H582H2544H1H7927H564729If I were in charge here, I would get rid of Abimelech. I would sayc to him, 'Get some soldiers, and come out and fight!'"H5971H5414H3027H5493H40H559H40H7235H6635H331830But when Zebul, the leader of the city, heard what Gaal was saying, he was furious.H2083H8269H5892H8085H1697H1603H1121H5651H639H273431He sent messengers to Abimelech in Arumahc, telling him, "Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to live in Shechem, and now they are inciting the city to rebel against you.H7971H4397H40H8649H559H1603H1121H5651H251H935H7927H6696H589232Come by night with an army and hide out in the fields.H6965H3915H5971H693H770433In the morning, as soon as it is daylight, attack the city. When Gaal and those who are with him come out against you, you can do with them as you wish."H1242H8121H2224H7925H6584H5892H5971H3318H6213H3027H467234So Abimelech and all his men went by night and split into four groups, stationing themselves around Shechem.H40H6965H5971H3915H693H7927H702H721835Gaal was standing at the city gates when Abimelech and his army came out of hiding.H1603H1121H5651H3318H5975H6607H8179H5892H40H6965H5971H399336When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, "Look, there are people coming down from the hilltops!" Zebul replied, "It's just the shadows on the hills that look like men."H1603H7200H5971H559H2083H3381H5971H3381H7218H2022H2083H559H7200H6738H2022H58237But again Gaal said, "No, people are coming down from the hillsc. And another group is coming down the road past the Diviners' Oak."H1603H1696H3254H559H3381H5971H3381H2872H776H259H7218H935H436H1870H604938Then Zebul turned on him and asked, "Now where is that big mouth of yours? Wasn't it you that said, 'Who is Abimelech, and why should we be his servants?' The men you mocked are right outside the city! Go out and fight them!"H559H2083H645H6310H559H40H5647H5971H3988H3318H4994H389839So Gaal led the leading citizens of Shechem into battle against Abimelech.H1603H3318H6440H1167H7927H3898H4040But Abimelech chased him, and many of Shechem's men were wounded and fell along the road as they retreated to the city gate.H40H7291H5127H6440H7227H5307H2491H6607H817941Abimelech returned to Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem.H40H3427H725H2083H1644H1603H251H3427H792742The next day the people of Shechem went out into the fields to battle. When Abimelech heard about it,H4283H5971H3318H7704H5046H4043he divided his men into three groups and set an ambush in the fields. When Abimelech saw the people coming out of the city, he and his men jumped up from their hiding places and attacked them.H3947H5971H2673H7969H7218H693H7704H7200H5971H3318H5892H6965H522144Abimelech and his group stormed the city gate to keep the men of Shechem from getting back in, while Abimelech's other two groups cut them down in the fields.H40H7218H6584H5975H6607H8179H5892H8147H7218H6584H7704H522145The battle went on all day before Abimelech finally captured the city. He killed the people, leveled the city, and scattered salt all over the ground.H40H3898H5892H3117H3920H5892H2026H5971H5422H5892H2232H441746When the leading citizens who lived in the tower of Shechem heard what had happened, they ran and hid in the temple of Baal-berithc.H1167H4026H7927H8085H935H6877H1004H410H128647Someone reported to Abimelech that the citizens had gathered in the temple,H5046H40H1167H4026H7927H690848so he led his forces to Mount Zalmon. He took an ax and chopped some branches from a tree, then put them on his shoulder. "Quick, do as I have done!" he told his men.H40H5927H2022H6756H5971H40H3947H7134H3027H3772H7754H6086H5375H7760H7926H559H5971H7200H6213H4116H6213H364449So each of them cut down some branches, following Abimelech's example. They piled the branches against the walls of the temple and set them on fire. So all the people who had lived in the tower of Shechem died—about 1,000 men and women.H5971H3772H376H7754H3212H310H40H7760H6877H3341H6877H784H582H4026H7927H4191H505H376H80250Then Abimelech attacked the town of Thebez and captured it.H3212H40H8405H2583H8405H392051But there was a strong tower inside the town, and all the men and women—the entire population—fled to it. They barricaded themselves in and climbed up to the roof of the tower.H5797H4026H8432H5892H5127H582H802H1167H5892H5462H5927H1406H402652Abimelech followed them to attack the tower. But as he prepared to set fire to the entrance,H40H935H4026H3898H5066H6607H4026H8313H78453a woman on the roof dropped a millstone that landed on Abimelech's head and crushed his skull.H259H802H7993H6400H7393H40H7218H7533H153854He quickly said to his young armor bearer, "Draw your sword and kill me! Don't let it be said that a woman killed Abimelech!" So the young man ran him through with his sword, and he died.H7121H4120H5288H5375H3627H559H8025H2719H4191H559H802H2026H5288H1856H419155When Abimelech's men saw that he was dead, they disbanded and returned to their homes.H376H3478H7200H40H4191H3212H376H472556In this way, God punished Abimelech for the evil he had done against his father by murdering his seventy brothers.H430H7725H7451H40H6213H1H2026H7657H25157God also punished the men of Shechem for all their evil. So the curse of Jotham son of Gideon was fulfilled.H7451H582H7927H430H7725H7218H935H7045H3147H1121H3378


New Living Translation (NLT). Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright ©1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. More details.
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