Abimelech delcares himself king

Judges 8:29-9:25 MSG
(counting...)
JDG 8:22-23

22The Israelites said, "Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson. You have saved us from Midian's tyranny."

23Gideon said, "I most certainly will not rule over you, nor will my son. God will reign over you."

29-31Jerub-Baal son of Joash went home and lived in his house. Gideon had seventy sons. He fathered them all—he had a lot of wives! His concubine, the one at Shechem, also bore him a son. He named him Abimelech.

32Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age. He was buried in the tomb of his father Joash at Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

Abimelech

33-35Gideon was hardly cool in the tomb when the People of Israel had gotten off track and were prostituting themselves to Baal—they made Baal-of-the-Covenant their god. The People of Israel forgot all about God, their God, who had saved them from all their enemies who had hemmed them in. And they didn't keep faith with the family of Jerub-Baal (Gideon), honoring all the good he had done for Israel.

1-2Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal went to Shechem to his uncles and all his mother's relatives and said to them, "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.'"

3His 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."

4-5They gave him seventy silver pieces from the shrine of Baal-of-theCovenant. With the money he hired some reckless riffraff soldiers and they followed along after him. 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.

6Then all the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered at the Oak by the Standing Stone at Shechem and crowned Abimelech king.

7-9When 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!

The trees set out one day

to anoint a king for themselves.

They said to Olive Tree,

"Rule over us."

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?"

10-11The trees then said to Fig Tree,

"You come and rule over us."

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?"

12-13The trees then said to Vine,

"You come and rule over us."

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?"

14-15All the trees then said to Tumbleweed,

"You come and reign over us."

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!"

16-20"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? My father fought for you, risked his own life, and rescued you from Midian's tyranny, 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. 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. 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."

21And Jotham fled. He ran for his life. He went to Beer and settled down there, because he was afraid of his brother Abimelech.

22-24Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. Then God brought bad blood between Abimelech and Shechem's leaders, who now worked treacherously behind his back. 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.

25To undermine Abimelech, Shechem's leaders put men in ambush on the mountain passes who robbed travelers on those roads. And Abimelech was told.


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