Abimelech kills 70 of his brothers on a single stone
And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's
brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of
his mother's father, saying,
Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is
better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore
and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also
that I am your bone and your flesh.
Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal (aka Gideon) went to Shechem to visit his mother's family. While there, he said to them,
Would it be better to have all of Jerubbaal's seventy sons rule over you, or just one?
Remember I'm your bone and flesh.
And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of
Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for
they said, He is our brother.
Abimelech's mother spoke to the men of Shechem and they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said,
He is our brother.
And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of
Baalberith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed
And they gave Abimelech seventy pieces of silver.
He used the silver to hire some shady characters.
And he went unto his
father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being
threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding
yet Jotham the youngest son
of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself.
Abimelech went to his father's house at Ophrah and killed seventy of his brothers on one stone. 
But Jotham, the youngest of Gideon's sons, survived by hiding from Abimelech.
And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo,
and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in
All of the men of Shechem gathered together and made Abimelech king.
And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount
Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken
unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you.
When Jotham was told about the massacre of his brothers, he stood on top of mount Gerizim, and said in a loud voice,
Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God might listen to you.
8 The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said
unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.
The trees went to anoint a king, and they said to the olive tree,
Reign over us.
9 But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by
me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?
But the olive tree said to them,
Should I leave my fatness that honors God and man to be promoted over trees?
10 And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us.
The trees said to the fig tree,
Come reign over us.
But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my
good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees?
But the fig tree said to the other trees,
Should I forsake my sweet fruit to be promoted over trees?
12 Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.
Then the trees said to the vine,
Come, rule over us.
And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and
man, and go to be promoted over the trees?
The vine said to them,
Should I leave my wine, which cheers God and man , to be promoted over trees?
14 Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.
Then the trees said to the bramble,
Come, reign over us.
15 And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over
you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come
out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.
And the bramble said to the trees,
If you make me king, then put your trust in my shadow.
Or if not, let fire come out of me to burn the cedars of Lebanon.
Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made
Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and
have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands;
(For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered
you out of the hand of Midian:
Jotham continued his speech, saying,
If you have made Abimelech your king,
And ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his
sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech,
the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your
And killed seventy of his sons on one stone,
If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his
house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in
Then rejoice in Abimelech and let him rejoice in you.
But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of
Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of
Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech.
But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and devour the men of Shechem.
And let fire come out from the men of Shechem and devour Abimelech.
And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear
of Abimelech his brother.
And Jotham ran away to Beer and lived there, out of fear of Abimelech his brother.
Abimelech destroys a city and burns 1000 people to death
(Because of God's evil spirit)
When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,
Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of
Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:
When Abimelech had reigned for three years as king of Israel, God sent an evil spirit 
between Abimelech and the men of Shechem.
And the men of Shechem rebelled against Abimelech.
That the cruelty done
to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood
be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of
Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren.
So that Abimelech and the men of Shechem were blamed for the killing of Gideon's seventy sons.
And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the
mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was
The men of Shechem sent men to rob everyone who came by. And Abimelech found out about it.
And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem:
and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.
Gaal came with his brothers came to Shechem, and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.
And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode
the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did
eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.
They ate and drank in the house of their god, and cursed Abimelech.
And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that
we should serve him? is not he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer?
serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serve him?
And would to God this people were under my hand! then would I remove
Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out.
Who is Abimelech? Why should we serve him?
I wish I were in control. Then I'd remove Abimelech.
Then he said to Abimelech,
Gather your army and come out.
And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of
Ebed, his anger was kindled.
Zebul, the ruler of the city, was angry when he heard the words of Gaal.
And he sent messengers unto Abimelech privily, saying, Behold, Gaal the
son of Ebed and his brethren be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify
the city against thee.
Now therefore up by night, thou and the people that is with thee, and lie
in wait in the field:
And it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, thou shalt
rise early, and set upon the city: and, behold, when he and the people that
is with him come out against thee, then mayest thou do to them as thou shalt
He sent messengers to Abimelech, saying,
Gaal and his brothers came to Shechem and are fortifying the city against you.
You and your people should wait in the field at night, and attack Gaal in the morning.
And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night,
and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies.
And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entering of the gate
of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people that were with him, from
lying in wait.
So Abimelech and his people waited in the field at night, and attacked Gaal in the morning.
And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people
down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him, Thou seest the
shadow of the mountains as if they were men.
When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul,
People are coming down from the mountains.
Zebul said to Gaal,
That's just the shadow of the mountains. It just looks like men to you.
And Gaal spake again, and said, See there come people down by the middle
of the land, and another company come along by the plain of Meonenim.
Gaal said again,
See the people coming down across the land, and others coming along the plain.
Then said Zebul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst,
Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou
hast despised? go out, I pray now, and fight with them.
Zebul said to Gaal,
Where is your mouth now? You said, "Who is Abimelech? Why should we serve him?"
So get up and go fight him!
And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
And Gaal went out with the men of Shechem to fight Abimelech.
And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many were overthrown
and wounded, even unto the entering of the gate.
Abimelech chased them, wounding them as they entered the gate.
And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren,
that they should not dwell in Shechem.
Abimelech stayed in Arumah, and Zebul expelled Gaal and his brothers from Shechem.
And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the
field; and they told Abimelech.
The people told Abimelech what had happened.
And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid
wait in the field, and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out
of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them.
And Abimelech, and the company that was with him, rushed forward, and
stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and the two other companies
ran upon all the people that were in the fields, and slew them.
Abimelech divided his army into three groups, and waited in the fiel for the people to come out.
When they did, he attacked and killed them.
And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city,
and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it
Abimelech captured the city, killed all of its people, and sowed it with salt.
And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that, they entered into
an hold of the house of the god Berith.
But some of the men of Shechem heard about the attack and escaped to a tower.
And it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were
And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were
with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from
the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said unto the
people that were with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I
And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed
Abimelech, and put them to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so
that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and
When Abimelech found out about it, he burned the tower down, killing a thousand men and women. 
A woman drops a millstone on Abimelech's head
Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.
Then Abimelech went to Thebez and conquered it.
But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men
and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to
the top of the tower.
There was a tower in the city and people escaped to it.
And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard
unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire.
Abimelech came to the tower and tried to start it on fire.
And a certain woman
cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his
But a woman threw down a piece of a millstone and it landed on Abimelech's head, breaking his skull.
Then he called hastily
unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and
slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man
thrust him through, and he died.
Abimelech called out to his armor bearer, saying,
Kill me with your sword, so no man will say, "He was killed by a woman." 
And his armor bearer killed him with his sword.
And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed
every man unto his place.
When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they went home.
Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his
father, in slaying his seventy brethren:
So God payed Abimelech back for doing wrong to his father (by killing his seventy brothers). [6
And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads:
and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.
God punished the men of Shechem with the curse of Jotham. [7
- Abimelech ... slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons,
upon one stone. (vv.4-5)
After Gideon died, it was time for one of his 70 (or 72?) sons
to take over. Which was a problem since only one son could succeed him.
One of Gideon's sons, Abimelech, suggested to his mom's familiy that they choose him to succeed his father. They liked
the idea and gave him 70 pieces of silver to seal the deal.
But Abimelech wanted to make sure he was selected, so he came up with a creative idea: he'd kill his 70(?) brothers
upon one stone. (He was trying to get in the Guinness Book of World Records.)
But Abimelech's youngest brother (Jotham) got away. So the two remaining sons, Abimelech and Jotham, schemed against each
other, striving for control, with Abimelech winning out, becoming king.
How many sons did Gideon have?
- Wine, which cheereth God and man (v.13)
Is it OK to drink alcohol?
What the Bible says about alcohol
- God sent an evil spirit. (v.23)
God sent an evil spirit that cause people to deal treacherously with each other to punish Abimelech for
killing his 70(?) brothers and the men of Shechem for helping him kill his brothers.
evil spirits come from?
- Abimelech ... set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of
Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women. (v.49)
DWB: A city is massacred and 1000 burn to death
because of God's evil spirit
- Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. (v.54)
What the Bible says about suicide
- Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his
seventy brethren. (v.56)
Abimelech's sin wasn't against the 70 brothers that he killed but against his father (Gideon,
already dead). God paid Abimelech back by having him killed by a woman.
- The curse of Jotham (v.57)
One thousand men and women were burned to death by God to punish them for supporting Abimelech rather than Jotham.
(See verse 20.)
- Dwindling in Unbelief (9:5)
- The Bible's greatest massacres
- Who wins the Bible's
Quiverfull prize? (9:4-5)
- Biblical Halloween Costumes:
It's time to take it back from the pagans! (9:23)
- God's 49th Killing: A city is
massacred and 1000 burn to death because of God's evil spirit (9:23-57)
- Where do
evil spirits come from? (9:23-24)
- What the Bible says about alcohol (9:13)
- Slate Blogs the Bible by David Plotz
- The Bible's grimmest story
- Christian Response
- Annotated Skeptic's Annotated Bible
- Draw thy sword, and thrust me
through therewith (Judges 9)