0 Seventy brothers on a single stone (Judges 9-10)

Episode 90: Seventy brothers on a single stone

Judges 9-10

Abimelech kills 70 of his brothers on a single stone

9 1 Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal (aka Gideon) went to Shechem to visit his mother's family. While there, he said to them,

2 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.

3 Abimelech's mother spoke to the men of Shechem and they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, "Well, he is our relative."

4 And they gave Abimelech seventy pieces of silver. He used the silver to hire some shady characters.

5 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.

6 The men of Shechem gathered together and made Abimelech king.

Talking trees

7 When Jotham was told that Abimelech had been made king by the men of Shechem, 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 to anoint a king, and they said to the olive tree,

Reign over us.

9 But the olive tree said to them,

Should I leave my fatness that honors God and man to be promoted over trees?

10 The trees said to the fig tree,

Come reign over us.

11 But the fig tree said to the other trees,

Should I forsake my sweet fruit to be promoted over trees?

12 Then the trees said to the vine,

Come, rule over us.

13 The vine said to them,

Should I leave my wine, which cheers God and man, to be promoted over trees?

14 Then the trees said to the bramble,

Come, reign over us.

15 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.

The curse of Jotham

16 Jotham continued his speech, saying,

If you have made Abimelech your king,

19 Then rejoice in Abimelech and let him rejoice in you.

20 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.

21 And Jotham ran away to Beer and lived there, out of fear of Abimelech his brother.

Abimelech destroys Shechem and burns 1000 people to death (Because of God's evil spirit)

22-23 When Abimelech had reigned for three years as king of Israel, God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. And they rebelled against Abimelech.

24 So that Abimelech and the men of Shechem were blamed for the killing of Gideon's seventy sons.

45 Abimelech captured Shechem, killed all of its people, and sowed it with salt.

46 But some of the people escaped to a tower.

47-49 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

50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez and conquered it. 51 There was a tower in the city and people escaped to it. 52 Abimelech came to the tower and tried to start it on fire.

53 But a woman threw down a piece of a millstone and it landed on Abimelech's head, breaking his skull.

54 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.

56 So God paid Abimelech back for doing wrong to his father (by killing his seventy brothers).

57 And God punished the men of Shechem with the curse of Jotham.

Tola and Jair

10 1 After Abimelech, Tola, the grandson of Dodo, judged Israel for 23 years.

3 After him, Jair judged Israel for 22 years.

4 He had 30 sons that rode on 30 ass colts and had 30 cities.

The Israelites do evil again in the sight of the Lord, etc.

6 The Israelites did evil again in the sight of the LORD, and served Baalim, Ashtaroth, the gods of Syria, Zidon, Moab, Ammon, and the Philistines.

7 And God's anger was hot against Israel, and he sold them to the Philistines and the Ammonites.

8 They vexed and oppressed the Israelites for 18 years.

10 The Israelites cried unto the LORD, saying,

We have sinned against you because we have forsaken you and served Baalim.

16 And they put away their strange gods and served the Lord.

17 The Ammonites gathered together in Gilead.

18 And the people of Gilead said, "Who will fight against the Ammonites?"

A few more words about this episode

Jerubbaal (9:1)
In Judges 6:32 Gideon's father, Joash, re-named Gideon "Jerubbaal" because he threw down Baal's altar. (Apparently the name didn't stick.)
His mother's family (9:1)
Abimelech's mother lived in Shechem and was Gideon's concubine. (Episode 89, Judges 8:31)
The men of Shechem gathered together and made Abimelech king. (9:6)
Although Saul is usually said to have been the first king of Israel, this verse says that Abimelech was.

Some things I left out of this episode:
Some rather complicated politics in the city of Shechem (9:25-44)
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