Bible: Judges 8:33-9:21

Israel Returns to Baal-Worship

8:33 After Gideon died, the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They made Baal-Berith 1  their god. 8:34 The Israelites did not remain true 2  to the Lord their God, who had delivered them from all the enemies who lived around them. 8:35 They did not treat 3  the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) fairly in return for all the good he had done for Israel.

Abimelech Murders His Brothers

9:1 Now Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal went to Shechem to see his mother’s relatives. 4  He said to them and to his mother’s entire extended family, 5  9:2 Tell 6  all the leaders of Shechem this: ‘Why would you want 7  to have seventy men, all Jerub-Baal’s sons, ruling over you, when you can have just one ruler? Recall that I am your own flesh and blood.’ 8  9:3 His mother’s relatives 9  spoke on his behalf to 10  all the leaders of Shechem and reported his proposal. 11  The leaders were drawn to Abimelech; 12  they said, “He is our close relative.” 13  9:4 They paid him seventy silver shekels out of the temple of Baal-Berith. Abimelech then used the silver to hire some lawless, dangerous 14  men as his followers. 15  9:5 He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and murdered his half-brothers, 16  the seventy legitimate 17  sons of Jerub-Baal, on one stone. Only Jotham, Jerub-Baal’s youngest son, escaped, 18  because he hid. 9:6 All the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo assembled and then went and made Abimelech king by the oak near the pillar 19  in Shechem.

Jotham’s Parable

9:7 When Jotham heard the news, 20  he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim. He spoke loudly to the people below, 21 Listen to me, leaders of Shechem, so that God may listen to you!

9:8The trees were determined to go out 22  and choose a king for themselves. 23  They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king!’ 24  9:9 But the olive tree said to them, ‘I am not going to stop producing my oil, which is used to honor gods and men, just to sway above the other trees!’ 25 

9:10So the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and be our king!’ 26  9:11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘I am not going to stop producing my sweet figs, my excellent fruit, just to sway above the other trees!’ 27 

9:12So the trees said to the grapevine, ‘You come and be our king!’ 28  9:13 But the grapevine said to them, ‘I am not going to stop producing my wine, which makes gods and men so happy, just to sway above the other trees!’ 29 

9:14So all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘You come and be our king!’ 30  9:15 The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to choose 31  me as your king, then come along, find safety under my branches! 32  Otherwise 33  may fire blaze from the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

9:16Now, if you have shown loyalty and integrity when you made Abimelech king, if you have done right to Jerub-Baal and his family, 34  if you have properly repaid him 35  9:17 my father fought for you; he risked his life 36  and delivered you from Midian’s power. 37  9:18 But you have attacked 38  my father’s family 39  today. You murdered his seventy legitimate 40  sons on one stone and made Abimelech, the son of his female slave, king over the leaders of Shechem, just because he is your close relative. 41  9:19 So if you have shown loyalty and integrity to Jerub-Baal and his family 42  today, then may Abimelech bring you happiness and may you bring him happiness! 43  9:20 But if not, may fire blaze from Abimelech and consume the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo! May fire also blaze from the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo and consume Abimelech! 9:21 Then Jotham ran away 44  to Beer and lived there to escape from 45  Abimelech his half-brother. 46 

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