Judges 8-9 Darby’s Translation

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Gideon Captures the Kings of Midian

8 1  And the men of E'phraim said to him, "What is this that you have done to us, not to call us when you went to fight with Mid'ian?" And they upbraided him violently. 2  And he said to them, "What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of E'phraim better than the vintage of Abi-e'zer? 3  God has given into your hands the princes of Mid'ian, Oreb and Zeeb; what have I been able to do in comparison with you?" Then their anger against him was abated, when he had said this.

4  And Gideon came to the Jordan and passed over, he and the three hundred men who were with him, faint yet pursuing. 5  So he said to the men of Succoth, "Pray, give loaves of bread to the people who follow me; for they are faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmun'na, the kings of Mid'ian." 6  And the officials of Succoth said, "Are Zebah and Zalmun'na already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?" 7  And Gideon said, "Well then, when the Lord has given Zebah and Zalmun'na into my hand, I will flail your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers." 8  And from there he went up to Penu'el, and spoke to them in the same way; and the men of Penu'el answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. 9  And he said to the men of Penu'el, "When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower." 10  Now Zebah and Zalmun'na were in Karkor with their army, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the army of the people of the East; for there had fallen a hundred and twenty thousand men who drew the sword. 11  And Gideon went up by the caravan route east of Nobah and Jog'behah, and attacked the army; for the army was off its guard. 12  And Zebah and Zalmun'na fled; and he pursued them and took the two kings of Mid'ian, Zebah and Zalmun'na, and he threw all the army into a panic. 13  Then Gideon the son of Jo'ash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14  And he caught a young man of Succoth, and questioned him; and he wrote down for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven men. 15  And he came to the men of Succoth, and said, "Behold Zebah and Zalmun'na, about whom you taunted me, saying, 'Are Zebah and Zalmun'na already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are faint?'" 16  And he took the elders of the city and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them taught the men of Succoth. 17  And he broke down the tower of Penu'el, and slew the men of the city.

18  Then he said to Zebah and Zalmun'na, "Where are the men whom you slew at Tabor?" They answered, "As you are, so were they, every one of them; they resembled the sons of a king." 19  And he said, "They were my brothers, the sons of my mother; as the Lord lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not slay you." 20  And he said to Jether his first-born, "Rise, and slay them." But the youth did not draw his sword; for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. 21  Then Zebah and Zalmun'na said, "Rise yourself, and fall upon us; for as the man is, so is his strength." And Gideon arose and slew Zebah and Zalmun'na; and he took the crescents that were on the necks of their camels.

22  Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, "Rule over us, you and your son and your grandson also; for you have delivered us out of the hand of Mid'ian." 23  Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, and my son will not rule over you; the Lord will rule over you." 24  And Gideon said to them, "Let me make a request of you; give me every man of you the earrings of his spoil." (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ish'maelites.) 25  And they answered, "We will willingly give them." And they spread a garment, and every man cast in it the earrings of his spoil. 26  And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold; besides the crescents and the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Mid'ian, and besides the collars that were about the necks of their camels. 27  And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah; and all Israel played the harlot after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his family. 28  So Mid'ian was subdued before the people of Israel, and they lifted up their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.

29  Jerubba'al the son of Jo'ash went and dwelt in his own house. 30  Now Gideon had seventy sons, his own offspring, for he had many wives. 31  And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abim'elech. 32  And Gideon the son of Jo'ash died in a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Jo'ash his father, at Ophrah of the Abiez'rites. 33  As soon as Gideon died, the people of Israel turned again and played the harlot after the Ba'als, and made Ba'al-be'rith their god. 34  And the people of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had rescued them from the hand of all their enemies on every side; 35  and they did not show kindness to the family of Jerubba'al (that is, Gideon) in return for all the good that he had done to Israel.

The Reign of Abimelech

9 1  Now Abim'elech the son of Jerubba'al went to Shechem to his mother's kinsmen and said to them and to the whole clan of his mother's family, 2  "Say in the ears of all the citizens of Shechem, 'Which is better for you, that all seventy of the sons of Jerubba'al rule over you, or that one rule over you?' Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh." 3  And his mother's kinsmen spoke all these words on his behalf in the ears of all the men of Shechem; and their hearts inclined to follow Abim'elech, for they said, "He is our brother." 4  And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Ba'al-be'rith with which Abim'elech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5  And he went to his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brothers the sons of Jerubba'al, seventy men, upon one stone; but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubba'al was left, for he hid himself. 6  And all the citizens of Shechem came together, and all Beth-millo, and they went and made Abim'elech king, by the oak of the pillar at Shechem.

7  When it was told to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Ger'izim, and cried aloud and said to them, "Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God may listen to you. 8  The trees once went forth to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us.' 9  But the olive tree said to them, 'Shall I leave my fatness, by which gods and men are honored, and go to sway over the trees?' 10  And the trees said to the fig tree, 'Come you, and reign over us.' 11  But the fig tree said to them, 'Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to sway over the trees?' 12  And the trees said to the vine, 'Come you, and reign over us.' 13  But the vine said to them, 'Shall I leave my wine which cheers gods and men, and go to sway over the trees?' 14  Then all the trees said to the bramble, 'Come you, and reign over us.' 15  And the bramble said to the trees, 'If in good faith you are anointing me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, let fire come out of the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.' 16  "Now therefore, if you acted in good faith and honor when you made Abim'elech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubba'al and his house, and have done to him as his deeds deserved— 17  for my father fought for you, and risked his life, and rescued you from the hand of Mid'ian; 18  and you have risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, seventy men on one stone, and have made Abim'elech, the son of his maidservant, king over the citizens of Shechem, because he is your kinsman— 19  if you then have acted in good faith and honor with Jerubba'al and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abim'elech, and let him also rejoice in you; 20  but if not, let fire come out from Abim'elech, and devour the citizens of Shechem, and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the citizens of Shechem, and from Beth-millo, and devour Abim'elech." 21  And Jotham ran away and fled, and went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abim'elech his brother.

22  Abim'elech ruled over Israel three years. 23  And God sent an evil spirit between Abim'elech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abim'elech; 24  that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubba'al might come and their blood be laid upon Abim'elech their brother, who slew them, and upon the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to slay his brothers. 25  And the men of Shechem put men in ambush against him on the mountain tops, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way; and it was told Abim'elech. 26  And Ga'al the son of Ebed moved into Shechem with his kinsmen; and the men of Shechem put confidence in him. 27  And they went out into the field, and gathered the grapes from their vineyards and trod them, and held festival, and went into the house of their god, and ate and drank and reviled Abim'elech. 28  And Ga'al the son of Ebed said, "Who is Abim'elech, and who are we of Shechem, that we should serve him? Did not the son of Jerubba'al and Zebul his officer serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem? Why then should we serve him? 29  Would that this people were under my hand! then I would remove Abim'elech. I would say to Abim'elech, 'Increase your army, and come out.'" 30  When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Ga'al the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31  And he sent messengers to Abim'elech at Aru'mah, saying, "Behold, Ga'al the son of Ebed and his kinsmen have come to Shechem, and they are stirring up the city against you. 32  Now therefore, go by night, you and the men that are with you, and lie in wait in the fields. 33  Then in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, rise early and rush upon the city; and when he and the men that are with him come out against you, you may do to them as occasion offers." 34  And Abim'elech and all the men that were with him rose up by night, and laid wait against Shechem in four companies. 35  And Ga'al the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city; and Abim'elech and the men that were with him rose from the ambush. 36  And when Ga'al saw the men, he said to Zebul, "Look, men are coming down from the mountain tops!" And Zebul said to him, "You see the shadow of the mountains as if they were men." 37  Ga'al spoke again and said, "Look, men are coming down from the center of the land, and one company is coming from the direction of the Diviners' Oak." 38  Then Zebul said to him, "Where is your mouth now, you who said, 'Who is Abim'elech, that we should serve him?' Are not these the men whom you despised? Go out now and fight with them." 39  And Ga'al went out at the head of the men of Shechem, and fought with Abim'elech. 40  And Abim'elech chased him, and he fled before him; and many fell wounded, up to the entrance of the gate. 41  And Abim'elech dwelt at Aru'mah; and Zebul drove out Ga'al and his kinsmen, so that they could not live on at Shechem. 42  On the following day the men went out into the fields. And Abim'elech was told. 43  He took his men and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the fields; and he looked and saw the men coming out of the city, and he rose against them and slew them. 44  Abim'elech and the company that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city, while the two companies rushed upon all who were in the fields and slew them. 45  And Abim'elech fought against the city all that day; he took the city, and killed the people that were in it; and he razed the city and sowed it with salt. 46  When all the people of the Tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the house of El-be'rith. 47  Abim'elech was told that all the people of the Tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48  And Abim'elech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the men that were with him; and Abim'elech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bundle of brushwood, and took it up and laid it on his shoulder. And he said to the men that were with him, "What you have seen me do, make haste to do, as I have done." 49  So every one of the people cut down his bundle and following Abim'elech put it against the stronghold, and they set the stronghold on fire over them, so that all the people of the Tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.

50  Then Abim'elech went to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. 51  But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the people of the city fled to it, all the men and women, and shut themselves in; and they went to the roof of the tower. 52  And Abim'elech came to the tower, and fought against it, and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53  And a certain woman threw an upper millstone upon Abim'elech's head, and crushed his skull. 54  Then he called hastily to the young man his armor-bearer, and said to him, "Draw your sword and kill me, lest men say of me, 'A woman killed him.'" And his young man thrust him through, and he died. 55  And when the men of Israel saw that Abim'elech was dead, they departed every man to his home. 56  Thus God requited the crime of Abim'elech, which he committed against his father in killing his seventy brothers; 57  and God also made all the wickedness of the men of Shechem fall back upon their heads, and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubba'al.

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