Scripture quotations are from the Lexham English Bible. Copyright 2012 Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software.
And Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal went to Shechem, to the relatives of his mother, and he said to them and to the house of his mother’s father, "Speak to the lords of Shechem, ‘What is better for you, that seventy men all from the sons of Jerub-Baal rule over you, or that one man rules over you?’ Remember that I am your bone and your flesh." And his mother’s relatives spoke all these words concerning him to all the lords of Shechem; and they supported Abimelech, for they said, "He is our relative." And they gave to him seventy pieces of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelech hired with them worthless and reckless men, and they followed him. And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah, and he killed his brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerub-Baal survived, because he hid himself. All the lords of Shechem and Beth-Millo gathered, and they went and made Abimelech as king, near the oak of the pillar that is at Shechem.
And they told Jotham, and he went up and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and he cried out loud and said to them, "Listen to me, lords of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.
"The trees went certainly,
to anoint a king over themselves.
And they said to the olive tree,
‘Rule over us.’
And the olive tree replied,
‘Should I stop producing my oil,
which by me gods and men are honored,
to go sway over the trees?’
Then the trees said to the fig tree,
‘You, come rule over us.’
But the fig tree said to them,
‘Should I stop producing my sweetness,
and my good crop,
to go sway over the trees?’
And the trees said to the vine,
‘You, come rule over us.’
But the vine said to them,
‘Should I stop producing my wine
that makes the gods and men happy,
to go sway over the trees?’
So all the trees said to the thornbush,
‘You, come rule over us.’
And the thornbush said to the trees,
‘If in good faith you are anointing
me as king over you,
then come and take refuge in my shade;
if not, may fire go out from the thornbush
and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’
"So then, if you have acted in good faith and sincerity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerub-Baal and his house, and have dealt with him according to his accomplishments— for my father fought and risked his life for you and delivered you from the hand of Midian; but today you have risen against the house of my father and killed his sons, seventy men on one stone, and you have made Abimelech, the son of his slave woman, a king over the lords of Shechem, because he is your relative— if you have acted in good faith and sincerity with Jerub-Baal and his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. But if not, let a fire come out from Abimelech and let it devour the lords of Shechem and Beth-Millo; and let a fire come out from the lords of Shechem, and from Beth-Millo, and let it devour Abimelech." And Jotham escaped and fled, and went to Beer; he remained there because of Abimelech his brother.
Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem, and the lords of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, so that the violence done to the seventy brothers of Abimelech would be avenged and their blood be placed on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the lords of Shechem, who helped to kill his brothers. And the lords of Shechem set for him ambushes on the top of the mountains, and they robbed all who passed by them along the road; and it was reported to Abimelech.
And Gaal son of Ebel and his relatives came, and they crossed over into Shechem, and the lords of Shechem gave him confidence. They went out into the field and harvested their vineyards and trod them, and they held a festival. And they went into the temple of their god, and they ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. Then Gaal son of Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech, and who are we of Shechem that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerub-Baal, and is not Zebul his chief officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem. Why should we serve him? If only this people were in my command! Then I would remove Abimelech, and I would have said, ‘Increase your army and come out!’"
When Zebul the commander of the city heard the words of Gaal son of Ebed, he became angry, and he sent messengers to Abimelech in Tormah, saying, "Look, Gaal son of Ebed and his relatives are coming to Shechem, and they are stirring up the city against you. So then, get up by night, you and the army that is with you, and lie in ambush in the field. And in the morning at sunrise, get up and rush the city; and look, when he and the troops who are with him come out to you, you must act according to whatever opportunity offers itself.
So Abimelech and all the army that was with him got up by night, and they lay in ambush against Shechem in four divisions. Gaal son of Ebed went out and stood at the entrance of the city gate, and Abimelech and the army that was with him got up from the ambush. When Gaal saw the army, he said to Zebul, "Look, people are coming down from the top of the mountains!" And Zebul said to him, "The shadows of the mountains look like people to you." And Gaal spoke again and said, "Look, people are coming down from Tabbur-erez, and one division is coming from the direction of Elon-meonenim." And Zebul said to him, "Where then is your boast, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Is this not the army that you rejected? Please, go out now and fight against them." So Gaal went out before the lords of Shechem and fought against Abimelech. And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him; many fell slain up to the entrance of the gate. So Abimelech resided at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his relatives from living in Shechem.
On the next day the people went out to the field; and it was reported to Abimelech, so he took the army and divided them into three divisions, and he laid an ambush in the field. And he saw the people were coming out from the city, and he arose against them and killed them. Then Abimelech and the divisions that were with him dashed out and stood at the entrance of the city gate, and the two divisions dashed out against all who were in the field, and they killed them. Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and he captured the city and killed the people that were in it; then he broke down the city and sowed it with salt.
When all the lords of the tower of Shechem heard, they went to the vault of the temple of El-Berith. It was told to Abimelech that all the lords of the tower of Shechem had gathered. So Abimelech went up Mount Zalmon, he and all his army that were with him, and Abimelech took the ax in his hand and cut down a bundle of brushwood, and he lifted it and put it on his shoulder. And he said to the army that was with him, "What you have seen me do, quickly do also." So the whole army cut down each one branch for himself and followed Abimelech, and they put them against the vault and set the vault ablaze with fire on those inside, so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died, about a thousand men and women.
Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and he encamped against Thebez and captured it. But there was a strong tower in the middle of the city, and all the men, women, and lords of the city fled there and shut themselves in; and they went up to the roof of the tower. Abimelech came up to the tower and fought against it, and he came near the entrance of the tower to burn it with fire. But a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and cracked open his skull. He called quickly to the young man carrying his weapons, and he said to him, "Draw your sword and kill me, so that they will not say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’" So the young man stabbed him, and he died. When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each one went to his home. So God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech committed against his father by killing his seventy brothers. And God also repaid all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal fell on them.
After Abimelech, Tola son of Puah son of Dod, a man of Issachar, rose up to deliver Israel; and he was living at Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. And he judged Israel twenty-three years. And he died and was buried in Shamir. After him Jair the Gileadite rose up, and he judged Israel twenty-two years. And he had thirty sons who would ride on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty towns that are in the land of Gilead that they called Havvoth Jair until this day. And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
And again, the Israelites did evil in the eyes of Yahweh. They served the Baals, the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, Sidon, Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and Philistines; they abandoned Yahweh and did not serve him. And the anger of Yahweh burned against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines and the Ammonites. They crushed and oppressed the Israelites in that year; for eighteen years they crushed all the Israelites who were beyond the Jordan, in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. The Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim; and Israel was very distressed.
Then the Israelites cried out to Yahweh, saying, "We have sinned against you; we have abandoned our God and served the Baals." And Yahweh said to the Israelites, "Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, from the Ammonites, and from the Philistines? And when the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites oppressed you, you cried out to me, and I delivered you from their hand. Yet you have abandoned me and served other gods. Therefore I will no longer deliver you. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your trouble." And the Israelites said to Yahweh, "We have sinned; do to us accordingly as you see fit; only please deliver us this day." So they removed the foreign gods from their midst and served Yahweh; and he could no longer bear the misery of Israel.
And the Ammonites were summoned, and they camped in Gilead. And the Israelites gathered and camped at Mizpah. The people, the ones commanding Gilead, said to each other, "Who is the man that will begin to fight against the Ammonites? He will be as head over all the inhabitants of Gilead."
Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior; he was the son of a prostitute, and Gilead was his father. Gilead’s wife also bore for him sons; and the sons of his wife grew up and drove Jephthah away, and they said to him, "You will not inherit the house of our father because you are the son of another woman." So Jephthah fled from the presence of his brothers, and he lived in the land of Tob. And outlaws gathered around Jephthah and went with him.
After a time the Ammonites made war with Israel. When the Ammonites made war with Israel, the elders of Gilead went to bring Jephthah from the land of Tob. And they said to Jephthah, "Come and be our commander, so that we may make war against the Ammonites." Jephthah said to the elders, "Did you not shun me and drive me out from the house of my father? Why do you come to me now when you have trouble?" And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "That being so, we have now returned to you, that you may go with us to fight against the Ammonites and become for us as head of all the inhabitants of Gilead." So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you bring me back to fight against the Ammonites, and Yahweh gives them over to me, will I be your head?" And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "Yahweh will be a witness between us; we will act according to your word." So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and commander over them. And Jephthah spoke all his words before Yahweh at Mizpah.
And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites, saying, "What is between you and me that you have come to me to make war against my land?" And the king of the Ammonites said to Jephthah’s messengers, "Because Israel took my land from the Arnon up to the Jabbok and the Jordan when they came up from Egypt; so then, restore it peacefully." Once again Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites, and he said to him, "Thus says Jephthah, ‘Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of the Ammonites, because when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and went to Kadesh. Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, "Please let us cross through your land," but the king of Edom would not listen. And they also sent messengers to the king of Moab, but he was not willing. So Israel stayed in Kadesh. Then they traveled through the wilderness, went around the land of Edom and Moab, and came to the east side of the land of Moab, and they encamped beyond the Arnon; and they did not go into the territory of Moab because the Arnon was the border of Moab. Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us cross through your land to our country.’ But Sihon did not trust Israel to cross through his territory, so Sihon gathered all his people and then encamped at Jahaz; and he made war with Israel. And Yahweh, the God of Israel, gave Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them; and Israel occupied all the land of the Amorites inhabiting that land. They occupied all the territory of the Amorites from the Arnon up to the Jabbok, and from the wilderness up to the Jordan. So then Yahweh, the God of Israel, has driven out the Amorites from before his people Israel, and you want to possess it? Do you not possess what Chemosh your god gave you to possess? Whoever Yahweh our God has driven out before us, we will possess it. So then, are you any better than Balak son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel, or did he ever make war against them? When Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the towns that are along the Arnon, for three hundred years, why did you not recover them at that time? I have not sinned against you; but you are the one who is doing wrong by making war against me. Let Yahweh judge today between the Israelites and the Ammonites." But the king of the Ammonites did not listen to the message that Jephthah sent to him.
And the Spirit of Yahweh came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh. He passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed through to the Ammonites. And Jephthah made a vow to Yahweh, and he said, "If indeed you will give the Ammonites into my hand, whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return safely from the Ammonites will be Yahweh’s, and I will offer it as a burnt offering." And Jephthah crossed over to the Ammonites to make war against them; and Yahweh gave them into his hand. And he defeated them with a very great blow, from Aroer as far as Minnith, twenty towns, up to Abel Keramim. And the Ammonites were subdued before the Israelites.
Jephthah came to Mizpah, to his house, and behold his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and dancing. She was his only child; he did not have a son or daughter except her. And the moment he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, "Ah! My daughter, you have caused me to bow down, and you have become my trouble. I made an oath to Yahweh, and I cannot take it back." She said to him, "My father, you made an oath to Yahweh. Do to me according to what has gone out from your mouth, since Yahweh gave vengeance to you against your enemies, the Ammonites." And she said to her father, "Let this thing be done for me: grant me two months so that I may go wander on the mountains and lament over my virginity, I and my companions. And he said, "Go." He sent her away for two months, and she went with her friends, and she lamented over her virginity on the mountains. At the end of the two months she returned to her father, and he did to her according to his vow; and she did not sleep with a man. And it became an annual custom in Israel for the daughters of Israel to go and lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite for forty days of the year.
A prayer of David.
O Yahweh, hear a just cause.
Hear my cry; heed my prayer
I make without deceitful lips.
Let my vindication come forth from you;
let your eyes see fairness.
You have tried my heart;
you have examined me by night;
you have tested me; you found nothing.
I have decided that my mouth will not transgress.
As for the works of humankind,
by the word of your lips,
I have kept from the ways of the violent.
I have held my steps in your path
My feet will not slip.
As for me, I have called on you
because you will answer me, O God.
Incline your ear to me.
Hear my words.
Show wondrously your acts of loyal love,
O Savior of those who take refuge
at your right hand
from those who rise up against them.
Keep me as the apple of your eye.
Hide me in the shadow of your wings
from the presence of the wicked who destroy me,
those enemies against my life,
they that surround me.
They have shut off their calloused heart;
with their mouth they speak arrogantly.
Now they surround us at our every step.
to pin me to the ground.
He is like a lion; he longs to tear apart,
and like a strong lion crouching in hiding places.
Rise up, O Yahweh, confront him.
Make him bow down.
Rescue with your sword my life from the wicked,
from men by your hand, O Yahweh, from men of this world.
Their share is in this life, and you fill their stomach with your treasure.
They are satisfied with children.
They bequeath their excess to their children.
By contrast, I in righteousness shall see your face.
Upon awakening I will be satisfied seeing your form.
And the whole assembly of them rose up and brought him before Pilate. And they began to accuse him, saying, "We have found this man misleading our nation and forbidding us to pay taxes to Caesar, and saying he himself is Christ, a king!" And Pilate asked him, saying, "Are you the king of the Jews?" And he answered him and said, "You say so." So Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, "I find no basis for an accusation against this man." But they insisted, saying, "He incites the people, teaching throughout the whole of Judea and beginning from Galilee as far as here."
Now when Pilate heard this, he asked if the man was a Galilean. And when he found out that he was from the jurisdiction of Herod, he sent him over to Herod, who was also in Jerusalem in those days. And when Herod saw Jesus, he was very glad, for he had been wanting to see him for a long time, because he had heard about him and was hoping to see some miracle performed by him. So he questioned him at considerable length, but he answered nothing to him. And the chief priests and the scribes were standing there vehemently accusing him. And Herod with his soldiers also treated him with contempt, and after mocking him and dressing him in glistening clothing, he sent him back to Pilate. And both Herod and Pilate became friends with one another on that same day, for they had previously been enemies of one another.
So Pilate called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people and said to them, "You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people, and behold, when I examined him before you, I found nothing in this man as basis for the accusation which you are making against him. But neither did Herod, because he sent him back to us. And behold, nothing deserving death has been done by him. Therefore I will punish him and release him." But they all cried out in unison, saying, "Take this man away, and release for us Barabbas!" (who had been thrown in prison because of a certain insurrection that had taken place in the city, and for murder). And Pilate, wanting to release Jesus, addressed them again, but they kept crying out, saying, "Crucify! Crucify him!" So he said to them a third time, "Why? What wrong has this man done? I found no basis for an accusation deserving death in him. Therefore I will punish him and release him." But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he be crucified. And their cries prevailed. And Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. And he released the one who had been thrown into prison because of insurrection and murder, whom they were asking for, but Jesus he handed over to their will.
And as they led him away, they seized Simon, a certain man of Cyrene, who was coming from the country, and placed the cross on him, to carry it behind Jesus. And a great crowd of the people were following him, and of women who were mourning and lamenting him. But turning to them, Jesus said, "Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children! For behold, days are coming in which they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that did not give birth, and the breasts that did not nurse!’ Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us!’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us!’ For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?"
And two other criminals were also led away to be executed with him. And when they came to the place that is called "The Skull," there they crucified him, and the criminals, the one on his right and the other on his left. [[But Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."]] And they cast lots to divide his clothes. And the people stood there watching, but the rulers also ridiculed him, saying, "He saved others; let him save himself, if this man is the Christ of God, the Chosen One!" And the soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, "If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself!" And there was also an inscription over him, "This is the king of the Jews."
And one of the criminals who were hanged there reviled him, saying, "Are you not the Christ? Save yourself—and us!" But the other answered and rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God, because you are undergoing the same condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for what we have done. But this man has done nothing wrong!" And he said, "Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom!" And he said to him, "Truly I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise."
And by this time it was about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour because the light of the sun failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn apart down the middle. And Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, "Father, into your hands I entrust my spirit!" And after he said this, he expired.
Now when the centurion saw what had happened, he began to praise God, saying, "Certainly this man was righteous!" And all the crowds that had come together for this spectacle, when they saw the things that had happened, returned home beating their breasts. And all his acquaintances, and the women who had followed him from Galilee who saw these things, stood at a distance.
And behold, a man named Joseph, who was a member of the council, a good and righteous man (this man was not consenting to their plan and deed), from Arimathea, a Judean town, who was looking forward to the kingdom of God. This man approached Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. And he took it down and wrapped it in a linen cloth and placed him in a tomb cut into the rock where no one had ever been placed. And it was the day of preparation, and the Sabbath was drawing near. And the women who had been accompanying him from Galilee followed and saw the tomb and how his body was placed. And they returned and prepared fragrant spices and perfumes, and on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.