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Judges 9 - NIV


1 Abimelek son of Jerub-Baal went to his mother’s brothers in Shechem and said to them and to all his mother’s clan,

2 “Ask all the citizens of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: to have all seventy of Jerub-Baal’s sons rule over you, or just one man?’ Remember, I am your flesh and blood.”

3 When the brothers repeated all this to the citizens of Shechem, they were inclined to follow Abimelek, for they said, “He is related to us.”

4 They gave him seventy shekels[a] of silver from the temple of Baal-Berith, and Abimelek used it to hire reckless scoundrels, who became his followers.

5 He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding.

6 Then all the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo gathered beside the great tree at the pillar in Shechem to crown Abimelek king.

7 When Jotham was told about this, he climbed up on the top of Mount Gerizim and shouted to them, “Listen to me, citizens of Shechem, so that God may listen to you.

8 One day the trees went out to anoint a king for themselves. They said to the olive tree, ‘Be our king.’

9 “But the olive tree answered, ‘Should I give up my oil, by which both gods and humans are honored, to hold sway over the trees?’

10 “Next, the trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and be our king.’

11 “But the fig tree replied, ‘Should I give up my fruit, so good and sweet, to hold sway over the trees?’

12 “Then the trees said to the vine, ‘Come and be our king.’

13 “But the vine answered, ‘Should I give up my wine, which cheers both gods and humans, to hold sway over the trees?’

14 “Finally all the trees said to the thornbush, ‘Come and be our king.’

15 “The thornbush said to the trees, ‘If you really want to anoint me king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, then let fire come out of the thornbush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!’

16 “Have you acted honorably and in good faith by making Abimelek king? Have you been fair to Jerub-Baal and his family? Have you treated him as he deserves?

17 Remember that my father fought for you and risked his life to rescue you from the hand of Midian.

18 But today you have revolted against my father’s family. You have murdered his seventy sons on a single stone and have made Abimelek, the son of his female slave, king over the citizens of Shechem because he is related to you.

19 So have you acted honorably and in good faith toward Jerub-Baal and his family today? If you have, may Abimelek be your joy, and may you be his, too!

20 But if you have not, let fire come out from Abimelek and consume you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and let fire come out from you, the citizens of Shechem and Beth Millo, and consume Abimelek!”

21 Then Jotham fled, escaping to Beer, and he lived there because he was afraid of his brother Abimelek.

22 After Abimelek had governed Israel three years,

23 God stirred up animosity between Abimelek and the citizens of Shechem so that they acted treacherously against Abimelek.

24 God did this in order that the crime against Jerub-Baal’s seventy sons, the shedding of their blood, might be avenged on their brother Abimelek and on the citizens of Shechem, who had helped him murder his brothers.

25 In opposition to him these citizens of Shechem set men on the hilltops to ambush and rob everyone who passed by, and this was reported to Abimelek.

26 Now Gaal son of Ebed moved with his clan into Shechem, and its citizens put their confidence in him.

27 After they had gone out into the fields and gathered the grapes and trodden them, they held a festival in the temple of their god. While they were eating and drinking, they cursed Abimelek.

28 Then Gaal son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelek, and why should we Shechemites be subject to him? Isn’t he Jerub-Baal’s son, and isn’t Zebul his deputy? Serve the family of Hamor, Shechem’s father! Why should we serve Abimelek?

29 If only this people were under my command! Then I would get rid of him. I would say to Abimelek, ‘Call out your whole army!’”[b]

30 When Zebul the governor of the city heard what Gaal son of Ebed said, he was very angry.

31 Under cover he sent messengers to Abimelek, saying, “Gaal son of Ebed and his clan have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you.

32 Now then, during the night you and your men should come and lie in wait in the fields.

33 In the morning at sunrise, advance against the city. When Gaal and his men come out against you, seize the opportunity to attack them.”

34 So Abimelek and all his troops set out by night and took up concealed positions near Shechem in four companies.

35 Now Gaal son of Ebed had gone out and was standing at the entrance of the city gate just as Abimelek and his troops came out from their hiding place.

36 When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, “Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains!”
Zebul replied, “You mistake the shadows of the mountains for men.”

37 But Gaal spoke up again: “Look, people are coming down from the central hill,[c] and a company is coming from the direction of the diviners’ tree.”

38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your big talk now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelek that we should be subject to him?’ Aren’t these the men you ridiculed? Go out and fight them!”

39 So Gaal led out[d] the citizens of Shechem and fought Abimelek.

40 Abimelek chased him all the way to the entrance of the gate, and many were killed as they fled.

41 Then Abimelek stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his clan out of Shechem.

42 The next day the people of Shechem went out to the fields, and this was reported to Abimelek.

43 So he took his men, divided them into three companies and set an ambush in the fields. When he saw the people coming out of the city, he rose to attack them.

44 Abimelek and the companies with him rushed forward to a position at the entrance of the city gate. Then two companies attacked those in the fields and struck them down.

45 All that day Abimelek pressed his attack against the city until he had captured it and killed its people. Then he destroyed the city and scattered salt over it.

46 On hearing this, the citizens in the tower of Shechem went into the stronghold of the temple of El-Berith.

47 When Abimelek heard that they had assembled there,

48 he and all his men went up Mount Zalmon. He took an ax and cut off some branches, which he lifted to his shoulders. He ordered the men with him, “Quick! Do what you have seen me do!”

49 So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelek. They piled them against the stronghold and set it on fire with the people still inside. So all the people in the tower of Shechem, about a thousand men and women, also died.

50 Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it.

51 Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof.

52 Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire,

53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull.

54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant ran him through, and he died.

55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home.

56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelek had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers.

57 God also made the people of Shechem pay for all their wickedness. The curse of Jotham son of Jerub-Baal came on them.


a. Judges 9:4 That is, about 1?3/4 pounds or about 800 grams
b. Judges 9:29 Septuagint; Hebrew him.” Then he said to Abimelek, “Call out your whole army!”
c. Judges 9:37 The Hebrew for this phrase means the navel of the earth.
d. Judges 9:39 Or Gaal went out in the sight of

Sermons on Judges 9 More sermons: Judges 9

William R. Nabaza avatar
Ridge and rampart of Abimelech
Shared by: William R. Nabaza on Mar, 2016
Summary: To show that GOD is the Source of all promotion not violence.
Scripture: Judges 9:6
Denomination: Independent/Bible
Views: 179
suresh manoharan avatar
Shared by: suresh manoharan on Apr, 2015
Summary: Deriving lessons on three Christian cardinal doctrines of Justification, Evangelisation and Glorification from the natural realm...trees!!!
Scripture: Judges 9:1-21
Denomination: *other
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Jeff Strite avatar
The Bad Judge
Shared by: Jeff Strite on Nov, 2014
Summary: God dedicated 57 verses to a wicked judge who ruled as king in Israel for about 3 years. Why would He do that? Is it possible the story of this evil man has something to us about how we should think as Christians?
Thomas Swope avatar
The Broad Street Bullies
Shared by: Thomas Swope on Jun, 2012
Summary: A study of the book of Judges 9: 1 – 57
Series: Judges
based on 2 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:1-57
Denomination: Calvary Chapel
Views: 2,100
Philip Harrelson avatar
The Wisdom of the Olive Tree
Shared by: Philip Harrelson on Jan, 2012
Summary: Some very valuable lessons come from looking at the traits of the ageless olive tree.
based on 4 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:8-9
Denomination: Pentecostal
Views: 4,768
Johnny Wilson avatar
A Fable of Ambition
Shared by: Johnny Wilson on Aug, 2010
Summary: Gideon's failure appears to be ambition sneaking in after he made the right original decision that poisoned Abimelech's character. Jotham's fable is a cautionary tale.
based on 2 ratings
Scripture: Judges 8:22-9:57
Denomination: *other
Views: 1,730
Jerry Shirley avatar
From Bad to Worse
Shared by: Jerry Shirley on Feb, 2010
Summary: Corrupt Leadership: America in her prosperity has been given much but done so little with it...and now it appears God may be taking the prosperity away. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
based on 40 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:1-10:18
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 6,630
Jerry Shirley avatar
Parable of the Trees
Shared by: Jerry Shirley on Feb, 2010
Summary: Here is the first parable in the Bible, and it is about America in these last days just as it was about Israel in those days. 3 steps in the decline of a nation. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
based on 122 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:8-15
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 12,902
Joseph Smith avatar
Bramble for President!
Shared by: Joseph Smith on Feb, 2010
Summary: The politician who sells out to special interests and who has no regard for life is not worthy of our loyalty. We need to get involved in the political process with a servant mentality.
based on 4 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:1-21
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 2,190
Bruce Rzengota avatar
Abimelech: Who’s in Charge
Shared by: Bruce Rzengota on Dec, 2009
based on 2 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:1-57
Views: 1,633
c vincent avatar
Shared by: c vincent on Jul, 2009
Summary: A man who wanted leadership
Series: Judges
based on 8 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:7-15
Denomination: Assembly Of God
Views: 3,546
Ben Thomas avatar
I wanted to be the king
Shared by: Ben Thomas on Nov, 2008
Summary: There was a need of leadership and many trees desired and boast that they are the candidate. But God has a better plan about the leadership
Series: King
based on 7 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:7-15
Denomination: Church Of God
Views: 1,963
Tom Fuller avatar
King Making - King Breaking
Shared by: Tom Fuller on Aug, 2007
Summary: Gideon shunned position but kept power, his son Abimelech had position but not power as both were ruled by the flesh and from the flesh reaped corruption. Learn how we can fall prey to that as Christians and how to avoid it.
Series: Judges
based on 5 ratings
Scripture: Judges 8:1-9:57
Denomination: Calvary Chapel
Views: 2,070
Rick Stacy avatar
One Dangerous Desire
Shared by: Rick Stacy on Feb, 2006
Summary: 4th in series on Judges. This message is about Gideon and Abimelech and deals with the dangerous desire of recognition.
based on 14 ratings
Scripture: Judges 7:1-9:30
Views: 2,100
Todd Catteau avatar
Abimelech, a Bad Example
Shared by: Todd Catteau on Oct, 2005
Summary: Abimelech is a classic example of how selfishness and godless ambition lead us from God’s will for our lives.
based on 33 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:1-56
Views: 5,668
Shawn Drake avatar
Destroyer Or Deliverer
Shared by: Shawn Drake on Apr, 2005
Summary: This is the 5th sermon in the series "Living In Times Of Spiritual Decay".
based on 21 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:1-12:7
Denomination: Baptist
Views: 1,055
Ed McNeely avatar
Beginning, Finishing, & Choosing
Shared by: Ed McNeely on Oct, 2004
Summary: Lessons from Gideon on living, serving and choosing our leaders: A guide for living and voting
based on 11 ratings
Scripture: Judges 8:1-9:20
Denomination: Independent/Bible
Views: 1,939
Paul Fritz avatar
How to Avoid Internal Divisions
Shared by: Paul Fritz on Oct, 2000
Summary: Every family, organization and movement struggles with the problem of internal divisions. Many internal conflicts result from a struggle over control. If everyone learns to give the Lord control for whatever they are responsible for, many internal divisio
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Scripture: Judges 9:1-20
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Robert Leroe avatar
Anti-Judge Abimelech
Shared by: Robert Leroe on Aug, 2002
Summary: The faith-response to corrupt leadership
Series: Judges
based on 81 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:1-57
Denomination: Congregational
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Guy Caley avatar
Right In Their Own Eyes
Shared by: Guy Caley on Dec, 2001
Summary: The story of Abimelech demonstrates the shortfalls of Human Wisdom.
Series: Judges
based on 58 ratings
Scripture: Judges 9:1-53
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Views: 3,878
Daniel Becker avatar
Idols for Destruction
Shared by: Daniel Becker on Sep, 2001
Summary: President Bush’s Bible Reading for Sept 11 A mosiac of selections from various daily devotionals for Sept 11, 2001
based on 31 ratings
Denomination: Presbyterian/Reformed
Views: 1,462