Judges 8, 9
1 The men of Ephraim said to Gideon, “Why did you not tell us what you were doing when you went to war with Midian?” They reprimanded him sharply. 2 So he said to them, “What could I do in comparison with what you now do? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3 The Lord has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And what could I do in comparison with what you do?” Their spirit toward him became calm when he spoke this word.
4 When Gideon came to the River Jordan, he and the three hundred men with him crossed over—hungry, but still pursuing. 5 Then he said to the men of Succoth, “Please give bread to feed this army of men that follow me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.” 6 And the leaders of Succoth said, “Is the hand of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?”
7 So Gideon said, “Therefore when the Lord has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will then tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with the brier bush!” 8 From there he went up to Penuel, requesting the same and in the same way. The men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth previously answered. 9 And Gideon said to the men of Penuel, “When I return in peace, I will tear down this tower!”
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were at Karkor with their armies, about fifteen thousand, all that remained of the entire army of foreigners; they that fell were one hundred twenty thousand men who drew the sword. 11 Then Gideon traveled the road eastward of Nobah and Jogbehah, to where they dwelt in tents. Here he smote the army, and the camp was surrendering. 12 Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them, capturing the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna. The last of the army was caught by surprise.
13 And Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle, down from the battle line of Ares. 14 And he took prisoner a young man of the men of Succoth to interrogate him; and he wrote down for Gideon the names of the leaders of Succoth and of their elders, seventy-seven men. 15 Then Gideon came to the rulers of Succoth and said, “Look. Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you reproached me, saying, ‘Is the hand of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand that we should give bread to your army?’ ” 16 And he seized the elders of the city, with the thorns of the wilderness and with the sharp thorns, and with them he flailed the men of the city. 17 Then he tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
18 And he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “Where are the men you killed at Tabor?” And they said, “As you are, so they were in the appearance of a king’s son.” 19 Then Gideon said, “They were my brothers and the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if you had kept them alive, I would not kill you.” 20 And he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise and kill them!” But the youth would not draw his sword, for he was afraid; for he was yet very young. 21 So Zebah and Zalmunna said, “You rise up and face us, for your strength is that of a man.” So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescent ornaments from their camels’ necks.
22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” 23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you. The Lord shall rule over you.” 24 Then Gideon said to them, “I would like to make a request of you, that each man would give me an earring from his plunder.” For they had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites. 25 So they said, “We will gladly give them.” And he spread out his garment and each man threw down an earring from his plunder. 26 Now the weight of the gold earrings which he requested was one thousand five hundred pieces of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, pendants, garments, and purple robes worn by the kings of Midian, and the chains around the necks of their camels.
27 Then Gideon made it into an ephod and made a memorial of it in his city of Ephratha. Hereafter, Israel indulged in all types of sinful acts because of it. And to Gideon and to his house, it became a thorn. 28 Thus Midian was reduced in stature before the sons of Israel, and they lifted their heads no more. The country remained at peace for forty years in the days of Gideon. 29 Then Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelled in his own house.
Death of Gideon
30 And Gideon begot seventy sons of his own, for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, whom he called Abimelech. 32 Now Gideon the son of Joash died in his city, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ephratha of the Abiezrites.
33 So it was, as soon as Gideon was dead, the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals, and made a covenant for themselves with Baal that he would be their god. 34 Thus the sons of Israel choose to no longer remember the Lord their God, He who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side; 35 nor did they show mercy to the house of Jerubbaal—that is, Gideon—in accordance with all the good he accomplished for Israel.
Abimelech Seeks to Be King
1 Abimelech son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother’s brothers, and he spoke to them and to everyone in the family of his mother’s father, saying, 2 “I pray you to ask in the hearing of all the men of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, for all seventy of the sons of Jerubbaal to reign over you, or for one to reign over you?’ Remember, I am of your own bone and flesh.” 3 And his mother’s brothers spoke all these words concerning him in the hearing of all the men of Shechem; and their heart was inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.” 4 They gave him seventy shekels of silver from the house of Baal-Berith, and Abimelech hired for himself vain and cowardly men; and they followed him. 5 Then he went into his father’s house at Ephratha and killed his brothers, the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men upon one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself.
Jotham Makes His Plea
6 All the men of Shechem and all the house of Beth Millo gathered, and they went ahead and made Abimelech king by the oak of Sedition at Shechem. 7 It was reported to Jotham, and he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim and lifted his voice and wept, and said to them, “Hear me, you men of Shechem, and God will hear you. 8 One day, 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, ‘Should I cease giving my richness, with which men will glorify God, and go to be placed over the trees?’ 10 Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us!’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I cease my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to be placed over the trees?’ 12 Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us!’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Should I cease my wine, which cheers both God and men, and go to be placed over the trees?’ 14 Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us!’ 15 And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you anoint me as king over you, then come and take shelter in my shade; but if not, may fire come from me and devour the cedars of Lebanon!’
16 “And now, if you have acted in truth and integrity, and have made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and with his house, and if you have done to him according to the reward of his hand, 17 as my father fought in war for you, and put his life in jeopardy, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian; 18 but you have risen up against my father’s house today, and killed his seventy sons upon one stone, and made Abimelech, the son of his bondwoman, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother. 19 If then you have acted in truth and faithfully with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him rejoice over you as well. 20 But if not, let fire come from Abimelech and devour the men of Shechem and the house of Beth Millo; and let fire come from the men of Shechem and from the house of Beth Millo and devour Abimelech!” 21 And Jotham fled and ran away. He went as far as Beer and dwelt there out of the way of his brother Abimelech.
Abimelech in Decline
22 After Abimelech had reigned over Israel three years, 23 God sent a wicked spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem. And the men of Shechem rejected the house of Abimelech, 24 to bring the injustice done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, and to lay their blood upon Abimelech their brother, who killed them; and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to slay his brothers. 25 And the men of Shechem set men in ambush against Abimelech on the mountaintops. They robbed everyone who passed by them on the way so it would be reported to King Abimelech.
26 Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and they passed by Shechem, and the men of Shechem trusted him. 27 And they went out into the fields and gathered their grapes, and trod them and made merry. And they went into the house of their god, and ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. 28 Then Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is this son of Shechem that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is not Zebul his steward, his servant with the son of Hamor the father of Shechem? And why should we serve him? 29 And if it were so that this people were under my hand, then I would remove Abimelech. Indeed, I would say to him, ‘Multiply the strength of your army and come out!’ ”
30 When Zebul, the ruler of the city, heard the words of Gaal the son of Jobel, his anger was aroused. 31 And in secret he sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, “Listen carefully! Gaal the son of Jobel and his brothers have come to Shechem; and be warned, in the area around the city they stir up trouble against you. 32 Now get up by night, you and the people with you, and lie in wait in the field. 33 And early in the morning, at the same time the sun rises, move your battle line toward the city; and behold, he and the people with him will come out against you, and you shall do to him as much as is in your power.”
34 So Abimelech and all the people with him rose by night, and, with four companies, they lay in wait against Shechem. 35 Gaal the son of Jobel went out and stood at the door of the gate of the city, and Abimelech and the people with him rose from the place of ambush. 36 And when Gaal the son of Jobel saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Look, a people are coming down from the top of the mountain!” But Zebul said to him, “You see the shadows of the mountains as being men.” 37 Gaal still continued to speak and said, “See, people are coming down toward the sea from the center of the land, and another company is coming from the way of Elonmaonenim.”
38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where indeed is your mouth now, for you said, ‘Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?’ Are not these the people whom you despised? Go out, if you will, and fight with him now.” 39 So Gaal went out before the men of Shechem and warred with Abimelech. 40 But Abimelech chased him, and Gaal fled before him; and many fell wounded, even up to the door of the gate. 41 Then Abimelech went into Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, so they could not dwell in Shechem.
42 On the next day the people went out into the field and reported to Abimelech. 43 So he took the people, divided them into three companies, and placed them in ambush in the field. He looked, and there were the people coming out of the city; and he rose against them and attacked them. 44 Then Abimelech and the leaders with him charged forward and stood at the door of the city gate; and the other two companies charged forward against all those in the fields and smote them. 45 Abimelech fought against the city all that day and took the city, killing the people in it. And he demolished the city and sowed it with salt.
46 When all the men of the towers of Shechem heard that, they came to the meeting at Bethelberith. 47 And it was reported to Abimelech that all the men of the towers of Shechem were gathered together. 48 Then Abimelech along with all his people went up to Mount Hermon. And Abimelech took the axes in his hand and cut down a branch from a tree, and took it and laid it on his shoulders. And he said to the people with him, “Quickly, do what you have seen me do.” 49 So each and every man cut down a branch and followed after Abimelech, putting the branches against the stronghold and setting them on fire, burning down the stronghold as well. And all the men of the tower of Shechem died, about a thousand men and women.
50 Abimelech then left from Bethelberith and encamped against Thebez and overpowered it. 51 But there was a strong tower in the middle of the city, and there all the men and women of the city fled; and they locked themselves in and went up on the roof of the tower. 52 And Abimelech drew near the tower and besieged it; and Abimelech drew near the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 But a certain woman dropped a piece of a millstone upon the head of Abimelech and broke his skull. 54 He quickly cried out to the young man, his armor bearer, and said to him, “Draw my sword and kill me, lest men say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So his young man thrust him through, and he died. 55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed, every man to his place. 56 Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech brought against his father by killing his seventy brothers. 57 And God returned all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their own heads, and the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal came on them.
1 For the End; do not corrupt; a psalm of an ode for Asaph.
2 We shall give thanks to You, O God;
We shall give thanks, and call upon Your name.
3 I shall describe all Your wonders.
“When I seize the opportunity,
I shall judge these rightly.
4 The earth is dissolved and all its inhabitants;
I made firm its pillars.”
5 I said to those who transgress the law, “Do not transgress the law,”
And to those who sin I said, “Do not exalt yourselves;
6 Do not boast in yourselves;
Do not accuse God of wrongdoing.”
7 For judgment comes neither from the sunrise nor the sunset
Nor from mountains of the deserts,
8 For God is judge;
This one He brings down low, and that one He raises up.
9 For the cup in the Lord’s hand
Is full of unmixed wine, a drink poured out;
And He tipped it from side to side,
But its dregs were not emptied out;
All sinners of the earth shall drink them.
10 But I shall greatly rejoice forever;
I shall sing to the God of Jacob.
11 All the horns of sinners I shall crush,
But the horns of the righteous man shall be exalted.
21 The ways of idle men are strewn with thorny plants,
But the thorny plants of the courageous are worn smooth.
22 A wise son gladdens a father,
But a son without discernment treats his mother with contempt.
23 The paths of one without understanding are in need of discernment,
But a man with discernment walks uprightly.
24 Those not honoring councils defer their deliberations,
But counsel remains in the hearts of those who resolve to do it.
25 The evil man will not obey counsel,
Nor will he speak anything appropriate, even something for the common good.
26 The thoughts of a wise man are his ways of life,
That he might turn aside and be saved from Hades.
1 Then Jesus, being filled with the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,
2 being tempted for forty days by the devil. And in those days He ate nothing, and afterward, when they had ended, He was hungry.
3 And the devil said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.”
4 But Jesus answered him, saying, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.’ ”
5 Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
6 And the devil said to Him, “All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish.
7 “Therefore, if You will worship before me, all will be Yours.”
8 And Jesus answered and said to him, “Get behind Me, Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’ ”
9 Then he brought Him to Jerusalem, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here.
10 “For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you,’
‘In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’ ”
12 And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”
13 Now when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from Him until an opportune time.
Jesus Begins His Galilean Ministry
(Matt. 4:12–17; Mark 1:14, 15)
14 Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region.
15 And He taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all.
Jesus Rejected at Nazareth
(Matt. 13:54–58; Mark 6:1–6)
16 So He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up. And as His custom was, He went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and stood up to read.
17 And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”
20 Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
22 So all bore witness to Him, and marveled at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth. And they said, “Is this not Joseph’s son?”
23 He said to them, “You will surely say this proverb to Me, ‘Physician, heal yourself! Whatever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in Your country.’ ”
24 Then He said, “Assuredly, I say to you, no prophet is accepted in his own country.
25 “But I tell you truly, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, and there was a great famine throughout all the land;
26 “but to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath, in the region of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow.
27 “And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet, and none of them was cleansed except Naaman the Syrian.”
28 So all those in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
29 and rose up and thrust Him out of the city; and they led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city was built, that they might throw Him down over the cliff.
30 Then passing through the midst of them, He went His way.