Workers For Jesus Online Bible Study Table of Contents

About this Bible Study........The King James Version of the Bible is written in a beautiful form of the English language. It can be hard for modern English readers to understand.  In this study, you will find notes and summaries in brown just above the the verses from the Bible. We recommend that you read the notes and summaries first, and then read the verses in their KJV form. 

The Book of Judges

The Israelites moved into Canaan. They had wars with the groups of people who lived in Canaan. They won the wars, and most of the other groups of people died or left Canaan. But some of the other people continued to live in Canaan.

In the book of Joshua, the Israelites obeyed God. They did not worship the other people's false gods. But in the book of Judges, the Israelites do not always obey God. Sometimes they worship false gods. Then God punishes them. Other people come and have wars with the Israelites.

The Israelite judges were leaders. Many of them were leaders of the army. They led the Israelites to win in wars.  This book covers 350 years from the year 1390 B.C. to 1050 B.C.
There were 14 judges in these years.  Some of the judges were Deborah, Gideon, and Samson.

Bible Timeline
Here is a good timeline to see the book of Judges in the history of the Bible


Judges 7 - 9
Gideon defeats the Midianites.
Abimelech becomes king.
God punishes Abimelech and the people of Shechem.



Judges 7

Gideon picks the soldiers for the fight against the Midianites.

Jerubbaal (Gideon's other name) and his soldiers got up early in the morning. They camped by the well of Harod. The Midianites were north of them by the hill called Moreh.
[1] Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, and all the people that were with him, rose up early, and pitched beside the well of Harod: so that the host of the Midianites were on the north side of them, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley.

God talked to Gideon. He said that Gideon's army had too many soldiers.  If they win the battle, the Israelites will think they won by themselves. They won't see that God helped them.
[2] And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people that are with thee are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hands, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, Mine own hand hath saved me.

God told Gideon to ask his soldiers if any of them were afraid. If anyone is afraid, he can leave the army and go home. 22,000 soldiers left to go home.  10,000 soldiers stayed.
[3] Now therefore go to, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, Whosoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and depart early from mount Gilead. And there returned of the people twenty and two thousand; and there remained ten thousand.

God said there were still too many soldiers. God will decide which soldiers will stay and which ones should leave.  Gideon should bring the men down to the water. God will tell him which ones should leave.
[4] And the LORD said unto Gideon, The people are yet too many; bring them down unto the water, and I will try them for thee there: and it shall be, that of whom I say unto thee, This shall go with thee, the same shall go with thee; and of whomsoever I say unto thee, This shall not go with thee, the same shall not go.


"Gideon Chooses the Three Hundred"
by J. James Tissot
From the
Christian Theological Seminary web site.

Gideon brought the army down to the water.  Gideon should watch how each man drinks water.  Some men will scoop up water with their hands. They will drink with their tongues the same as a dog drinks water out of a bowl. Other men will bend down on their knees and drink straight from the water.
[5] So he brought down the people unto the water: and the LORD said unto Gideon, Every one that lappeth of the water with his tongue, as a dog lappeth, him shalt thou set by himself; likewise every one that boweth down upon his knees to drink.

300 men drank water from their hands the same way as dogs drink. The other men bent down on their knees and drank straight from the water.
[6] And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.

God told Gideon to keep the 300 men who drank like dogs.  The other men should go home.
[7] And the LORD said unto Gideon, By the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Midianites into thine hand: and let all the other people go every man unto his place.

The 300 men stayed. They kept the supplies and trumpets. The other men went home.  Gideon's army was up on the mountain called Gilead.  The Midianite army was down in the valley.
[8] So the people took victuals in their hand, and their trumpets: and he sent all the rest of Israel every man unto his tent, and retained those three hundred men: and the host of Midian was beneath him in the valley.


Gideon spies on the Midianites.

During the night, God told Gideon to go down to the Midianite army. God will help him defeat the army.
[9] And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Arise, get thee down unto the host; for I have delivered it into thine hand.

God said that if Gideon was afraid, he should take his servant named Phurah and sneak down to the Midianites' camp.  God said that if Gideon heard what the Midianites were saying, he would feel more brave. So Gideon and Phurah sneaked to the Midianites' camp.

[10] But if thou fear to go down, go thou with Phurah thy servant down to the host:
[11] And thou shalt hear what they say; and afterward shall thine hands be strengthened to go down unto the host. Then went he down with Phurah his servant unto the outside of the armed men that were in the host.

There were many, many Midianites, Amalekites, and other groups of people from the east. There were so many of them that they were like many grasshoppers, camels, or grains of sand on the beach.
[12] And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley like grasshoppers for multitude; and their camels were without number, as the sand by the sea side for multitude.

Gideon heard one of the men talking to another man. He said that he had a dream.  He dreamed about a loaf of bread that was made of barley.  The loaf of bread rolled into the Midianites' camp and hit a tent. The tent fell down.

[13] And when Gideon was come, behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow, and said, Behold, I dreamed a dream, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the host of Midian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along.

The second man told what the dream meant. Gideon would defeat the Midianites. God would help Gideon defeat them.
[14] And his fellow answered and said, This is nothing else save the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: for into his hand hath God delivered Midian, and all the host.

After Gideon heard this, he worshipped God and went back to the Israelite army.  He told them to get up. It was time for the war.  God will help them defeat the Midianites.
[15] And it was so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and the interpretation thereof, that he worshipped, and returned into the host of Israel, and said, Arise; for the LORD hath delivered into your hand the host of Midian.

Gideon and his army fight against the Midianites.

Gideon's army had 300 men. He divided the army into 3 parts. He gave each man a trumpet. He also gave each man a pitcher with a lamp inside the pitcher.
[16] And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put a trumpet in every man's hand, with empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.

Gideon told the men what to do. When they arrive at the outside of the Midianite camp, they should surround the camp (make a circle around it). They should copy what Gideon does. Gideon will blow his trumpet.  Then all of the soldiers should also blow their trumpets. They should say, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon."
[17] And he said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do.
[18] When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.

Gideon was with one of the groups of men (100 men in the group). When the Midianite soldiers were starting their new shifts, the Israelites blew their trumpets. Then they broke the pitchers in their hands. The lamps were inside the pitchers. Now they carried the lamps in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands.  They yelled, "The sword of the Lord and of Gideon!"
[19] So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands.
[20] And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the LORD, and of Gideon.

The Israelites were standing all around the Midianite camp. The Midianite soldiers were afraid and ran away.
[21] And they stood every man in his place round about the camp: and all the host ran, and cried, and fled.

The Israelites blew their trumpets again.  God made the Midianites start killing each other.  Then they ran away to the places called Beth-shittah in the area of Zererath  and to the boundary lines of the places called Abel-meholah and Tabbath.
[22] And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, even throughout all the host: and the host fled to Beth-shittah in Zererath, and to the border of Abel-meholah, unto Tabbath.

More Israelite soldiers came from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher, and both of the Manasseh tribes. They chased the Midianites.
[23] And the men of Israel gathered themselves together out of Naphtali, and out of Asher, and out of all Manasseh, and pursued after the Midianites.

Gideon sent messages to the tribes in Mount Ephraim. He told them to come down the mountain and fight the Midianites.  He wanted them to guard the land in the places called Beth-barah and the Jordan River.  So the men from the tribe of Ephraim came and fought the Midianites. They guarded the land. The Midianites could not escape.
[24] And Gideon sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim, saying, Come down against the Midianites, and take before them the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and took the waters unto Beth-barah and Jordan.

The Israelites captured 2 princes of the Midianites. The princes' names were Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb on a rock. They killed Zeeb at a winepress. The rock and winepress were named for the princes. They took Oreb's and Zeeb's heads and gave them to Gideon. Gideon was on the other side of the Jordan. River.

[25] And they took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeeb they slew at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon on the other side Jordan.

Judges 8

The men of the tribe of Ephraim are upset with Gideon.

Gideon didn't ask the tribe of Ephraim to come fight in the war. He sent a message to them after the war.  After the war, he asked them to help guard the place called Beth-barah and the area of the Jordan River. Now, the men from the tribe of Ephraim were upset with Gideon.  They asked why he didn't call them to help fight the war.
[1] And the men of Ephraim said unto him, Why hast thou served us thus, that thou calledst us not, when thou wentest to fight with the Midianites? And they did chide with him sharply.

Gideon talked to the men of the tribe of Ephraim. He said that their tribe is much better than his own tribe of Abiezer. He talked about when the tribes grow grapes on their farms.  They first pick the best grapes. Then later they pick the smaller grapes that are not as good. Gideon said that Ephraim's smallest grapes are better than Abiezer's best grapes.  
[2] And he said unto them, What have I done now in comparison of you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abi-ezer?

Gideon reminded the men of Ephraim that they caught the two princes, Oreb and Zeeb.  Gideon said he didn't do anything as great as that Then the men of Ephraim calmed down and were not upset with Gideon anymore.
[3] God hath delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb: and what was I able to do in comparison of you? Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that.


The cities of Succoth and Penuel refuse to help Gideon.

Gideon and his army of 300 men continued to chase the Midianites. They were very tired.

[4] And Gideon came to Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men that were with him, faint, yet pursuing them.

They arrived at the city named Succoth. Gideon asked the city leaders for some food for his army.  He told the city leaders he was chasing the Midianite kings.  The Midianite kings were named Zebah and Zalmunna.
[5] And he said unto the men of Succoth, Give, I pray you, loaves of bread unto the people that follow me; for they be faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, kings of Midian.

The leaders of Succoth said no. They asked Gideon if he caught the kings yet. They asked why they should give his army food.
[6] And the princes of Succoth said, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thine army?

Gideon said that after he catches the Midianite kings, he will come back to Succoth. He will punish the leaders of Succoth. He will whip them with thorns and briers (plants with very sharp points, like nails).
[7] And Gideon said, Therefore when the LORD hath delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into mine hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.

Then Gideon and his army went to the city named Penuel.  He asked them for some food for his army. The leaders of Penuel also said no.
[8] And he went up thence to Penuel, and spake unto them likewise: and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered him.

Gideon told the leaders of Penuel that he will come back after he catches the Midianite kings. He will destroy their tower (very tall building).
[9] And he spake also unto the men of Penuel, saying, When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.


Gideon catches the Midianite kings.

The Midianite kings, Zebah and Zalmunna, were in the place called Karkor.  There were about 1500 soldiers with the kings. That is all that was left of their big army. About 120,000 had died in the war.

[10] Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their hosts with them, about fifteen thousand men, all that were left of all the hosts of the children of the east: for there fell an hundred and twenty thousand men that drew sword.

Gideon surprised the Midianite army. He went around the desert to the east of the places called Nobah and Jogbehah.
[11] And Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and smote the host: for the host was secure.

The Midianite kings, Zebah and Zalmunna, ran away.  Gideon chased them. He caught them.  The Midianite army was very afraid.  
[12] And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued after them, and took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and discomfited all the host.

Gideon finished the battle before the next morning.
[13] And Gideon the son of Joash returned from battle before the sun was up,


Gideon punishes the leaders of the cities of Succoth and Penuel.

Gideon saw a young man from the city of Succoth. He asked the young man to describe all of the leaders of the city.  There were 77 leaders in all.
[14] And caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him: and he described unto him the princes of Succoth, and the elders thereof, even threescore and seventeen men.

Then Gideon went to the leaders of Succoth. He told them that he had caught the Midianite kings.  He reminded them that they refused to give food to his army. He reminded them that they criticized him because he hadn't caught the kings yet.
[15] And he came unto the men of Succoth, and said, Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, with whom ye did upbraid me, saying, Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in thine hand, that we should give bread unto thy men that are weary?

Gideon whipped the city leaders with thorns and briers (stickers on plants).
[16] And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth.

Then Gideon went to the city of Penuel.  He killed the men in the city, and he destroyed the city tower.
[17] And he beat down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city.


Gideon kills the Midianite kings.

Then Gideon talked to the Midianite kings. He asked them about the Israelites they killed at the place called Tabor.  The kings said that some of the men looked like Gideon--they looked like they were sons of kings.

[18] Then said he unto Zebah and Zalmunna, What manner of men were they whom ye slew at Tabor? And they answered, As thou art, so were they; each one resembled the children of a king.

Gideon said the men were his brothers. He said if the kings, Zebah and Zalmunna,  had not killed his brothers, he would not kill them.
[19] And he said, They were my brethren, even the sons of my mother: as the LORD liveth, if ye had saved them alive, I would not slay you.

Gideon told his oldest son, Jether, to kill the kings. But Jether was young, and he was afraid. He didn't pull out his sword.
[20] And he said unto Jether his firstborn, Up, and slay them. But the youth drew not his sword: for he feared, because he was yet a youth.

Zebah and Zalmunna taunted (teased) Gideon.  They said if he was a strong man, he would kill them himself. So Gideon killed the 2 kings. He took the ornaments (jewelry) off the necks of the kings' camels.
[21] Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.


The Israelites give Gideon gifts because he defeated the Midianites.

The Israelite wanted to make Gideon a king. They wanted Gideon, his son, and his grandson to be kings because he won the war with the Midianites.
[22] Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian.

Gideon said he would not be a king. His son will not be a king. The Lord God is their king and ruler.
[23] And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you.

Gideon asked the Israelites to give him some things. He wanted all of the gold earrings that the soldiers took from the Midianites. The Midianites were descendants of Abraham's son Ishmael. They all wore gold earrings.
[24] And Gideon said unto them, I would desire a request of you, that ye would give me every man the earrings of his prey. (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)

The Israelites said they would give him the earrings willingly (they were happy to give them).  They put a robe on the ground. Every man put the earrings on the robe.
[25] And they answered, We will willingly give them. And they spread a garment, and did cast therein every man the earrings of his prey.

All of the earrings weighed 1,700 shekels (about 40 pounds). They also gave Gideon other things: the jewelry from the camels' necks, jewelry from the Midianite kings, and the purple robes of the Midianite kings.
[26] And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks.

Gideon went back to his home in Ophrah. He took the gold and other items and made a monument or statue. The other Israelites started to worship it.  It was like a trap to Gideon and his family. They started to worship it, too.
[27] And Gideon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city, even in Ophrah: and all Israel went thither a whoring after it: which thing became a snare unto Gideon, and to his house.

The Midianites were now subdued (defeated) They did not fight with the Israelites anymore.  There was peace for 40 years while Gideon lived.
[28] Thus was Midian subdued before the children of Israel, so that they lifted up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gideon.

Gideon's life after the war.

Gideon (his other name was Jerubbaal) lived in his own house. He had many wives and had 70 sons.

[29] And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house.
[30] And Gideon had threescore and ten sons of his body begotten: for he had many wives.

Gideon had a concubine (a woman like a mistress, not a wife) who lived in the city of Shechem.  Gideon and the concubine had a son named Abimelech.
[31] And his concubine that was in Shechem, she also bare him a son, whose name he called Abimelech.

Gideon lived to be very old. When he died, he was buried in a sepulchre (cave for graves) with his father, Joash, in the place called Ophrah.
[32] And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.

The time after Gideon died.

After Gideon died, the Israelites started worshiping the false gods named Baal and Baal-berith again.

[33] And it came to pass, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and went a whoring after Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god.

The Israelites forgot about God. They forgot that God defeated their enemies.
[34] And the children of Israel remembered not the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side:

Gideon was very good to the Israelites when he was alive. But after he was dead, the Israelites did not behave well to Gideon's family. They were not grateful for the things Gideon did.
[35] Neither shewed they kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely, Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shewed unto Israel.

"Abimelech" is the name of 5 different people in the Bible. There was an Abimelech back in the time of Abraham. There was another Abimelech in the time of Isaac. Abimelech in this chapter is one of Gideon's sons. In future books of the Bible, there will be 2 more men named Abimelech.

Judges 9

Gideon's son, Abimelech, asks to be the king.

Gideon had 70 sons. Abimelech was one of Gideon's sons. Abimelech's mother was from the area of Shechem.

Abimelech went to visit his mother's family in Shechem. He wanted them to talk to the other men in Shechem. They should ask if they wanted all 70 of Gideon's sons to be their kings. Or maybe he could be the only king.  They should remind the men of Shechem that Abimelech was part of their family.

[1] And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem unto his mother's brethren, and communed with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying,
[2] Speak, I pray you, in the ears of all the men of Shechem, Whether is better for you, either that all the sons of Jerubbaal, which are threescore and ten persons, reign over you, or that one reign over you? remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.

Abimelech's uncles talked to the other men in Shechem. The men of Shechem decided to follow Abimelech because he was part of their family.
[3] And his mother's brethren spake of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem all these words: and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech; for they said, He is our brother.

The men of Shechem gave Abimelech 70 pieces of silver.  The money came from the place where they worshiped the false god, Baal. Abimelech took the money, and he hired some bad people to work for him.
[4] And they gave him threescore and ten pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith, wherewith Abimelech hired vain and light persons, which followed him.



Abimelech kills most of his brothers and then becomes the king.

Abimelech went back to Gideon's family at the place called Ophrah. He killed most of his brothers. There was only one brother that he did not kill. Jotham was Gideon's youngest son.  He hid, so that Abimelech did not kill him.
[5] And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself.

The men in Shechem met together near the sacred (holy) place (possibly the place that Joshua made back in the book of Joshua). They made Abimelech the king.
[6] And all the men of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and went, and made Abimelech king, by the plain of the pillar that was in Shechem.


Jotham (Gideon's son that wasn't killed) tells a story to warn the men of Shechem.

When Jotham heard about the men in Shechem making Abimelech the king, he went to the top of the mountain named Gerizim. Mt. Gerizim is by Shechem. Jotham yelled loud to the people in Shechem. He told them to listen to him so that maybe God would listen to them.
[7] And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you.

Jotham continued. He told them a story about some trees.  The trees decided they wanted a king. They asked an olive tree to be their king. The olive tree said that if he was their king, then people could not use his olive oil anymore.  People used his olive oil to honor God and other men. The olive tree wanted to continue making olive oil. He did not want to be a king.
[8] The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us.
[9] But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

Then the trees asked a fig tree to be the king. The fig tree said that if he was the king, no one could eat his sweet fruit.
[10] And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us.
[11] But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees?

Then the trees asked a grapevine to be the king. The grapevine said that if he was king, no one could drink the wine from his grapes.  His wine makes men and God happy.
[12] Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us.
[13] And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees?

Then the trees asked the bramble (a bush with stickers) to be the king.
[14] Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.


A Lebanon Cedar

The Lebanon Cedar tree first grew in the mountains of countries near the Mediterranean Sea.

The Lebanon Cedar is mentioned 75 times in the Bible.

The Lebanon Cedar has always been the national emblem of Lebanon, and it is seen on the flag of  Lebanon.

It has become extinct in its original areas. But now people are replanting them so that they will grow there again.

Information and photos from

The bramble said that if they really want him to be the king, they should trust him. He said he would protect them. If they didn't trust him, he would send fire out to burn the cedars of Lebanon.
[15] And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

Jotham is asking the men of Shechem about why they picked Abimelech to be the king. He is asking if they are honoring Gideon and his family.
[16] Now therefore, if ye have done truly and sincerely, in that ye have made Abimelech king, and if ye have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands;

Gideon fought the war with the Midianites. Gideon could have been killed in the war, but he was brave and fought the war. Gideon won the war and defeated the Midianites. 
[17] (For my father fought for you, and adventured his life far, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian:

Now they have killed Gideon's sons and made Abimelech the king.  They made Abimelech the king because Abimelech's mother was from Shechem.
[18] And ye are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, threescore and ten persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother;)

Jotham is asking if they truly feel they have done the right thing and honored Gideon. If they feel they have done right, then they should be happy that Abimelech is the king. Abimelech should be happy, too.
[19] If ye then have dealt truly and sincerely with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice ye in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you:

But if they have not done right, then Abimelech will destroy the places called Shechem  and Millo. The places called Shechem and Millo will destroy Abimelech.
[20] But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech.

Jotham was afraid of Abimelech. He ran away to the place called Beer.
[21] And Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.

Abimelech was the king for 3 years.
[22] When Abimelech had reigned three years over Israel,

God punishes Abimelech

Abimelech had killed Gideon's 70 sons. The men of Shechem had helped him.  Now God sent an evil spirit to punish them. The evil spirit caused Abimelech and the men of Shechem to fight with each other.
[23] Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech:
[24] That the cruelty done to the threescore and ten sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood be laid upon Abimelech their brother, which slew them; and upon the men of Shechem, which aided him in the killing of his brethren.

The men of Shechem sent some men to hide in the mountains and attack Abimelech. The men robbed everyone who traveled by them. But Abimelech heard about this.
[25] And the men of Shechem set liers in wait for him in the top of the mountains, and they robbed all that came along that way by them: and it was told Abimelech.

A man named Gaal (Gaal's father's name was Ebed) and his brothers moved to Shechem.  The men of Shechem trusted Gaal.
[26] And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem: and the men of Shechem put their confidence in him.

After the people in Shechem picked their grapes, they walked on the grapes and made wine with the grape juice.  The people in Shechem then had a celebration. They were in the temple (building of worship) of their false god, Baal.  They were eating and drinking. Then they started talking badly about Abimelech.
[27] And they went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and trode the grapes, and made merry, and went into the house of their god, and did eat and drink, and cursed Abimelech.

Gaal started talking badly about Abimelech, too. He said that the people in Shechem were descendants of Hamor. Abimelech is Gideon's son. Gaal asked why they should follow Abimelech.  Gaal said that Zebul, the leader of the city of Shechem, was working for Abimelech.

[28] And Gaal the son of Ebed said, Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? is not he the son of Jerubbaal? and Zebul his officer? serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem: for why should we serve him?

Gaal bragged. He said that if he were in charge, he would defeat Abimelech. He said that Abimelech should come and fight.
[29] And would to God this people were under my hand! then would I remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, Increase thine army, and come out.

Zebul heard about what Gaal said. Zebul was very mad. He sent a message to Abimelech. He told Abimelech that Gaal was trying to make the people in Shechem fight with him.
[30] And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled.
[31] And he sent messengers unto Abimelech privily, saying, Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brethren be come to Shechem; and, behold, they fortify the city against thee.

Zebul told Abimelech and his army to come to Shechem at night. They should hide outside the city in the fields. In the morning, they should attack the city. When Gaal and the people with him come out to fight, Abimelech can defeat them.

[32] Now therefore up by night, thou and the people that is with thee, and lie in wait in the field:
[33] And it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, thou shalt rise early, and set upon the city: and, behold, when he and the people that is with him come out against thee, then mayest thou do to them as thou shalt find occasion.

Abimelech and his army went to Shechem at night. They divided into 4 groups. The groups hid around the outside of the city.
[34] And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies.

Gaal was standing in the city gate, and Abimelech and his army came out from their hiding places.
[35] And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and Abimelech rose up, and the people that were with him, from lying in wait.

Gaal saw Abimelech and his army coming to the city. He told Zebul about it. But Zebul said he didn't see men, but he was seeing shadows.
[36] And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, Behold, there come people down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him, Thou seest the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.

But Gaal said he thought he was seeing men. He could see a few groups of men. One group was coming up the middle, and one group was coming from the place called Meonenim.
[37] And Gaal spake again and said, See there come people down by the middle of the land, and another company come along by the plain of Meonenim.

Zebul talked to Gaal. He reminded Gaal that he had talked badly about Abimelech. Gaal had said they should not work for Abimelech. He bragged that he could defeat him.  Zebul told Gaal to go and fight Abimelech now.
[38] Then said Zebul unto him, Where is now thy mouth, wherewith thou saidst, Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? is not this the people that thou hast despised? go out, I pray now, and fight with them.

Gaal and the army of Shechem went and fought Abimelech. Gaal and the army ran away and ran back to the city. Many of the soldiers were hurt. Many were hurt at the city's gate.  
[39] And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech.
[40] And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many were overthrown and wounded, even unto the entering of the gate.

Abimelech stayed at the place called Arumah. Zebul forced Gaal and his brothers to leave Shechem.
[41] And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren, that they should not dwell in Shechem.

The next day, the people of Shechem planned to go outside the city walls to work in the fields. When Abimelech heard about that, he divided his army into 3 groups. The groups hid in the fields.  When the people of Shechem came out, 2 of Abimelech's groups attacked them and killed them. Abimelech and his group ran to the city gate and controlled the gate.
[42] And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people went out into the field; and they told Abimelech.
[43] And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and laid wait in the field, and looked, and, behold, the people were come forth out of the city; and he rose up against them, and smote them.
[44] And Abimelech, and the company that was with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entering of the gate of the city: and the two other companies ran upon all the people that were in the fields, and slew them.

Abimelech and his army fought the city of Shechem all day. They killed all of the people in the city. They destroyed the buildings and put salt all over the ground.
[45] And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.

When the men in the tower of Shechem heard what happened, they hid in the temple of the false god, Baal-berith.
[46] And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard that, they entered into an hold of the house of the god Berith.

Abimelech heard about the men of the tower hiding in the temple. Abimelech and his army went to the place called Zalmon. Abimelech used his ax and cut a tree branch. He laid the tree branch on his shoulder. He told the people with him to hurry and do the same thing.
[47] And it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together.
[48] And Abimelech gat him up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it, and laid it on his shoulder, and said unto the people that were with him, What ye have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done.

Abimelech's men did the same. They cut tree branches. Then they followed Abimelech. They put the tree branches around the temple. Then they made a fire with the tree branches. All of the men of the tower and about 1,000 other men and women died in the fire.

[49] And all the people likewise cut down every man his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them to the hold, and set the hold on fire upon them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem died also, about a thousand men and women.

Then Abimelech went to the city called Thebez. He camped there and started a war with the city. The men and women in Thebez ran and hid in the tower.  They locked the doors and went up to the roof.
[50] Then went Abimelech to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it.
[51] But there was a strong tower within the city, and thither fled all the men and women, and all they of the city, and shut it to them, and gat them up to the top of the tower.

Abimelech went to the tower. He tried to get in. Then he was planning to set the tower on fire.
[52] And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire.

A woman on top of the tower threw down a big rock. The rock broke Abimelech's skull.
[53] And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull.



Abimelech called a young soldier to help him.  He asked the young soldier to kill him with his sword. Abimelech knew he was going to die. He didn't want people to say that a woman killed him.  So, the young man stabbed Abimelech, and he died.
[54] Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died.

When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, everyone went back home.
[55] And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place.

God punished Abimelech for killing his 70 brothers. God also punished the men of Shechem. Everything that Gideon's son, Jotham, said back in verses 7 - 20 came true.
[56] Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren:
[57] And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.


Back to the previous chapters To the next chapters

 Workers For Jesus Online Bible Study Table of Contents