Jotham And Abimelech

Jotham And Abimelech

GIDEON'S wives were many, and when he died he left seventy sons.
One of these, Abimelech, went to his mother's people in Shechem and said to them:
"Do you want all those seventy sons of Gideon to reign over you?
 Would you not rather it were I alone, who am your near relation?"

They agreed that they would rather have him as ruler,
and they gave him seventy pieces of silver with which he hired mercenaries who followed him to Ophrah.

There Abimelech slew all his brothers except Jotham,
the youngest, who hid himself.
Then all the men of Shechern gathered together and hailed Abimelech as king.

Jotham heard of this and he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim,
and lifted up his voice. And he cried: "Listen to me, you men of Shechem,
that the Lord may give ear to you. "The trees went forth once upon a time to choose a king, and they said to the olive tree, 'Rule over us.'

"But the olive tree said to them, 'Should I leave my rich oil,
by means of which both men and gods are honoured,
and go to be king over the trees?'

"Then the trees said to the fig tree, 'You come and rule over us.'

"But the fig tree said to them,'Should I forsake my sweetness and my good fruit,
and go to be king over the trees?'

"Then the trees said to the vine, 'You come and rule over us.'

"And the vine said to them, 'Should I leave my wine which cheers gods and men,
and go to be king over the trees?'

"Then all the trees said to the bramble, 'You come and rule over us.'

"And the bramble said: 'If you really appoint 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 went on: "My father fought for you and risked his life and delivered you out of the hand of Midian.
Today you have risen against my father's house and have slain his sons,
and made Abimelech, the son of his maidservant, king, because he is your relation.
If you consider that you dealt justly with Gideon, rejoice in Abimelech, and he in you, but if not, let Shechem destroy Abimelech, and let Abimelech devour Shechem."


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