30 But when Zebul, the leader of the city, heard what Gaal was saying, he was furious.
31 He sent messengers to Abimelech in Arumah,* telling him, "Gaal son of Ebed and his brothers have come to live in Shechem, and now they are inciting the city to rebel against you.1
32 Come by night with an army and hide out in the fields.
33 In the morning, as soon as it is daylight, storm the city. When Gaal and those who are with him come out against you, you can do with them as you wish."
34 So Abimelech and his men went by night and split into four groups, stationing themselves around Shechem.
35 Gaal was standing at the city gates when Abimelech and his army came out of hiding.
36 When Gaal saw them, he said to Zebul, "Look, there are people coming down from the hilltops!" Zebul replied, "It's just the shadows of the hills that look like men."
37 But again Gaal said, "No, people are coming down from the hills.* And another group is coming down the road past the Diviners' Oak.*"2
38 Then Zebul turned on him triumphantly. "Now where is that big mouth of yours?" he demanded. "Wasn't it you that said, `Who is Abimelech, and why should we be his servants?' The men you mocked are right outside the city! Go out and fight them!"
39 Gaal then led the men of Shechem into battle against Abimelech,
40 but he was defeated and ran away. Many of Shechem's warriors were killed, and the ground was covered with dead bodies all the way to the city gate.
41 Abimelech stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove Gaal and his brothers out of Shechem.
42 The next day the people of Shechem went out into the fields to battle. When Abimelech heard about it,
43 he divided his men into three groups and set an ambush in the fields. When Abimelech saw the people coming out of the city, he and his men jumped up from their hiding places and attacked them.
44 Abimelech and his group stormed the city gate to keep the men of Shechem from getting back in, while Abimelech's other two groups cut them down in the fields.
45 The battle went on all day before Abimelech finally captured the city. He killed the people, leveled the city, and scattered salt all over the ground.
46 When the people who lived in the tower of Shechem heard what had happened, they took refuge within the walls of the temple of Baal-berith.*3
47 Someone reported to Abimelech that the people were gathered together in the temple,
48 so he led his forces to Mount Zalmon. He took an ax and chopped some branches from a tree, and he put them on his shoulder. "Quick, do as I have done!" he told his men.
49 So each of them cut down some branches, following Abimelech's example. They piled the branches against the walls of the temple and set them on fire. So all the people who had lived in the tower of Shechem died, about a thousand men and women.
50 Then Abimelech attacked the city of Thebez and captured it.
51 But there was a strong tower inside the city, and the entire population fled to it. They barricaded themselves in and climbed up to the roof of the tower.
52 Abimelech followed them to attack the tower. But as he prepared to set fire to the entrance,
53 a woman on the roof threw down a millstone that landed on Abimelech's head and crushed his skull.
54 He said to his young armor bearer, "Draw your sword and kill me! Don't let it be said that a woman killed Abimelech!" So the young man stabbed him with his sword, and he died.
55 When Abimelech's men saw that he was dead, they disbanded and returned to their homes.
56 Thus, God punished Abimelech for the evil he had done against his father by murdering his seventy brothers.
57 God also punished the men of Shechem for all their evil. So the curse of Jotham son of Gideon came true.
Read Judges 10