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Judges 8:33--9:6

Israel Returns to Baal-Worship

8:33 After Gideon died, the Israelites again prostituted themselves to the Baals. They made Baal-Berith 1  their god. 8:34 The Israelites did not remain true 2  to the Lord their God, who had delivered them from all the enemies who lived around them. 8:35 They did not treat 3  the family of Jerub-Baal (that is, Gideon) fairly in return for all the good he had done for Israel.

Abimelech Murders His Brothers

9:1 Now Abimelech son of Jerub-Baal went to Shechem to see his mother’s relatives. 4  He said to them and to his mother’s entire extended family, 5  9:2 “Tell 6  all the leaders of Shechem this: ‘Why would you want 7  to have seventy men, all Jerub-Baal’s sons, ruling over you, when you can have just one ruler? Recall that I am your own flesh and blood.’” 8  9:3 His mother’s relatives 9  spoke on his behalf to 10  all the leaders of Shechem and reported his proposal. 11  The leaders were drawn to Abimelech; 12  they said, “He is our close relative.” 13  9:4 They paid him seventy silver shekels out of the temple of Baal-Berith. Abimelech then used the silver to hire some lawless, dangerous 14  men as his followers. 15  9:5 He went to his father’s home in Ophrah and murdered his half-brothers, 16  the seventy legitimate 17  sons of Jerub-Baal, on one stone. Only Jotham, Jerub-Baal’s youngest son, escaped, 18  because he hid. 9:6 All the leaders of Shechem and Beth Millo assembled and then went and made Abimelech king by the oak near the pillar 19  in Shechem.

1 sn Baal-Berith was a local manifestation of the Canaanite storm god. The name means, ironically, “Baal of the covenant.” Israel’s covenant allegiance had indeed shifted.

2 tn Heb “remember.”

3 tn Heb “did not do loyalty with,” or “did not act faithfully toward.”

4 tn Heb “brothers.”

5 tn Heb “to all the extended family of the house of the father of his mother.”

6 tn Heb “Speak into the ears of.”

7 tn Heb “What good is it to you?”

8 tn Heb “your bone and your flesh.”

9 tn Heb “brothers.”

10 tn Heb “into the ears of.”

11 tn Heb “and all these words.”

12 tn Heb “Their heart was inclined after Abimelech.”

13 tn Heb “our brother.”

14 tn Heb “empty and reckless.”

15 tn Heb “and they followed him.”

16 tn Heb “his brothers.”

17 tn The word “legitimate” is not in the Hebrew text, but is supplied in the translation for clarification.

18 tn Heb “remained.”

19 tc The translation assumes that the form in the Hebrew text (מֻצָּב, mutsav) is a corruption of an original מַצֵּבָה (matsevah, “pillar”). The reference is probably to a pagan object of worship (cf. LXX).

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