Abimelech’s monarchy fails
22 Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. 23 Then God stirred up ill will between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem, and they acted like traitors toward Abimelech. 24 This occurred because of the violence done to Jerubbaal’s seventy sons. Their blood came back on their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and on the leaders of Shechem, who supported him when he killed his brothers. 25 As an act against him, the leaders of Shechem set ambushes on the hilltops that robbed everyone who passed by them on the road. This was reported to Abimelech.
26 Then Gaal, Ebed’s son, and his relatives came passing through Shechem, and the leaders of Shechem shifted their allegiance to him. 27 They went out into the field, cut off clusters from their vineyards, trampled them out, and had a celebration. They entered their god’s temple and ate, drank, and made fun of Abimelech. 28 Gaal, Ebed’s son, said, “Who is Abimelech, and who are we of Shechem that we ought to serve him? Didn’t this son of Jerubbaal and his deputy Zebul once serve the men of Hamor, Shechem’s father? Why should we of all people serve him? 29 If only this people were under my command! I would push Abimelech aside! I[a] would tell Abimelech, ‘Build up your army and march out for battle.’”
30 When Zebul the city’s ruler heard the words of Gaal, Ebed’s son, he became angry. 31 He sent messengers to Abimelech at Arumah[b] to say, “Watch out! Gaal, Ebed’s son, and his relatives have come to Shechem and are stirring up the city against you. 32 Now, you and the men who are with you: Get up tonight and set an ambush in the fields. 33 Then in the morning, at sunrise, rise early and rush on the city. Just as he and the men with him are marching out to face you, you can do to him whatever you wish.”
34 So Abimelech and all the men who were with him got up that night and set an ambush around Shechem in four companies. 35 When Gaal, Ebed’s son, came out and stood in the entrance of the city’s gate, Abimelech and the men with him sprang up from the ambush. 36 Gaal saw the men and said to Zebul, “Look! People are coming down from the hilltops.”
Zebul replied to him, “The shadows on the hills just look like persons to you.”
37 But Gaal spoke up again, “Look! People are coming down from Tabbur-erez, and one company is coming from the direction of Elon-meonenim.”[c]
38 Then Zebul replied to him, “Where’s all your talk now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we ought to serve him?’ Aren’t these the men you despised? Now march out and fight them!” 39 So Gaal marched out at the head of the leaders of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40 Abimelech routed him, and he ran away. Many fell wounded, all the way up to the entrance of the gate. 41 Afterward, Abimelech stayed in Arumah, and Zebul drove away Gaal and his relatives so they couldn’t stay in Shechem.
42 The next day, the men of Shechem went out into the fields. When it was reported to Abimelech, 43 he took his men, divided them into three companies, and set an ambush in the fields. As soon as he saw the men coming from the city, he sprang upon them and attacked them. 44 Abimelech and his company charged forward and took a position at the entrance of the city’s gate, while the other two companies charged at all those in the fields and attacked them. 45 Abimelech fought against the city that entire day. He captured the city and killed its people. Then he leveled the city and scattered salt over it.
46 When all the leaders in the Tower of Shechem heard about this, they entered the side rooms in the El-berith temple. 47 It was reported to Abimelech that all the leaders from the Tower of Shechem had gathered in one place. 48 So Abimelech and all the men who were with him went up on Mount Zalmon. He grabbed an ax, cut off a bundle of branches, and hoisted them onto his shoulder. Then he ordered the men who were with him, “Hurry up and do what you’ve seen me do!” 49 Each one of the men cut off a bundle as well and followed Abimelech. They piled them up against the side rooms and set fire to the side rooms above them. So all the people in the Tower of Shechem died too, about one thousand men and women.
50 Then Abimelech moved on to Thebez, set up camp against it, and captured it. 51 But there was a strong tower inside the city. All the men and women and all the city’s leaders had fled there, shut themselves inside, and climbed to the tower’s roof. 52 Abimelech came to the tower to storm it. But when he approached the tower’s entrance to set it on fire, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and cracked his skull. 54 He quickly cried out to the servant who carried his armor, “Draw your sword and kill me. Don’t let it be said of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant stabbed him, and he died. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, they all went home.
56 Thus God paid back Abimelech for the evil he had done to his father by killing his seventy brothers. 57 God also paid back the people of Shechem for their evil. The curse of Jotham, Jerubbaal’s son, had come upon them.
Tola and Jair
10 After Abimelech, Tola son of Puah and grandson of Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to rescue Israel. He lived in Shamir in the Ephraim highlands. 2 For twenty-three years he led Israel; then he died and was buried in Shamir.
3 After Tola, Jair from Gilead arose, and he led Israel for twenty-two years. 4 He had thirty sons who were mounted on thirty donkeys and controlled thirty towns in the land of Gilead—these are still known as Havvoth-jair today. 5 When Jair died, he was buried in Kamon.
Israel’s unfaithfulness and oppression by the Ammonites
6 Then the Israelites again did things that the Lord saw as evil. They served the Baals and the Astartes, as well as the gods of Aram, Sidon, Moab, the Ammonites, and the Philistines. They went away from the Lord and didn’t serve him. 7 The Lord became angry with Israel and handed them over to the Philistines and the Ammonites. 8 Starting that year and for the next eighteen years, they beat and bullied the Israelites, especially all the Israelites who lived on the east side of Jordan in the territory of the Ammonites in Gilead. 9 The Ammonites also crossed the Jordan to make raids into Judah, Benjamin, and the households of Ephraim. So Israel was greatly distressed.
10 Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord, “We’ve sinned against you, for we went away from our God and served the Baals.”
11 The Lord replied to the Israelites, “When the Egyptians, Amorites, Ammonites, Philistines, 12 Sidonians, Amalekites, and Maonites oppressed you and you cried out to me, didn’t I rescue you from their power? 13 But you have gone away from me and served other gods, so I won’t rescue you anymore! 14 Go cry out to the gods you’ve chosen. Let them rescue you in the time of your distress.”
15 The Israelites responded to the Lord, “We’ve sinned. Do to us whatever you see as right, but please save us this time.” 16 They put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord. And the Lord could no longer stand to see Israel suffer.
17 The Ammonites called out their army and made camp in Gilead, while the Israelites gathered and set up their camp at Mizpah. 18 Gilead’s rulers said to each other, “Whoever is willing to launch the attack against the Ammonites will become the leader over all those living in Gilead.”
Encounter on the Emmaus road
13 On that same day, two disciples were traveling to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking to each other about everything that had happened. 15 While they were discussing these things, Jesus himself arrived and joined them on their journey. 16 They were prevented from recognizing him.
17 He said to them, “What are you talking about as you walk along?” They stopped, their faces downcast.
18 The one named Cleopas replied, “Are you the only visitor to Jerusalem who is unaware of the things that have taken place there over the last few days?”
19 He said to them, “What things?”
They said to him, “The things about Jesus of Nazareth. Because of his powerful deeds and words, he was recognized by God and all the people as a prophet. 20 But our chief priests and our leaders handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him. 21 We had hoped he was the one who would redeem Israel. All these things happened three days ago. 22 But there’s more: Some women from our group have left us stunned. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 and didn’t find his body. They came to us saying that they had even seen a vision of angels who told them he is alive. 24 Some of those who were with us went to the tomb and found things just as the women said. They didn’t see him.”
25 Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! Your dull minds keep you from believing all that the prophets talked about. 26 Wasn’t it necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and then enter into his glory?” 27 Then he interpreted for them the things written about himself in all the scriptures, starting with Moses and going through all the Prophets.
28 When they came to Emmaus, he acted as if he was going on ahead. 29 But they urged him, saying, “Stay with us. It’s nearly evening, and the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 After he took his seat at the table with them, he took the bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. 31 Their eyes were opened and they recognized him, but he disappeared from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Weren’t our hearts on fire when he spoke to us along the road and when he explained the scriptures for us?”
33 They got up right then and returned to Jerusalem. They found the eleven and their companions gathered together. 34 They were saying to each other, “The Lord really has risen! He appeared to Simon!” 35 Then the two disciples described what had happened along the road and how Jesus was made known to them as he broke the bread.
Jesus appears to the disciples
36 While they were saying these things, Jesus himself stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 37 They were terrified and afraid. They thought they were seeing a ghost.
38 He said to them, “Why are you startled? Why are doubts arising in your hearts? 39 Look at my hands and my feet. It’s really me! Touch me and see, for a ghost doesn’t have flesh and bones like you see I have.” 40 As he said this, he showed them his hands and feet. 41 Because they were wondering and questioning in the midst of their happiness, he said to them, “Do you have anything to eat?” 42 They gave him a piece of baked fish. 43 Taking it, he ate it in front of them.
44 Jesus said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the Law from Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures. 46 He said to them, “This is what is written: the Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and a change of heart and life for the forgiveness of sins must be preached in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 Look, I’m sending to you what my Father promised, but you are to stay in the city until you have been furnished with heavenly power.”
Ascension of Jesus
50 He led them out as far as Bethany, where he lifted his hands and blessed them. 51 As he blessed them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 They worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem overwhelmed with joy. 53 And they were continuously in the temple praising God.
A psalm of thanks.
100 Shout triumphantly to the Lord, all the earth!
2 Serve the Lord with celebration!
Come before him with shouts of joy!
3 Know that the Lord is God—
he made us; we belong to him.[a]
We are his people,
the sheep of his own pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanks;
enter his courtyards with praise!
Thank him! Bless his name!
5 Because the Lord is good,
his loyal love lasts forever;
his faithfulness lasts generation after generation.
- Psalm 100:3 Qere; Kethib and not we ourselves
11 The house of the wicked is destroyed,
but the tent flourishes for those who do right.
12 There is a path that may seem straight to someone,
but in the end it is a path to death.