Chapter 9: Avimelech rules over the Jewish people
1. Avimelech murders his 70 brothers in an attempt to become ruler:
- Avimelech convinces the inhabitants of Shechem to crown him as leader: Avimelech, the son of Yerubaal, went to Shechem to his maternal brothers and spoke to his maternal grandfather’s family asking them to convince the city inhabitants to accept him as their leader. He asked them to ask the city residents if they prefer the seventy sons of Yerubaal to rule over them, or for one person who is their relative and family, referring to himself, to rule over them. The maternal brothers of Avimelech agreed to his request and spoke to the people of Shechem all that he related, and they listened to him, as they said that he is their brother.
- Avimelech hires thugs: The inhabitants of Shechem gave Avimelech 70 silver coins from the idolatry of Baal Bris, and Avimelech used the money to hire thugs and gangsters to go after him.
- The murder of the seventy brothers and the survival of Yosam: Avimelech arrived to his father’s home in Afrasa and killed his brothers, the sons of Yerubaal. He killed seventy men on one stone, aside for one brother named Yosam the son of Yerubaal, who was young and hid during the rampage of murder.
- Avimelech is crowned as king: All the people of Shechem gathered and they went and crowned Avimelech as king, in a plane of tombstones that existed in Shechem.
2. The allegory of Yosam, the surviving brother:
- Yosam was informed [of the murders and of his brother Avimelech’s coronation as king] and he went and stood at the head of Har Gerizim and announced to the people of Shechem the following allegory:
- The olive tree: The trees went to anoint for themselves a king and asked the olive tree [i.e. Asniel Ben Kenaz] to rule over them. The olive tree replied that should his oil, with which he honors men and G-d, cease so that he should go and reign amongst the trees?
- The fig tree: The trees went to the fig tree [i.e. Devorah] and asked it to rule over them. The fig tree replied that should his sweetness cease so that he should go and reign amongst the trees?
- The grape tree: The trees went to the grape tree [i.e. Gideon] and asked it to rule over them. The grape tree replied that should his wine, with which he rejoices men and G-d, cease so that he should go and reign amongst the trees?
- The thorn: The trees went to the thorn bush [i.e. Gideon] and asked it to rule over them. The thorn bush replied that if in truth they desire to crown him as their king then let them come and seek refuge in his shade, otherwise however, a fire will come out from the thorn bush and consume the cedar trees of Lebanon.
 Rashi 9:8
 See Metzudos David 9:9
 Rashi 9:10
 Rashi 9:12
 Rashi 9:12