Judges 9:5 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 9:5, NIV: He went to his father's home in Ophrah and on one stone murdered his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerub-Baal. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerub-Baal, escaped by hiding.

Judges 9:5, ESV: And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself.

Judges 9:5, KJV: And he went unto his father's house at Ophrah, and slew his brethren the sons of Jerubbaal, being threescore and ten persons, upon one stone: notwithstanding yet Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left; for he hid himself.

Judges 9:5, NASB: Then he went to his father’s house in Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, because he hid himself.

Judges 9:5, NLT: He went to his father's home at Ophrah, and there, on one stone, they killed all seventy of his half brothers, the sons of Gideon. But the youngest brother, Jotham, escaped and hid.

Judges 9:5, CSB: He went to his father's house in Ophrah and killed his seventy brothers, the sons of Jerubbaal, on top of a large stone. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerubbaal, survived, because he hid.

What does Judges 9:5 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

In a terrible scene, Abimelech (Judges 8:30–31) goes to the home of his father Gideon in the town of Ophrah. To become undisputed heir to Gideon's authority, Abimelech must eliminate his brothers. He approaches with a gang of hired goons (Judges 9:1–4). With the help of these "worthless and reckless" men, depicted as brutish hooligans, he kills all but one of the seventy sons of Gideon (Judges 8:30).

While the text doesn't mention it, it's easy to imagine Abimelech carried resentment toward his father and his brothers. He was the son of a concubine, not a "full" wife. He likely had no hope of enjoying the status of other sons of a renowned man. To dishonor his father with open brutality, so soon after his death, suggests deep anger toward that side of his family. Gideon's choice to take the Shechemite woman—almost certainly a Canaanite (Deuteronomy 7:3–4)—as his concubine brings destruction to his entire family.

Murdering nearly seventy people is bad enough. Worse, the text says these killings took place "on one stone." This means the brothers were not merely assassinated but rounded up and publicly executed—possibly even in a ritual style. Some commentators speculate the murders were carried out on an altar dedicated to Baal-berith (Judges 8:33), though this would have been unusual. It's also possible Abimelech killed the male children of those sons, as well, to remove their claims to leadership.

Only the youngest brother escapes the carnage, hiding from Abimelech's men. His name is Jotham, but no other details are given. He will live to cast a prophetic shadow over Abimelech's coronation by the people of Shechem (Judges 9:7).