Remember how Gideon had 70 sons? This is how 69 of them die.
Abimelech, who gets a brief mention in Chapter 8, goes to his mother's family in Shechem, the same town that god massacred by Simeon and Levi in Genesis after the prince raped their sister. He convinces them that he should be ruler, then goes home and kills all his brothers upon one stone (v. 5) save the youngest, Jotham, who hides. The men of Shechem appoint Abimelech king.
Jotham goes up a mountain and tells a parable about a grove of trees who try to elect a leader. The olive, fig and vine all have excuses, and finally the bramble accepts the task, and the point is neither of these is a good idea.
Jotham then flees and Abimelech reigns for three troubled years. God sends an evil spirit to stir shit up. Satan? Eventually, some of his soldiers rebel against him. Abimelech gets wind of the plot and attacks the city they're hiding in. The rebels come out to defend and Abimelech pursues them to the city gate. The next day, people come out to tend their fields and he attacks them, too. He attacks the city walls all day long, eventually breaching them and slaughtering all those inside. Then he salts the earth. The pople take refuge in a tower, and he sets fire to the bottom.
He moves on to another city, and people again take refuge in a tower. Abimelech gets too close to the base and a woman drops a millstone on his head. Not wanting to be killed by a woman, he begs one of his captains to kill him instead. The captain obliges.
I have to say, this book just warms the cockles of my heart.
Two unremarkable judges, Tola and Jair come and go. Jair has 30 sons on 30 asses. When they die, the Israelites sin again and are sold to the Philistines for 18 years. They ask god for help, but he refuses. They go back to worshipping him, and eventually he feels sorry for them. The chapter ends on a cliffhanger, with the Israelites camped across from some Amorites, who wonder who the next leader will be. I don't want to spoil the surprise, but tune in tomorrow.