New International Reader's Version

Judges 3

1The Lord left some nations in the land. He left them to test the Israelites who hadn’t lived through any of the wars in Canaan. He wanted to teach the men in Israel who had never been in battle before. He wanted them to learn how to fight. So he left the five rulers of the Philistines. He left the people of Canaan and the people of Sidon. He left the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains. They lived in the area between Mount Baal Hermon and Lebo Hamath. The Lord left those nations where they were to test the Israelites. He wanted to see whether they would obey his commands. He had given those commands through Moses to their people of long ago.

So the Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. They married the daughters of those people. They gave their own daughters to the sons of those people. And they served the gods of those people.

Othniel

The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God. They served gods that were named Baal. They also served female gods that were named Asherah. So the Lord was very angry with Israel. He handed them over to the power of Cushan-Rishathaim, the king of Aram Naharaim. For eight years Israel was under his rule. They cried out to the Lord. Then he provided someone to save them. The man’s name was Othniel, the son of Kenaz. He was Caleb’s younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came on Othniel. So he became Israel’s leader. He went to war. The Lord handed over to him Cushan-Rishathaim, the king of Aram. Othniel won the battle over him. 11 So the land was at peace for 40 years. Then Othniel, the son of Kenaz, died.

Ehud

12 Again the Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord gave Eglon power over Israel. Eglon was the king of Moab. 13 He got the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him. All of them came and attacked Israel. They captured Jericho. Jericho was also known as The City of Palm Trees. 14 For 18 years the Israelites were under the rule of Eglon, the king of Moab.

15 Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord. Then he provided someone to save them. The man’s name was Ehud, the son of Gera. Ehud was left-handed. He was from the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelites sent Ehud to Eglon, the king of Moab. They sent him to give the king what he required them to bring him. 16 Ehud had made a sword that had two edges. It was about a foot and a half long. He tied it to his right leg under his clothes. 17 Eglon, the king of Moab, was a very fat man. Ehud gave him the gift he had brought. 18 After that, Ehud sent away those who had carried it. 19 When he came to the place where some statues of gods stood near Gilgal, Ehud went back to Eglon. He said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.”

The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And all his attendants left him.

20 Then Ehud approached him. King Eglon was sitting alone in the upstairs room of his palace. Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” So the king got up from his seat. 21 Then Ehud reached out his left hand. He pulled out the sword tied to his right leg. He stuck it into the king’s stomach. 22 Even the handle sank in after the blade. Eglon sagged and fell to the floor. Ehud didn’t pull out the sword. And the fat closed over it. 23 Ehud went out to the porch. He shut the doors of the upstairs room behind him. Then he locked them.

24 After he had gone, the servants came. They found the doors of the upstairs room locked. They said, “Eglon must be going to the toilet in the inside room of the palace.” 25 They waited for a long time. They waited so long they became worried. But the king still didn’t open the doors of the room. So they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their king. He had fallen to the floor and was dead.

26 While Eglon’s servants had been waiting, Ehud had gotten away. He passed by the statues of gods and escaped to Seirah. 27 There in the hill country of Ephraim he blew a trumpet. Then he led the Israelites down from the hills.

28 “Follow me,” Ehud ordered. “The Lord has handed your enemy Moab over to you.” So they followed him down. They took over the only places where people could go across the Jordan River to get to Moab. They didn’t let anyone go across. 29 At that time they struck down about 10,000 men of Moab. All those men were strong and powerful. But not even one escaped. 30 That day Moab was brought under the rule of Israel. So the land was at peace for 80 years.

Shamgar

31 After Ehud, Shamgar became the next leader. He was the son of Anath. Shamgar struck down 600 Philistines with a large, pointed stick used to drive oxen. He too saved Israel.