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. 2He wanted to teach the men in Israel who had never been in battle before. He wanted them to learn how to fight. 3So 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. 4The 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.
5So the Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6They 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.
7The 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. 8So 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. 9They 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. 10The 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. 11So the land was at peace for 40 years. Then Othniel, the son of Kenaz, died.
12Again 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. 13He 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. 14For 18 years the Israelites were under the rule of Eglon, the king of Moab.
15Again 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. 16Ehud 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. 17Eglon, the king of Moab, was a very fat man. Ehud gave him the gift he had brought. 18After that, Ehud sent away those who had carried it. 19When 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.
20Then 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. 21Then Ehud reached out his left hand. He pulled out the sword tied to his right leg. He stuck it into the king’s stomach. 22Even 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. 23Ehud went out to the porch. He shut the doors of the upstairs room behind him. Then he locked them.
24After 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.” 25They 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.
26While Eglon’s servants had been waiting, Ehud had gotten away. He passed by the statues of gods and escaped to Seirah. 27There 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. 29At that time they struck down about 10,000 men of Moab. All those men were strong and powerful. But not even one escaped. 30That day Moab was brought under the rule of Israel. So the land was at peace for 80 years.
31After 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.
1These are the nations the Lord left to test all those Israelites who had not experienced any of the wars in Canaan 2(he did this only to teach warfare to the descendants of the Israelites who had not had previous battle experience): 3the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4They were left to test the Israelites to see whether they would obey the Lord’s commands, which he had given their ancestors through Moses.
5The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6They took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
7The Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord; they forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. 8The anger of the Lord burned against Israel so that he sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram Naharaim,3:8 That is, Northwest Mesopotamia to whom the Israelites were subject for eight years. 9But when they cried out to the Lord, he raised up for them a deliverer, Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, who saved them. 10The Spirit of the Lord came on him, so that he became Israel’s judge3:10 Or leader and went to war. The Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim king of Aram into the hands of Othniel, who overpowered him. 11So the land had peace for forty years, until Othniel son of Kenaz died.
12Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and because they did this evil the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel. 13Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms.3:13 That is, Jericho 14The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.
15Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab. 16Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit3:16 That is, about 18 inches or about 45 centimeters long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing. 17He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. 18After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it. 19But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.”
The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left.
20Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace3:20 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain; also in verse 24. and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, 21Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it. 23Then Ehud went out to the porch3:23 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
24After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” 25They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead.
26While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the stone images and escaped to Seirah. 27When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them.
28“Follow me,” he ordered, “for the Lord has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands.” So they followed him down and took possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab; they allowed no one to cross over. 29At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped. 30That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.
31After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.