When Joshua had dismissed the people, the sons of Israel went each to his inheritance to possess the land. The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who [a]survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel. Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred and ten. And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.
Israel Serves Baals
Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and [b]served the Baals, and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the Lord to anger. So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. Wherever they went, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had spoken and as the Lord had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.
Then the Lord raised up judges [c]who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do as their fathers. When the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways. So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to My voice, I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers [d]did, or not.” So the Lord allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.
- Judges 2:7 Lit prolonged days after
- Judges 2:11 Or worshiped
- Judges 2:16 Lit and they
- Judges 2:22 Lit kept
Idolatry Leads to Servitude
Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not [a]experienced any of the wars of Canaan; only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might [b]be taught war, [c]those who had not [d]experienced it formerly). These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as [e]Lebo-hamath. They were for [f]testing Israel, to find out if they would [g]obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers [h]through Moses. The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the [i]Asheroth. Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of [j]Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.
The First Judge Delivers Israel
When the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of [k]Mesopotamia into his hand, so that [l]he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and [m]defeated Israel, and they possessed the city of the palm trees. The sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.
Ehud Delivers from Moab
But when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by [n]him to Eglon the king of Moab. Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak. He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. It came about when he had finished presenting the tribute, that he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. But he himself turned back from the idols which were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he said, “Keep silence.” And all who attended him left him. Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly. The handle also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly; and the refuse came out. Then Ehud went out into the vestibule and shut the doors of the roof chamber behind him, and locked them.
When he had gone out, his servants came and looked, and behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked; and they said, “He is only [o]relieving himself in the cool room.” They waited until they [p]became anxious; but behold, he did not open the doors of the roof chamber. Therefore they took the key and opened them, and behold, their master had fallen to the [q]floor dead.
Now Ehud escaped while they were delaying, and he passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah. It came about when he had arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was in front of them. He said to them, “Pursue them, for the Lord has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands.” So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan opposite Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross. They struck down at that time about ten thousand Moabites, all robust and valiant men; and no one escaped. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land was undisturbed for eighty years.
Shamgar Delivers from Philistines
After him came Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad; and he also saved Israel.
- Judges 3:1 Lit known
- Judges 3:2 Lit know, to teach them
- Judges 3:2 Lit only
- Judges 3:2 Lit known
- Judges 3:3 Or the entrance of Hamath
- Judges 3:4 Lit testing by them
- Judges 3:4 Lit hear
- Judges 3:4 Lit by the hand of
- Judges 3:7 I.e. wooden symbol of a female deity
- Judges 3:8 Heb Aram-naharaim
- Judges 3:10 Heb Aram
- Judges 3:10 Lit his hand was strong
- Judges 3:13 Lit smote
- Judges 3:15 Lit his hand
- Judges 3:24 Lit covering his feet
- Judges 3:25 Lit were ashamed
- Judges 3:25 Lit earth