1These are the nations the Lord did not force to leave. He wanted to test the Israelites who had not fought in the wars to take Canaan. 2The only reason the Lord left those nations in the land was to teach the descendants of the Israelites. He wanted to teach the people who had not fought in those wars how to fight. 3These are the nations: the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the people of Sidon and the Hivites. The Hivites lived in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4Those nations were in the land to test the Israelites. The Lord wanted to see if Israel would obey the commands he had given to their ancestors by Moses.
5The people of Israel lived with the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6The Israelites began to marry the daughters of those people. And the Israelites allowed their daughters to marry the sons of those people. Israel served the gods of those people.
Othniel, the First Judge
7The people of Israel did what the Lord said was wrong. They forgot about the Lord their God. Instead, they served the idols of Baal and Asherah. 8The Lord was angry with Israel. He allowed Cushan-Rishathaim king of Northwest Mesopotamia to rule over the Israelites. They were under that king’s rule for eight years. 9Then Israel cried to the Lord. So the Lord sent a man to save them. He was Othniel son of Kenaz. (Kenaz was Caleb’s younger brother.) Othniel saved the Israelites. 10The Spirit of the Lord entered Othniel. And he became Israel’s judge and went to war. The Lord helped him to defeat Cushan-Rishathaim king of Northwest Mesopotamia. 11So the land was at peace for 40 years. Then Othniel son of Kenaz died.
Ehud, the Judge
12Again the people of Israel did what the Lord said was wrong. So the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power to defeat Israel. This was because of the evil Israel did. 13Eglon got the Ammonite people and the Amalekite people to join him. Then he attacked Israel and took Jericho, the city of palm trees. 14The people of Israel were under the rule of Eglon king of Moab for 18 years.
15So the people cried to the Lord. And he sent a man to save them. That man was Ehud, who was left-handed. Ehud was the son of Gera from the people of Benjamin. Israel sent Ehud to give Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded. 16Ehud made a sword for himself. The sword had two edges and was about 18 inches long. He tied the sword to his right upper leg under his clothes. 17So Ehud came to Eglon king of Moab and gave him the payment he demanded. Eglon was a very fat man. 18After he had given Eglon the payment, Ehud sent home the men who had carried it. 19When he passed the statues near the city Gilgal, he turned around. Ehud said to Eglon, “I have a secret message for you, King Eglon.”
The king said, “Be quiet!” Then he sent all of his servants out of the room. 20Ehud went to King Eglon. Eglon was now sitting alone in the room on top of his summer palace.
Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king stood up from his chair, 21Ehud reached with his left hand. He took out the sword that was tied to his right upper leg. Then he stabbed the sword deep into the king’s belly! 22The sword went into Eglon’s belly so far that even the handle sank in. And the blade came out his back. The king’s fat covered the whole sword. So Ehud left the sword in Eglon. 23He went out of the room and closed and locked the doors behind him.
24The servants returned just after Ehud left. They found the doors to the room locked. So they thought the king was relieving himself. 25They waited for a long time. Finally they became worried because he still had not opened the doors. So they got the key and unlocked them. When they entered, they saw their king lying dead on the floor!
26While the servants were waiting, Ehud had escaped. He passed by the statues and went to Seirah. 27When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the mountains of Ephraim. The people of Israel heard it and went down from the hills with Ehud leading them.
28He said to them, “Follow me! The Lord has helped us to defeat our enemies, the people of Moab.” So Israel followed Ehud. They took control of the places where the Jordan River could easily be crossed. Israel did not allow the Moabites to come across the Jordan River. 29Israel killed about 10,000 strong and able men from Moab. Not one Moabite man escaped. 30So that day Moab was forced to be under the rule of Israel. And there was peace in the land for 80 years.
Shamgar, the Judge
31After Ehud, another man saved Israel. His name was Shamgar son of Anath. Shamgar killed 600 Philistines with a sharp stick used to guide oxen.