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1These are the nations the Lord did not force to leave. He wanted to test the Israelites who had not fought in the wars of Canaan. 2(The only reason the Lord left those nations in the land was to teach the descendants of the Israelites 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 who lived in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. 4Those nations were in the land to test the Israelites—to see if they would obey the commands the Lord 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 they allowed their daughters to marry the sons of those people. Israel also served their gods.
Othniel, the First Judge
7The Israelites did what the Lord said was wrong. They forgot about the Lord their God and served the idols of Baal and Asherah. 8So the Lord was angry with Israel and allowed Cushan-Rishathaim king of Northwest Mesopotamia to rule over the Israelites for eight years. 9When Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord sent someone to save them. Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, saved the Israelites. 10The Spirit of the Lord entered Othniel, and he became Israel’s judge. When he went to war, the Lord handed over to him Cushan-Rishathaim king of Northwest Mesopotamia. 11So the land was at peace for forty 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 because of the evil Israel did. 13Eglon got the Ammonites and the Amalekites to join him. Then he attacked Israel and took Jericho, the city of palm trees. 14So the people of Israel were ruled by Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.
15When the people cried to the Lord, he sent someone to save them. He was Ehud, son of Gera from the people of Benjamin, who was left-handed. Israel sent Ehud to give Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded. 16Ehud made himself a sword with two edges, about eighteen inches long, and he tied it to his right hip under his clothes. 17Ehud gave Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18After he had given Eglon the payment, Ehud sent away the people who had carried it. 19When he passed the statues near Gilgal, he turned around and 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, as he was sitting alone in the room above 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 and took out the sword that was tied to his right hip. Then he stabbed the sword deep into the king’s belly! 22Even 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. 23Then he went out of the room and closed and locked the doors behind him.
24When the 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 and 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 reached the mountains of Ephraim he blew the trumpet. 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 you to defeat your enemies, the Moabites.” So Israel followed Ehud and captured the crossings of the Jordan River. They did not allow the Moabites to cross the Jordan River. 29Israel killed about ten thousand strong and able men from Moab; not one escaped. 30So that day Moab was forced to be under the rule of Israel, and there was peace in the land for eighty years.
Shamgar, the Judge
31After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath saved Israel. Shamgar killed six hundred Philistines with a sharp stick used to guide oxen.
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The Holy Bible, New Century Version, Copyright © 2005 Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.