The Nations Left in Canaan
1These are the nations that the Lord left in the land to test those Israelites who had not experienced the wars of Canaan. 2He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle. 3These are the nations: the Philistines (those living under the five Philistine rulers), all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the mountains of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebo-hamath. 4These people were left to test the Israelites—to see whether they would obey the commands the Lord had given to their ancestors through Moses.
5So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites, 6and they intermarried with them. Israelite sons married their daughters, and Israelite daughters were given in marriage to their sons. And the Israelites served their gods.
Othniel Becomes Israel’s Judge
7The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. They forgot about the Lord their God, and they served the images of Baal and the Asherah poles. 8Then the Lord burned with anger against Israel, and he turned them over to King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim.*3:8 Aram-naharaim means “Aram of the two rivers,” thought to have been located between the Euphrates and Balih Rivers in northwestern Mesopotamia. And the Israelites served Cushan-rishathaim for eight years.
9But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, the Lord raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Othniel, the son of Caleb’s younger brother, Kenaz. 10The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he became Israel’s judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the Lord gave Othniel victory over him. 11So there was peace in the land for forty years. Then Othniel son of Kenaz died.
Ehud Becomes Israel’s Judge
12Once again the Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight, and the Lord gave King Eglon of Moab control over Israel because of their evil. 13Eglon enlisted the Ammonites and Amalekites as allies, and then he went out and defeated Israel, taking possession of Jericho, the city of palms. 14And the Israelites served Eglon of Moab for eighteen years.
15But when the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help, the Lord again raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Ehud son of Gera, a left-handed man of the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelites sent Ehud to deliver their tribute money to King Eglon of Moab. 16So Ehud made a double-edged dagger that was about a foot*3:16 Hebrew gomed, the length of which is uncertain. long, and he strapped it to his right thigh, keeping it hidden under his clothing. 17He brought the tribute money to Eglon, who was very fat.
18After delivering the payment, Ehud started home with those who had helped carry the tribute. 19But when Ehud reached the stone idols near Gilgal, he turned back. He came to Eglon and said, “I have a secret message for you.”
So the king commanded his servants, “Be quiet!” and he sent them all out of the room.
20Ehud walked over to Eglon, who was sitting alone in a cool upstairs room. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you!” As King Eglon rose from his seat, 21Ehud reached with his left hand, pulled out the dagger strapped to his right thigh, and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22The dagger went so deep that the handle disappeared beneath the king’s fat. So Ehud did not pull out the dagger, and the king’s bowels emptied.*3:22 Or and it came out behind. 23Then Ehud closed and locked the doors of the room and escaped down the latrine.*3:23 Or and went out through the porch; the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
24After Ehud was gone, the king’s servants returned and found the doors to the upstairs room locked. They thought he might be using the latrine in the room, 25so they waited. But when the king didn’t come out after a long delay, they became concerned and got a key. And when they opened the doors, they found their master dead on the floor.
26While the servants were waiting, Ehud escaped, passing the stone idols on his way to Seirah. 27When he arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Ehud sounded a call to arms. Then he led a band of Israelites down from the hills.
28“Follow me,” he said, “for the Lord has given you victory over Moab your enemy.” So they followed him. And the Israelites took control of the shallow crossings of the Jordan River across from Moab, preventing anyone from crossing.
29They attacked the Moabites and killed about 10,000 of their strongest and most able-bodied warriors. Not one of them escaped. 30So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and there was peace in the land for eighty years.
Shamgar Becomes Israel’s Judge
31After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath rescued Israel. He once killed 600 Philistines with an ox goad.