Jerusalem Is Captured

Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel (A)inquired of the Lord, saying, “Who shall go up first for us (B)against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” The Lord said, “(C)Judah shall go up; behold, I have handed the land over to him.” Then Judah said to his brother Simeon, “Go up with me into [a]the territory allotted me, and let’s fight the Canaanites; and [b]I in turn will go with you into [c]the territory allotted you.” So Simeon went with him. Judah went up, and (D)the Lord handed over to them the Canaanites and the Perizzites, and they [d]defeated ten thousand men at Bezek. They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and fought against him, and they [e]defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites. But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued him and caught him, and cut off his [f]thumbs and big toes. And Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; (E)as I have done, so God has repaid me.” So they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

Then the sons of Judah fought against (F)Jerusalem and captured it, and struck it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire. Afterward, the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country, and in the [g]Negev, and in the lowland. 10 (G)So Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (the name of Hebron was previously Kiriath-arba); and they struck Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai.

Capture of Other Cities

11 Then (H)from there he went against the inhabitants of Debir (the name of Debir was previously Kiriath-sepher). 12 And Caleb said, “Whoever attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him my daughter Achsah as a wife.” 13 Now (I)Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah as a wife. 14 Then (J)it happened that when she came to him, she incited him to ask her father for a field. Then later, she dismounted from [h]her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What [i]do you want?” 15 She said to him, “Give me a blessing: since you have given me the land of the [j]Negev, give me springs of water also.” So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

16 Now the [k]descendants of (K)the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law, went up from the (L)city of palms with the sons of Judah, to the wilderness of Judah which is in the south of (M)Arad; and they went and lived with the people. 17 Then Judah went with his brother Simeon, and they struck the Canaanites living in Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. So the name of the city was called (N)Hormah. 18 And Judah took (O)Gaza with its territory, Ashkelon with its territory, and Ekron with its territory. 19 Now the Lord was with Judah, and they took possession of the hill country; but they could not [l]drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had (P)iron chariots. 20 Then they gave Hebron to Caleb, (Q)as Moses had [m]promised; and he drove out from there (R)the three sons of Anak. 21 (S)But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the (T)Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

22 Likewise the house of Joseph went up against Bethel, and the Lord was with them. 23 The house of Joseph had men spy out Bethel ((U)the name of the city previously was Luz). 24 And the spies saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him, “Please show us the entrance to the city, and (V)we will treat you kindly.” 25 So he showed them the entrance to the city, and they struck the city with the edge of the sword, (W)but they let the man and all his family go free. 26 Then the man went to the land of the Hittites and built a city, and named it Luz, [n]which is its name to this day.

Places Not Conquered

27 (X)But Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; so (Y)the Canaanites persisted in living in this land. 28 And it came about, when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor; but they did not drive them out completely.

29 And (Z)Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.

30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of [o]Nahalol; so the Canaanites lived among them and became subject to forced labor.

31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or of Rehob. 32 So the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.

33 Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced labor for them.

34 Then the Amorites [p]forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley; 35 yet the Amorites persisted in living on Mount Heres, in Aijalon and Shaalbim; but when the [q]power of the house of Joseph [r]grew strong, they became forced labor. 36 The border of the Amorites ran from the (AA)ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.

Israel Rebuked

Now (AB)the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to (AC)Bochim. And he said, “(AD)I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘(AE)I will never break My covenant with you, and as for you, (AF)you shall not make a covenant with the inhabitants of this land; (AG)you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not [s]obeyed Me; what is this thing that you have done? Therefore I also said, ‘(AH)I will not drive them out from you; but they will [t]become (AI)like thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a snare to you.’” Now when the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people raised their voices and wept. So they named that place [u]Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the Lord.

Joshua Dies

(AJ)When Joshua had dismissed the people, the sons of Israel went, each one to his inheritance, to take possession of the land. The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who [v]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 110. And they buried him in the territory of (AK)his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and another generation rose up after them who (AL)did not know the Lord, nor even the work which He had done for Israel.

Israel Serves the Baals

11 Then the sons of Israel did (AM)evil in the sight of the Lord and [w]served the (AN)Baals, 12 and (AO)they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and they followed other gods from the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed down to them; so they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 They abandoned the Lord and (AP)served Baal and the Ashtaroth. 14 (AQ)Then the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He handed them over to plunderers, and they plundered them; and (AR)He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand [x]against their enemies. 15 Wherever they went, the hand of the Lord was against them for [y]evil, as the Lord had spoken and (AS)just as the Lord had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.

16 (AT)Then the Lord raised up judges [z]who saved them from the hands of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they [aa]committed infidelity with other gods and bowed down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way (AU)in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do the same as their fathers. 18 And when the Lord raised up judges for them, (AV)the Lord was with the judge and saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was (AW)moved to pity by their groaning because of those who tormented and oppressed them. 19 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 obstinate ways. 20 (AX)So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has violated My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and has not listened to My voice, 21 (AY)I in turn will no longer drive out from them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to (AZ)test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers [ab]did, or not.” 23 So the Lord allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not hand them over to Joshua.

Idolatry Leads to Servitude

(BA)Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them (that is, all the Israelites who had not [ac]experienced any of the wars of Canaan; only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might [ad]be taught war, [ae]those who had not [af]experienced it previously). These nations are: the five governors of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians, and (BB)the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as [ag]Lebo-hamath. They were left to (BC)test Israel by them, to find out if they would [ah]obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers [ai]through Moses. (BD)The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and (BE)they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

So the sons of Israel did (BF)what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and they (BG)forgot the Lord their God and (BH)served the Baals and the [aj]Asheroth. Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim, king of [ak]Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim for eight years.

The First Judge Frees Israel

But the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to set them free, (BI)Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 And (BJ)the Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went to war, the Lord handed over to him Cushan-rishathaim king of [al]Mesopotamia, so that [am]he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim. 11 Then the land was at rest for forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

12 Now the sons of Israel again (BK)did evil in the sight of the Lord. So (BL)the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and [an]defeated Israel, and they took possession of (BM)the city of the palm trees. 14 And the sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab for eighteen years.

Ehud Kills Eglon

15 But when the sons of Israel (BN)cried out to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by [ao]him to Eglon the king of Moab. 16 Now Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length, and he strapped it on his right thigh under his cloak. 17 Then he presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18 And it came about, when he had finished presenting the tribute, that Ehud sent away the people who had carried the tribute. 19 But he himself turned back from the idols which were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And the king said, “Silence!” And all who were attending him left him. 20 Then Ehud came to him while he was sitting in his cool roof chamber alone. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he got up from his seat. 21 Then Ehud reached out with his left hand and took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. 22 The hilt of the sword also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade because he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and [ap]the refuse came out. 23 Then Ehud went out into the [aq]vestibule, and shut the doors of the roof chamber behind him, and locked them.

24 When he had left, [ar]the king’s servants came and looked, and behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked; and they said, “(BO)Undoubtedly he is [as]relieving himself in the cool room.” 25 So they waited [at]until it would have been shameful to wait longer; but behold, he did not open the doors of the roof chamber. So they took the key and opened them, and behold, their master had fallen to the [au]floor dead.

26 Now Ehud escaped while they were hesitating, and he passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27 And [av]when he arrived, (BP)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 [aw]leading them. 28 Then he said to them, “Pursue them, for the Lord has handed your enemies the Moabites over to you.” So they went down after him and took control of (BQ)the crossing places of the Jordan opposite Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross. 29 They struck and killed about ten thousand Moabites at that time, all robust and valiant men; and no one escaped. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land was at rest for eighty years.

Shamgar Saves Israel

31 Now after him came (BR)Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck and killed six hundred Philistines with an [ax]oxgoad; and he also saved Israel.

Deborah and Barak

Then (BS)the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud died. So the Lord sold them into the hand of (BT)Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in (BU)Harosheth-hagoyim. The sons of Israel cried out to the Lord; for he had nine hundred (BV)iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.

Now Deborah, a [ay]prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to [az]sit under the (BW)palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went up to her for judgment. Now she sent word and summoned (BX)Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “[ba]The Lord, the God of Israel, has indeed commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his [bb]many troops to the river Kishon, and (BY)I will hand him over to you.’” Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” She said, “I will certainly go with you; however, the fame shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, (BZ)for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak summoned (CA)Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up [bc](CB)with him; Deborah also went up with him.

11 Now Heber (CC)the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the [bd]father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the [be]oak in (CD)Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

12 Then they told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 Sisera summoned all his chariots, (CE)nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from (CF)Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 Then Deborah said to Barak, “Arise! For this is the day on which the Lord has handed Sisera over to you; [bf]behold, (CG)the Lord has gone out before you.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 (CH)And the Lord [bg]routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot. 16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; (CI)not even one was left.

17 Now Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my master, turn aside to me! Do not be afraid.” So he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a [bh]rug. 19 (CJ)And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a leather bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there anyone here?’ that you shall say, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, (CK)took a tent peg and [bi]a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died. 22 And behold, while Barak was pursuing Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” So he entered [bj]with her, and behold, Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple.

23 So (CL)God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan on that day before the sons of Israel. 24 And the hand of the sons of Israel pressed harder and harder upon Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had eliminated Jabin the king of Canaan.

The Song of Deborah and Barak

(CM)Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,

(CN)For [bk]the leaders leading in Israel,
For (CO)the people volunteering,
Bless the Lord!
Hear, you kings; listen, you dignitaries!
(CP)I myself—to the Lord, I myself will sing,
I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel!
(CQ)Lord, when You went out from Seir,
When You marched from the field of Edom,
(CR)The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped,
The clouds also dripped water.
(CS)The mountains [bl]flowed with water at the presence of the Lord,
(CT)This Sinai, at the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.

“In the days of (CU)Shamgar the son of Anath,
In the days of (CV)Jael, the roads [bm]were deserted,
And travelers went by [bn]roundabout ways.
The [bo]peasantry came to an end, they came to an end in Israel,
Until I, Deborah, arose,
Until I arose, a mother in Israel.
(CW)New gods were chosen;
Then war was in the gates.
Not a shield or a spear was seen
Among forty thousand in Israel.
My heart goes out to (CX)the commanders of Israel,
The volunteers among the people;
Bless the Lord!
10 (CY)You who ride on [bp]white donkeys,
You who sit on rich carpets,
And you who travel on the road—shout in praise!
11 At the sound of those who distribute water among (CZ)the watering places,
There they will recount (DA)the righteous deeds of the Lord,
The righteous deeds for His [bq]peasantry in Israel.
Then the people of the Lord went down (DB)to the gates.

12 (DC)Awake, awake, Deborah;
Awake, awake, [br]sing a song!
Arise, Barak, and (DD)lead away your captives, son of Abinoam.
13 Then survivors came down to the nobles;
The people of the Lord came down to me as warriors.
14 From Ephraim those whose root is (DE)in Amalek came down,
Following you, Benjamin, with your peoples;
From Machir commanders came down,
And from Zebulun those who wield the staff of [bs]office.
15 And the [bt]princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
As was Issachar, so was Barak;
Into the valley they rushed (DF)at his [bu]heels;
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great determinations of heart.
16 Why did you sit among (DG)the [bv]sheepfolds,
To hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great searchings of heart.
17 (DH)Gilead [bw]remained across the Jordan;
And why did Dan stay on ships?
Asher sat at the seashore,
And [bx]remained by its landings.
18 (DI)Zebulun was a people who risked their lives,
And Naphtali too, on the high places of the field.

19 (DJ)The kings came and fought;
Then the kings of Canaan fought
(DK)At Taanach near the waters of Megiddo;
(DL)They took no plunder in silver.
20 (DM)The stars fought from heaven,
From their paths they fought against Sisera.
21 The torrent of Kishon swept them away,
The ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.
(DN)My soul, march on with strength!
22 (DO)Then the horses’ hoofs beat
From the galloping, the galloping of his mighty stallions.
23 ‘Curse Meroz,’ said the angel of the Lord,
‘Utterly curse its inhabitants,
(DP)Because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
To the help of the Lord against the warriors.’

24 (DQ)Most blessed of women is Jael,
The wife of Heber the Kenite;
Most blessed is she of women in the tent.
25 He asked for water, she gave him milk;
In a magnificent bowl she brought him curds.
26 She reached out her hand for the tent peg,
And her right hand for the workmen’s hammer.
Then she struck Sisera, she smashed his head;
And she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 Between her feet he bowed, he fell, he lay;
Between her feet he bowed, he fell;
Where he bowed, there he fell [by]dead.

28 “Out of the window she looked and wailed,
The mother of Sisera through the [bz]lattice,
‘Why does his chariot delay in coming?
Why do the [ca]hoofbeats of his chariots delay?’
29 Her wise princesses would answer her,
Indeed she repeats her words to herself,
30 (DR)Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoils?
A concubine, two concubines for every warrior;
To Sisera a spoil of dyed cloth,
A spoil of dyed cloth embroidered,
Dyed cloth of double embroidery on the [cb]neck of the plunderer?’
31 (DS)May all Your enemies perish in this way, Lord;
(DT)But may those who love Him be like the rising of the sun in its might.”

And the land was at rest for forty years.

Israel Oppressed by Midian

Then the sons of Israel (DU)did what was evil in the sight of the Lord; and the Lord handed them over to (DV)Midian for seven years. The [cc]power of Midian prevailed against Israel. Because of Midian the sons of Israel made for themselves (DW)the dens which were in the mountains and the caves and the strongholds. For whenever Israel had sown, the Midianites would come up with the Amalekites and the [cd]people of the east and [ce]march against them. So they would camp against them and (DX)destroy the produce of the earth [cf]as far as Gaza, and (DY)leave no sustenance in Israel, nor a sheep, ox, or donkey. For they would come up with their livestock and their tents, they would come in (DZ)like locusts in number, and both they and their camels were innumerable; and they came into the land to ruin it. So Israel was brought (EA)very low because of Midian, and the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord.

Now it came about, when the sons of Israel cried out to the Lord on account of Midian, that the Lord sent a prophet to the sons of Israel, and (EB)he said to them, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says: ‘It was I who brought you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of [cg]slavery. And I rescued you from the hands of the Egyptians, and from the hands of all your oppressors, and I drove them out from you and gave you their land, 10 and I said to you, “I am the Lord your God; you (EC)shall not fear the gods of the Amorites in whose land you live.” But you have not [ch]obeyed Me.’”

Gideon Is Visited

11 Then (ED)the angel of the Lord came and sat under the [ci]oak that was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the (EE)Abiezrite, as his son (EF)Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press in order to save it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said to him, “The Lord is with you, valiant warrior.” 13 Then Gideon said to him, “O my lord, if the Lord is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His miracles which our fathers told us about, saying, ‘Did the Lord not bring us up from Egypt?’ But (EG)now the Lord has abandoned us and handed us over to Midian.” 14 And the Lord [cj]looked at him and said, “(EH)Go in this strength of yours and save Israel from the hand of Midian. Have I not sent you?” 15 (EI)But he said to Him, “O Lord, [ck]how am I to save Israel? Behold, my family is the least in (EJ)Manasseh, and I am the youngest in my father’s house.” 16 (EK)Yet the Lord said to him, “I will certainly be with you, and you will [cl]defeat Midian as one man.” 17 So [cm]Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then perform for me (EL)a sign that it is You speaking with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come back to You, and bring out my offering and lay it before You.” And He said, “I will remain until you return.”

19 Then Gideon went in and (EM)prepared a young goat and unleavened bread from an [cn]ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket [co]and the broth in a pot, and brought them out to him under the [cp]oak and presented them. 20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of the Lord put out the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened bread; and (EN)fire came up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened bread. Then the angel of the Lord [cq]vanished from his sight. 22 (EO)When Gideon perceived that he was the angel of the Lord, [cr]he said, “Oh, Lord [cs]God! For I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” 23 But the Lord said to him, “Peace to you, do not be afraid; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the Lord and named it [ct]The Lord is Peace. To this day it is still (EP)in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

25 Now on the same night the Lord said to him, “Take your father’s bull [cu]and a second bull seven years old, and tear down the altar of Baal which belongs to your father, and cut down the [cv](EQ)Asherah that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to the Lord your God on the top of this stronghold in an orderly way, and take a second bull and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” 27 Then Gideon took ten men from his servants and did as the Lord had spoken to him; and because he was too afraid of his father’s household and the men of the city to do it by day, he did it by night.

The Altar of Baal Destroyed

28 When the people of the city got up early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal had been torn down, and the Asherah which had been beside it had been cut down, and the second bull had been offered on the altar which had been built. 29 So they said to one another, “Who did this thing?” And when they searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash did this thing.” 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, for he has torn down the altar of Baal, and indeed, he has cut down the Asherah which was beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal, or will you save him? Whoever will contend for him shall be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, since someone has torn down his altar!” 32 Therefore on that day he named [cw]Gideon (ER)Jerubbaal, that is to say, “Let Baal contend against him,” because he had torn down his altar.

33 Then all the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the [cx]people of the east assembled together; and they crossed over and camped in (ES)the Valley of Jezreel. 34 So (ET)the Spirit of the Lord [cy]covered Gideon like clothing; and he (EU)blew a trumpet, and the Abiezrites were called together to follow him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, (EV)Zebulun, and Naphtali, and (EW)they came up to meet them.

Sign of the Fleece

36 Then Gideon said to God, “(EX)If You are going to save Israel [cz]through me, as You have spoken, 37 behold, I am putting a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that You will save Israel [da]through me, as You have spoken.” 38 And it was so. When he got up early the next morning and wrung out the fleece, he wrung the dew from the fleece, a bowl full of water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “(EY)Do not let Your anger burn against me, so that I may speak only one more time; please let me put You to the test only one more time with the fleece: let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground.” 40 And God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and dew was on all the ground.

Gideon’s Three Hundred Chosen Men

Then (EZ)Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him got up early, and camped beside [db]the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of [dc]them by the hill of (FA)Moreh in the valley.

And the Lord said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to hand Midian over to them, (FB)otherwise Israel would [dd]become boastful, saying, ‘My own [de]power has saved me.’ Now therefore come, proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying, ‘(FC)Whoever is afraid and worried, is to return and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand from the people returned, but ten thousand remained.

(FD)Then the Lord said to Gideon, “The people are still too many; bring them down to the water and I will test them for you there. So it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you; but everyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So he brought the people down to the water. Then the Lord said to Gideon, “You shall put everyone who laps the water with his tongue as a dog laps [df]in one group, and everyone who kneels down to drink in another.” Now the number of those who lapped, [dg]putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred men; but all the rest of the people kneeled down to drink water. And the Lord said to Gideon, “I will save you (FE)with the three hundred men who lapped, and will hand the Midianites over to you; so have all the other people go, each man to his [dh]home.” So [di]the three hundred men took the people’s provisions and their trumpets in their hands. And [dj]Gideon dismissed all the other men of Israel, each to his tent, but retained the three hundred men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

Now on the same night it came about that the Lord said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, (FF)for I have handed it over to you. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp, 11 so that you will hear what they say; and (FG)afterward [dk]you will have the courage to go down against the camp.” So he went down with Purah his servant to the [dl]outposts of the army that was in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites, the Amalekites, and all the [dm]people of the east were lying in the valley (FH)as numerous as locusts; and their camels were without number, (FI)as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 13 When Gideon came, behold, a man was relating a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I [dn]had a dream; [do]a loaf of barley bread was tumbling into the camp of Midian, and it came to the tent and struck it so that it fell, and turned it [dp]upside down so that the tent collapsed.” 14 And his friend replied, “This is nothing other than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has (FJ)handed over to him Midian and all the camp.”

15 When Gideon heard the account of the dream and its interpretation, he bowed in worship. Then he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for the Lord has handed over to you the camp of Midian!” 16 And he divided the three hundred men into three [dq]units, and he put trumpets and empty pitchers into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the pitchers. 17 Then he said to them, “Look at me and do likewise. And behold, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, [dr]do as I do. 18 When I and all who are with me blow the trumpet, then you also blow the trumpets around the entire camp and say, ‘For the Lord and for Gideon!’”

Confusion of the Enemy

19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle night watch, when they had just posted the watch; and they blew the trumpets and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 When the three [ds]units blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” 21 And each stood in his place around the camp; and (FK)all the [dt]army ran, crying out as they fled. 22 And when they blew the three hundred trumpets, the (FL)Lord set the sword of one against another even throughout the entire [du]army; and the [dv]army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the edge of (FM)Abel-meholah, by Tabbath. 23 And the men of Israel were summoned from (FN)Naphtali, Asher, and all Manasseh, and they pursued Midian.

24 Then Gideon sent messengers throughout the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down [dw]against Midian and (FO)take control of the waters ahead of them, as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan.” So all the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they took control of the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25 And they captured the two leaders of Midian, (FP)Oreb and Zeeb, and they killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and they killed Zeeb at the wine press of Zeeb, while they pursued Midian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon (FQ)from across the Jordan.

Zebah and Zalmunna Routed

Then the men of Ephraim said to [dx]Gideon, “(FR)What is this thing that you have done to us, not calling upon us when you went to fight against Midian?” And they quarreled with him vehemently. But he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim not better than the vintage of Abiezer? God has handed over to you the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their [dy]anger toward him subsided when he said [dz]that.

Then Gideon and the three hundred men who were with him came (FS)to the Jordan and crossed over, exhausted yet still pursuing. And he said to the men of (FT)Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are [ea]following me, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” But the leaders of Succoth said, “[eb](FU)Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?” So Gideon said, “For this answer, (FV)when the Lord has handed over to me Zebah and Zalmunna, I will [ec]thrash your [ed]bodies with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” Then he went up from there to [ee](FW)Penuel and spoke similarly to them; and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. So he said also to the men of [ef]Penuel, “When I return safely, (FX)I will tear down this tower.”

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their [eg]armies with them, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of the entire [eh]army of the [ei]people of the east; (FY)for the fallen were 120,000 [ej]swordsmen. 11 Gideon went up by the way of those who lived in tents to the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and he [ek]attacked the camp when the camp was unsuspecting. 12 When Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and routed the entire [el]army.

13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle [em]by the ascent of Heres. 14 And he captured a youth from [en]Succoth and questioned him. Then the youth wrote down for him the leaders of Succoth and its elders, seventy-seven men. 15 And he came to the men of Succoth and said, “Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying, ‘[eo](FZ)Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?’” 16 Then he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and he [ep]disciplined the men of Succoth with them. 17 (GA)And he tore down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.

18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “Where were the men whom you killed at Tabor?” But they said, “You and they were alike, each one [eq]resembling the son of a king.” 19 And he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if only you had let them live, I would not kill you.” 20 So he said to Jether his firstborn, “Rise, kill them.” But the youth did not draw his sword, for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. 21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise up yourself, and attack us; for as the man, so is his strength.” (GB)So Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and (GC)took the crescent amulets which were on their camels’ necks.

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, your son’s son as well, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian!” 23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; (GD)the Lord shall rule over you.” 24 Yet Gideon said to them, “I would [er]request of you, that each of you give me [es]an earring from his plunder.” (For they had gold earrings, because they were (GE)Ishmaelites.) 25 And they said, “We will certainly give them to you.” So they spread out a garment, and every one of them tossed an earring there from his plunder. 26 The weight of the gold earrings that he requested was 1,700 shekels of gold, apart from the crescent amulets, the ear pendants, and the purple robes which were on the kings of Midian, and apart from the neck chains that were on their camels’ necks. 27 Gideon made it into (GF)an ephod, and placed it in his city, Ophrah; but all Israel [et]committed infidelity with it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his household.

Forty Years of Peace

28 So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads anymore. And the land was undisturbed for forty years in the days of Gideon.

29 Then (GG)Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house. 30 Now Gideon had (GH)seventy sons who [eu]were his direct descendants, for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he [ev]named him Abimelech. 32 And Gideon the son of Joash died at a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father Joash, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

33 Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, (GI)that the sons of Israel again [ew]committed infidelity with the Baals, and made (GJ)Baal-berith their god. 34 So the sons of Israel (GK)did not remember the Lord their God, who had saved them from the hands of all their enemies on every side; 35 (GL)nor did they show kindness to the household of Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) in accordance with all the good that he had done for Israel.

Abimelech’s Conspiracy

Now (GM)Abimelech the son of [ex]Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother’s relatives, and spoke to them and to the entire family of the household of his mother’s father, saying, “Speak, now, in the hearing of all the [ey]leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you: for (GN)seventy men, all the sons of Jerubbaal, to rule over you, or for one man to rule over you?’ Also, remember that I am (GO)your bone and your flesh.” So his mother’s relatives spoke all these words on his behalf in the hearing of all the [ez]leaders of Shechem; and [fa]they were inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is (GP)our relative.” And they gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of (GQ)Baal-berith, with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless men, and they followed him. Then he went to his father’s house in Ophrah and (GR)killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, (GS)seventy men, [fb]on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, because he hid himself. All the [fc]leaders of Shechem and all [fd]Beth-millo assembled together, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the [fe]oak of the memorial stone which was in Shechem.

Now when they told Jotham, he went and stood on the top of (GT)Mount Gerizim, and raised his voice and called out. And he said to them, “Listen to me, you [ff]leaders of Shechem, that God may listen to you. Once the trees went to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us!’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I give up my fatness with [fg]which God and mankind are honored, and go to wave over the trees?’ 10 Then the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You, come, reign over us!’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I give up my sweetness and my good [fh]fruit, and go to wave over the trees?’ 12 Then the trees said to the vine, ‘You, come, reign over us!’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I give up my new wine, which cheers God and mankind, and go to wave over the trees?’ 14 Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You, come, reign over us!’ 15 And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If you [fi]really are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out of the bramble and consume the cedars of Lebanon.’

16 “Now then, if you have acted with [fj]honesty and integrity in making Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with (GU)Jerubbaal and his house, and [fk]have dealt with him [fl]as he deserved— 17 for my father fought for you, and [fm]risked his life and saved you from the hand of Midian; 18 but in fact you have risen against my father’s house today and have killed (GV)his sons, seventy men, on one stone, and have made Abimelech, (GW)the son of his female slave, king over the [fn]leaders of Shechem, because he is your relative— 19 so if you have acted with [fo]honesty and integrity toward Jerubbaal and his house this day, be joyful about Abimelech, and may he also be joyful about you. 20 But if not, may fire come out of Abimelech and consume the [fp]leaders of Shechem and [fq]Beth-millo; and may fire come out of the [fr]leaders of Shechem and from [fs]Beth-millo, and consume Abimelech.” 21 Then Jotham escaped and fled, and went to Beer; and he stayed there because of his brother Abimelech.

Shechem and Abimelech Fall

22 Now Abimelech ruled over Israel for three years. 23 (GX)Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the [ft]leaders of Shechem; and the [fu]leaders of Shechem (GY)dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 (GZ)so that the violence [fv]done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal would come, and the responsibility for (HA)their blood would be placed on their brother Abimelech, who killed them, and on the [fw]leaders of Shechem, who [fx]encouraged him to kill his brothers. 25 The [fy]leaders of Shechem set up men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed everyone who would pass by them on the road; and it was reported to Abimelech.

26 Now Gaal the son of Ebed came with his relatives, and crossed over into Shechem; and the [fz]leaders of Shechem trusted him. 27 So they went out to the field and gathered the grapes of their vineyards and trampled them, and held a festival; and they went into the house of (HB)their god, and ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. 28 Then Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is Zebul not his governor? Serve the men of (HC)Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? 29 [ga](HD)If only this people were under my authority! Then I would do away with Abimelech.” And he said to Abimelech, “Enlarge your army and come out!”

30 When Zebul the leader of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger burned. 31 So using deception, he successfully sent messengers to Abimelech, saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his relatives have come to Shechem; and behold, they are [gb]stirring up the city against you. 32 So now, arise by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field. 33 Then in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early and attack the city; and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, you shall (HE)do to them [gc]whatever you can.”

34 So Abimelech and all the people who were with him got up at night, and lay in wait against Shechem, in four [gd]units. 35 Now Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood at the entrance of the city gate; and Abimelech and the people who were with him arose from the ambush. 36 When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “[ge]Look, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains.” But Zebul said to him, “You are seeing the shadow of the mountains as if they were people.” 37 And Gaal spoke yet again and said, “Look, people are coming down from (HF)the [gf]highest part of the land, and one [gg]unit is coming by way of [gh]the diviners’ [gi]oak.” 38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where then is your [gj]boasting with which you said, ‘Who is Abimelech that we should serve him?’ Is this not the people whom you rejected? Go out now and fight them!” 39 So Gaal went out [gk]in the sight of the [gl]leaders of Shechem and fought Abimelech. 40 But Abimelech chased him, and he fled from him; and many fell wounded up to the entrance of the gate. 41 Then Abimelech stayed in Arumah, but Zebul drove out Gaal and his relatives so that they could not stay in Shechem.

42 Now it came about the next day, that the people went out to the field, and it was reported to Abimelech. 43 So he took [gm]his people and divided them into three [gn]units, and lay in wait in the field; when he looked and [go]saw the people coming out from the city, he [gp]attacked them and killed them. 44 Then Abimelech and the [gq]company who was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the city gate; the other two [gr]companies then attacked all who were in the field and killed them. 45 Abimelech fought against the city that whole day, and he captured the city and killed the people who were in it; then he (HG)tore down the city and sowed it with salt.

46 When all the [gs]leaders of the tower of Shechem heard about it, they entered the inner chamber of the [gt]temple of (HH)El-berith. 47 And it was reported to Abimelech that all the [gu]leaders of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 So Abimelech went up to Mount (HI)Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him; and Abimelech took [gv]an axe in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees, and lifted it and put it on his shoulder. Then he said to the people who were with him, “What you saw me do, hurry and do [gw]likewise.” 49 So all the people also cut down, each one, his branch and followed Abimelech, and put them on top of the inner chamber and set the inner chamber on fire over those inside, so that all the people of the tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.

50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and he camped against Thebez and captured it. 51 But there was a strong tower in the center of the city, and all the men and women with all the [gx]leaders of the city fled there and shut themselves in; and they went up on the roof of the tower. 52 So Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it, and approached the entrance of the tower to burn it down with fire. 53 But (HJ)a woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head, crushing his skull. 54 Then (HK)he called quickly to the young man, his armor bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that it will not be said of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” So [gy]the young man pierced him through, and he died. 55 Now when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each left for his [gz]home. 56 So (HL)God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father in killing his seventy brothers. 57 God also returned all the wickedness of the men of Shechem on their heads, and the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal came [ha]upon them.

Oppression by Philistines and Ammonites

10 Now after Abimelech died, Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, (HM)rose up to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. He judged Israel for twenty-three years. Then he died and was buried in Shamir.

After him, Jair the Gileadite rose up and judged Israel for twenty-two years. And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities [hb]in the land of Gilead (HN)that are called [hc]Havvoth-jair to this day. And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.

Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and (HO)they served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, (HP)the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; so (HQ)they abandoned the Lord and did not serve Him. And the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He (HR)sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the sons of Ammon. And they [hd]afflicted and oppressed the sons of Israel [he]that year; for eighteen years they oppressed all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan, [hf]in Gilead in the land of the Amorites. And the sons of Ammon crossed the Jordan to fight also against Judah, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was in great difficulty.

10 Then the (HS)sons of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against You, for indeed, we have abandoned our God and served the Baals.” 11 And the Lord said to the sons of Israel, “Did I not save you (HT)from the Egyptians, (HU)the Amorites, (HV)the sons of Ammon, and the Philistines? 12 And when the Sidonians, the Amalekites, and the Maonites (HW)oppressed you, you cried out to Me, and I saved you from their hands. 13 Yet (HX)you abandoned Me and served other gods; therefore I will no longer save you. 14 (HY)Go and cry out to the gods which you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” 15 Then the sons of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned, (HZ)do to us whatever [hg]seems good to You; only please save us this day.” 16 (IA)So they removed the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord; and [hh](IB)He could no longer endure the misery of Israel.

17 Then the sons of Ammon were summoned, and they camped in Gilead. And the sons of Israel gathered together and camped in (IC)Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the sons of Ammon? He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”

Jephthah, the Ninth Judge

11 Now (ID)Jephthah the Gileadite was a [hi]valiant warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. And Gilead had fathered Jephthah. Gilead’s wife bore him sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of (IE)Tob; and worthless men gathered [hj]around Jephthah, and they went [hk]wherever he did.

Now it came about, after a while, that (IF)the sons of Ammon fought against Israel. When the sons of Ammon fought against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob; and they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the sons of Ammon.” But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “(IG)Did you not hate me and drive me from my father’s house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?” The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “For this reason we have now returned to you, that you may go with us and fight the sons of Ammon, and (IH)become our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” So Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me back to fight against the sons of Ammon and the Lord gives them up [hl]to me, will I become your head?” 10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “(II)The Lord is [hm]witness between us; be assured we will do [hn]as you have said.” 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and leader over them; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord at (IJ)Mizpah.

12 So Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the sons of Ammon, saying, “What conflict do you and I have, that you have come to me to fight against my land?” 13 And the king of the sons of Ammon said to the messengers of Jephthah, “It is because Israel (IK)took my land when they came up from Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the (IL)Jabbok and the Jordan; so return them peaceably now.” 14 But Jephthah sent messengers once again to the king of the sons of Ammon, 15 and they said to him, “This is what Jephthah says: ‘Israel did not take the land of Moab nor the land of the sons of Ammon. 16 For when they came up from Egypt, and Israel (IM)went through the wilderness to the [ho]Red Sea, and (IN)came to Kadesh, 17 then Israel (IO)sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let us pass through your land”; but the king of Edom would not listen. (IP)And they also sent messengers to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So Israel remained at Kadesh. 18 Then they went through the wilderness and (IQ)around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, and came to the east side of the land of Moab, and they camped beyond the Arnon; but they (IR)did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. 19 And Israel sent (IS)messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon; and Israel said to him, “Please let us pass through your land to our place.” 20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory; so Sihon gathered all his people and camped in Jahaz, and fought with Israel. 21 And the Lord, the God of Israel, handed Sihon and all his people over to Israel, and they [hp](IT)defeated them; so Israel took possession of all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22 (IU)So they possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan. 23 And now the Lord, the God of Israel, has driven out the Amorites from His people Israel; so should you possess it? 24 Do you not possess what (IV)Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whatever the Lord our God has dispossessed before us, we will possess it. 25 Now then, are you any better than (IW)Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever contend with Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26 (IX)While Israel was living in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time? 27 So I have not sinned against you, but you are doing me wrong by making war against me. (IY)May the Lord, the Judge, judge today between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon.’” 28 But the king of the sons of Ammon [hq]disregarded the message which Jephthah sent him.

Jephthah’s Tragic Vow

29 Now (IZ)the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; then he passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he went on to the sons of Ammon. 30 And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord and said, “If You will indeed hand over to me the sons of Ammon, 31 then whatever comes out the doors of my house to meet me when I return [hr]safely from the sons of Ammon, it shall be the Lords, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.” 32 So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and the Lord handed them over to him. 33 He [hs]inflicted a very great defeat on them from Aroer [ht]to the entrance of (JA)Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel.

34 But Jephthah came to his house at (JB)Mizpah, and behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him (JC)with tambourines and with dancing. And she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter. 35 So when he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Oh, my daughter! You have brought me disaster, and you are among those who trouble me; for I have [hu]given my word to the Lord, and (JD)I cannot take it back.” 36 So she said to him, “My father, you have [hv]given your word to the Lord; (JE)do to me just as [hw]you have said, since the Lord has brought you vengeance on your enemies, the sons of Ammon.” 37 And she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me; allow me two months, so that I may [hx]go to the mountains and weep because of (JF)my virginity, I and my friends.” 38 Then he said, “Go.” So he let her go for two months; and she left with her friends, and wept on the mountains because of her virginity. 39 And at the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her [hy]what he had vowed; and she [hz]had no relations with a man. And it became a custom in Israel, 40 that the [ia]daughters of Israel went annually to [ib]commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite for four days in the year.

Jephthah and His Successors

12 Now the men of Ephraim were summoned, and they crossed [ic]to Zaphon; and (JG)they said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the sons of Ammon without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house down on you!” So Jephthah said to them, “I and my people were in a major dispute with the sons of Ammon; and I did call you, but you did not save me from their hand. When I saw that you were no deliverer, I [id](JH)took my life in my hands and crossed over against the sons of Ammon, and the Lord handed them over to me. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?” Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought Ephraim; and the men of Gilead [ie]defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You are survivors of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh.” And the Gileadites (JI)took control of the crossing places of the Jordan opposite Ephraim. And it happened whenever any of the survivors of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” that the men of Gilead would say to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No,” then they would say to him, “Just say, ‘Shibboleth.’” But he said, “Sibboleth,” for he was not [if]prepared to [ig]pronounce it correctly. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the crossing places of the Jordan. So at that time forty-two thousand from Ephraim fell.

Jephthah judged Israel for six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

Now Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel after him. He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters whom he [ih]gave in marriage outside the family, and he brought in thirty daughters from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel for seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.

11 Now Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel after him; he judged Israel for ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried at Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 Now Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel after him. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons who rode on seventy donkeys; and he judged Israel for eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

Philistines Oppress Again

13 Now the sons of Israel (JJ)again did evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord handed them over to the Philistines for forty years.

And there was a man of (JK)Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was infertile and had not given birth to any children. (JL)Then the angel of the Lord appeared to the woman and said to her, “Behold now, you are infertile and have not given birth; but you will conceive and give birth to a son. And now, be careful (JM)not to drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any [ii]unclean thing. (JN)For behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a (JO)Nazirite to God from the womb; and he will begin to save Israel from the hands of the Philistines.” Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, “(JP)A man of God came to me, and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. So I did not ask him where he came from, nor did he tell me his name. But he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son, and now you shall not drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any [ij]unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”

Then Manoah pleaded with the Lord and said, “Lord, please let (JQ)the man of God whom You have sent come to us again so that he may teach us what we are to do for the boy who is to be born.” And God listened to the voice of Manoah; and (JR)the angel of God came again to the woman as she was sitting in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman hurried and ran, and told her [ik]husband, “Behold, (JS)the man who [il]came the other day has appeared to me!” 11 So Manoah got up and followed his wife, and when he came to the man he said to him, “Are you (JT)the man who spoke to the woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12 Then Manoah said, “Now when your words [im]are fulfilled, what shall be the boy’s way of life and his vocation?” 13 And (JU)the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “(JV)The woman shall pay attention [in]to all that I said. 14 She shall not eat anything that comes from the (JW)vine nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; she shall keep all that I commanded.”

15 Then Manoah said to (JX)the angel of the Lord, “Please let us detain you so that we may prepare a young goat for you.” 16 But the angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, (JY)I will not eat your [io]food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, offer it to the Lord.” For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord. 17 And Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “(JZ)What is your name, so that when your words [ip]are fulfilled, we may honor you?” 18 But the angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask my name, for it is [iq](KA)wonderful?” 19 So (KB)Manoah took the young goat along with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to the Lord; and He performed wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they (KC)fell on their faces to the ground.

21 Now the angel of the Lord did not appear to Manoah or his wife again. (KD)Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of the Lord. 22 So Manoah said to his wife, “(KE)We will certainly die, for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If the Lord had desired to kill us, He would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering from our hands, nor would He have (KF)shown us all these things, nor would He have let us hear things like this at this time.”

24 So the woman gave birth to a son, and named him Samson; and the (KG)child grew up and the Lord blessed him. 25 And (KH)the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him when he was in [ir](KI)Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Samson’s Marriage

14 Then Samson went down to Timnah, and he saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. So he came [is]back and told his father and [it]mother, “I saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; so now, get her for me as a wife.” But his father and his mother said to him, “Is there no woman among the daughters of your (KJ)relatives, or among all [iu]our people, that you go to (KK)take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines?” Yet Samson said to his father, “Get her for me, because she is right [iv]for me.” However, his father and mother did not know that (KL)this was of the Lord, for He was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. And at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.

Then Samson went down to Timnah with his father and mother, and came as far as the vineyards of Timnah; and behold, a young lion came roaring toward him. And (KM)the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, so that (KN)he tore it apart as one tears apart a young goat, though he had nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. So he went down and talked to the woman; and she [iw]looked pleasing to Samson. When he returned later to take her, he turned aside to look at the carcass of the lion; and behold, a swarm of bees and honey were in the body of the lion. So he took out [ix]the honey on his [iy]hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it; but he did not tell them that he had took the honey out of the body of the lion.

10 Then his father went down to the woman; and Samson held a feast there, for the young men customarily did this. 11 When they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him.

Samson’s Riddle

12 Then Samson said to them, “Let me now (KO)propose a riddle for you; if you actually tell me [iz]the answer within the seven days of the feast, and solve it, then I will give you thirty linen wraps and thirty (KP)outfits of clothes. 13 But if you are unable to tell me, then you shall give me thirty linen wraps and thirty outfits of clothes.” And they said to him, “Propose your riddle, so that we may hear it.” 14 So he said to them,

“Out of the eater came something to eat,
And out of the strong came something sweet.”

But they could not tell the answer to the riddle in three days.

15 Then it came about on the [ja]fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife, “(KQ)Entice your husband, so that he will tell us the riddle, (KR)or we will burn you and your father’s house with fire. Have you invited us to impoverish us? Is this not so?” 16 So Samson’s wife wept in front of him and said, “(KS)You only hate me, and you do not love me; you have proposed a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told it to me.” And he said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or mother; so should I tell you?” 17 However she wept before him for seven days while their feast lasted. And on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 So the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,

“What is sweeter than honey?
And what is stronger than a lion?”

And he said to them,

“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
You would not have found out my riddle.”

19 Then (KT)the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon and killed thirty men of them and took what they were wearing and gave the outfits of clothes to those who told the riddle. And his anger burned, and he went up to his father’s house. 20 But Samson’s wife was (KU)given to his companion who had been his [jb]friend.


  1. Judges 1:3 Lit my lot
  2. Judges 1:3 Lit I, even I
  3. Judges 1:3 Lit your lot
  4. Judges 1:4 Lit struck them
  5. Judges 1:5 Lit struck
  6. Judges 1:6 Lit thumbs of his hands and his feet
  7. Judges 1:9 I.e., South country
  8. Judges 1:14 Lit the
  9. Judges 1:14 Lit to you, an ancient idiom
  10. Judges 1:15 I.e., South country
  11. Judges 1:16 Lit sons
  12. Judges 1:19 Or dispossess
  13. Judges 1:20 Lit spoken
  14. Judges 1:26 Lit it
  15. Judges 1:30 Perhaps same as Nahalal
  16. Judges 1:34 Lit pushed
  17. Judges 1:35 Lit hand
  18. Judges 1:35 Lit was heavy
  19. Judges 2:2 Lit listened to My voice
  20. Judges 2:3 Some ancient mss become adversaries to you and
  21. Judges 2:5 I.e., weepers
  22. Judges 2:7 Lit prolonged days after
  23. Judges 2:11 Or worshiped
  24. Judges 2:14 Lit before
  25. Judges 2:15 Or misfortune
  26. Judges 2:16 Lit and they
  27. Judges 2:17 I.e., against God
  28. Judges 2:22 Lit kept
  29. Judges 3:1 Lit known
  30. Judges 3:2 Lit know, to teach them
  31. Judges 3:2 Lit only those
  32. Judges 3:2 Lit known
  33. Judges 3:3 Or the entrance of Hamath
  34. Judges 3:4 Lit listen to
  35. Judges 3:4 Lit by the hand of
  36. Judges 3:7 I.e., wooden symbols of a female deity (Asherah)
  37. Judges 3:8 Heb Aram-naharaim
  38. Judges 3:10 Heb Aram
  39. Judges 3:10 Lit his hand was strong
  40. Judges 3:13 Lit struck
  41. Judges 3:15 Lit his hand
  42. Judges 3:22 Meaning of the Heb uncertain, but perhaps excrement
  43. Judges 3:23 Meaning uncertain
  44. Judges 3:24 Lit his
  45. Judges 3:24 Lit covering his feet; a euphemism referring to a squatting position
  46. Judges 3:25 Lit until shaming
  47. Judges 3:25 Lit earth
  48. Judges 3:27 Lit it happened
  49. Judges 3:27 Lit before them
  50. Judges 3:31 I.e., a spiked stick for driving livestock
  51. Judges 4:4 Lit woman prophetess
  52. Judges 4:5 Or live
  53. Judges 4:6 Lit Has the Lord not commanded...?
  54. Judges 4:7 Lit multitude
  55. Judges 4:10 Lit at his feet
  56. Judges 4:11 Another reading is brother-in-law
  57. Judges 4:11 Or terebinth
  58. Judges 4:14 Lit has the Lord not gone...?
  59. Judges 4:15 Lit confused
  60. Judges 4:18 Or blanket
  61. Judges 4:21 Lit put a hammer
  62. Judges 4:22 Lit to
  63. Judges 5:2 Or the hair hanging free in
  64. Judges 5:5 As in MT; LXX quaked
  65. Judges 5:6 Lit had ceased
  66. Judges 5:6 Lit twisting
  67. Judges 5:7 Or rural dwellers
  68. Judges 5:10 Or tawny
  69. Judges 5:11 Or rural dwellers
  70. Judges 5:12 Lit speak
  71. Judges 5:14 Lit a scribe
  72. Judges 5:15 As in ancient versions; MT My princes
  73. Judges 5:15 Lit feet
  74. Judges 5:16 Or saddlebags
  75. Judges 5:17 Or dwelt
  76. Judges 5:17 Or dwelt
  77. Judges 5:27 Lit destroyed
  78. Judges 5:28 Or window
  79. Judges 5:28 Lit steps
  80. Judges 5:30 Lit necks of the spoil
  81. Judges 6:2 Lit hand
  82. Judges 6:3 Lit sons
  83. Judges 6:3 Lit go up against
  84. Judges 6:4 Lit until your coming to
  85. Judges 6:8 Lit slaves
  86. Judges 6:10 Lit listened to My voice
  87. Judges 6:11 Or terebinth
  88. Judges 6:14 Or turned toward
  89. Judges 6:15 Lit with what
  90. Judges 6:16 Lit strike
  91. Judges 6:17 Lit he
  92. Judges 6:19 About 1 cubic foot or 0.03 cubic meters
  93. Judges 6:19 Lit and he put
  94. Judges 6:19 Or terebinth
  95. Judges 6:21 Lit departed
  96. Judges 6:22 Lit Gideon
  97. Judges 6:22 Heb YHWH, usually rendered Lord
  98. Judges 6:24 Heb Yahweh-shalom
  99. Judges 6:25 Or even
  100. Judges 6:25 I.e., wooden symbol of a female deity; also vv 26, 28, 30
  101. Judges 6:32 Lit him
  102. Judges 6:33 Lit sons
  103. Judges 6:34 Lit clothed
  104. Judges 6:36 Lit by my hand
  105. Judges 6:37 Lit by my hand
  106. Judges 7:1 Or En-Harod
  107. Judges 7:1 Lit him
  108. Judges 7:2 Lit boast against me
  109. Judges 7:2 Lit hand
  110. Judges 7:5 Lit by himself
  111. Judges 7:6 Lit with their
  112. Judges 7:7 Lit place
  113. Judges 7:8 Lit they took
  114. Judges 7:8 Lit he
  115. Judges 7:11 Lit your hand will be strengthened
  116. Judges 7:11 Lit extremity of the battle formation
  117. Judges 7:12 Lit sons
  118. Judges 7:13 Lit dreamed
  119. Judges 7:13 Lit and behold, a loaf
  120. Judges 7:13 Lit upward
  121. Judges 7:16 Lit heads
  122. Judges 7:17 Lit it shall come about that just as I do, so you shall do
  123. Judges 7:20 Lit heads
  124. Judges 7:21 Or camp
  125. Judges 7:22 Or camp
  126. Judges 7:22 Or camp
  127. Judges 7:24 Lit to meet
  128. Judges 8:1 Lit him
  129. Judges 8:3 Lit spirit
  130. Judges 8:3 Lit this thing
  131. Judges 8:5 Lit at my feet
  132. Judges 8:6 Lit Is the palm of...; i.e., are you so sure of victory that
  133. Judges 8:7 Or trample
  134. Judges 8:7 Lit flesh
  135. Judges 8:8 In Gen 32:30, Peniel
  136. Judges 8:9 Lit Penuel, saying,
  137. Judges 8:10 Or camps
  138. Judges 8:10 Or camp
  139. Judges 8:10 Lit sons
  140. Judges 8:10 Lit men who drew the sword
  141. Judges 8:11 Lit struck
  142. Judges 8:12 Or camp
  143. Judges 8:13 Or from
  144. Judges 8:14 Lit the men of
  145. Judges 8:15 Lit Is the palm of...; i.e., are you so sure of victory
  146. Judges 8:16 Lit taught
  147. Judges 8:18 Lit like the form of the sons
  148. Judges 8:24 Lit request a request
  149. Judges 8:24 Or a nose ring
  150. Judges 8:27 I.e., against God
  151. Judges 8:30 Lit came from his loins
  152. Judges 8:31 Lit appointed his name
  153. Judges 8:33 I.e., against God
  154. Judges 9:1 I.e., Gideon
  155. Judges 9:2 Or landowners
  156. Judges 9:3 Or landowners
  157. Judges 9:3 Lit their hearts inclined after
  158. Judges 9:5 Perhaps a mass human sacrifice
  159. Judges 9:6 Or landowners
  160. Judges 9:6 Or the house of Millo
  161. Judges 9:6 Or terebinth
  162. Judges 9:7 Or landowners
  163. Judges 9:9 Lit which by me
  164. Judges 9:11 Lit produce
  165. Judges 9:15 Or sincerely
  166. Judges 9:16 Or sincerity
  167. Judges 9:16 Lit if you have
  168. Judges 9:16 Lit according to the accomplishment of his hands
  169. Judges 9:17 Lit threw his soul away
  170. Judges 9:18 Or landowners
  171. Judges 9:19 Or sincerity
  172. Judges 9:20 Or landowners
  173. Judges 9:20 Or the house of Millo
  174. Judges 9:20 Or landowners
  175. Judges 9:20 Or the house of Millo
  176. Judges 9:23 Or landowners
  177. Judges 9:23 Or landowners
  178. Judges 9:24 Lit of the seventy
  179. Judges 9:24 Or landowners
  180. Judges 9:24 Lit strengthened his hands
  181. Judges 9:25 Or landowners
  182. Judges 9:26 Or landowners
  183. Judges 9:29 Lit And who will hand this people over to me
  184. Judges 9:31 Or besieging
  185. Judges 9:33 Lit as your hand finds
  186. Judges 9:34 Lit heads
  187. Judges 9:36 Lit Behold
  188. Judges 9:37 Lit center
  189. Judges 9:37 Lit head
  190. Judges 9:37 Heb Elon-meonenim
  191. Judges 9:37 Or terebinth
  192. Judges 9:38 Lit mouth
  193. Judges 9:39 Or at the head of
  194. Judges 9:39 Or landowners
  195. Judges 9:43 Lit the
  196. Judges 9:43 Lit heads
  197. Judges 9:43 Lit behold, the
  198. Judges 9:43 Lit rose against
  199. Judges 9:44 Lit heads
  200. Judges 9:44 Lit heads
  201. Judges 9:46 Or landowners
  202. Judges 9:46 Lit house
  203. Judges 9:47 Or landowners
  204. Judges 9:48 Lit the axes
  205. Judges 9:48 Lit like me
  206. Judges 9:51 Or landowners
  207. Judges 9:54 Lit his
  208. Judges 9:55 Lit place
  209. Judges 9:57 Lit to
  210. Judges 10:4 Lit which are in
  211. Judges 10:4 I.e., the towns of Jair
  212. Judges 10:8 Lit destroyed
  213. Judges 10:8 Lit in that
  214. Judges 10:8 Lit which is in
  215. Judges 10:15 Lit the good in Your eyes
  216. Judges 10:16 Lit His soul became impatient with the misery
  217. Judges 11:1 Or mighty man of valor
  218. Judges 11:3 Lit to
  219. Judges 11:3 Lit out with him
  220. Judges 11:9 Lit before
  221. Judges 11:10 Lit listener
  222. Judges 11:10 Lit according to your word
  223. Judges 11:16 Lit Sea of Reeds
  224. Judges 11:21 Lit struck
  225. Judges 11:28 Lit did not listen to the words
  226. Judges 11:31 Or with success; lit in well-being
  227. Judges 11:33 Lit struck a...blow
  228. Judges 11:33 Lit even until you are coming to
  229. Judges 11:35 Lit opened my mouth wide
  230. Judges 11:36 Lit opened your mouth wide
  231. Judges 11:36 Lit has gone out of your mouth
  232. Judges 11:37 Lit go and go down on
  233. Judges 11:39 Lit his vow which he had vowed
  234. Judges 11:39 Lit knew no man
  235. Judges 11:40 I.e., women
  236. Judges 11:40 Lit recount; some ancient versions, lament
  237. Judges 12:1 Or northward
  238. Judges 12:3 Lit put my soul in my palm
  239. Judges 12:4 Lit struck
  240. Judges 12:6 Some Heb mss read able to
  241. Judges 12:6 Lit speak
  242. Judges 12:9 Lit sent outside
  243. Judges 13:4 I.e., ritually unclean
  244. Judges 13:7 I.e., ritually unclean
  245. Judges 13:10 Lit husband, and said to him
  246. Judges 13:10 Lit came to me
  247. Judges 13:12 Lit come
  248. Judges 13:13 Lit from
  249. Judges 13:16 Lit bread
  250. Judges 13:17 Lit come
  251. Judges 13:18 I.e., incomprehensible
  252. Judges 13:25 I.e., the camp of Dan
  253. Judges 14:2 Lit up
  254. Judges 14:2 Lit mother, and said,
  255. Judges 14:3 Lit my
  256. Judges 14:3 Lit in my eyes
  257. Judges 14:7 Lit was right in Samson’s eyes
  258. Judges 14:9 Lit it
  259. Judges 14:9 Lit palms
  260. Judges 14:12 Lit it
  261. Judges 14:15 As in some ancient versions; MT seventh
  262. Judges 14:20 Or best man

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