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Now these are the nations that the Lord left to test those in Israel who had not experienced war in Canaan (so that later generations of the children of Israel who did not know war before might know it, to teach them how to fight): the five Philistine lords, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. They were to test Israel, in order to know if they would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

The children of Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. They took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.


The children of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asherahs. The anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He sold them into the hands of Cushan-Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia. The children of Israel served Cushan-Rishathaim for eight years. Then the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up a deliverer in order to save the children of Israel—Othniel son of Kenaz, the younger brother of Caleb. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came on him, and he judged Israel. He went out to battle, and the Lord gave Cushan-Rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia, into his hands, so that Othniel overpowered Cushan-Rishathaim. 11 The land rested forty years, then Othniel son of Kenaz died.


12 Then the children of Israel once more did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, so the Lord strengthened King Eglon of Moab against Israel because they had done what was evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 Eglon joined forces with the Ammonites and Amalekites; then he went and attacked Israel and took possession of the City of Palms. 14 The children of Israel served King Eglon of Moab for eighteen years.

15 Then the children of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up a deliverer—Ehud son of Gera the Benjamite, a left-handed man. The children of Israel sent a tribute payment by him to King Eglon of Moab. 16 Ehud made a cubit-long[a] two-edged sword for himself and strapped it onto his right thigh under his cloak. 17 He brought the tribute payment to King Eglon of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18 When Ehud finished offering the tribute payment, he sent away the people who carried it. 19 But he himself turned back from the stone idols that were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.”

And he said, “Keep silence!” And all who attended him departed from him.

20 Ehud approached him as he was sitting alone in his cool upper chamber. Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And Eglon rose from his seat. 21 Then Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh, and plunged it into the belly of Eglon. 22 The hilt went in after the blade and the fat closed over the blade and his entrails came out, for he did not pull the sword out of the belly of Eglon. 23 Then Ehud went out to the entrance hall and closed the doors of the upper chamber on him and locked them.

24 When he went out, the servants of Eglon came. They looked and noticed the doors of the upper chamber were locked. They thought, “Surely he is attending to his needs in the cool chamber.” 25 They waited until they were embarrassed, but he still did not open the doors of the upper chamber. So they took a key and opened it. There, fallen dead on the floor, was their lord.

26 Yet Ehud escaped while they were waiting. He passed the sacred stones and escaped to Seirah. 27 Upon his arrival, he blew a ram’s horn trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim. Then the children of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he led them.

28 He said to them, “Follow me, for the Lord has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands.” They followed him, and they captured the Jordan fords leading to Moab. They did not let anyone cross. 29 They struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all strong and valorous men, and not a single man escaped. 30 So Moab was humbled under the hand of Israel that day, and the land had peace for eighty years.


31 After Ehud was Shamgar son of Anath. He struck down six hundred Philistine men with an ox goad. He also saved Israel.


  1. Judges 3:16 About 18 inches, or 45 centimeters.