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Judges 3Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

The Lord Tests Israel

These are the nations the Lord left in order to test Israel, since the Israelites had fought none of these in[a] any of the wars with Canaan. This was to teach the future generations of the Israelites how to fight in battle, especially those who had not fought before.[b] These nations included: the five rulers of the Philistines and all of the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who lived in the Lebanese mountains[c] from Mount Baal-hermon as far as the entrance to Hamath.[d] The Lord left them to test Israel, to determine if they would keep the Lord’s commands He had given their fathers through[e] Moses. But they settled among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. The Israelites took their daughters as wives for themselves, gave their own daughters to their sons, and worshiped their gods.

Othniel, the First Judge

The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; they forgot the Lord their God and worshiped the Baals and the Asherahs. The Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and He sold them to[f] Cushan-rishathaim[g] king of Aram-naharaim,[h] and the Israelites served him eight years.

The Israelites cried out to the Lord. So the Lord raised up Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s youngest brother, as a deliverer to save the Israelites. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came on him, and he judged Israel. Othniel went out to battle, and the Lord handed over Cushan-rishathaim king of Aram to him, so that Othniel overpowered him. 11 Then the land was peaceful 40 years, and Othniel son of Kenaz died.

Ehud

12 The Israelites again did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel, because they had done what was evil in the Lord’s sight. 13 After Eglon convinced the Ammonites and the Amalekites to join forces with him, he attacked and defeated Israel and took possession of the City of Palms.[i] 14 The Israelites served Eglon king of Moab 18 years.

15 Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and He raised up Ehud son of Gera, a left-handed Benjaminite,[j] as a deliverer for them. The Israelites sent him to Eglon king of Moab with tribute money.

16 Ehud made himself a double-edged sword 18 inches long.[k] He strapped it to his right thigh under his clothes 17 and brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was an extremely fat man. 18 When Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he dismissed the people who had carried it. 19 At the carved images near Gilgal he returned and said, “King Eglon, I have a secret message for you.” The king called for silence, and all his attendants left him. 20 Then Ehud approached him while he was sitting alone in his room upstairs where it was cool. Ehud said, “I have a word from God for you,” and the king stood up from his throne.[l] 21 Ehud[m] reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and plunged it into Eglon’s belly. 22 Even the handle went in after the blade, and Eglon’s fat closed in over it, so that Ehud did not withdraw the sword from his belly. And Eglon’s insides came out. 23 Ehud escaped by way of the porch, closing and locking the doors of the upstairs room behind him.

24 Ehud was gone when Eglon’s servants came in. They looked and found the doors of the upstairs room locked and thought he was relieving himself[n] in the cool room. 25 The servants waited until they became worried and saw that he had still not opened the doors of the upstairs room. So they took the key and opened the doors—and there was their lord lying dead on the floor!

26 Ehud escaped while the servants waited. He crossed over the Jordan near the carved images and reached Seirah. 27 After he arrived, he sounded the ram’s horn throughout the hill country of Ephraim. The Israelites came down with him from the hill country, and he became their leader. 28 He told them, “Follow me, because the Lord has handed over your enemies, the Moabites, to you.” So they followed him, captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross over. 29 At that time they struck down about 10,000 Moabites, all strong and able-bodied men. Not one of them escaped. 30 Moab became subject to Israel that day, and the land was peaceful 80 years.

Shamgar

31 After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath became judge. He delivered Israel by striking down 600 Philistines with an oxgoad.

Footnotes:

  1. Judges 3:1 Lit had known
  2. Judges 3:2 Lit not known it
  3. Judges 3:3 LXX reads in Lebanon
  4. Judges 3:3 Or as Lebo-hamath
  5. Judges 3:4 Lit by the hand of
  6. Judges 3:8 Lit into the hand of
  7. Judges 3:8 Lit Doubly-Evil
  8. Judges 3:8 = Mesopotamia
  9. Judges 3:13 = Jericho; Dt 34:3; Jdg 1:16; 2Ch 28:15
  10. Judges 3:15 = son of the right hand
  11. Judges 3:16 Lit sword a gomed in length
  12. Judges 3:20 LXX reads “A word of my God for you, O king,” and Eglon rose up from the throne near him.
  13. Judges 3:21 LXX reads It happened that when he rose up, Ehud immediately
  14. Judges 3:24 Lit was covering his feet
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