Idolatry Leads to Servitude

(A)Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them (that is, all the Israelites who had not [a]experienced any of the wars of Canaan; only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might [b]be taught war, [c]those who had not [d]experienced it previously). These nations are: the five governors of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians, and (B)the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as [e]Lebo-hamath. They were left to (C)test Israel by them, to find out if they would [f]obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers [g]through Moses. (D)The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and (E)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 (F)what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and they (G)forgot the Lord their God and (H)served the Baals and the [h]Asheroth. Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim, king of [i]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, (I)Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 And (J)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 [j]Mesopotamia, so that [k]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 (K)did evil in the sight of the Lord. So (L)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 [l]defeated Israel, and they took possession of (M)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 (N)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 [m]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 [n]the refuse came out. 23 Then Ehud went out into the [o]vestibule, and shut the doors of the roof chamber behind him, and locked them.

24 When he had left, [p]the king’s servants came and looked, and behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked; and they said, “(O)Undoubtedly he is [q]relieving himself in the cool room.” 25 So they waited [r]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 [s]floor dead.

26 Now Ehud escaped while they were hesitating, and he passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27 And [t]when he arrived, (P)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 [u]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 (Q)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 (R)Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck and killed six hundred Philistines with an [v]oxgoad; and he also saved Israel.

Deborah and Barak

Then (S)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 (T)Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in (U)Harosheth-hagoyim. The sons of Israel cried out to the Lord; for he had nine hundred (V)iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.

Now Deborah, a [w]prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. She used to [x]sit under the (W)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 (X)Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “[y]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 [z]many troops to the river Kishon, and (Y)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, (Z)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 (AA)Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up [aa](AB)with him; Deborah also went up with him.

11 Now Heber (AC)the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the [ab]father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the [ac]oak in (AD)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, (AE)nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from (AF)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; [ad]behold, (AG)the Lord has gone out before you.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 (AH)And the Lord [ae]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; (AI)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 [af]rug. 19 (AJ)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, (AK)took a tent peg and [ag]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 [ah]with her, and behold, Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple.

23 So (AL)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

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

(AN)For [ai]the leaders leading in Israel,
For (AO)the people volunteering,
Bless the Lord!
Hear, you kings; listen, you dignitaries!
(AP)I myself—to the Lord, I myself will sing,
I will sing praise to the Lord, the God of Israel!
(AQ)Lord, when You went out from Seir,
When You marched from the field of Edom,
(AR)The earth quaked, the heavens also dripped,
The clouds also dripped water.
(AS)The mountains [aj]flowed with water at the presence of the Lord,
(AT)This Sinai, at the presence of the Lord, the God of Israel.

“In the days of (AU)Shamgar the son of Anath,
In the days of (AV)Jael, the roads [ak]were deserted,
And travelers went by [al]roundabout ways.
The [am]peasantry came to an end, they came to an end in Israel,
Until I, Deborah, arose,
Until I arose, a mother in Israel.
(AW)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 (AX)the commanders of Israel,
The volunteers among the people;
Bless the Lord!
10 (AY)You who ride on [an]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 (AZ)the watering places,
There they will recount (BA)the righteous deeds of the Lord,
The righteous deeds for His [ao]peasantry in Israel.
Then the people of the Lord went down (BB)to the gates.

12 (BC)Awake, awake, Deborah;
Awake, awake, [ap]sing a song!
Arise, Barak, and (BD)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 (BE)in Amalek came down,
Following you, Benjamin, with your peoples;
From Machir commanders came down,
And from Zebulun those who wield the staff of [aq]office.
15 And the [ar]princes of Issachar were with Deborah;
As was Issachar, so was Barak;
Into the valley they rushed (BF)at his [as]heels;
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great determinations of heart.
16 Why did you sit among (BG)the [at]sheepfolds,
To hear the piping for the flocks?
Among the divisions of Reuben
There were great searchings of heart.
17 (BH)Gilead [au]remained across the Jordan;
And why did Dan stay on ships?
Asher sat at the seashore,
And [av]remained by its landings.
18 (BI)Zebulun was a people who risked their lives,
And Naphtali too, on the high places of the field.

19 (BJ)The kings came and fought;
Then the kings of Canaan fought
(BK)At Taanach near the waters of Megiddo;
(BL)They took no plunder in silver.
20 (BM)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.
(BN)My soul, march on with strength!
22 (BO)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,
(BP)Because they did not come to the help of the Lord,
To the help of the Lord against the warriors.’

24 (BQ)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 [aw]dead.

28 “Out of the window she looked and wailed,
The mother of Sisera through the [ax]lattice,
‘Why does his chariot delay in coming?
Why do the [ay]hoofbeats of his chariots delay?’
29 Her wise princesses would answer her,
Indeed she repeats her words to herself,
30 (BR)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 [az]neck of the plunderer?’
31 (BS)May all Your enemies perish in this way, Lord;
(BT)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.


  1. Judges 3:1 Lit known
  2. Judges 3:2 Lit know, to teach them
  3. Judges 3:2 Lit only those
  4. Judges 3:2 Lit known
  5. Judges 3:3 Or the entrance of Hamath
  6. Judges 3:4 Lit listen to
  7. Judges 3:4 Lit by the hand of
  8. Judges 3:7 I.e., wooden symbols of a female deity (Asherah)
  9. Judges 3:8 Heb Aram-naharaim
  10. Judges 3:10 Heb Aram
  11. Judges 3:10 Lit his hand was strong
  12. Judges 3:13 Lit struck
  13. Judges 3:15 Lit his hand
  14. Judges 3:22 Meaning of the Heb uncertain, but perhaps excrement
  15. Judges 3:23 Meaning uncertain
  16. Judges 3:24 Lit his
  17. Judges 3:24 Lit covering his feet; a euphemism referring to a squatting position
  18. Judges 3:25 Lit until shaming
  19. Judges 3:25 Lit earth
  20. Judges 3:27 Lit it happened
  21. Judges 3:27 Lit before them
  22. Judges 3:31 I.e., a spiked stick for driving livestock
  23. Judges 4:4 Lit woman prophetess
  24. Judges 4:5 Or live
  25. Judges 4:6 Lit Has the Lord not commanded...?
  26. Judges 4:7 Lit multitude
  27. Judges 4:10 Lit at his feet
  28. Judges 4:11 Another reading is brother-in-law
  29. Judges 4:11 Or terebinth
  30. Judges 4:14 Lit has the Lord not gone...?
  31. Judges 4:15 Lit confused
  32. Judges 4:18 Or blanket
  33. Judges 4:21 Lit put a hammer
  34. Judges 4:22 Lit to
  35. Judges 5:2 Or the hair hanging free in
  36. Judges 5:5 As in MT; LXX quaked
  37. Judges 5:6 Lit had ceased
  38. Judges 5:6 Lit twisting
  39. Judges 5:7 Or rural dwellers
  40. Judges 5:10 Or tawny
  41. Judges 5:11 Or rural dwellers
  42. Judges 5:12 Lit speak
  43. Judges 5:14 Lit a scribe
  44. Judges 5:15 As in ancient versions; MT My princes
  45. Judges 5:15 Lit feet
  46. Judges 5:16 Or saddlebags
  47. Judges 5:17 Or dwelt
  48. Judges 5:17 Or dwelt
  49. Judges 5:27 Lit destroyed
  50. Judges 5:28 Or window
  51. Judges 5:28 Lit steps
  52. Judges 5:30 Lit necks of the spoil

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