The Lord Tests Israel
1These are the nations the Lord left in order to test all those in Israel who had experienced none of the wars in Canaan. 2This was to teach the future generations of the Israelites how to fight in battle, especially those who had not fought before. 3These nations included the five rulers of the Philistines and all of the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who lived in the Lebanese mountains from Mount Baal-hermon as far as the entrance to Hamath. 4The Lord left them to test Israel, to determine if they would keep the Lord’s commands he had given their ancestors through Moses. 5But they settled among the Canaanites, Hethites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 6The Israelites took their daughters as wives for themselves, gave their own daughters to their sons, and worshiped their gods.
Othniel, the First Judge
7The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; they forgot the Lord their God and worshiped the Baals and the Asherahs. 8The Lord’s anger burned against Israel, and he sold them to King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim, and the Israelites served him eight years.
9The 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. 10The Spirit of the Lord came on him, and he judged Israel. Othniel went out to battle, and the Lord handed over King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram to him, so that Othniel overpowered him. 11Then the land had peace for forty years, and Othniel son of Kenaz died.
12The Israelites again did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He gave King Eglon of Moab power over Israel, because they had done what was evil in the Lord’s sight. 13After 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. 14The Israelites served King Eglon of Moab eighteen years.
15Then the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he raised up Ehud son of Gera, a left-handed Benjaminite, as a deliverer for them. The Israelites sent him with the tribute for King Eglon of Moab.
16Ehud made himself a double-edged sword eighteen inches long. He strapped it to his right thigh under his clothes 17and brought the tribute to King Eglon of Moab, who was an extremely fat man. 18When Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he dismissed the people who had carried it. 19At the carved images near Gilgal he returned and said, “King Eglon, I have a secret message for you.” The king said, “Silence!” and all his attendants left him. 20Then Ehud approached him while he was sitting alone in his upstairs room where it was cool. Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you,” and the king stood up from his throne. 21Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and plunged it into Eglon’s belly. 22Even 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 the waste came out. 23Ehud escaped by way of the porch, closing and locking the doors of the upstairs room behind him.
24Ehud 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 in the cool room. 25The servants waited until they became embarrassed 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!
26Ehud escaped while the servants waited. He passed the Jordan near the carved images and reached Seirah. 27After 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. 28He 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. 29At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all stout and able-bodied men. Not one of them escaped. 30Moab became subject to Israel that day, and the land had peace for eighty years.
31After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath became judge. He also delivered Israel, striking down six hundred Philistines with a cattle prod.