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Book of Judges

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Author: --- Background & Theme --- dated at:
Thought to be Samuel, the prophet. In Hebrew the title means "deliverer", The book covers the time after Joshua's death, as the Israelites were in the promise land, now without a primary leader, covering approximately 450 years, Acts 13:20. There are thirteen Judges of Israel mentioned in the book. The books underlying theme is:
Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.
twenty-one chapters
1450-1000 BC.

noted events

Verse by verse, account of the book of Judges.

Judges: chapter 1

1After the death of Joshua, the children of Israel inquired of the LORD, Who should be the first to go up in battle against the Canaanites? 2And the LORD said; Judah shall go up first. For, I have delivered the land into their hands. 3The tribe of Judah then said to their brother, the tribe of Simeon. Come up with us into our allotted land and help us fight against the Canaanites. And we will likewise go with you into your allotted land to fight. So both tribes went up together. 4And as Judah went up the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand. And they killed ten thousand men in the town of Bezek. 5There they found the king and fought against him, killing more Canaanites and Perizzites. 6As the king fled, the Israelites pursued and caught him and cut off his thumbs and his big toes, (NOTE: rendering him harmless for battle). 7For as the king said to himself; 'As I have cut off the thumbs and toes of seventy kings, putting them under me, God has now required this of me'. The king was then brought to Jerusalem where he died. 8The sons of Judah then fought against Jerusalem, took it and set the city on fire.

9Afterward the men of Judah fought against the Canaanites in the mountains, in the south and in the valley. 10They also fought the Canaanites who lived in what is now called Hebron and they killed Anak's three sons, (Sheshai, Ahiman and Talmai). 11From there they fought against those who lived in what is now called Debir, for it had formerly been called Kirjath-sepher. 12And Caleb announced that whoever strikes Kirjath-sepher and takes it, I will give Achsah my daughter to him as a wife. 13And Othniel, the son of Caleb's younger brother, took the land and was given Caleb's daughter as a wife. 14As Achsah dismounted from her animal. Caleb, her father asked her; What do you wish? 15And she answered him; You have given me the south land, bless me also with springs of water. So Caleb gave her the upper and lower springs. (NOTE: this is also recorded in Joshua chapter 15 ).

16Now the Kenite people of the Midianite race, Moses' father-in-law left the city of palm trees where he was dwelling with the tribe of Judah and traveled into the wilderness of Judah, which is also called the south of Arad and they dwelt there among the people. 17The tribe of Judah then along with the tribe of Simeon, his brother, killed the Canaanites, who lived in the town of Zephath, destroying the town and thus renaming it Hormah, (complete destruction). 18Judah also captured the entire territory and the three Philistine cities of Gaza, Ashkelon and Ekron. 19For the LORD was with Judah when they took the mountain. But, they could not drive out the inhabitants that lived in the valley, because they had chariots of iron. 20And Judah gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had said. And Caleb expelled the three sons of Anak from there. 21But the tribe of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites, who were living in Jerusalem. For the Jebusites live with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

22The tribe of Joseph also went up against the city Bethel, for the LORD was with them. 23They sent out spies to the city Bethel, formerly it had been named Luz. 24And the spies asked a man coming out of the city, to please show them the gate leading into the city. For they said; We will show you mercy. 25When the man had shown them the gate into the city. The tribe of Joseph attacked it, however, they let the man and all his family go. 26The man then went into the land of the Hittites and built a city called Luz.

27But the tribe of Manasseh never took possession of Beth-shean, Taanach, Dor, Ibleam and Megiddo and their associated lands. For the Canaanites were determined to dwell in the land. 28And even when Israel had become stronger in might, they forced the Canaanites to be their servants, but they did not completely drive them out.

29The tribe of Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites, who lived in the city of Gezer, but they live among them.

30The tribe of Zebulun did not drive out the Canaanites, who lived in the cities Kitron and Nahalol, but the sons of Zebulum lived among them and the forced the Canaanites to be their servants.

31The tribe of Asher did not drive out the Canaanites, who lived in the cities of Accho, Sidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik and Rehob. 32But the sons of Asher lived among the Canaanites.

33The tribe of Naphtali did not drive out the Canaanites, who lived in the cities of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath, but the sons of Naphtali lived among them and forced the Canaanites to be their servants.

34And the Amorites forced the tribe of Dan into the mountain and would not allow them to come down into the valley. 35For the Amorites desired to stay in Mount Heres in Aijalon and in Shaalbim. Yet, the tribe of Joseph was heavy upon them and forced them to become their servants. 36And the border of the Amorites was from Akrabbim, from the rock and upward.

Judges: chapter 2

1Now an Angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to where the Israelites were and said; I brought you up out of Egypt and into the promise land that I swore to your fathers and I will never break My covenant. 2That you shall not make any kind of a treaty with the occupants of the land, but shall destroy their altars. But, why have you not obeyed My voice? 3Therefore, I will not drive the people out from before you and they shall become thorns in your sides and their gods shall be snares to you.

4When all the sons of Israel heard what the Angel of the LORD had spoken, they cried out and wept. 5Calling the place where they were, 'Bocchim', meaning: the Place of Weeping. And there they sacrificed to the LORD. 6Then Joshua let the sons of Israel go and each man went to claim and take possession of his allotted land. 7And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua and the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works that the LORD had done for Israel. 8Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD died at age one hundred ten. 9And was buried in the border of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in Mount Ephraim.

NOTE: (The book of Joshua), records the military victories that the Israelites had, while being led by Joshua.

10When all of that generation had died. The generation after theirs did not know the LORD or know of the works which He had done for Israel. 11So the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, serving several false gods. 12They forsook the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of Egypt. Following and bowing down to the gods of the people who were around them and they provoked the LORD to anger. 13Yes, they forsook the LORD, to serve pagan gods and goddess. 14Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel and He delivered them into the hand of people who robbed them. Selling them into captivity, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. 15Wherever they were the hand of the LORD was against them for harm. Just as the LORD had also sworn to them, for they were now in much distress. 16Nevertheless the LORD would raise up judges to deliver them out of the hand of their oppressors. 17Even still they would not listen to their judges, for they still went whoring after and bowed themselves down to these other gods. Quickly had they turned from obeying the commandments of the LORD that their fathers had walked in.

18Now when the LORD would raise up judges for them, the LORD would be with that judge and deliver them out of the hand of their enemies. For the LORD took pity on them, because of their cries and the oppression of their oppressors. 19However when the judge the LORD had raised up died, the Israelites went back to their past ways, even becoming more corrupt than their fathers had been, serving and bowing down to other gods. 20Again the anger of the LORD burnt hot against Israel. Therefore, He said; Because this nation has transgressed My covenant and not listened to My voice, that I commanded their fathers. 21From now on I will not drive out any of the nations, that Joshua spoke of before he died. 22That through them I may test Israel, if they will keep the way of the LORD, as their fathers did. 23And the LORD did not drive out those nations, nor were they delivered into the hands of the sons of Israel.

Judges: chapter 3

1Listed are the foreign nations that the LORD left in Canaan, to test the sons of Israel, whom had not known of the battles the Israelites had fought in Canaan. 2This was so the generations of the sons of Israel might learn of war, for their generation knew nothing of it. 3The five lords of the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Sidonians and the Hivites that lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-Hermon to the border of Hamath. 4Were the nations that were left to test Israel, whether Israel would listen to the commands of the LORD, that He had spoken to their fathers through Moses. 5For the sons of Israel were living among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites and Jebusites. 6And had intermarried with the foreigners and were now serving their gods.

Othniel, Israel's 1st deliverer, (1377-1337 BC), of the tribe of Judah.

7Thus the sons of Israel forget about the LORD and did evil in His sight, serving false gods and goddess. 8So the anger of the LORD burnt against Israel and He sold them into the hand of the king of Mesopotamia and they served him for eight years. 9And when the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD. The LORD raised up Othniel, a deliverer, the son of Caleb's younger brother. 10The spirit of the LORD then came upon him, he judged Israel and went out to war against the king of Mesopotamia. And the LORD delivered the king into his hands. 11The land then had rest for forty years, lastly Othniel their deliverer died.

Ehud, Israel's 2nd deliverer, (1319-1240 BC), of the tribe of Benjamin.

12Again the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD. And the LORD made the king of Moab strong against Israel. 13The king gathered together the sons of Ammon and Amalek. He then struck Israel and took the city of palm trees. 14And the sons of Israel served the king of Moab eighteen years. 15When the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD, the LORD raised up Ehud, a deliverer, a left handed man. And the sons of Israel sent their required tax to Eglon the king of Moab through Ehud. 16For Ehud had made himself a doubled edged dagger that was 18 inches long. And he secured it under his clothing on his right thigh.

17When he had brought the taxes to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man. 18After Ehud had presented the taxes, he dismissed his people who had carried it. 19But he, himself turned to the king and said; I have a private message for you. So all the king's servants then left. 20And Ehud came to the king, for he was sitting in a cool private room that was built only for himself. Ehud then said; I have a message from God for you. 21He then took the dagger from his right thigh and with his left hand, thrust it into his belly. 22He trust it in so forcefully that even the haft of the knife also went in after the blade and was enveloped by the fat. So that the dagger could not even be pulled out of his belly and he lie dead, for even the dung came out of him. 23Ehud then went out through the porch, shut and locked the doors of the room behind him. 24After he had gone out, the king's servants came and they found the doors of the room to be locked, so they assumed, the king to be taking a rest in the room. 25And they waited a very long time to go in, until they were overly concerned. When they did open the doors, they found their master to be dead on the floor.

26During the time while the servants had waited, Ehud escaped out of the city and into the city of Seirath. 27When he had come into his own city, he blew a ram's horn in the mountain of Ephraim. The sons of Israel then came down from the mountain, to honor him as their head. 28And he told them to follow him into battle, for the LORD has delivered their enemies, the Moabites into their hands. Thus they went down with him, took and guarded the passage of the Jordan river, so that not a man was allowed to pass over. 29And the sons of Israel killed about ten thousand mighty men of Moab, not one man escaped. 30That day, Moab was put under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years.

Shamgar, Israel's 3rd deliverer, (1260-1250 BC), perhaps of the tribe of Naphtali.

31After Ehud was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred Philistine men with an ox goad (a sickle), and he also delivered Israel.

Judges: chapter 4
Deborah, Israel's 4th deliverer, (1240-1200 BC), of the tribe of Ephraim.

1The sons of Israel yet again did evil in the sight of the LORD, after Ehud Israel's second deliverer had died. 2So the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin, the king of Canaan, who ruled in Hazor. The captain of his army was Sisera and he lived in Harosheth. 3And with his nine hundred chariots of iron, he had oppressed the sons of Israel for twenty years. So the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD. 4At that time, Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, was the judge of Israel. 5She lived and held judgment under the palm tree of Deborah, that was between the city of Ramah and the city of Bethel in Mount Ephraim. And the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment.

6She then sent for Barak the son of Abinoam from the city of Kedesh, with the following message; Did not the LORD God of Israel give you a command to gather ten thousand men of the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and prepare for battle at Mount Tabor? 7That He would deliver Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, his chariots and army into your hands over at the river Kishon. 8But Barak said to her; I will only go, if you will go with me. 9And Deborah replied; I shall go with you, however, if I do, the honor shall not be yours but mine. For the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. Deborah then rose up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10And Barak gathered ten thousand men from the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali at Kedesh and Deborah also went up with them.

11Now Heber the Kenite, one of the sons of Jethro the father-in-law of Moses, had pitched his tent near the city of Kedesh. 12And Sisera, the caption of the king's army was told that Barak had gone to Mount Tabor. 13So Sisera gathered his nine hundred chariots of iron and his army at the river of Kishon. 14Deborah then said to Barak; This is the day that the LORD will deliver Sisera into your hands, for He has gone out before you. So Barak went down from Mount Tabor, with the ten thousand men after him. 15The LORD then struck Sisera, all of his chariots and his entire army, in front of Barak. And Sisera fled from his chariot and escaped on foot. 16However Barak stayed on in the battle and pursued the army and their chariots, chasing them all the way to the town of Harosheth. There he killed Sisera's entire army, not one man was left.

17However, Sisera escaped from the battle and fled to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite. For there was peace between the two nations. 18Jael then went out to meet Sisera and said to him; Come in my lord, do not fear. And when he had come into her tent, she covered him with a rug. 19He then asked her to please give him a drink, so she opened a skin of milk and gave him a drink and then re-covered him. 20He also said to her; If any man comes to the door asking if there is a man in your tent, tell him No! 21Jael, then picked up a tent peg and a hammer and when he was asleep, she quietly went over to him. And pounded the peg into his temple, until the peg was also in the ground. 22As Barak was now in pursuit of Sisera, Jael came out to him and said; I will show you the man that you seek. And in her tent Sisera lay dead. 23On that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the sons of Israel. 24And the sons of Israel fought hard against the king of Canaan, until all had been destroyed.

Judges: chapter 5
Deborah and Barak's victory song.

1Deborah and Barak then sang on that day, of: 2 Praise the LORD for the avenging of Israel, as the people willingly volunteered themselves. 3May our royal adversary hear and be aware of this as we sing and give praise to the LORD God of Israel. 4As the LORD went out of Seir and marched out from Edom, the earth trembled and the heavens poured down rivers of water. 5The mountains even Mount Sinai quaked from before the LORD God of Israel. 6For in the former days, the highways were abandoned and any travelers walked by way of the back roads. 7The leaders of Israel ceased their work, until I, Deborah, arose as a mother to Israel. 8For Israel had chosen new gods, bringing war into her gates, and Israel's armies lay defenseless against her enemies. 9I praise God for the lawgivers of Israel who offered themselves willingly to the people. 10You who ride above the people, sitting in judgment of the people. 11Gather together there at the wells and hear of the righteous acts of the LORD and of the righteous acts of His leaders of Israel.

12Rise Deborah and sing a song. Take action Barak and free the captives. 13The LORD then gave the remnant of the Israelites and its nobles, dominion over the mighty. 14The tribe of Ephraim took Amalek's stronghold, followed by the tribe of Benjamin, from the tribe of Manasseh came commanders and the tribe of Zebulun came their strategy. 15The leaders of the tribe of Issachar stayed with Deborah and its mighty men with Barak. However, within the tribe of Reuben there were issues of the heart and divisions. 16Their tribe stayed back at the camp, because their divisions were great. 17The tribe of Dan remained in ships and the tribe of Asher stayed on the seashore, remaining in their havens. 18However the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali risked it all on the battle field. 19The kings of Canaan then came forth and fought in the city of Taanach by the waters of Megiddo, but no plunder was to be had. 20Also the heavens aided in the fight against Sisera (rain). 21For the ancient river of Kishon swept them away, with a swift torrent. 22Then the horse broke into a gallop, lead by the retreat of their officers. 23The Angel of the LORD cursed the inhabitants of that land, because they were no help to the LORD, against the mighty men. 24Blessed above all women in the tent is Jael, she showed him kindness. 25For he asked for water and she gave him milk. 26She took up the tent peg and hammer and smashed Sisera head, striking through his temple. 27He fell dead between her feet, bowed to the ground. 28The mother of Sisera looked out her window in anticipation, crying through the lattice, wondering why his chariot was so long in coming? 29Her wise advisors gave her but calm words. 30Do they not divide up the spoil? Perhaps even two women for each man. And the prized embroidered and dyed garments for Sisera. 31May all the LORD's enemies perish, but they who love Him be as mighty as the sun.

And the land had rest for forty years.

Judges: chapter 6
Gideon, Israel's 5th deliverer, (1193-1153 BC), of the tribe of Manasseh.

1Again the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and the LORD delivered them into the hands of the nation and the people of Midian for seven years.

2The hand of Midian was very heavy against Israel. Forcing the sons of Israel up into the mountains, where they lived in caves and strongholds. 3And when Israel had planted their fields in the plains, the Midianites together with the Amalekites and armies from the east, would come against them. 4Destroying their crops all the way to the city of Gaza. Leaving no food for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox or donkey. 5For when the enemy entered into the land, they brought their cattle and tents, coming in as a multitude of locusts, for they and their animals were without number. 6Thus Israel became very poor and the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD.

7As they cried to the LORD because of the oppression of the Midianites, 8And the LORD sent a prophet to them, who said; So says the LORD God of Israel, I brought you up out of the house of bondage in Egypt. 9I delivered you from the Egyptians and your oppressors, driving them out from before you, giving you their land. 10I then said to you, I am the LORD your God. Do not fear the false gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But, My people would not obey My voice.

11And the Angel of the LORD came down and sat under an oak tree which was in the city of Ophrah and belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. For his son Gideon was threshing wheat within the winepress, so as to hide the wheat from the Midianites. 12Then the Angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, saying to him; The LORD is with you, O mighty man of valor. 13And Gideon replied; My Lord, if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all the miracles of the LORD that our fathers told us of? For the LORD brought them out of Egypt. But, the LORD has forsaken us and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites. 14The LORD then turned to him and said; Go in your might and you shall save Israel, from the hand of the Midianites, for I have now sent you. 15But Gideon said; My Lord, how and with what can I save Israel? My family is poor and I am the least in my father's house. 16And the LORD said to him; Truly, I will be with you and you will strike the Midianites in great unity.

17But, Gideon said; If I have found grace in Your sight, show me a sign that I know it is You who talks with me. 18I pray that You will not depart from here, until I return back, with an offering and set it before You. And the LORD said; I will stay here, until you return.

19Gideon then went in and prepared a young goat and numerous unleavened cakes of flour. Bringing out the food and offering it to the LORD, under the oak tree. 20And the Angel of God said to him; Place the flesh and the unleavened cakes on this rock and pour the broth over them. 21He then touched the offering with a staff. And a fire came out of the rock, burning up the flesh and the unleavened cakes. Then the Angel of the LORD departed from his sight. 22Now when Gideon realized that He was the Angel of the LORD, Gideon said, O Lord God, I am ruined, Because I have seen the Angel of the LORD face to face. 23And the LORD said to him; Do not fear. Peace be with you. You shall not die.

24Gideon then built an altar in that place to the LORD and called it the LORD-shalom, (God's peace). And it stands in the city of Ophrah to this very day. 25On that night the LORD said to him; Take your father's seven year old bull and tear down your father's altar of Baal and cut down the wooden statue of the goddess that is by it. 26Then build a proper altar to the LORD your God upon the top of this hill. Take the bull and offer a burnt sacrifice, using the wood from the statue that you cut down. 27So Gideon took ten men servants and did as the LORD had told him. And since he feared his father's household and the men of the city, he did all of this by night.

28Early in the morning when the men of the city saw the altar of Baal cast down, the statue by it pulled down and the bull offered upon the newly built altar. 29They questioned who had done this? And they found out that, Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing. 30The men of the city then said to Joash; Bring out your son, he must die! (because he had cast down the altar of Baal and has cut down the statue by it). 31But Joash said to all that opposed him; Do you need to fight Ball's battles for him? Anyone who does so shall be dead by morning. If he is a god, let him fight his own battles. 32And on that day Joash called Gideon, 'Jerubbaal' (NOTE: meaning: let Baal plead), saying; Let Baal contend against Gideon for tearing down his altar.

33All the Midianites, the Amalekites and the sons of the east then gathered together, crossed the Jordan river and made camp in the valley of Jezreel. 34And the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon and when he blew the ram's horn, the household of the Abiezrite came out. 35Gideon then sent messengers throughout the tribes of Manasseh, Asher, Zebulun and Naphtali and they gathered together with him. 36And he said to God; Give me assurance, that You will deliver Israel by my hand. 37I shall put a covering of wool on the floor. The next day, if dew is on the covering of wool and the ground is dry, I shall then know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have said. 38And it happened just as Gideon had said. In the morning as he rose, he picked up the wool covering and wrung a bowl of water out of it. 39And Gideon said to God; Do not be angry with me, but I pray that You will let me test You, one last time. Let the wool covering this time be dry and the ground all around be wet with dew. 40And God did so that night. For the wool covering was dry and the ground was covered with dew.

Judges: chapter 7

1Gideon, now known as (Jerubbaal) and all his troops that were with him, rose early in the morning. Setting up camp in the mountains of Gilboa, on the well of Harod and the army of the Midianites was camped in a valley to the north side of them. 2The LORD than said to Gideon; All the men with you are too many, they will think the battle was won by their military might, rather than the LORD delivering them. 3Therefore, let all the men who are fearful and afraid, return to their homes. At that twenty-two thousand men left and ten thousand men remained. 4The LORD again said to Gideon; The people are still too many. Bring the men down to the stream, there I will make a final separation. 5So Gideon brought the men down to the water. And the LORD said to him; Every man who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog does and every man who bows down on his hands and knees to drink the water, you shall set them apart. 6And the number of the men who lapped the water, putting their hand to their mouth, was three hundred, the rest of the men bowed down upon their knees to drink water. 7The LORD then said to Gideon; By these three hundred men who lapped water as a dog, I will deliver the Midianites into your hand. 8So the other men left the camp at Gilboa and went back to their homes, Leaving only the three hundred men in the camp with the Midian army below them in the valley.

9That night, the LORD said to Gideon; Go down to the Midian army, for I have delivered it to you. 10If you are afraid to go down alone, take Phurah, your servant and armor bearer. 11And listen to what the men in their camp say. Afterward you shall have the confidence to go down to their army. So Gideon went down with Phurah his servant to the edge of their army. 12Where the Midianites, the Amalekites and the people from the east were in the valley, a multitude as numerous as locusts and their camels without number, like the sands of a seashore. 13There Gideon heard a man telling of a dream, saying; In this dream, a cake of barley bread came into the Midian camp and struck the tent hard overturning it. 14And the person he told it to, answered and said; This must be the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel. For God has delivered Midian into his hands.

15When Gideon heard the dream and the meaning of it, he worshiped. And then returned to the army of Israel. Saying; Arise! For the LORD has delivered the army of Midian into our hands. 16Gideon then divided the three hundred men into three companies. Putting a ram's horn in every man's hand, with empty pitchers and torches inside the pitchers. 17Telling them, when I come to the edge of the camp, follow my lead. 18When the company of men that I am with blows their ram's horn, then the other two companies on either side of the camp shall also blow their ram's horn and shout; For the LORD and for Gideon! 19As Gideon and the company of one hundred men that he was with, came to the edge of the Midian camp, it happened to be the change of their watch. Gideon and company then blew their ram's horns and broke the pitchers that were in their hands. 20All three companies blew their ram's horns and broke their pitchers, holding onto the torches in their left hand and the ram's horns in their right hand. And they cried, A sword for the LORD and for Gideon! 21Every man stood in his place. And the Midian army was in confusion, as every man cried out and fled. 22Again the three hundred blew the ram's horns. And the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, throughout the entire army. As the army fled to Beth-shittah in Zererath, to the border of Abel-meholah and down to Tabbath.

23As the Armies of the Midianites were on the run, the men of Israel were called on from the tribes of Naphtali, Asher and of Manasseh, to pursue after the Midianites. 24Gideon then sent messengers throughout Mount Ephraim, telling the people to come against the Midianites and take the lands. And all the men of Ephraim gathered together, taking the land. 25They took two princes of the Midianites, Oreb and Zeeb. And killed Oreb upon the rock Oreb and killed Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb. Also, pursuing the leaders of Midian, bringing them back to Gideon on the other side Jordan.

Judges: chapter 8

1When the men of the tribe of Ephraim became aware of the battle against the Midianites, knowing that they had not been called. They confronted Gideon and rebuked him sharply. 2And he said to them; Is not the battle that we fought against the troops of Midian small in comparison to you taking the two kings of Midian? 3For God delivered the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb into your hands. When they heard this, they went away in peace.

4Gideon and his three hundred men then crossed over the Jordan river, exhausted, but still in pursuit of two Midian kings. 5And when they had come to the town of Succoth. Gideon said to the men of that town; I pray, that you give my men bread, for we are weary and in pursuit the two Midian kings, Zebah and Zalmunna. 6But the officials of Succoth said; Do you really think the two Midian kings are in your hands, why should we help with such a foolish endeavor? 7And Gideon replied; When the LORD has delivered the two kings to me, I shall tear your flesh with thorns and briers of the wilderness. 8Gideon and his men then went from there to the city of Penuel, asking of the men of that city, in like manor. And they also answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. 9And he replied to the men of Penuel; When I safely return here, I will break down this tower.

10Now the two Midian kings were in the plains of Jordan and their armies with them were about fifteen thousand. These remaining men were of the sons of the east, for one hundred twenty thousand men had fallen in the first battle. 11Gideon and his men then went up, by the way, of the eastern back roads and struck the army, for the army was at rest. 12They destroyed the entire army and when the two kings fled, they pursued them and captured them.

13After the battle had been won, Gideon then turned back to Succoth. 14There he caught a young man of Succoth and had him describe to him the rulers of Succoth, seventy-seven men in all. 15Gideon then came to the men of Succoth and said; See here are, the two Midian kings, Zebah and Zalmunna, of whom you mocked me about and would not give us bread. 16Then he took the elders of the city, dragging them under heavy weights through thorns and briers of the wilderness, thus teaching the men of Succoth. 17He then went to the city of Penuel and tore down its tower, also killing the men of the city.

18He then said to Zebah and Zalmunna; Tell me of the men whom you killed in Tabor, what were they like? And they answered; They were much like you, each man resembled the son of a king. 19And Gideon replied; They were my brothers. As the LORD lives, I swear that if you had spared their lives, I would spare yours. 20Gideon then said to Jether his firstborn son; Strike them with the sword! But, because he was still a youth, he did not draw his sword, for he was afraid. 21Zebah and Zalmunna then said; You do it yourself, if you are man enough to. So Gideon killed them with the sword and took the ornaments off their camels' necks.

22The men of Israel then said to Gideon; Rule over us, you and your son and his descendants. For you have delivered us from the hand of Midian. 23And Gideon replied; Nether I or my descendants shall rule over you, but the LORD shall rule over you. 24However, I do desire that each man give me the golden earrings that he took from the Midianites as spoil. 25And each man gladly gave all the earrings of the men that they had conquered. 26The weight of all the golden earrings was approximately thirty-six pounds of gold, besides ornaments, pendants, the purple clothing that was on the kings of Midian and the chains that were around their camels' necks. 27Gideon then made a sacred ephod out of it, to give glory to the LORD and placed it in his city of Ophrah. However, all of Israel started to lust after it and it became a snare to Gideon and to his household. 28Thus the sons of Israel conquer Midian and the land had rest for forty years in the days of Gideon.

29Gideon then went and lived in his own house. 30He had seventy sons all biologically his own, for he had several wives. 31His concubine, in Shechem, also bore him a son whose name he called Abimelech. 32Gideon then died in a good old age and was buried in the tomb of his father, in Ophrah.

33But, as soon as Gideon was dead, the sons of Israel turned and again began lusting after false gods, making Baal-berith their god. 34The sons of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them from the hands of all their enemies on every side. 35Nor did they any longer show kindness to the household of Gideon, according to all the good he had done for Israel.

Judges: chapter 9
Abimelech, Israel's 6th judge, (1153-1150 BC), Gideon's son born of a concubine.

1Now Abimelech, Gideon's son born of his concubine, returned to the city of Shechem and spoke to all his mother's relatives of the house of Gideon, saying; 2I pray that you, speak to the men of Shechem and ask them whether they think it is better for them to have all the seventy sons of Gideon rule over them, or to have but one reign over them? Also, remind them that I was born in Shechem and am one of them.

3When the brothers spoke of this to the men of Shechem, they all favored Abimelech, for they all said that he is our brother. 4The men of Shechem then gave Abimelech seventy pieces of silver out of the house of the false god, Baal-berith. And with the money Abimelech hired worthless and reckless persons to follow him. 5Abimelech then went to his father's house at the city of Ophrah and killed all seventy of his brothers, the sons of Gideon. However, Jotham, the youngest son of Gideon, hid himself and survived. 6Then all the leaders of Shechem and of the house of Millo gathered together and crowned Abimelech as king.

7When Jotham heard that Abimelech was now the king over Israel, he stood on the top of Mount Gerizim. There he cried out, saying; Listen to me you leaders of Shechem, so that God may also listen to you.

8The trees, (the men of Shechem) went forth to anoint a king over them. And they said to the olive tree, (one brother); Reign over us. 9But the olive tree said to them; Should I leave my office with which the people honor God and man because of me and seek promotion over the trees? 10The trees then said to the fig tree, (another brother); You reign over us. 11But the fig tree said to them; Should I forsake my sweetness and my good fruit, to be promoted over the trees? 12Then the trees said to the vine, (yet another brother); You reign over us. 13But the vine said to them; Should I leave my wine, which cheers God and man, to be promoted over the trees? 14Then all the trees said to the (worthless) bramble-bush, (Abimelech); You reign over us. 15And the bramble-bush said to the trees, May you anoint me king over you, putting your trust in my (empty) shadow. But, if not, let fire come from the bramble and burn up your choice lands.

16Therefore, do you really think you have done an honorable thing in making Abimelech king? Have you dealt well with the house of Gideon, according to the goodness he had done to you? 17For my father fought for you, endangering his life and delivered you from the hands of Midian. 18But today you have risen up against my father's house and have killed his seventy sons, making Abimelech, the son of a slave woman, king over Shechem, because he is your brother. 19If you have dealt sincerely with Gideon and his household, then rejoice in Abimelech today and let him also rejoice in you. 20But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and burn up the men of Shechem and the house of Millo. And let fire come out from the men of Shechem and the house of Millo and burn up Abimelech. 21Jotham then fled and went to the town of Beer and stayed there for fear of Abimelech his brother.

22Abimelech reigned for three years over Israel. 23Then God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem and they dealt treacherously with Abimelech. 24So that the violence that was done to the seventy sons of Gideon might be known, laying their blood upon Abimelech their brother and upon the men of Shechem, whom assisted him in the killing of his brothers. 25The men of Shechem then set up an ambush for Abimelech, lying in wait on top of a mountain, robbing everyone whom passed by, however, Abimelech found out about this.

26When their ambush attempt failed, the men of Shechem put their confidence in a man named Gaal, setting him and his brothers over them. 27Going into their fields to gather their vineyards and to be merry and into the house of their god, eating and drinking as they also cursed Abimelech. 28Gaal then boldly spoke up and said; Who is this Abimelech and why should the people of Shechem serve him? For he is the son of Gideon? We belong to the family of Hamor the father of Shechem, why should we then serve Abimelech? 29I wish these people were under my hand! For I would then remove Abimelech. So Gaal told Abimelech, to prepare his army and come out and meet me.

30When Zebul the governor of the city heard the words of Gaal, his anger was aroused. 31And he sent message to Abimelech secretly, saying; Gaal and his brothers have come to Shechem and have turned the city against you. 32Therefore, come up with your troops by night and lie in wait in the field. 33And early in the morning, rise up and do to them as you please.

34So Abimelech rose up by night and all the people with him and they lay in wait against Shechem, split into four companies. 35Then Gaal stood in the entrance of the city gate and Abimelech and the troops with him came out from their lying in wait. 36When Gaal saw the people he said to Zebul, the governor; Men are coming down from the mountains. But, Zebul first said to him; You are seeing allusions, the shadow of the mountains seem as men. 37Then Gaal spoke again and said; Men are now coming from the plains and another company of men is coming from the forest. 38This time the governor said to him; We shall now see if you are all talk, for you said before, who is this Abimelech, that we should serve him? This is your enemy coming out to meet you, I pray that you will go out to fight with them. 39So Gaal fought with Abimelech and the men of Shechem. 40And Abimelech chased him as far as the gate of the city, wounding many as they fled. 41Then Abimelech stayed on the outskirts of the town, to verify that Gaal and his brothers did not come back into the city of Shechem.

42Now the very next day some of the people came out into their fields and they informed Abimelech of the conspiracy within the city. 43Abimelech then divided his troops into three companies, laying in wait in the field. As the people came out of the city, he rose up and struck them with the sword. 44Abimelech and the company of men with him, then stood in the entrance of the city, taking control of it. While the other two companies of men ran down everyone in the open fields and killed them. 45All that day Abimelech fought against the city, taking the city and destroying all the people in it. He then beat down the city and sowed it with salt, (NOTE: thus polluting the soil of the city).

46When the men of the tower of Shechem heard of this, they all entered into the fortified temple of their false god, Baal-Berith. 47When this was told Abimelech, 48He went up to Mount Zalmon, along with all the people with him. He then cut down a limb from the trees and placed it on his shoulder. Instructing the people with him to quickly do likewise. 49And each man did so. They then followed Abimelech to the fortified temple, setting the limb down and setting the fortified temple on fire. Everybody in the tower of Shechem died, approximately one thousand men and woman.

50Abimelech then went to the fortified city of Thebez, fought against it and took it. 51Within the city there was a strong tower and all the men, women and the leaders of the city, shut themselves into this stronghold. 52As Abimelech fought hard against the tower and was about to burn it with fire. 53A certain woman threw a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head and crushed his skull. 54He then quickly called his armor-bearer, saying to him; quickly, Kill me with your sword, so that men will not say of me; A woman killed him! And his armor-bearer thrust him through and he died. 55When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each one departed and went back to their own home.

56Thus God repaid the evil Abimelech had done to his father, in killing his seventy brothers. 57Also the evil of the men of Shechem, God returned upon their heads. Along with the curse of Jotham the son of Gideon.

Judges: chapter 10
Tola, Israel's 7th judge, (1150-1127 BC).

1After Abimelech's three year reign over Israel, Tola of the tribe of Issachar, arose to defend Israel and he lived in the city of Shamir in Mount Ephraim. 2He judged Israel for twenty-three years, to his death and was buried in the city of Shamir.

Jair, Israel's 8th judge, (1127-1105 BC).

3After him arose Jair, a Gileadite, from the tribe of Manasseh and he judged Israel twenty-two years. 4Jair had thirty sons, each of whom were high officials and his thirty sons had thirty cities, which are called Havoth-jair to this day in the land of Gilead. 5When Jair died, he was buried in the land of Kamon.

6The sons of Israel then did evil again in the sight of the LORD, serving false gods and goddess, along with the foreign gods of Syria, Sidon, Moab, Ammon and the Philistines. Leaving the LORD and serving these gods rather than Him. 7The anger of the LORD then burnt hot against Israel and He sold them into the hands of the Philistines and the hands of the sons of Ammon. 8In that year these foreigners crushed and oppressed all the sons of Israel for eighteen years on the east side of Jordan river, in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9The men of Ammon then passed over the Jordan river, into Canaan to also fight against Judah, Benjamin and the house of Ephraim, distressing Israel much. 10Thus the sons of Israel cried out to the LORD, saying; We have sinned against You, For we have both forsaken our God and we have also served false gods.

11And the LORD said to them; Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, the Amorites, the men of Ammon and from the Philistines? 12From the Sidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites as they oppressed you. You cried to Me and I delivered you out of their hand. 13You have again forsaken Me and served other gods. Therefore, I will not deliver you any more. 14Go cry to the gods which you have chosen. Let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation.

15And the sons of Israel said to the LORD; We have sinned. Do to us whatever is good in Your eyes. But, we pray, deliver us today! 16The children of Israel then put away the strange gods from among them and served the LORD. And His heart was moved by the misery of Israel.

17Then the sons of Ammon gathered in Gilead and the sons of Israel assembled themselves in Mizpeh. 18The Israelites then questioned themselves as what man who would lead them in the fight against the sons of Ammon? We shall make him head over all the people of Gilead.

Judges: chapter 11
Jephthah, Israel's 9th deliverer, from 1087-1081 BC, of the tribe of Manasseh.

1Gilead fathered Jephthah, a mighty man of war. A Gileadite and the son of a harlot and a stranger. 2Gilead's wife also bore him true sons. As the sons grew up, they threw out Jephthah, saying to him; You shall have no inheritance in our father's house, for you are an illegitimate son. 3So Jephthah fled from his brothers and lived in the land of Tob. And there he gathered to himself a band of worthless men.

4After much time the men of Ammon fought against Israel. 5When this happened, the elders of Gilead called for Jephthah out of the land of Tob. 6Requesting that Jephthah be their commander in the battle against the men of Ammon. 7But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead; You have despised me in the past and thrown me out of my father's house. Why do you now come to me, when you are in trouble? 8The elders replied; We have come to you so that you may fight with us against the men of Ammon and be the commander over all the people of Gilead. 9Jephthah then said to the elders of Gilead; If you will welcome me back home, I will fight against the men of Ammon with you and if the LORD delivers them to me, I shall become your king? 10The elders replied to Jephthah; The LORD is witness between us if we do not do so according to your word. 11So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead and the people made him head and commander over them. Jephthah then repeated all of these words before the LORD in Mizpeh.

12Jephthah then sent messengers to the king of Ammon, saying; What have you to do with us, why have you come against us, fighting here in our land? 13And the king replied; Because Israel took our land when they came out of Egypt, three hundred years ago, from Arnon to Jabbok and down to the Jordan river. Therefore, now restore those lands peaceably.

14Jephthah again sent messengers to the king of Ammon. 15Saying; I swear to you, that Israel did not take the land of Moab or the land of Ammon. 16When the sons of Israel came up from Egypt, they walked through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came out at Kadesh. 17During their journey Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying; I pray that you let us pass through your land. But the king of Edom refused them passage. In the same manor, they sent message to the king of Moab, but, he also refused them passage. Thus Israel stayed in Kadesh. 18They then went around the land of Edom and Moab, coming to the east border of Moab, but they did not cross over into Moab. 19And they sent message to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon. Saying; We pray that you will let us pass through your land, on our journey to our country. 20However Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his border. Rather he gathered his army together at Jahaz and fought against Israel. 21And the LORD God of Israel delivered the king and his people into the hand of Israel. Thus Israel possessed the land of the Amorites, who lived in that country. 22The borders of the Amorites, from Arnon to Jabbok and down to Jordan river.

23Therefore the LORD God of Israel has given the land of the Amorites to His people of Israel, why should you now possess it? 24Will you not also possess that which Chemosh your god gives you to possess? Whomever the LORD our God shall drive out from before us, that is the land we shall possess.

25Now tell me, are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he not oppose Israel, did he not want to fight against them. 26When Israel dwelt in Heshbon three hundred years ago, Why did you not take them then? 27I have not done you wrong, but you have wronged us. May the LORD, judge this day between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon. 28But the king of Ammon did not even regard the message that Jephthah had sent him.

29The Spirit of the LORD then came upon Jephthah. And he then passed over Gilead and gathered his troops and approached the men of Ammon. 30Jephthah then made a vow to the LORD, saying; If You will indeed give the men of Ammon into my hands. 31I shall give to the LORD, whatever comes out from the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the men of Ammon. It shall belong to the LORD and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.

32Jephthah then fought with the sons of Ammon and the LORD delivered them into his hand. 33He struck them with a very great slaughter from the town of Aroer, to the city of Minnith, covering twenty cities, to the plains. Thus the men of Ammon were conquered by the sons of Israel.

34Now when Jephthah had come back to his house in Mizpeh, his daughter came out and met him with timbrels and in dance and she was his only child. 35When Jephthah saw her, he tore his clothes and said; My daughter, you have brought me very low and am troubled. For I have made a vow to the LORD and I cannot go back on my word.

36And his daughter replied; If you have made a vow to the Lord, then do to me according to what you have spoken. Because the LORD has taken vengeance for you upon your enemies, of the men of Ammon. 37But I ask, that I be alone for two months, to go up and down the mountains and weep for my virginity and with my friends.

38Jephthah then sent her away for two months. And she went with her friends and wept for her virginity upon the mountains. 39And at the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her as he had vowed, for she had not known a man. Thus the custom in Israel became. 40That the daughters of Israel, for four days each year would remember the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Judges: chapter 12

1Then the men of Ephraim gathered together and said to Jephthah, Why did you not call us when you went to fight against the sons of Ammon? We will burn your house down for that. (NOTE: This is the second such like accusation the men of Ephraim made, the first is in chapter 8:1 against Gideon) 2Jephthah replied to them; I and my people were in great strife over the men of Ammon. And when I called you, you did not help us. 3When we saw that you were not coming, we crossed over and faced the sons of Ammon and the LORD delivered them into our hands. Why have you come up today, to accuse and fight against me? (NOTE: The men of Ephraim were mocking the Gileadites as a lessor outcast of Israel). 4Jephthah then called up all the men of Gilead and fought with Ephraim. Striking the men of Ephraim with the sword, because they said, You Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim, among the tribe of Ephraim and among the tribe of Manasseh. 5The Gileadites then took the lands of Jordan river before the Ephraimites. Guarding the crossing of the river, so that Ephraimites were not allowed to cross. 6Asking the person, to please say 'Shibboleth'. If the man would say, 'Sibboleth', for Ephraimites could not pronounce it right. The Gileadites would seize him and kill him at the passages of the Jordan river. All together forty-two thousand of the Ephraimites were killed. 7And Jephthah the Gileadite judged Israel for six years. He then died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.

Ibzan, Israel's 10th judge, (1080-1073 BC).

8After Jephthah, Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9He had thirty sons and thirty daughters all of whom married outside of their tribe. For he took thirty daughters from outside of his tribe for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10Ibzan then died and was buried at Bethlehem.

Elon, Israel's 11th judge, (1073-1063 BC).

11After Ibzan, Elon, a Zebulonite, judged Israel for ten years. 12He then died and was buried in Aijalon, the land of Zebulun.

Abdon, Israel's 12th judge, (1063-1056 BC).

13After Elon Abdon the son of Hillel, a Pirathonite, judged Israel. 14He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, each of whom were high ranking official. And Abdon judged Israel eight years. 15He then died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the Mount of the Amalekites.

Judges: chapter 13
Samson, Israel's 13th deliverer, from 1076-1055 BC, of the tribe of Dan.

1Again the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and the LORD delivered them into the hands of the Philistines for forty years.

2Now there was a man named Manoah of the tribe of Dan, who lived in the city of Zorah and his wife was childless. 3And the Angel of the LORD appeared to the woman and said to her; You have been barren and have not conceived a child. But, you shall conceive and bear a son. 4Please hear me and do not drink wine nor strong drink, or eat anything unclean. 5For you shall bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the child shall be a Nazarite to God from the womb. And he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.

6The woman then told her husband that; a Man of God came to me, His face was as an Angel of God, very terrifying. I did not ask Him where He came from, neither did He tell me His name. 7But He said to me, 'you shall bear a son'. Now do not drink any wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.

8Then the father prayed to the LORD, saying; My Lord, let the Man of God, whom You sent, come to us again and instruct us how to raise the boy that shall be born. 9And God listened to the voice of the father and the Angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10She then ran and told her husband, that the Man who appeared to me the other day has appeared to me again. 11Then her husband followed his wife, coming to the Man and said to Him; Are You the Man who spoke to my wife? And the Man said; I am. 12Manoah then said; Let Your words come to pass. Tell us how we should raise the child? 13The Angel of the LORD then said to Manoah; Let the mother of the child heed all that I told her. 14She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, nor drink wine or strong drink, nether shall she eat any unclean thing.

15Manoah then said to the Angel of the LORD; I pray that You will stay, until we prepare a meal of a young goat for You. 16The Angel of the LORD then said to Manoah; Though you detain Me, I will not eat of your bread. If you wish to offer a burnt offering, offer it to the LORD. He said this, because Manoah did not know that He was the Angel of the LORD.

17Manoah asked; What is Your name, so that when Your words come to pass, we will know who to honor? 18And the Angel of the LORD, replied; Why do you ask My name, for it is Wonderful, Isaiah 9:6. 19Manoah then took a young goat and offered it upon a rock to the LORD. While the Angel did wonders, with Manoah and his wife looking on. 20For when the flame went up toward heaven from the sacrifice on the altar, the Angel of the LORD also went up to heaven. As Manoah and his wife looked on, they fell down in worship with their faces to the ground. 21The Angel of the LORD appeared no more to Manoah and to his wife and by this, Manoah knew that He was an Angel of the LORD.

22Manoah said to his wife; We shall surely die because we have seen God. 23But his wife said to him; If the LORD wished to kill us, He would not have received a burnt offering and a food offering from our hands, nor would He have shown us all these things, or have told us of such things to come.

24The woman bore a son and called his name Samson. Now the child grew and the LORD blessed him. 25For the Spirit of the LORD began to move him at times in the camp of the tribe of Dan between the city of Zorah and the town of Eshtaol.

Judges: chapter 14

1When Samson was grown, he went down to the city of Timnath and there he saw a Philistine woman. 2When he returned home, he said to his father and mother; I have seen a Philistine woman in the city of Timnath, get her for me as a wife. 3But his father and mother said; Is there not a woman among the daughters of our own people, that you would go and take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines? But, Samson said to his father; Get her for me, for she pleases me very much. 4For his father and mother did not know that this was from the LORD, that the LORD was looking for an occasion against the Philistines. For at that time the Philistines ruled over Israel.

5Samson then, with his father and mother went down to Timnath. As they came to the vineyards of Timnath, a young lion roared against him. 6And the Spirit of the LORD then came mightily upon him and he tore the lion open as he would have torn a young goat open, with nothing but his bare hands. But he did not tell his father or mother about this. 7Samson then went down and talked with the woman and she pleased him very much. 8After sometime, he returned to take her and he turned aside to see the caucus of the lion. A swarm of bees with their honey was now in the dead body of the lion. 9And with his hands, Samson took and ate some of the honey, also bringing some of the honey back to his father and mother and they also ate of it. But, he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the dead body of the lion.

10His father then went down to the woman and Samson prepared the wedding feast, which was the customary thing for young men to do. 11Now when the people saw Samson, they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12And Samson said to them; I will tell you a riddle. If you can tell me its meaning within the seven days of the feast, I will then give you thirty linen garments. 13But if you cannot tell me, you shall give me thirty linen garments. They agreed to this and said to him, tell us the riddle. 14He then said to them; Out of the eater came forth food and out of the strong came forth sweetness. Now after three days they were not able to declare the riddle. 15And on the fourth day of the feast they said to Samson's wife; Persuade your husband to tell us the riddle, lest we burn you and your father's house down. For, is it not so, that you have called us to take away what we have? 16Samson's wife then wept before him, saying; You hate me and do not love me! For you have put forth a riddle to the sons of my people and have not told it to me. Samson said to her; Nether have I told my father or mother, why then shall I tell you? 17And she continued to weep before him all the days of the feast. On the seventh day, he told her, because she continually pleaded with him. She then immediately told the riddle to her people.

18The men of the city then said to him on the seventh day, What is sweeter than honey and what stronger than a lion? And Samson said to them; If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle. 19The Spirit of the LORD then came upon Samson and he went down to Ashkelon, a major Philistine city and killed thirty men, took their spoil and gave their garments to the thirty companions. Samson's anger was then hot and he went up to his father's house. 20And Samson's wife was given to his companion, who had served as his friend.

Judges: chapter 15

1After some time, in the springtime, Samson visited his wife with a young goat, as a token of reconciliation. And he meant to go into his wife in her bedroom, but her father would not allow him to do so. 2And her father said to Samson; I thought that you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Her younger sister is even more beautiful than she is, please take her instead. 3Samson replied; This time when I do evil on the Philistines, I shall be even more blameless than the first. 4Samson then caught three hundred foxes and turning the foxes' tail to tail, he tied a torch between the two tails. 5He then lit the torches and let them go into the standing grain fields of the Philistines. And everything burnt up, all the stored grain and the standing grain, the vineyards and olive groves.

6When the Philistines realized that it was Samson, who had done this, the son-in-law of the Timnite. Because her father had taken his wife and given her to his companion. The Philistines came up and burned her and her father with fire. 7Samson said to them; Though you have done this, I will yet avenge you again, for the last time. 8He then openly and unsparingly struck them with a great slaughter and then went down and lived in the cave of the rock of Etam.

9The Philistines then went up to Judah, preparing for battle against Lehi, within the country of Judah. 10And the men of Judah questioned, why they had come against them? And they answered, We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he has done to us. 11Three thousand men of Judah then went to the top of the rock Etam and said to Samson. Are you aware that the Philistines are ruling over us, what have you done to cause this? And Samson said; As they have done to me, I have also done to them. 12They then said; We have come to bind you and deliver you into the hands of the Philistines. At that Samson said; Swear to me that you will not come against me yourselves. 13So they gave him their word, that they would not kill him, but only bind him and deliver him to the Philistines. Then they bound him with two new ropes, bringing him up from the rock. 14They brought him to Lehi and as the Philistines shouted against him. The Spirit of the LORD mightily came upon Samson, the cords on his arms became as threads and they broke off of his hands. 15Samson took up a jawbone of an ass and killed one thousand men with it. 16He then said; With the jawbone of an ass, I have made a donkey out of them, killing one thousand men. 17Then throwing away the jawbone, he called that place, 'Hill of the Jawbone'.

18Then Samson was very thirsty and called upon the LORD, saying; You have given your servant this great deliverance. Now shall I die with thirst, falling into the hands of the uncircumcised? 19So God split open a rock and water came out of it. Samson then drank and his spirit was restored. And the name of this place is called, Fountain of the Praying One, which is in Lehi to this day. 20In the days of Philistines, Samson judged Israel for twenty years.

Judges: chapter 16

1Samson then went to Gaza, there he saw a harlot and went into her. 2When the Philistine people of that city knew that Samson was there. They surrounded him and laid in wait for him all night in the gate of the city. Planning to kill him at the light of morning. 3Samson lay there with the woman until midnight and then rose up. He took hold of the city gates and their two posts, put them on his shoulders, with the bar attached and carried them up to the top of a hill, that is before Hebron.

4After this, he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5Now the lords of the Philistines came to her, asking her. To seduce him and find out where his great strength lies. And how we can prevail against him to afflict him. For this we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.

6So Delilah said to Samson; Please tell me where your great strength lies and how we can bind you, in order to afflict you. 7Samson answered and said; If they bind me with seven green cords that have not been dried, I shall then be weak as any other man. 8So the lords of the Philistines brought her seven green cords, which had not been dried and she bound him with them. 9Now men in ambush were waiting for him in the inner room. Then she said to him; Samson, The Philistines are upon you! And he broke the cords like a thread and his strength remained unknown.

10Delilah then said to Samson; you have mocked me, telling me lies. Now, please, tell me with what you can be bound. 11Samson said to her; If they bind me fast with new ropes that have never been used, then I shall be weak as any other man. 12So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them. She then said to him; The Philistines are upon you, Samson! Again the ambush was waiting for him in the inner room, but Samson again broke the rope off his arms like a thread.

13Delilah then said to Samson; You have mocked me again, telling me lies. Tell me with what you may be bound. Samson replied; If you weave the seven locks of hair on my head. 14She then did so and fastened it with the pin and said to him; The Philistines are upon you, Samson! He then awoke out of his sleep and went away.

15She then said to him; How can you tell me that you love me, when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times and have not told me where your great strength lies. 16Because she distressed him daily with her words, his soul was grieved to death. 17He told her what was in his heart, saying; A razor has not come on my hair, for I am a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaven, then my strength will leave me and I will become weak like any other man.

18When Delilah perceived that he had told her the truth, she called for the lords of the Philistines, saying; Come up once again, for he has confided in me from his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, with the silver as they had promised. 19Delilah then made Samson sleep on her knees. She then called for a man to shave off the seven locks of hair from his head. And she began to afflict him, for his strength had left him. 20Calling to Samson, she said; The Philistines are upon you, Samson! And he awoke out of his sleep, thinking to himself; I will go out, as I have all the other times before, For he did not know that the LORD had departed from him. 21And the Philistines took him and put out his eyes and brought him down to Gaza and bound him with chains of brass. Making him do the physical labors of grinding grain in the prison.

22While in the prison his hair began to grow again. 23Now the lords of the Philistines gathered together in order to rejoice and offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, for delivering Samson, our enemy into our hands. 24Also the people praised their god. For they said; Our god has delivered our enemy and the destroyer of our country into our hands, for he has killed many of us. 25Now as all the people were feeling merry, they called for Samson from the prison to make sport of him and they set him between the two foundational pillars of the stadium. 26And Samson said to the lad who led him by the hand; Allow me to feel the pillars upon which the stadium stands, so that I may lean upon them.

27Now the stadium was filled with men and women, all the lords of the Philistines were there and even on the roof there were about three thousand men and women watching, while they made sport of Samson. 28Samson then called to the LORD, saying; LORD, remember me, I pray and strengthen me this once that I may be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes. 29So Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the stadium stood and was held up by. One pillar with his right hand and of the other with his left. 30He then said; Let me die with the Philistines. And bowed himself mightily, so that the stadium fell upon the lords and upon all the people in it. And the count of the dead that he killed at his death were more than those he killed in his life.

31His brothers and all the house of his father then came down, took the body and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burying place of Manoah his father. Samson had judged Israel twenty years.

Judges: chapter 17

1Now there was a man named Micah, of Mount Ephraim. 2He said to his mother; The eleven hundred shekels of silver which were taken from you, I overheard you, cursing the theft of it. I have the silver, for I took it and his mother said; Be blessed of the LORD, my son. 3When Micah had given back the eleven hundred shekels of silver to his mother. His mother replied; I had wholly given the silver to the LORD from my hand, for my son to make a graven image. 4So his mother took two hundred shekels of silver and gave them to a refiner, who made an engraved molten image out of it. And the image sat in the house of Micah. 5For Micah made an ephod, (a priestly object) and had several pagan household gods within his household. He then anointed one of his sons, to become his priest. 6For in those days, there was no king in Israel, so every man did what was right in his own eyes.

7Now there was a young man out of Bethlehem-judah of the family of Judah, whom was of the priestly tribe of Levite and he stayed there. 8For he left the city of Bethlehem-judah, seeking where he might stay and he came to the house of Micah in Mount Ephraim. 9Micah then asked him, where he came from? And he answered; I am a Levite of Bethlehem, on a journey looking for a place to stay. 10And Micah replied; Stay with me and be a father and a priest to me. I will give you ten shekels of silver per year, a suit of clothes and room and board. So the Levite accepted the offer and stayed there. 11The Levite was content to live with the man and the young man was to him as one of his sons. 12Micah then consecrated the Levite and the young man became his priest, in the house of Micah. (NOTE: The act of having a non-Levite consecrate a Levite as a priest was against Levitical order). 13And Micah said to himself; Now I know that the LORD will do good to me, now that I have a Levite as my priest.

Judges: chapter 18

1In the days when Israel had no king, the tribe of Dan was still looking to take procession of their land inheritance among the tribes of Israel. 2From the tribe of Dan, five men of war were sent to spy out the land. When the men had come to Mount Ephraim, they stayed at the house of Micah. 3While in the house, they recognized the voice of the young man the Levite. And they asked him; How did you get here, why are you here and what do you do here? 4The Levite replied; Micah has hired me to be his priest.

5The men then asked him, saying; We pray that you will ask counsel of God, on our behalf. That we will know if our mission, seeking land will be prosperous. 6And the priest said to them; Yes, the way in which you go is before the LORD. 7The five men then departed and came to the region of Laish, where they saw how the people lived in quiet seclusion but also in corruption as the Sidonians do, for there was no judge in the land to put them to shame. 8The men then returned to their brothers and were asked for their report. 9And they said; The land is good, let us not be lazy, but go up and possess the land. 10It is a large land, a place where there is no lack of anything in the earth and the people believe they are secure, but God has given it into our hands.

11So six hundred men of the tribe of the Dan, girded themselves with weapons of war. 12They first camped just west of Kirjath-jearim, within Judah and called the place where they camped, 'A Camp of Dan' and is called that to this day. 13From there they passed to Mount Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.

14Then the five men who went to spy out the region of Laish said to the other men; In this house there is an ephod, household gods and engraved molten images. Let us consider what we shall do about this. 15So they came to Micah's house, where the young Levite was and they greeted him. 16While the six hundred men all stood by the entrance dressed in their weapons of war. 17The five men went in the house and took the ephod, the household gods, the engraved molten images. While the priest also stood at the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men. 18As the five men brought out these things from Micah's house, the priest asked them, what they were doing? 19And they said to him; Be quiet, don't say a word and come with us. You can be to us a father and a priest. Is it not better for you to be a priest to a whole tribe and a family of Israel, than to the house of one man? 20When the Levite heard this, his heart was glad and he went with the men along with the ephod, the household gods and the engraved molten images, they had taken.

21The men then departed, putting the children, the cattle and the valuables before them. 22When they had gone a distance from Micah's house, Micah and his neighbors gathered together and overtook the sons of Dan. 23When they called out, the men of the tribe of Dan said to Micah; What is wrong, that you have gathered a party together? 24And Micah replied; You have taken away my gods which I made and my priest. I have nothing left and now you say to me, What is wrong? 25The sons of Dan then said; Do not provoke us to anger, least we come against you and you lose your life and the lives of your household. 26Then the sons of Dan turned and left. And when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he went back to his house.

27The men of Dan carried the things that Micah had made and the priest came to the region of Laish. And they attacked the people and burned the city with fire. 28There was no one to deliver that city, for it was far from Sidon and they did not interact with others. 29The men of Dan renamed the city from 'Laish' to 'Dan', after the name of their father, who was born to Israel. 30They then set up the engraved image. And Jonathan, the son of Gershom, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day of their captivity. 31Also they set up Micah's engraved images for themselves and they remained there the entire time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

Judges: chapter 19
Israel's civil war against the tribe of Benjamin.

1In the days when no king reigned in Israel, a certain Levite residing on the far side of Mount Ephraim, took for himself a concubine from Bethlehem-judah. 2His concubine then played the harlot against him and was at her father's house for four whole months, in Bethlehem-judah. 3Then her husband went after her, speaking kindly to her, so as to bring her back to him and she brought him into her father's house. When the father of the girl saw the Levite, he rejoiced gladly. 4And the girl's father, the Levite's father-in-law detained him from leaving. So he stayed with him three days, while they ate and drank.

5On the fourth day, early in the morning when they were preparing to leave. The girl's father said to his son-in-law; Stay for a meal and afterward you can go your way. 6So both of them sat down ate and drank and the girl's father again said; Please be content here, stay all night and let your heart be merry. 7That day when the man got up to leave, his father-in-law urged him to stay, so the Levite stayed the night.

8On the fifth day he got up early in the morning to leave. And the girl's father again said; Please stay, be of good cheer and wait here until afternoon, so they stayed until afternoon. 9That day when the man and his concubine got up to leave, together with the man's servant, his father-in-law said to him; The day is now drawing towards evening. Please stay all night and let your heart be merry. Tomorrow you can leave early in the morning and go to your own tent. 10However the man would not stay that night and he got up and left. Traveling with two saddled donkeys, his servant and his concubine, they came to Jebus, which is Jerusalem.

11As they were beside Jebus, with the day now being far gone. His servant said to his master; Let us please turn into this city of the Jebusites and stay the night. 12But his master answered; We shall not turn into the city of a stranger that is not of the sons of Israel. We will pass over to Gibeah. 13Then he said to his servant, let us draw near to either Gibeah or Ramah and there we shall spend the night. 14So they continued on their journey and the sun went down, as they were beside the city of Gibeah, which is of the tribe of Benjamin. 15So they lodged in Gibeah. And he sat down in a street of the city, for no man took them into his house to stay the night.

16At that time in the evening, an old man came in from his work out of the field. Who was also from Mount Ephraim, now living in Gibeah, but the rest of the men in the town were of the tribe of Benjamin. 17As the older man came into the city streets, he inquired of the traveler, where he was going and where he came from? 18The traveler answered; We are traveling from Bethlehem-judah to Mount Ephraim. That is where I am from, I am now going back to the house of the LORD, but I have found no man here who would receive me into his house. 19Even though, we have both straw and food for our donkeys and food and drink for us, we lack nothing. 20But the older man said; Peace be with you, though you lack nothing allow me to provide your needs, but don't sleep in the street. 21So the older man brought him into his house and provided for his donkeys. Then they washed their feet and ate and drank.

22As they were eating and drinking. Certain worthless men of the city surrounded the house, knocking on the door and calling out to the master of the house, saying; Bring out the man that came to your house so that we may know and have pleasure with him 23Now the master of the house went out and said; My brothers, I pray that you do not do evil and commit this foolish sin, for this man is a guest in my house. 24Take my daughter, whom is a virgin and his concubine. I will bring them out to you and you can abuse them, with what seems right to you. But, do not do such a disgusting thing to this man. 25But the men would not listen, so the Levite brought his concubine out to them. And they repeatedly raped her all night, then sending her away at the breaking of morning. 26At the breaking of day, the woman fell down at the door of the man's house where her master was. 27In the morning when the Levite was about to continue on his way. He noticed his concubine was laying at the door of the house and her hands were grasping the threshold.

28When he said to her; Get up, let us continue on our journey! But there was no answer. The Levite then put her on his donkey and journeyed to his home. 29When he arrived at his home. He cut up his concubine into twelve pieces with a knife, sending each piece to one of the twelve tribes of Israel. 30And when the people of Israel saw this, they said; We have not seen such a deed done in Israel, since the day the sons of Israel came out of the land of Egypt. Let us take counsel over this and give judgment.

Judges: chapter 20

1The entire congregation of the sons of Israel then gathered together, from cities near and far, before the LORD, in the city of Mizpeh. 2all the leaders of tribes of Israel were assembled there before God, including four hundred thousand men capable of war. 3(Meanwhile the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpeh, to judge this case). As the sons of Israel inquired as to how this evil thing had happened?

4The Levite, the husband of the concubine that was slain, said; I came into the city of Gibeah of the tribe of Benjamin to stay the night, with my concubine. 5At night, the men of that city surround the house and came against us, intending to kill me. They repeatedly raped my concubine until she died. 6I then took my concubine, cut her in pieces and sent her throughout all the regions of Israel, showing everybody of the evil they had committed in Israel. 7Now, as sons of Israel, give your advice and counsel.

8All the people in agreement, said; Until this is settled, no man shall go to his tent or turn into his house. 9We shall go against the city of Gibeah, by lot. 10Taking one in ten men of all the tribes of Israel, bringing gifts of food for the people and when we come into the city of Gibeah of the tribe of Benjamin. We shall do according to all the folly which they have done in Israel.

11Every man of Israel, all being in one accord, then gathered against the city. 12And the tribes of Israel sent men throughout the entire city, inquiring as to why this wickedness was done among you? 13Saying; therefore, deliver the worthless men in the city to us, so that we may put them to death, putting away the evil from Israel. However, the men of Benjamin did not listen to their brothers of Israel. 14Instead the sons of Benjamin gathered all the men from their neighboring cities to the city of Gibeah, to battle against the sons of Israel. 15From the other cities there were twenty-six thousand men prepared for war, plus seven thousand men from the city of Gibeah, itself. 16Among the armies of Benjamin, were seven hundred chosen, left handed men, everyone of them was an excellent marksman. 17However the men of Israel, against Benjamin were four hundred thousand men prepared for war.

18The sons of Israel then ask counsel of God, as to who should be the first tribe to go up against the sons of Benjamin? And the LORD said; the tribe of Judah shall be first. 19Now early in the morning, the sons of Israel camped against the city of Gibeah. 20And the men of Israel went out each in their position to battle against Benjamin. 21That day, the sons of Benjamin killed twenty-two thousand men of Israel. 22The men of Israel then encouraged themselves and regrouped for battle setting themselves in their order again, as they were in the first day. 23They then went up and wept before the LORD until evening time, asking counsel of the LORD; If they should go up again to battle against our brothers, the sons of Benjamin? And the LORD said; Yes, go up against them.

24On the second day, when the sons of Israel came against the sons of Benjamin. 25The men of Benjamin killed eighteen thousand men of the sons of Israel. 26All the sons of Israel then came into the house of God, weeping, fasting and offering burnt and peace offerings before the LORD, that day until evening. 27Inquiring again of the LORD, (for in those days, the Ark of the covenant of God was there with 28Phinehas the son of Eleazar, standing before it). And he said; Shall we yet again battle against our brothers, the sons of Benjamin or shall we stop? And the LORD said; Go up to battle, for tomorrow, I will deliver them into your hands.

29Israel then set ambushes all around the city. 30And on the third day, the sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin. 31The men of Benjamin pursued the men of Israel and were drawn away from their city. As in the past, they began to strike the people on the highways and about thirty men in all fell. 32At seeing this, the sons of Benjamin were convinced that their brothers were again retreating from them in defeat as before. But it was the plan of the sons of Israel to draw them away from the city, into the open streets. 33The men of Israel who were waiting in ambush then came out from the plains of the city. 34about ten thousand chosen men of Israel came out and as the battle grew more intense, the Benjaminites did not realize that disaster was near. 35For the LORD struck Benjamin before all of Israel and the sons of Israel destroyed twenty-five thousand one hundred men of Benjamin that day.

36And the sons of Benjamin were defeated, for the men of Israel trusted in their plan of ambush that they set against the city. 37For the men in ambush came quickly against the city, striking the whole city with the sword. 38For the agreed signal between the men of Israel and the men in ambush, was a great cloud of smoke rising up from the city. 39First the men of Israel retreated in the battle and the men of Benjamin killed about thirty persons on the run. Giving the sons of Benjamin the false perception that they had again defeated the sons of Israel. 40But then the pillar of smoke began to rise from the city and the sons of Benjamin saw that the whole city was on fire. 41Then the men of Israel turned back on them and the men of Benjamin were stunned, for they saw that defeat was near. 42For as they faced the men of Israel, the battle overtook them. Also, those Benjaminites who fled out of the cities were destroyed in the midst of the battle. 43For the men of Israel encircled Benjamin overcoming them with ease, pressing them back against Gibeah, their own city now on fire. 44There eighteen thousand men of Benjamin fell. 45The remaining Benjaminites fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon. And the men of Israel slaughtered five thousand men in the highways and pursued them even further killing yet two thousand more men.

46All the men of Benjamin that fell that day were twenty-five thousand men of valor. 47However six hundred men escaped into the wilderness, to the rock of Rimmon and they stayed there for four months. 48At that time, the sons of Israel returned to the sons of Benjamin and struck the entire city and even their livestock, everything that they found. Setting on fire all the cities that they came to.

Judges: chapter 21

1While the men of Israel were gathered together, they swore, that none of them would give his daughter in marriage to a man of the tribe of Benjamin. 2The people then came into the house of God in Bethel, staying there before God until evening calling out to God and weeping bitterly. 3Saying; LORD God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel, that one of our tribes should be lacking?

4The people rose early the next day, built an altar and offered burnt and peace offerings upon it. 5The sons of Israel then inquired among themselves, if any of the tribes of Israel had not come up to this place of the LORD. For they had taken an oath that the man who had not come up would be put to death. 6They then repented concerning their brothers, the tribe of Benjamin. For they said; This day, there is one tribe cut off from Israel. 7Therefore, how can we provide wives for those who are left of the tribe of Benjamin, since we have sworn before the LORD that we will not give them of our daughters for wives? 8They then realized that no one from the half tribe of Manasseh staying in the town of Jabesh-gilead had come up to the assembly before the LORD. 9For all the people were counted and no one from that town was there.

10So the men of the congregation sent twelve hundred valiant men to that place. Commanding them to kill the people of Jabesh-gilead, the women and their sons. 11Killing every male and every woman who has lain with man. 12Among the people of the town, they found four hundred young virgins, so they brought them to the city of Shiloh, in the land of Canaan.

13The company of men then sent words of peace to the sons of Benjamin, who were now in rock Rimmon. 14And the men of Benjamin came out from their place of hiding at that time and were given the four hundred virgins as wives from Jabesh-gilead. But, even this was not enough for them.

15The people of Israel again repented for their brothers of Benjamin, because the LORD had formed a break in the tribes of Israel. 16And the elders of the congregation questioned what they should do for wives for the men of the tribe of Benjamin that had survived, for their women had been killed as well? 17Thinking there must be an inheritance for those of the tribe of Benjamin, who have escaped, so that the tribe would not cease within Israel. 18Knowing that we cannot give them our daughters as their wives, for we have sworn an oath; That cursed be the man who gives his daughter as a wife to the tribe of Benjamin. 19However the annual feast of the LORD is coming up in the city of Shiloh.

20So they instructed the sons of Benjamin, to attend this feast. But, to lie in wait, hidden in the vineyards. 21And when the daughters come out to dance, you then come out from your hiding and grab yourself a wife and head back to your own land, allotted to the tribe of Benjamin. 22And if their fathers or brothers come to us and complain, we will tell them; To be gracious to the sons of Benjamin, for our sakes. For the outcome of the war, did not allow for each man to have a wife. Now at this time, you have not given your daughters to them, for that would have made you guilty of breaking your oath.

23Thus the sons of Benjamin did as such, taking wives according to their number, from the daughters that danced. Then returning to their allotted land inheritance and they rebuilt their cities. 24The sons of Israel then left that place, each man going to his own tribe and family. 25For in those days there was no king in Israel and every man did what was right in his own eyes.