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The Book of Judges
- Author: Samuel
- Place Written: Israel
- When Written: c. 1100 B.C.E.
The Continuing Conquest of Canaan
1 Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of Jehovah, saying, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” 2 And Jehovah said, “Judah shall go up: look, I have given the land into his hand.” 3 And Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted to me, that we may fight against the Canaanites. And I likewise will go with you into the territory allotted to you.” So, Simeon went with him.
4 Then Judah went up and Jehovah gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand, and they defeated ten thousand men at Bezek. 5 And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek; and they fought against him, and they struck the Canaanites and the Perizzites. 6 But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his big toes. 7 Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.” So, they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
8 And then the sons of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire. 9 And afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country and in the Negev and in the Shephelah. 10 And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron (now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba); and they struck Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai.
11 Then from there he went against the inhabitants of Debir (the name of Debir was previously Kiriath-sepher). 12 And Caleb said, “He who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will give him Achsah my daughter as a wife.” 13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it. And he gave him Achsah his daughter as a wife. 14 And it came about, when she came to him, that she urged him to ask her father for a field: and she dismounted from her donkey; and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 15 She said to him, “Give me a blessing, since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also Gulloth-maim.” So, Caleb gave her Upper Gulloth and Lower Gulloth.
16 The descendants of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law, went up from the city of palms with the sons of Judah, to the wilderness of Judah which is in the south of Arad; and they went and dwelt with the people. 17 And Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they struck the Canaanites who inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was called Hormah. 18 And Judah captured Gaza with its territory and Ashkelon with its territory and Ekron with its territory. 19 And Jehovah was with Judah; and drove out the inhabitants of the hill country; for he could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron. 20 And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had spoken. And he drove out from it the three sons of Anak.
21 But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so, the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.
Joseph Takes Bethel
22 And the house of Joseph, they also went up against Bethel; and Jehovah was with them. 23 And the house of Joseph spied out Bethel (now the name of the city was formerly Luz). 24 And the spies saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him, “Please show us the way into the city, and we will deal kindly with you.” 25 And he showed them the way into the city. And they struck the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his family go. 26 And the man went to the land of the Hittites and built a city and called its name Luz, which is its name to this day.
Failure to Complete the Conquest
27 And Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its surrounding towns, nor of Taanach and its surrounding towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and its surrounding towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and its surrounding towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and its surrounding towns; but the Canaanites would dwell in that land. 28 And it came about, when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.
29 And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were dwelling in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.
30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites dwelt among them and became subject to forced labor.
31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob, 32 so the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land, for they did not drive them out.
33 Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced labor for them.
34 Then the Amorites forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the plain. 35 So the Amorites persisted in dwelling in Mount Heres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim, but the hand of the house of Joseph rested heavily on them, and they became subject to forced labor. 36 And the border of the Amorites ran from the ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.
Israel’s Disobedience – Warning from the Angel of Jehovah
2 And the angel of Jehovah came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up from Egypt, and have brought you to the land which I swore to your forefathers; and I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall break down their altars. But you have not listened to my voice: why have you done this? 3 Therefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.”
4 And it came about, when the angel of Jehovah spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voice, and wept. 5 And they called the name of that place Bochim, and they sacrificed there to Jehovah.
The Death of Joshua
6 Now when Joshua had sent the people away, the sons of Israel went every man to his inheritance to possess the land. 7 And the people served Jehovah all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of Jehovah that he had done for Israel. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of Jehovah, died, being one hundred and ten years 9 And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 And all that generation also were gathered to their forefathers; and there rose up another generation after them, that did not know Jehovah, nor yet the work which he had done for Israel.
Israel’s Unfaithfulness – Judges Raised Up to Save Israel
11 And the sons of Israel did that which was evil in the eyes of Jehovah and served the Baals. 12 And they abandoned Jehovah, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the peoples that were around them and bowed themselves down to them; and they provoked Jehovah to anger. 13 And they abandoned Jehovah and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. 14 So the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and he sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. 15 Whenever they went out, the hand of Jehovah was against them for evil, as Jehovah had spoken, and as Jehovah had sworn to them, and they were severely distressed
Jehovah Raises Up Judges
16 And Jehovah raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them. 17 And yet they did not listen to their judges; for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They quickly turned aside from the way in which their forefathers had walked, those who had obeyed the commandments of Jehovah, and they did not do so. 18 When Jehovah raised up judges for them, Jehovah was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for Jehovah was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them.
19 But when the judge died, they would again act more corruptly than their fathers by following other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not abandon their practices and their stubborn behavior. 20 So the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel; and he said, “Because this nation has transgressed my covenant which I commanded their forefathers, and have not listened to my voice, 21 I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of Jehovah to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So Jehovah left those nations, without driving them out quickly; and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua.
Jehovah Tests Israel
3 Now these are the nations which Jehovah left, to test Israel by them, that is, all of Israel who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan. 2 This was so that generations of the sons of Israel would experience war, those who had not experienced such things before. 3 The five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in Mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon as far as the entrance of Hamath. 4 They were for the testing of Israel, to know whether Israel would obey the commandments of Jehovah, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. 5 And the sons of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 6 And their daughters they took to themselves for wives, and their own daughters they gave to their sons, and they served their gods.
Othniel, the First Judge
7 And the sons of Israel did what was evil in the eyes of Jehovah, and forgot Jehovah their God, and served the Baals and the Asheroth. 8 Therefore, the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. 9 And when the sons of Israel cried to Jehovah, Jehovah raised up a savior to the sons of Israel, who saved them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 And the Spirit of Jehovah came upon him, and he judged Israel; and he went out to war, and Jehovah delivered Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand: and his hand prevailed against Cushan-rishathaim. 11 Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
Judge Ehud Kills Fat King Eglon
12 And the sons of Israel again did what was evil in the eyes of Jehovah: and Jehovah strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the eyes of Jehovah. 13 And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and struck Israel, and they possessed the city of palm trees. 14 And the sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. 15 But when the sons of Israel cried to Jehovah, Jehovah raised them up a savior, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a lefthanded man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. 16 And Ehud made for himself a two-edged sword, a cubit long, and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak. 17 And he presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man.
18 And when Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he sent away the people who carried the tribute. 19 But after reaching the carved images at Gilgal, he himself went back and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” So, the king said, “Silence.” And all his attendants went out from his presence. 20 And Ehud came to him as he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he rose up from his seat. 21 And Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. 22 And the handle also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the excrement came out. 23 Then Ehud went out into the porch and closed the doors of the roof chamber behind him and locked them.
24 When he had gone, the servants came, and when they saw that the doors of the roof chamber were locked, they thought, “Surely he is relieving himself in the closet of the cool chamber.” 25 And they waited till they were utterly at a loss. But look when he still did not open the doors of the roof chamber. So, they took the key and opened them, and look there lay their lord dead on the floor.
26 And Ehud escaped while they delayed, and he passed beyond the carved images and escaped to Seirah. 27 And it came about when he had arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was before them 28 And he said to them, “Follow after me, for Jehovah has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand.” So, they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites and did not allow any man to pass over. 29 And they struck down at that time about ten thousand Moabites, all strong, able-bodied men; not a man escaped. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest for eighty years.
31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistine men with an ox goad; and he also saved Israel.
Canaanite King Jabin Oppresses Israel
4 And the sons of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of Jehovah after Ehud died. 2 And Jehovah sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who dwelt in Harosheth of the Gentiles. 3 And the sons of Israel cried to Jehovah: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and twenty years he cruelly oppressed the sons of Israel.
Prophetess Deborah and Judge Barak
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment. 6 Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “Look, Jehovah, the God of Israel, has commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. 7 And I will draw to you by the river Kishon, Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his troops; and I will give him into your hand.’”
8 Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, I will go, but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” 9 And she said, “I will surely go with you: nevertheless, the journey that you are about to take shall not be for your honor; for Jehovah will sell Sisera into the hand of a woman.” Then Deborah rose up, and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh; and there went up ten thousand men at his heels, and Deborah went up with him.
11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.
12 When they reported to Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 Sisera called out all his chariots, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the men who were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles to the river Kishon. 14 And Deborah said to Barak, “Up! For this is the day in which Jehovah has given Sisera into your hand. Does not Jehovah go out before you?” So, Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 And Jehovah routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth of the Gentiles, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not a man was left.
Jael Kills Army Chief Sisera
17 But Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my lord, turn aside to me. Do not be afraid.” So, he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So, she opened a skin bottle of milk and gave him a drink and covered him. 20 And he said to her, “Stand at the entrance of the tent, and if any man comes and asks you, and says, ‘Is anyone here?’ that you shall say, ‘No.’
21 But Jael the wife of Heber took a tent peg and took a hammer in her hand. Then she went softly to him and drove the peg into his temple until it went through into the ground while he was lying fast asleep from weariness. So, he died.
22 And look, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” And he entered with her and look Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple.
23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the sons of Israel. 24 And the hand of the sons of Israel pressed harder and harder against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.
The Song of Deborah and Barak
5 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying,
2 “That the leaders took the lead in Israel,
that the people offered themselves willingly,
3 “Hear, O kings; give ear, O princes;
to Jehovah I will sing;
I will make melody to Jehovah, the God of Israel.
4 “Jehovah, when you went out from Seir,
when you marched from the region of Edom,
the earth trembled
and the heavens dropped,
yes, the clouds dropped water.
5 The mountains melted before Jehovah,
even Sinai before the face of Jehovah, the God of Israel.
6 “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath,
in the days of Jael, the highways ceased,
and travelers kept to the byways.
7 The villagers ceased in Israel;
they ceased to be until I rose up;
I, Deborah, rose up as a mother in Israel.
8 When new gods were chosen,
then war was in the gates.
Not a shield or a spear was seen
among forty thousand in Israel.
9 My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel
who offered themselves willingly among the people.
10 “Tell of it, you who ride on white donkeys,
you who sit on rich carpets
and you who walk by the way.
11 The voices of the water distributors were heard at the watering places,
there they shall recount the righteous acts of Jehovah,
the righteous acts of his villagers in Israel.
“Then the people of Jehovah went down to the gates.
12 “Awake, awake, Deborah!
Awake, awake, sing a song!
Arise, Barak, and take away your captives,
O son of Abinoam.
13 Then the survivors came down to the noble;
the people of Jehovah came down to me against the mighty.
14 Out of Ephraim came down they whose root is in Amalek,
following you, Benjamin, with your kinsmen;
from Machir commanders came down,
and from Zebulun those handling the instrument of a scribe;
15 the princes of Issachar were with Deborah,
as was Issachar, so was Barak;
into the valley they rushed at his heels.
Among the divisions of Reuben
there were great searchings of the heart.
16 Why did you sit still among the sheepfolds,
listening to them playing their pipes for the flocks?
Among the divisions of Reuben
there were great searchings of the heart.
17 Gilead has remained beyond the Jordan;
and Dan, why did he remain in ships?
Asher sat still at the coast of the sea,
and by his landing places he remained.
18 Zebulun was a people who scorned their souls to the point of death;
Naphtali, too, on the high places of the field.
19 “The kings came, they fought;
then fought the kings of Canaan,
at Taanach, by the waters of Megiddo;
they took no plunder in silver.
20 The stars fought from heaven,
from their courses they fought against Sisera.
21 The torrent Kishon swept them away,
the ancient torrent, the torrent Kishon.
O my soul, march on with strength.
22 “Then the hooves of horses pounded
with the galloping, galloping of his stallions.
23 “Curse Meroz, says the angel of Jehovah,
bitterly curse its inhabitants,
because they did not come to the help of Jehovah,
to the help of Jehovah against the mighty.
24 “Most blessed of women is Jael,
the wife of Heber the Kenite,
of tent-dwelling women most blessed.
25 He asked for water and she gave him milk;
in a noble’s banquet bowl she brought him curds.
26 With her hand she reached for the tent peg
and her right hand to the workmen’s hammer;
she struck Sisera;
she crushed his head;
she shattered and pierced his temple.
27 Between her feet
he sank, he fell, he lay;
between her feet
he sank, he fell;
where he sank,
there he fell dead.
28 “From the window a woman looked out,
the mother of Sisera cried out through the lattice:
‘Why is his chariot delayed in coming?
Why have the hoofbeats of his chariots delayed’
29 The wisest of her ladies answer her,
indeed, she repeats her words to herself,
30 ‘Have they not found and divided the plunder?
A womb or two wombs for every man;
spoil of dyed materials for Sisera,
spoil of dyed materials embroidered,
two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the necks of the spoil?’
31 “So may all your enemies perish, O Jehovah!
But let those who love you be like the sun rising in its might.”
And the land had rest for forty years.
Midian Oppresses Israel
6 And the sons of Israel did what was evil in the eyes of Jehovah: and Jehovah gave them into the hand of Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel; and because of Midian the sons of Israel made them the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds. 3 And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the sons of the east would come up against them. 4 They camped against them, and destroyed the produce of the earth, as far as Gaza, and left no sustenance in Israel, as well as no sheep, or ox, or donkey. 5 For they would come up with their livestock and their tents; they would come in like locusts in number; both they and their camels were without number: and they came into the land to destroy it. 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian; and the sons of Israel cried to Jehovah.
7 And it came about, when the sons of Israel cried to Jehovah because of Midian, 8 that Jehovah sent a prophet to the sons of Israel: and he said to them, “Thus, says Jehovah, the God of Israel, I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you out of the house of slavery. 9 And I delivered you out of the hand of the Egyptians, and out of the hand of all who oppressed you, and drove them out from before you, and gave you their land. 10 And I said to you, ‘I am Jehovah your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell.’ But you have not listened to my voice.”
An Angel Assures Judge Gideon of Support
11 Now the angel of Jehovah came and sat under the oak at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of Jehovah appeared to him and said to him, “Jehovah is with you, O mighty warrior.” 13 And Gideon said to him, “Please, my lord, if Jehovah is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all his wonderful deeds that our fathers recounted to us, saying, ‘Did not Jehovah bring us up from Egypt?’ But now Jehovah has forsaken us and given us into the hand of Midian.” 14 And Jehovah turned to him and said, “Go in this might of yours and save Israel from the palm of Midian; do not I send you?” 15 And he said to him, “Please, Jehovah, how can I save Israel? Look, my thousand is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father’s house.” 16 And Jehovah said to him, “But I will be with you, and you shall strike the Midianites as one man.”
17 And he said to him, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, then show me a sign that it is you who speak with me. 18 Please do not depart from here until I come to you and bring out my gift and set it before you.” And he said, “I will stay till you return.” 19 And Gideon went in, and made ready a young goat, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour: the meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out to him under the oak, and presented them.
20 And the angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened cakes, and lay them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And he did so. 21 Then the angel of Jehovah put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and fire sprang up from the rock and consumed the meat and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of Jehovah vanished from his sight. 22 And Gideon realized that he was the angel of Jehovah.
And Gideon said, “Alas, O, my lord Jehovah! For now, I have seen the angel of Jehovah face to face.” 23 And Jehovah said to him, “Peace be to you; do not fear; you shall not die.” 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to Jehovah and called it Jehovah-shalom. It is still to this day in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
Gideon Destroys the Altar of Baal
25 And it came about the same night, that Jehovah said to him, “Take your father’s bull, and a second bull seven years old, and pull down the altar of Baal which your father has, and cut down the Asherah that is beside it; 26 and build an altar to Jehovah your God on the top of this stronghold, in the orderly manner, and take the second bull, and offer a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you shall cut down.” 27 Then Gideon took ten men of his servants, and did as Jehovah had spoken to him: and it came about, because he feared his father’s household and the men of the city, so that he could not do it by day, that he did it by night.
28 When the men of the city rose up early in the morning, look, the altar of Baal was broken down, and the Asherah was cut down that was beside it, and the second bull was offered on the altar that had been built. 29 And they said one to another, “Who has done this thing?” And when they had searched and inquired, they said, “Gideon the son of Joash has done this thing.” 30 Then the men of the city said to Joash, “Bring out your son, that he may die, because he has broken down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the Asherah that was beside it.” 31 But Joash said to all who stood against him, “Will you contend for Baal? or will you save him? Whoever will contend for him, let him be put to death by morning. If he is a god, let him contend for himself, because someone has pulled down his altar.” 32 Therefore on that day he called him Jerubbaal, saying, “Let Baal contend against him,” because someone has pulled down his altar.
The Spirit of Jehovah Clothes Gideon
33 Then all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the sons of the east assembled themselves together; and they crossed over and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the Spirit of Jehovah clothed Gideon; and he blew a trumpet; and the Abiezrites were called to follow him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh, and they also were called together to follow him. And he sent messengers to Asher, Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.
The Fleece Test
36 Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken, 37 look, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then I will know that you shall save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken.” 38 And it was so. When he rose up early the next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung the dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. 39 Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.” 40 And God did so that night; for it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
Gideon and His Three Hundred Men
7 Then Jerubbaal (that is, Gideon) and all the people who were with him, rose early and camped beside the spring of Harod; and the camp of Midian was on the north side of them by the hill of Moreh in the valley. 2 Jehovah said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for me to give Midian into their hand, lest Israel boast over me, saying, ‘My own hand has saved me.’ 3 Now, therefore, proclaim in the ears of the people, saying, ‘Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return and depart from Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand people returned, but ten thousand remained.
4 And Jehovah said to Gideon, “The people are still too many. Bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there, and it shall be that he of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go with you, and anyone of whom I say to you, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” 5 So he brought the people down to the water.
And Jehovah said to Gideon, “Every one who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall set by himself. Likewise, every one who bends down on their knees to drink.” 6 The number of those who lapped, putting their hands to their mouths was three hundred men; all the rest of the troops bent down on their knees to drink.
7 And Jehovah said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men who lapped I will deliver you and I will give the Midianites into your hand and let all the others go every man to his home.” 8 So the people took provisions in their hand, and their trumpets. And he sent all the men of Israel every man to his tent but retained the three hundred men. And the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.
Gideon’s Army Defeats Midian
9 And it came about the same night that Jehovah said to him, “Arise, go down against the camp, for I have given it into your hand. 10 But if you are afraid to go down, go down to the camp with Purah your servant. 11 And you shall hear what they say, and afterward your hands shall be strengthened to go down against the camp.” Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outposts of the armed men who were in the camp.
12 And the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the sons of the East lay along the valley as numerous as locusts, and their camels were without number, as numerous as the sand on the seashore. 13 When Gideon came, look, a man was telling a dream to his friend. And he said, “Behold, I dreamed a dream, and look, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian and came to the tent and struck it so that it fell and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat.” 14 And his friend answered, “This is nothing less than the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel; God has given into his hand Midian and all the camp.”
15 As soon as Gideon heard the telling of the dream and its interpretation, he worshiped. And he returned to the camp of Israel and said, “Arise, for Jehovah has given the camp of Midian into your hand.” 16 And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he put trumpets and empty jars into the hands of all of them, with torches inside the jars. 17 And he said to them, “Look at me, and do likewise. And look, when I come to the outskirts of the camp, do as I do. 18 When I blow the trumpet, I and all that are with me, then you also blow the trumpets on every side of all the camp, and say, ‘For Jehovah and for Gideon.’”
19 So Gideon and the hundred men who were with him came to the outskirts of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, when they had just set the watch. And they blew the trumpets and smashed the jars that were in their hands. 20 When the three companies blew the trumpets and broke the jars, they held the torches in their left hands and the trumpets in their right hands for blowing, and cried, “A sword for Jehovah and for Gideon!”
Confusion in the Midianite Camp
21 And they stood every man in his place around the camp, and all the army ran, and they cried out and fled. 22 When they blew the three hundred trumpets, and Jehovah set the sword of each man against the other and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.
23 And the men of Israel were called out from Naphtali and from Asher and from all Manasseh, and they pursued after Midian. 24 Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill country of Ephraim, saying, “Come down against the Midianites and capture the waters against them, as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan.” So, all the men of Ephraim were called out, and they captured the waters as far as Beth-barah, and also the Jordan. 25 And they captured the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. They killed Oreb at the rock of Oreb, and Zeeb they killed at the winepress of Zeeb. Then they pursued Midian, and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon across the Jordan.
Gideon Defeats Zebah and Zalmunna
8 Then the men of Ephraim said to him, “What is this thing you have done to us, not calling us when you went to fight against the Midianites?” And they quarreled bitterly with him. 2 And he said to them, “What have I done now in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the grape harvest of Abiezer? 3 Into your hands God has given the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What have I been able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger against him subsided when he spoke this word.
Gideon Pursues, Defeats, and Kills the Midianite kings Zebah and Zalmunna
4 And Gideon came to the Jordan and crossed over, he and the three hundred men who were with him, exhausted yet pursuing. 5 He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who are following me, for they are weary, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” 6 The leaders of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?” 7 So Gideon said, “Well then, when Jehovah has given Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will thrash your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers.” 8 And from there he went up to Penuel, and spoke to them in the same way, and the men of Penuel answered him just as the men of Succoth had answered. 9 And he spoke also to the men of Penuel, “When I return again in peace, I will pull down this tower.”
10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the armies of the sons of the east; for there fell a hundred and twenty thousand men who drew the sword. 11 And Gideon went up by the way of those who dwelt in tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah and attacked the army; for the army was secure. 12 And Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued them and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and he threw all the army into a panic.
13 Then Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. 14 And he captured a young man of the men of Succoth and questioned him. And he wrote down for him the officials and elders of Succoth, seventy-seven men. 15 And he came to the men of Succoth and said, “Look Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?’ 16 And he took the elders of the city, and he took thorns of the wilderness and briers and with them he taught the men of Succoth a lesson. 17 And he pulled down the tower of Penuel and killed the men of the city.
18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “What kind of men were they whom you killed at Tabor?” And they said, “As you are, so were they. Each one resembled the son of a king.” 19 And he said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother. As Jehovah lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.” 20 Then he said to Jether his firstborn, “Get up, kill them.” But the young man did not draw his sword; he was afraid, for he was still a young man. 21 So Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Get up yourself and slay us, for a man is judged by his mightiness.” So Gideon got up and killed Zebah and Zalmunna and took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.
Gideon Rejects Kingship
22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son, also your son’s son, for you have saved us from the hand of Midian.” 23 But Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; Jehovah shall rule over you.” 24 And Gideon said to them, “I would make a request of you, that every man of you would give me the earrings of his spoil.” (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) 25 And they answered, “We will willingly give them.” And they spread a garment, and every man threw in it the earrings of his spoil. 26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was one thousand seven hundred shekels of gold, besides the crescent ornaments, and the pendants, and the purple garments that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were around the necks of their camels.
27 And Gideon made an ephod of it and put it in his city, in Ophrah. And all Israel played the harlot with it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and to his household.
Summary of Gideon’s Life and His Death
28 So Midian was subdued before the sons of Israel, and they did not lift up their heads no more. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.
29 So Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and lived in his own house.
30 Now Gideon had seventy sons, who came from his own loins, for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he called his name Abimelech. 32 And Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.
33 Then it came about, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the sons of Israel again played the harlot with the Baals and made Baal-berith their god. 34 And the sons of Israel did not remember Jehovah their God, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies on every side, 35 nor did they show loyal love toward the household of Jerubbaal, that is Gideon, in return for all the good that he had done for Israel.
Abimelech Becomes King in Shechem
9 And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to the brothers of his mother and began speaking to them and to all the kinsmen of the house of the father of his mother, saying, 2 “Speak, please, in the hearing of all the leaders of Shechem, ‘Which is better for you, that seventy men, all the sons of Jerubbaal, rule over you, or that one man rule over you?’ Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.”
3 And his mother’s kinsmen spoke all these words on his behalf in the ears of all the men of Shechem, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.” 4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith with which Abimelech hired worthless and reckless fellows, who followed him. 5 And he went to his father’s house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself.
6 And all the men of Shechem assembled themselves together, and all Beth-millo, and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar which was in Shechem.
7 When they reported it to Jotham, he at once went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim and called out in a loud voice to them: “Listen to me, O men of Shechem, that God may listen to you.
8 Once the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ 9 But the olive tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my fatness with which God and men are honored, and go to wave to and fro over the trees?’ 10 And the trees said to the fig tree, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 11 But the fig tree said to them, ‘Shall I leave my sweetness and my good fruit, and go to wave to and fro over the trees?’ 12 And the trees said to the vine, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 13 But the vine said to them, ‘Shall I leave my new wine, which cheers God and men, and go to wave to and fro over the trees?’ 14 Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘You come and reign over us.’ 15 And the bramble said to the trees, ‘If in truth you are anointing me as king over you, come and take refuge in my shade; but if not, may fire come out from the bramble and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’
16 “Now therefore, if you have dealt in truth and uprightly, in that you have made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him as his hands deserves, 17 for my father fought for you and risked his soul and delivered you from the hand of Midian; 18 and you have risen up against my father’s house this day and have killed his sons, seventy men on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his slave girl, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your kinsmen; 19 if you then have dealt in truth and uprightly with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. 20 But if not, let fire come out from Abimelech and devour the men of Shechem and Beth-millo; and let fire come out from the men of Shechem and from Beth-millo and devour Abimelech.”
21 And Jotham ran away and fled and went to Beer and dwelt there, because of Abimelech his brother.
The Downfall of Abimelech’ Rule
22 And Abimelech ruled over Israel three years. 23 And God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem; and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, 24 so that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and their blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. 25 And the men of Shechem set men in ambush against him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who might pass by them along the road; and it was told to Abimelech.
26 And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his kinsmen and crossed over into Shechem; and the men of Shechem put their trust in him. 27 And they went out into the field and gathered the grapes from their vineyards and trod them and held a festival; and they went into the house of their god and ate and drank and cursed Abimelech. 28 And Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and is not Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? 29 Would that these men were under my hand! Then I would remove Abimelech. And he said to Abimelech, ‘Increase your army, and come out.’”
30 When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. 31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, saying, “Look, Gaal the son of Ebed and his kinsmen have come to Shechem; and look, they are stirring up the city against you. 32 And now rise up by night, you and the men who are with you, and lie in wait in the field. 33 Then in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, rise early and rush upon the city. And when he and the men who are with him come out against you, do to him what your hand finds possible.”
Abimelech Assaults Shechem
34 So Abimelech and all the men who were with him rose up by night and lay in wait against Shechem in four divisions. 35 And Gaal the son of Ebed went out and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, and Abimelech and the men who were with him rose from the ambush. 36 And when Gaal saw the men, he said to Zebul, “Look, men are coming down from the tops of the mountains.” But Zebul said to him, “You are seeing the shadow of the mountains as if they were men.”
37 Gaal spoke again and said, “Look, men are coming down from the center of the land, and one division is coming from the direction of the large tree of Meonenim” 38 Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your mouth now, you who said, ‘Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?’ Is this not the men that you have despised? Go out now and fight with them.”
39 And Gaal went out before the men of Shechem and fought with Abimelech. 40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him; and many fell wounded up to the entrance of the gate.
41 And Abimelech dwelt at Arumah: and Zebul drove out Gaal and his kinsmen, so that they could not dwell at Shechem. 42 And it came about on the next day, that the men went out to the field, and it was told to Abimelech. 43 So he took his men and divided them into three divisions and lay in wait in the field; when he looked and saw the men coming out from the city, he rose up against them and struck them down. 44 Abimelech and the divisions that was with him rushed forward and stood at the entrance of the gate of the city, while the two divisions rushed upon all who were in the field, and they struck them down. 45 Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and he captured the city and killed the people who were in it; then he razed the city and sowed it with salt.
46 When all the men of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered the stronghold of the house of El-berith. 47 And it was told Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 And Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the men who were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand and cut down a branch from the trees and lifted it and laid it on his shoulder. And he said to the men who were with him, “What you have seen me do, hurry and do as I have done.” 49 And all the men also cut down each man his branch and followed Abimelech and put them against the stronghold and set the stronghold on fire over those inside, so that all the men of the tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.
Abimelech Dies After Being Wounded by a Woman
50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez and camped against Thebez and captured it. 51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women and all the leaders of the city fled there and shut themselves in, and they went up to the roof of the tower. 52 And Abimelech came to the tower and fought against it and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 And a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. 54 Then he called quickly to the young man his armor-bearer and said to him, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that men may not say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” And his young man thrust him through, and he died.
55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, each man departed to his home. 56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he had done to his father in killing his seventy brothers. 57 And all the wickedness of the men of Shechem did God return on their heads, and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.
Judges Tola and Jair
10 And after Abimelech there rose up to save Israel Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar; and he dwelt in Shamir in the hill-country of Ephraim. 2 And he judged Israel twenty-three years, and he died and was buried in Shamir.
3 And after him rose up Jair, the Gileadite; and he judged Israel twenty-two years. 4 And he had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkeys, and they had thirty cities, called Havvoth-jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Jair died and was buried in Kamon.
Israel Rebels and Repents
6 Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the eyes of Jehovah, served the Baals and the Ashtaroth, the gods of Aram, the gods of Sidon, the gods of Moab, the gods of the sons of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they forsook Jehovah and did not serve him. 7 And the anger of Jehovah was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the sons of Ammon. 8 And they crushed and oppressed the sons of Israel that year; for eighteen years they oppressed all the sons of Israel who were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9 And the sons of Ammon crossed over the Jordan to fight also against Judah, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim; so that Israel was severely distressed. 10 And the sons of Israel cried to Jehovah, saying, “We have sinned against you; for indeed, we have forsaken our God, and have served the Baals.”
11 And Jehovah said to the sons of Israel, “Did I not deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the sons of Ammon, and from the Philistines? 12 The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I saved you out of their hand. 13 Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore, I will deliver you no more. 14 Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them deliver you in the time of your distress.” 15 And the sons of Israel said to Jehovah, “We have sinned: you do to us whatever seems good to you; only please deliver us this day.” 16 So they put away the foreign gods from among them, and served Jehovah; and his soul became impatient over the misery of Israel.
Ammonites Threaten Israel
17 Then the sons of Ammon were called together and camped in Gilead. And the sons of Israel gathered together and camped in Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the sons of Ammon? He shall become head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.”
Judge Jephthah Delivers Israel
11 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty warrior, but he was the son of a prostitute. Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2 Gilead’s wife bore him sons; and when his wife’s sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out and said to him, “You shall not have an inheritance in our father’s house, for you are the son of another woman.” 3 Then Jephthah fled from his brothers, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered worthless men to Jephthah, and they went out with him.
4 And it came about after a while, that the sons of Ammon made war against Israel. 5 And it came about that when the sons of Ammon made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 And they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our leader, that we may fight against the sons of Ammon.” 7 But Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did you not hate me and drive me out of my father’s house? So why have you come to me now when you are in trouble?” 8 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we have turned to you now, that you may go with us and fight against the sons of Ammon and be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” 9 Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me back again to fight against the sons of Ammon, and Jehovah gives them over to me, I will be your head.” 10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, Jehovah shall be the one who hears between us; surely according to your word so we will do.” 11 So Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and leader over them. And Jephthah spoke all his words before Jehovah at Mizpah.
Jephthah Reasons with Ammon
12 And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the sons of Ammon, saying, “What is between you and me, that you have come to me to fight against my land?” 13 The king of the sons of Ammon said to the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel took away my land when they came up from Egypt, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok and the Jordan; therefore, restore them peaceably now.” 14 But Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the sons of Ammon, 15 and said to him,
“Thus, says Jephthah, ‘Israel did not take away the land of Moab nor the land of the sons of Ammon, 16 but when they came up from Egypt, and Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea and came to Kadesh. 17 Israel then sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let us pass through your land,” but the king of Edom would not listen. And they also sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent. So, Israel remained at Kadesh. 18 “Then they went through the wilderness and around the land of Edom and the land of Moab and came to the east side of the land of Moab, and they camped beyond the Arnon; but they did not enter the territory of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab.
19 Israel then sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, ‘Please let us pass through your land to our country.’ 20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory; so Sihon gathered all his people and camped in Jahaz and fought with Israel. 21 And Jehovah, the God of Israel, delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they defeated them: so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. 22 And they possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan.
23 So now Jehovah, the God of Israel, has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and should you now possess them? 24 Will you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? And whoever Jehovah our God has dispossessed before us, we will possess. 25 Now are you any better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them? 26 While Israel lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities that are on the banks of the Arnon, three hundred years, why did you not recover them within that time? 27 I, therefore, have not sinned against you, but you are doing me wrong by making war against me; may Jehovah, the Judge, decide this day between the sons of Israel and the sons of Ammon”
28 But the king of the sons of Ammon did not listen to the words of Jephthah that he sent to him.
Jephthah’s Vow and His Daughter
29 Then the Spirit of Jehovah was upon Jephthah, and he passed through Gilead and Manasseh; and passed on to Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah of Gilead he passed on to the sons of Ammon.
30 And Jephthah made a vow to Jehovah and said, “If You will indeed give the sons of Ammon into my hand, 31 then it shall be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return in peace from the sons of Ammon, it shall be Jehovah’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering.”
32 So Jephthah crossed over to the sons of Ammon to fight against them; and Jehovah gave them into his hand. 33 He struck them with a very great slaughter from Aroer as far as Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim. So the sons of Ammon were subdued before the sons of Israel.
34 When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, behold, his daughter was coming out to meet him with tambourines and with dancing. Now she was his one and only child; besides her he had no son or daughter. 35 And it came about that when he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are among those who trouble me; for I have opened my mouth to Jehovah, and I cannot take it back.”
36 And she said to him, “My father, you have opened your mouth to Jehovah; do to me according to what has gone out of your mouth, now that Jehovah has avenged you on your enemies, on the sons of Ammon.” 37 And she said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone two months, that I may go up and down on the mountains and weep because of my my virginity, I and my companions.”
Daughter’s Life of Singleness
38 And he said, “Go.” So he sent her away for two months; and she left with her companions, and wept on the mountains because of her virginity. 39 At the end of two months she returned to her father, who did to her according to the vow that he had made; and she never known a man. Thus it became a custom in Israel, 40 that the daughters of Israel went year by year to commemorate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in the year.
Jephthah’s Conflict with Ephraim
12 The men of Ephraim were called to arms, and they crossed to Zaphon and said to Jephthah, “Why did you cross over to fight against the sons of Ammon and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire.” 2 And Jephthah said to them, “I and my people had a great conflict with the sons of Ammon, and when I called you, you did not deliver me from their hand. 3 And when I saw that you would not deliver me, I took my soul in my hand and crossed over against the sons of Ammon, and Jehovah gave them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day to fight against me?”
4 Then Jephthah gathered all the men of Gilead and fought Ephraim; and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, O Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh.” 5 And the Gileadites captured the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. And it occurred that when any of the fugitive men of Ephraim said, “Let me cross over,” the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” When he said, “No,” 6 then they said to him, “Say now, ‘Shibboleth.’” But he said, “Sibboleth,” for he was unable to pronounce the word correctly. Then they seized him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan. And at that time forty-two thousand from Ephraim fell.
7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead.
Judges Ibzan, Elon, and Abdon
8 And After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. 9 He had thirty sons and thirty daughters. He sent his daughters to marry men outside his kinsmen, and he brought in thirty women to marry his sons. He judged Israel for seven years. 10 Then Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.
11 After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years. 12 Then Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun.
13 After him Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 He had forty sons and thirty grandsons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15 Then Abdon the son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried at Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.
An Angel Visits Manoah and His Wife
13 And the sons of Israel again did evil in the eyes of Jehovah, so that Jehovah gave them into the hand of the Philistines forty years.
2 There was a certain man of Zorah, of the tribe of the Danites, whose name was Manoah; and his wife was barren and had borne no children. 3 And the angel of Jehovah appeared to the woman and said to her, “Look now, you are barren and have borne no children, but you shall conceive and bear a son. 4 Therefore, be careful and drink no wine or strong drink, and do not eat anything unclean, 5 for look, you shall conceive and bear a son. No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hand of the Philistines.”
6 Then the woman came and told her husband, saying, “A man of God came to me and his appearance was like the appearance of the angel of God, very awesome. And I did not ask him where he was from, nor did he tell me his name, 7 but he said to me, ‘Look, you shall conceive and bear a son. So then drink no wine or strong drink, and do not eat anything unclean, for the boy shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death.’”
8 Then Manoah entreated Jehovah and said, “O Jehovah, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us and teach us what we shall do with the boy who will be born.” 9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 So the woman ran quickly and told her husband, “Look, the man who came to me the other day has appeared to me.”
11 And Manoah rose up and went after his wife and came to the man and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” And he said, “I am.” 12 And Manoah said, “Now when your words come true, what is to be the boy’s manner of life, and what is he to do” 13 And the angel of Jehovah said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her beware. 14 She may not eat of anything that comes from the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, or eat any unclean thing. All that I commanded her let her observe.”
15 Manoah said to the angel of Jehovah, “Please, let us detain you and let us prepare for you a young goat.” 16 And the angel of Jehovah said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat your food, but if you prepare a burnt offering, then offer it to Jehovah.” For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of Jehovah. 17 Manoah said to the angel of Jehovah, “What is your name, so that when your words come to pass, we may honor you?” 18 And the angel of Jehovah said to him, “Why do you ask my name, seeing it is wonderful?”
19 So Manoah took the young goat with the grain offering and offered it on the rock to Jehovah, to him who works wonders while Manoah and his wife looked on. 20 For it came about when the flame went up from the altar toward heaven, that the angel of Jehovah ascended in the flame of the altar, while Manoah and his wife looked on, and they fell on their faces to the ground. 21 But the angel of Jehovah did no longer appear to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah knew that he was the angel of Jehovah. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, for we have seen God.” 23 But his wife said to him, “If Jehovah had meant to kill us, he would not have accepted a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hands, or shown us all these things, and he would not at this time have let us hear such things as these.”
The Birth of Samson
24 And the woman gave birth to a son and named him Samson; and the boy grew, and Jehovah blessed him. 25 And the Spirit of Jehovah began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.
Samson’s Marriage to a Philistine Woman
14 And Samson went down to Timnah, and he saw a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines. 2 Then he came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, “I have seen a woman in Timnah, one of the daughters of the Philistines; now, therefore, get her for me as a wife.” 3 Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your kinsmen, or among all my people, that you must go to take a wife from the uncircumcised Philistines? But Samson said to his father, “Get her for me; for she is right in my eyes.”
4 But his father and his mother did not know that it was of Jehovah; for he was seeking an occasion against the Philistines. Now at that time the Philistines were ruling over Israel.
Samson Kills a Lion by Jehovah’s Spirit
5 Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Timnah, and they came to the vineyards of Timnah. And look, a young lion came roaring toward him. 6 And the Spirit of Jehovah came mightily upon him, and he tore it in two, just as someone tears a young goat in two with nothing in his hand; but he did not tell his father or mother what he had done. 7 Then he went down, and talked with the woman, and she was right in the eyes of Samson.
8 And after a while he returned to take her; and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion; and look, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. 9 He scraped the honey into his hands and went on, eating as he went. When he came to his father and mother, he gave some to them and they ate it; but he did not tell them that he had scraped the honey out of the body of the lion.
Samson’s Riddle at the Wedding
10 And his father went down to the woman; and Samson made a feast there; for that was the way the young men used to do. 11 And it came about, when they saw him, they brought thirty companions to be with him. 12 And Samson said to them, “Let me now put a riddle to you. If you can tell me what it is, within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes, 13 but if you cannot tell me what it is, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes.” And they said to him, “Put forth your riddle, that we may hear it.” 14 And he said to them,
“Out of the eater something to eat came forth.
And out of the strong something sweet came forth.”
And they were unable to solve the riddle for three days.
15 And it came about on the fourth day that they said to Samson’s wife: “Entice your husband that he may tell us the riddle. Or we shall burn you and the house of your father with fire. Have you invited us here to impoverish us?” 16 And Samson’s wife wept over him and said, “You only hate me, you do, and you do not love me. You have propounded a riddle to the sons of my people, but to me you have not told it.” And he said to her, “Look, I have not told it to my father nor my mother, and shall I tell you?” 17 She wept before him seven days while their feast lasted. And it came about on the seventh day he told her because she pressed him so hard. She then told the riddle to the sons of her people. 18 And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down,
“What is sweeter than honey?
What is stronger than a lion?”
And he said to them,
“If you had not plowed with my heifer,
you would not have found out my riddle.”
19 And the Spirit of Jehovah came mightily upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and struck down thirty men from them, and took their spoil, and gave the garments to those who had told the riddle. And his anger was kindled, and he went up to his father’s house.
20 But Samson’s wife was given to his companion who had been his friend.
Samson Defeats the Philistines
15 But it came about after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat; and he said, “I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in. 2 And her father said, “I really thought that you utterly hated her, so I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her instead.” 3 And Samson then said to them, “This time I shall be blameless in regard to the Philistines when I do them harm.” 4 Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and turned them tail to tail and put one torch between two tails, right in the middle. 5 And when he set fire to the torches and sent them out into the fields of standing grain of the Philistines. Thus, he set fire to the standing grain and the vineyards and the olive groves. 6 Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” And they said: “It was Samson the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife, and given her to his companion. And the Philistines came up and burnt her and her father with fire. 7 And Samson said to them, “If you do like this, surely I will be avenged on you, and after that I shall quit.” 8 And he struck them hip and thigh with a great slaughter: and he went down and dwelt in the cleft of the rock of Etam.
9 Then the Philistines went up, and encamped in Judah, and are spread out in Lehi 10 And the men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” And they said, “We have come up to bind Samson, to do to him as he has done to us.” 11 Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do you not know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then is this that you have done to us?” And he said to them, “As they did to me, so have I done unto them.” 12 And they said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may deliver you into the hand of the Philistines.” And Samson said to them, “Swear to me, that you will not attack me yourselves.” 13 They spoke to him, saying, “No, but we shall bind you, and deliver you into their hand. But we surely shall not kill you.” And they bound him with two new ropes and brought him up from the rock.
14 When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him; and the Spirit of Jehovah came mightily upon him, and the ropes that were upon his arms became as flax that were burnt with fire, and his bands melted from his hands. 15 And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck a thousand men. 16 And Samson said,
“With the jawbone of a donkey,
heaps upon heaps,
with the jawbone of a donkey
have I struck down a thousand men.”
17 And it came about as he had finished speaking, he threw away the jawbone out of his hand; and that place was called Ramath-lehi.
18 And he was very thirsty, and he called upon Jehovah and said, “You have granted this great deliverance by the hand of your servant, and now shall I die of thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised?” 19 And God split open the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out from it. And when he drank, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore, the name of it was called En-hakkore; it is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.
Samson in Gaza
16 Samson went to Gaza, and there he saw a prostitute, and he went in to her. 2 The Gazites were told, “Samson has come here.” And they surrounded the place and set an ambush for him all night at the gate of the city. They kept quiet all night, saying, “Let us wait till the light of the morning; then we will kill him.”
3 But Samson lay until midnight, and at midnight he rose up and took hold of the doors of the gate of the city and the two posts, and pulled them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders and carried them to the top of the hill that is in front of Hebron.
Samson and Delilah
4 And it came about after that he loved a woman in the Valley of Sorek, and her name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up to her and said to her, “Entice him, and see where his great strength lies and by what means we may overpower him that we may bind him to subdue him. Then we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.”
6 So Delilah said to Samson, “Please tell me where your great strength lies, and how you might be bound, that one could subdue you.” 7 Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven fresh bowstrings that have not been dried, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 8 Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings that had not been dried, and she bound him with them. 9 Now she had men lying in wait in an inner room. And she said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he snapped the bowstrings, as a thread of flax snaps when it touches the fire. So, the secret of his strength was not known.
10 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Look, you have mocked me and told me lies. Please tell me how you might be bound.” 11 And he said to her, “If they bind me tightly with new ropes that have not been used, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 12 So Delilah took new ropes and bound him with them and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And the men lying in wait were in an inner room. But he snapped the ropes from his arms like a thread.
13 Then Delilah said to Samson, “Until now you have mocked me and told me lies. Tell me how you might be bound.” And he said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web and fasten it tight with the pin, then I shall become weak and be like any other man.” 14 So while he slept, Delilah took the seven locks of his head and wove them into the web. And she made them tight with the pin and said to him, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” But he awoke from his sleep and pulled out the pin of the loom and the web.
15 And she said to him, “How can you say, ‘I love you,’ when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and you have not told me where your great strength lies.” 16 It came about when she pressed him daily with her words and urged him, that his soul was weary to the point of death. 17 And he told her all his heart, and said to her, “A razor has never come upon my head, for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother’s womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I will become weak and be like any other man.”
18 When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up this once, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her and brought the money in their hands. 19 She made him sleep on her knees and called for a man and had him shave off the seven locks of his head. Then she began to subdue him, and his strength went away from him. 20 And she said, “The Philistines are upon you, Samson!” And he awoke from his sleep and said, “I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.” But he did not know that Jehovah had departed from him. 21 And the Philistines seized him and gouged out his eyes; and they brought him down to Gaza and bound him with bronze shackles, and he was a grinder in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.
The Revenge and Death of Samson
23 Now the lords of the Philistines gathered to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god and to rejoice, for they said, “Our god has given Samson our enemy into our hand.” 24 And when the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said, “Our god has given our enemy into our hand, Even the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us.”
25 And it came about when their hearts were merry, they said, “Call Samson, that he may entertain us.” So, they called Samson out of the prison, and he entertained them. And they made him stand between the pillars. 26 And Samson said to the young man who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars on which the house rests, that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the house was full of men and women, and all the lords of the Philistines were there, and on the roof, there were about three thousand men and women, who looked on while Samson entertained.
28 Then Samson called to Jehovah and said, “O Lord Jehovah, please remember me and please strengthen me only this once, O God, that I may at once be avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.”
29 Then Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left. 30 And Samson said, “Let my soul die with the Philistines.” And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were in it. So, the dead that he killed at his death were more than they that he killed in his life.
31 Then his brothers and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the tomb of Manoah his father. And he had judged Israel twenty years.
Micah’s idols and the Levite Priest
17 And there was a man of the hill-country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. 2 And he said to his mother, “The eleven hundred pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, look, the silver is with me; I took it.” And his mother said, “Blessed be my son by Jehovah.” 3 And he restored the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother; and his mother said, “I will loyally sanctify the silver to Jehovah from my hand for my son, to make a carved image and a molten image; now therefore I will restore it to you.”
4 So when he restored the money to his mother, his mother took two hundred pieces of silver, and gave them to the silversmith, who made it into a carved image and a molten image; and it was in the house of Micah. 5 And the man Micah had a house of gods, and he made an ephod and teraphim, and filled the hand of one of his sons, who became his priest. 6 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.
7 Now there was a young man out of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. 8 And the man departed out of the city of Bethlehem in Judah to sojourn where he could find a place. And as he journeyed, he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah. 9 And Micah said to him, “Where do you come from?” And he said to him, “I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn where I may find a place.” 10 And Micah said to him, “Stay with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver a year, a set of garments and your food.” And the Levite went in. 11 And the Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man became to him like one of his sons. 12 And Micah filled the hand of the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13 Then Micah said, “Now I know that Jehovah will be good to me, because I have a Levite as priest.”
Danites Take the Levite and the Idol
18 In those days there was no king in Israel. And in those days the tribe of the Danites was looking for an inheritance to dwell in, for until then no inheritance among the tribes of Israel had fallen to them.
2 So the sons of Dan sent of their family five men from their whole number, men of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to search it; and they said to them, “Go, search the land.” And they came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. 3 When they were by the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young man, the Levite; and they turned aside there, and said to him, “Who brought thee here? And what are you doing in this place? And what is your business here?” 4 And he said to them, “Thus and so Micah has done for me, and he has hired me, and I have become his priest.” 5 And they said to him, “Inquire, please, of God that we may know whether our way on which we are going will be successful” 6 And the priest said to them: “Go in peace; before Jehovah is your way in which you go.”
7 Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people that were within, how they dwelt after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and secure, for there was no dispossessor of oppression in the land, who might humiliate them in anything, and they were far from the Sidonians, and had no dealings with any man.
8 And when they came to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, their brothers said to them, “What do you report?” 9 They said, “Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and look, it is very good. And will you do nothing? Do not be sluggish to go, to enter in and possess the land. 10 When you enter, you will come to an unsuspecting people, and the land is spacious, for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no lack of anything that is on the earth.”
11 Then there departed from there of the family of the Danites, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, six hundred men girded with weapons of war. 12 and went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. Therefore, they called that place Mahaneh-dan to this day; look, it is to the rear of Kiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed on from there to the hill country of Ephraim and came to the house of Micah.
Micah’s Idols and Levite Priest Captured
14 Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish said to their kinsmen, “Do you know that there are in these houses an ephod and teraphim and a carved image, and a metal statue? Now therefore, consider what you should do.” 15 And they turned aside there and came to the house of the young man, the Levite, at the home of Micah, and asked him about his welfare. 16 And the six hundred men girded with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. 17 And the five men who had gone to scout out the land went up and entered and took the carved image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the metal image, while the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men girded with weapons of war. 18 And when these went into Micah’s house and took the carved image, the ephod, the teraphim, and the metal image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” 19 And they said to him, “Keep quiet; put your hand on your mouth and come with us and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and family in Israel?” 20 And the priest’s heart was glad. He took the ephod and the teraphim and the carved image and went along with the people.
21 So they turned and departed and put the little ones and the livestock and the goods in front of them. 22 When they had gone some distance from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near Micah’s house gathered together and overtook the sons of Dan. 23 They cried to the sons of Dan, who turned around and said to Micah, “What is the matter with you, that you have gathered together?” 24 So he said, “You have taken my gods that I made, and the priest, and have gone away. What do I have left? How, then, can you ask me, ‘What is the matter with you?’” 25 And the sons of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest men bitter of soul fall upon you, and you lose your soul with the souls of your household.” 26 And the sons of Dan went on their way; and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house.
Laish Taken and Renamed Dan
27 And they took what Micah had made and the priest who had belonged to him, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword; and they burned the city with fire. 28 And there was no deliverer because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with anyone, and it was in the valley that belongs to Beth-rehob. Then they rebuilt the city and lived in it. 29 And they called the name of the city Dan, after Dan their ancestor, who was born to Israel; but the name of the city was Laish at the first. 30 And the sons of Dan set up for themselves the graven image; and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. 31 So they set up for themselves the carved image that Micah had made, all the days that the house of God was in Shiloh.
Benjaminite’s Sex Crime in Gibeah
19 In those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite was sojourning in the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, who took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem in Judah. 2 And his concubine played the prostitute against him, and she left him to go to her father’s house at Bethlehem in Judah. She remained there for four months. 3 Then her husband rose up and went after her, to speak kindly to her and bring her back. He had with him his servant and a couple of donkeys. And she brought him into her father’s house, and when the father of the young woman saw him, he rejoiced to meet him. 4 And his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, made him stay, and he remained with him three days. So, they ate and drank and they spent the night there.
5 And on the fourth day they rose early in the morning, and he prepared to go, but the young woman’s father said to his son-in-law, “Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and after that you may go.” 6 So the two of them sat and ate and drank together. And the young woman’s father said to the man, “Be pleased to spend the night, and let your heart be merry.” 7 Then the man rose up to go, but his father-in-law urged him so that he spent the night there again.
8 And he rose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart; and the young woman’s father said, “Strengthen your heart and wait until the day declines;” so they ate, both of them. 9 And when the man and his concubine and his servant rose up to depart, his father-in-law, the young woman’s father, said to him, “Look, now the day has drawn toward evening. Please, spend the night. Look, the day draws to its close. Lodge here and let your heart be merry, and tomorrow you shall arise early in the morning for your journey and go home.” 10 But the man would not spend the night, so he rose up and departed and arrived opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). He had with him a couple of saddled donkeys, and his concubine was with him.
11 When they were near Jebus, the day was far spent, and the servant said to his master, “Please, come, let us turn aside to this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.” 12 And his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners, who do not belong to the sons of Israel, but we will pass on as far as Gibeah.” 13 And he said to his servant, “Come and let us draw near to one of these places; and we will spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah.” 14 So they passed on and went their way, and the sun went down on them near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin.
15 And they turned aside there, to go in and spend the night at Gibeah. And they went in and sat down in the open square of the city, for no man that took them into his house to spend the night. 16 And look, an old man was coming from his work in the field at evening. Now the man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he was sojourning in Gibeah. The men of the place were Benjaminites. 17 And he lifted up his eyes and saw the man traveling on foot in the open square of the city. And the old man said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?” 18 And he said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote parts of the hill country of Ephraim, where I am from. I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to the house of Jehovah, but no man has taken me into his house. 19 We have straw and fodder for our donkeys, and bread and wine for me and your female servant and the young man with your servant; there is no lack of anything.” 20 And the old man said, “Peace be to you; let any lack of yours lie upon me. Only, do not spend the night in the square.” 21 So he brought him into his house and gave the donkeys fodder, and they washed their feet and ate and drank.
22 As they were making their hearts merry, look, the men of the city, worthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding on the door. And they said to the old man, the master of the house, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” 23 And the man, the master of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my brothers, do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this disgraceful act. 24 Look, here are my virgin daughter and his concubine. Let me bring them out now. Abuse them and do what is good in your eyes, but against this man do not commit this disgraceful act.”
25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them. And they knew her and abused her all night until the morning. Then they sent her away at the break of dawn. 26 Then the woman came as morning appeared and fell at the entrance of the man’s house where her master was until it was light 27 And her master rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way; and look, the woman his concubine was lying at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 And he said to her, “Get up, let us go,” but there was no answer. So he put her on the donkey, and the man rose up and went to his place.
29 And when he entered his house, he took a knife, and taking hold of his concubine he divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of Israel. 30 And all who saw it said, “Such a thing has never happened or been seen from the day that the sons of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt until this day; set your hearts on it, take counsel, and speak.”
Israel’s War with the Tribe of Benjamin
20 Then all the sons of Israel came out, from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, and the congregation assembled as one man to Jehovah at Mizpah. 2 And the chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand men on foot that drew the sword.
3 (Now the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.)
And the sons of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this wickedness come about?” 4 And the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came to Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to spend the night. 5 And the landowners of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night. They meant to kill me, but they raped my concubine instead, and she died. 6 And I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout the land of the inheritance of Israel; for they have committed a shameful and disgraceful act in Israel. 7 Look, all you sons of Israel, give your advice and counsel here.”
8 And all the people rose up as one man, saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house. 9 But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up against it by lot. 10 And we will take ten men of a hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred of a thousand, and a thousand of ten thousand, to bring provisions for the people, so that they may take action against Gibeah of Benjamin for all the disgraceful acts that they committed in Israel.” 11 So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.
12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that has taken place among you? 13 Now, therefore, deliver up the men, the worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove this wickedness from Israel.” But the sons of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel.
14 And the sons of Benjamin gathered themselves together from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the sons of Israel. 15 And the sons of Benjamin were numbered on that day out of the cities twenty-six thousand men that drew sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were numbered seven hundred chosen men. 16 Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one of these men could sling a stone at a hairbreadth and not miss.
17 And the men of Israel, besides Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men that drew sword: all these were men of war. 18 Now the sons of Israel rose up, went up to Bethel, and inquired of God and said, “Who of us should go up in the lead to the battle against the sons of Benjamin?” Then Jehovah said, “Judah shall go up first.”
19 And the sons of Israel rose up in the morning and camped against Gibeah.
20 The sons of Benjamin came on out from Gibeah and struck twenty-two thousand men in Israel down to the ground on that day. 21 The people of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and destroyed on that day 22,000 men of the Israelites. 22 And the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves, and set the battle formation again in the place where they set themselves in formation the first day. 23 And the sons of Israel went up and wept before Jehovah until evening; and they asked of Jehovah, saying, “Shall I again draw near to battle against the sons of Benjamin my brother?” And Jehovah said, “Go up against him.”
24 And the sons of Israel came against the sons of Benjamin the second day. 25 And Benjamin went out from Gibeah to meet them on the second day and struck a further eighteen thousand men among the sons of Israel down to the ground, all of these were men who drew the sword. 26 Then all the sons of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came to Bethel, and wept, and sat there before Jehovah, and fasted that day until evening; and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Jehovah. 27 And the sons of Israel asked of Jehovah (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease?” And Jehovah said, “Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver him into your hand.” 29 So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah.
30 And the sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and set themselves in formation against Gibeah, as at other times. 31 And the sons of Benjamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city, and they began to strike and kill some of the people as at other times, on the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the open field, about thirty men of Israel. 32 And the sons of Benjamin said, “They are struck down before us, as at the first.” But the sons of Israel said, “Let us flee that we may draw them away from the city to the highways.” 33 And all the men of Israel rose up out of their place and set themselves in formation at Baal-tamar, and the men of Israel who were in ambush rushed out of their place in the vicinity of Gibeah. 34 And there came over against Gibeah ten thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was fierce; but they did not know that disaster was close upon them.
35 And Jehovah smote Benjamin before Israel; and the children of Israel destroyed of Benjamin that day twenty-five thousand one hundred men: all these were men who drew the sword.
36 So the sons of Benjamin saw that they were defeated. When the men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin because they trusted the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah. 37 And the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush also deployed and struck all the city with the edge of the sword.
38 Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was that they should make a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city.
39 And the men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and kill the men of Israel about thirty persons; for they said, “Surely they are struck down before us, as in the first battle.” 40 But when the cloud began to rise up out of the city in a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them; and, look, the whole of the city went up in smoke to heaven. 41 Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed, for they saw that disaster was close upon them. 42 Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel in the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them. And those who came from the cities destroyed them in the midst of them. 43 They surrounded the Benjaminites, they pursued them without rest, and trampled them down opposite Gibeah toward the rising of the sun. 44 And eighteen thousand men from Benjamin fell, all of them valiant men.
45 And they turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon. Five thousand men of them were cut down in the highways. And they were pursued hard to Gidom, and two thousand men of them were struck down. 46 So that all who fell that day of Benjamin were twenty-five thousand men that drew the sword; all these were valiant men. 47 But six hundred men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon and remained at the rock of Rimmon four months.
48 The men of Israel then turned back against the sons of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city with the cattle and all that they found; and all the cities which they found they set on fire.
Wives Provided for the Tribe of Benjamin – Benjamin Saved as a Tribe
21 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying: “Not a man of us will give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife.” 2 And the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. 3 And they said, “O Jehovah, the God of Israel, why is this come about in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel?” 4 And it came about the next day that the people arose early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings
5 Then the sons of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up in the assembly to Jehovah?” For they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to Jehovah at Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.” 6 And the sons of Israel began to feel regret over Benjamin their brother. So they said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel this day. 7 What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by Jehovah that we will not give them any of our daughters for wives?”
8 And they said, “What one is there of the tribes of Israel that did not come up to Jehovah to Mizpah?” And look, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead, to the assembly. 9 For when the people were numbered, look, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there. 10 And the congregation sent there twelve thousand men out of the sons of valor, and commanded them, saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones. 11 This is the thing that you shall do: Every male, as well as every woman who has known the bed of a male, you should devote to destruction.” 12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins who had not known the bed of a male; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.
13 Then the whole congregation sent word and spoke to the sons of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them. 14 Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had kept alive from the women of Jabesh-gilead; yet they were not enough for them. 15 And the people felt regret over Benjamin because Jehovah had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. 16 Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for the men that remain, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?” 17 And they said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, so that a tribe will not be blotted out from Israel. 18 But we cannot give them wives of our daughters.” For the sons of Israel had sworn, saying, “Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin.”
19 So they said, “Look, there is a feast of Jehovah from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south side of Lebonah.” 20 And they commanded the sons of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, 21 and watch; and look, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then you shall come out of the vineyards and catch each man his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 And it shall come about when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we shall say to them, ‘Grant them graciously to us, because we did not take for each man of them his wife in battle, neither did you give them to them, else you would now be guilty.’”
23 The sons of Benjamin did so and took wives according to their number from those who danced, whom they carried off, and they went and returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the cities and dwelt in them.
24 The sons of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family, and they went out from there every man to his inheritance.
25 In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did what was right in his own eyes.
 Or the south. That is the southern part of the Promised Land. The Negev was an arid region in the southern part of Palestine, and its name came to mean south.
 That is, lowland
 VG “he urged her” LXX “Othniel urged her”
 Or the south. That is the southern part of the Promised Land. The Negev was an arid region in the southern part of Palestine, and its name came to mean south.
 That is, springs of water
 That is, upper springs
 That is, lower springs
 That is, utter destruction. LXXB “Anathema” VG “Horma, that is, anathema”
 LXX “Judah did not capture Gaza”
 Lit its daughters
 LXX AT VG “they will be a distress to you”
 That is, Weepers
 MT LXX “Timnath-heres” SYR VG “Timnath-serah”
 A poetic expression for death
 Or worshipped
 Or worshipped
 LXX “delivered them”
 Or as Lebo-hamath
 LXXA Vg “the Rivers of Syria” MT “Aram”
 Or peace
 MT Lit “a man closed (bound) of his right hand” LXX “ambidextrous”
 Lit with two mouths
 A cubit was about 18 in. or 45 cm; but it might have been a short cubit, which was about 15 in. or 38 cm
 VG “and at once through the secret parts of nature the excrements of the belly broke forth.”
 Lit he overshadowed his feet
 That is, they waited until it would have been shameful to have waited any longer, as a wave of anxiety likely came over them.
 Lit earth
 Or peace
 Or nations; Or Harosheth-hagoyim
 LXX VG “Deliver up”
 Or nations; Or Harosheth-hagoyim
 Or nations; Or Harosheth-hagoyim
 MT VG “melted” or “flowed” AT SYR “quaked” LXX “were shaken”
 MT meaning is is obscure
 LXXB “Then the cities of the rulers fought”
 MT meaning is obscure LXXB VG, “sit in judgment”
 The meaning of the Hebrew word is uncertain.
 LXX “for him”
 LXXA TH “in the low plain” MT LXXB VG “in Amalek”
 A person who records the names of the enlisted men.
 Or stream
 LXX lacks “cried out”
 Lit steps
 Or peace
 VG “and others of the Oriental nations.”
 Or terebinth
 Lit palm of the hand with the sense of control (power)
 LXX “angel of the Lord”
 Lit palm of the hand with the sense of control (power)
 This is one of the 134 scribal changes from יהוה [JHVH] to אדני [Adonai]. The earliest MSS have the Tetragrammaton.
 That is, an exceptionally large group of interrelated families, which is a subdivision among the Israelite tribes.
 LXX “angel of the Lord”
 About 22 L (20 dry qt).
 Or terebinth; big tree
 MT (הָאֱלֹהִים) haʼElohimʹ “the God” LXXB “God” LXXA VG “Jehovah”
 Meaning Jehovah Is Peace
 Meaning let Baal contend; make a legal defense
 That is, came upon, covered, enveloped
 LXXA VG “him” MT LXXB SYR “them”
 From about 10:00 p.m. to about 2:00 a.m.
 Perhaps the same as “Zarethan” in 1Ki 4:12; 20 Heb. MSS have “Zeredah”
 MT SYR “God” AT LXX VG “Jehovah”
 Lit their spirit against him subsided
 LXX SYR VG “threshed the men of the city”
 LXXA VG “Shekels” MT LXXB SYR lack
 Or landowners of; LXX VG “men”
 That is, God let hostility develop between Abimelech and the men of Shechem
 LXX “That he might bring the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal”
 MT SYR VG “Shechem” LXX “the son of Shechem”
 LXX “and I would remove Abimelech and say” DSS “I would depose Abimelech” Then] they [said] to A[bimelech]” VG “that I might remove Abimelech!’ And it was said.” Within the square brackets is lost material in the scroll due to different kinds of damage.
 Or cunningly; craftily
 That is, the main subgroup of the army
 Meaning someone who foretells (predicts) the future using magic.
 MT “divisions” VG “division”
 Meaning “God of a Covenant;” LXXA “Baal of a covenant”
 LXX SYR VG “and they had thirty cities” MT “and they had thirty donkeys”
 LXX “Midianites” MT “Maon” VG “Canaan”
 Or Jehovah shall be the witness between us
 LXX “inherit” VG “take possession of”
 LXX “inherit” VG “be due by right”
 LXX “inherit,” VG “fall to our possession”
 That is, never had relations with a man
 Or lament
 LXX lacks “because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, O Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim and in the midst of Manasseh.’”
 “was unable” agrees with 12 Heb. MSS “did not understand how” MT “would not persevere”
 LXXB VG “in his city in Gilead,” MT “in one of the cities of Gilead” SYR “in a city of Gilead”
 LXXA “in Mount Lanak”
 MT “you shall be pregnant” LXX “you have in the womb” VG “you will conceive”
 This is one of the 134 scribal changes from יהוה [JHVH] to אדני [Adonai]. The earliest MSS have the Tetragrammaton.
 MT “and working” LXX VG “to him who works”
 Meaning Camp of Dan
 LXX “He” MT VG “they”
 LXX SYR “Fourth” MT VG “seventh”
 SYR “before he could go to the banquet”; MT LXXA VG “before the sun went down” LXXB “before the sun rose”
 LXX AT VG “vineyards and olive groves”
 LXX “I have thoroughly wiped them out”
 MT LXX “God” SYR “Jehovah God” AT VG “Jehovah”
 LXXB “And God broke open the hollow place that was in the jaw and water came out of it” SYR “And Jehovah God broke open the jaw of the cheek of the ass and water came out of it” VG “So Jehovah [Lat., Dominus] opened a molar tooth in the jaw of the ass and waters came out of it”
 MT “To the Gazites, saying” LXX “And it was reported to the Gazites”
 LXX adds “and put them there”
 Or afflict
 LXXB “It came to pass when he was sleeping that Delilah took the seven cords of hair from his head, and she wove with the warp, and she stuck the peg in the wall”
 LXX “he began to weaken”
 LXX “And I shall avenge myself upon the aliens with one avenging for my two eyes” VG “that I may avenge myself upon my enemies and may receive one avenging for the loss of two eyes”
 Meaning Who Is Like Jehovah?
 That is, installed or appointed
 MT LXX VG “who was a Levite” SYR “and his name was Levi”
 That is, installed or appointed
 There was no conqueror to unjustly inflict hardship and constraint on them.
 LXXA SYM SYRHexapla “with Syria”
 MT LXX SYR “God” AT VG “Jehovah”
 Meaning Camp of Dan
 That is, when one faces east, it is behind, so it is west
 Or household gods; idols
 Or household gods; idols
 Or household gods; idols
 That is, angry men
 LXXA VG some Heb. MSS “Moses” MT LXXB SYR “Manasseh” Because of their respect for Moses, the scribes sought to protect his honor, so they intentionally inserted the Heb. letter Nun, “n,” in the name in MT, which then read “Manasseh.”
 LXXA VG “his concubine got angry with him”
 LXXmss IT “he” MT SYR “they”
 LXX SYR VG “they” MT “he”
 LXX (See vs 29) “to my own house” MT SYR “to the house of Jehovah” VG “to God’s house.”
 Some Heb. MSS AT SYR VG “servant” MT “servants”
 The sense here for “know” carnally is to have forced sexual intercourse.
 Or rape them
 The sense here for “know” carnally is to have forced sexual intercourse. They raped and abused her all night.
 LXX adds “He commanded the men he sent out, saying, ‘Thus you will say to all the men of Israel, “Has anything like this happened from the day the Israelites left Egypt until this day?”’”
 AT “your hearts,” MT “for yourselves”
 LXX “we will go up” MT lacks
 Lit Geba; both Gibeah and Geba mean Hill
 LXXA SYR “They” MT “it”
 MT “tribes” LXX VG “tribe” SYR “house”
 AT LXX SYR Qere of 32 Heb. MSS “the sons of Benjamin” (with vowel points for “sons of,” but without the Heb. consonants, placed in front of “Benjamin”). It is qere but not kethib, that is, read but not written.
 LXX “Ambidextrous” See 3:15 ftn
 This is a collective singular.
 This is a collective singular.
 VG “Came to the house of God”
 This is a collective singular.
 This is a collective singular.
 This is a collective singular.
 This is a collective singular.
 Or out of their place, even out of Maareh-geba. SYR VG LXXmss “west of Geba”
 VG LXXmss “city”
 LXX “cut down”
 LXX “from Nohah” (interpreting the Hebrew as a proper noun as opposed to a common noun)
 That is, had sexual relations with
 That is, who had never had sexual relations with a man
 MT SYR “us” LXX VG “you”
 MT LXX SYR VG “we” Doubtful but maybe “you”