Bible: Judges 1-5

Judah Takes the Lead

1:1 After Joshua died, the Israelites asked 1  the Lord, “Who should lead the invasion against the Canaanites and launch the attack? 2  1:2 The Lord said, “The men of Judah should take the lead. 3  Be sure of this! I am handing the land over to them.” 4  1:3 The men of Judah said to their relatives, the men of Simeon, 5 Invade our allotted land with us and help us attack the Canaanites. 6  Then we 7  will go with you into your allotted land.” So the men of Simeon went with them.

1:4 The men of Judah attacked, 8  and the Lord handed the Canaanites and Perizzites over to them. They killed ten thousand men at Bezek. 1:5 They met 9  Adoni-Bezek at Bezek and fought him. They defeated the Canaanites and Perizzites. 1:6 When Adoni-Bezek ran away, they chased him and captured him. Then they cut off his thumbs and big toes. 1:7 Adoni-Bezek said, “Seventy kings, with thumbs and big toes cut off, used to lick up 10  food scraps 11  under my table. God has repaid me for what I did to them.” 12  They brought him to Jerusalem, 13  where he died. 1:8 The men of Judah attacked Jerusalem and captured it. They put the sword to it and set the city on fire.

1:9 Later the men of Judah went down to attack the Canaanites living in the hill country, the Negev, and the lowlands. 14  1:10 The men of Judah attacked the Canaanites living in Hebron. (Hebron used to be called Kiriath Arba.) They killed Sheshai, Ahiman, and Talmai. 1:11 From there they attacked the people of Debir. 15  (Debir used to be called Kiriath Sepher.) 1:12 Caleb said, “To the man who attacks and captures Kiriath Sepher I will give my daughter Acsah as a wife.” 1:13 When Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, 16  captured it, Caleb 17  gave him his daughter Acsah as a wife.

1:14 One time Acsah 18  came and charmed her father 19  so she could ask him for some land. When she got down from her donkey, Caleb said to her, “What would you like? 1:15 She answered, “Please give me a special present. 20  Since you have given me land in the Negev, now give me springs of water.” So Caleb gave her both the upper and lower springs. 21 

1:16 Now the descendants of the Kenite, Mosesfather-in-law, went up with the people of Judah from the City of Date Palm Trees to Arad in the desert of Judah, 22  located in the Negev. 23  They went and lived with the people of Judah. 24 

1:17 The men of Judah went with their brothers the men of Simeon 25  and defeated the Canaanites living in Zephath. They wiped out Zephath. 26  So people now call the city Hormah. 27  1:18 The men of Judah captured Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, and the territory surrounding each of these cities. 28 

1:19 The Lord was with the men of Judah. They conquered 29  the hill country, but they could not 30  conquer the people living in the coastal plain, because they had chariots with iron-rimmed wheels. 31  1:20 Caleb received 32  Hebron, just as Moses had promised. He drove out the three Anakites. 1:21 The men of Benjamin, however, did not conquer the Jebusites living in Jerusalem. 33  The Jebusites live with the people of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this very day. 34 

Partial Success

1:22 When the men 35  of Joseph attacked 36  Bethel, 37  the Lord was with them. 1:23 When the men of Joseph spied out Bethel (it used to be called Luz), 1:24 the spies spotted 38  a man leaving the city. They said to him, “If you show us a secret entrance into the city, we will reward you.” 1:25 He showed them a secret entrance into the city, and they put the city to the sword. But they let the man and his extended family leave safely. 1:26 He 39  moved to Hittite country and built a city. He named it Luz, and it has kept that name to this very day.

1:27 The men of Manasseh did not conquer Beth Shan, Taanach, or their surrounding towns. Nor did they conquer the people living in Dor, Ibleam, Megiddo 40  or their surrounding towns. 41  The Canaanites managed 42  to remain in those areas. 43  1:28 Whenever Israel was strong militarily, they forced the Canaanites to do hard labor, but they never totally conquered them.

1:29 The men of Ephraim did not conquer the Canaanites living in Gezer. The Canaanites lived among them in Gezer.

1:30 The men of Zebulun did not conquer the people living in Kitron and Nahalol. 44  The Canaanites lived among them and were forced to do hard labor.

1:31 The men of Asher did not conquer the people living in Acco or Sidon, 45  nor did they conquer Ahlab, Aczib, Helbah, Aphek, or Rehob. 46  1:32 The people of Asher live among the Canaanites residing in the land because they did not conquer them.

1:33 The men of Naphtali did not conquer the people living in Beth Shemesh or Beth Anath. 47  They live among the Canaanites residing in the land. The Canaanites 48  living in Beth Shemesh and Beth Anath were forced to do hard labor for them.

1:34 The Amorites forced the people of Dan to live in the hill country. They did not allow them to live in 49  the coastal plain. 1:35 The Amorites managed 50  to remain in Har Heres, 51  Aijalon, and Shaalbim. Whenever the tribe of Joseph was strong militarily, 52  the Amorites were forced to do hard labor. 1:36 The border of Amorite territory ran from the Scorpion Ascent 53  to Sela and on up. 54 

Confrontation and Repentance at Bokim

2:1 The Lord’s angelic messenger 55  went up from Gilgal to Bokim. He said, “I brought you up from Egypt and led you into the land I had solemnly promised to give to your ancestors. 56  I said, ‘I will never break my agreement 57  with you, 2:2 but you must not make an agreement with the people who live in this land. You should tear down the altars where they worship.’ 58  But you have disobeyed me. 59  Why would you do such a thing? 60  2:3 At that time I also warned you, 61  ‘If you disobey, 62  I will not drive out the Canaanites 63  before you. They will ensnare you 64  and their gods will lure you away.’ 65 

2:4 When the Lord’s messenger finished speaking these words to all the Israelites, the people wept loudly. 66  2:5 They named that place Bokim 67  and offered sacrifices to the Lord there.

The End of an Era

2:6 When Joshua dismissed 68  the people, the Israelites went to their allotted portions of territory, 69  intending to take possession of the land. 2:7 The people worshiped 70  the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and as long as the elderly men 71  who outlived him remained alive. These men had witnessed 72  all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. 73  2:8 Joshua son of Nun, the Lord’s servant, died at the age of one hundred ten. 2:9 The people 74  buried him in his allotted land 75  in Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 2:10 That entire generation passed away; 76  a new generation grew up 77  that had not personally experienced the Lord’s presence or seen what he had done for Israel. 78 

A Monotonous Cycle

2:11 The Israelites did evil before 79  the Lord by worshiping 80  the Baals. 2:12 They abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors 81  who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed other gods – the gods of the nations who lived around them. They worshiped 82  them and made the Lord angry. 2:13 They abandoned the Lord and worshiped Baal and the Ashtars. 83 

2:14 The Lord was furious with Israel 84  and handed them over to robbers who plundered them. 85  He turned them over to 86  their enemies who lived around them. They could not withstand their enemiesattacks. 87  2:15 Whenever they went out to fight, 88  the Lord did them harm, 89  just as he had warned and solemnly vowed he would do. 90  They suffered greatly. 91 

2:16 The Lord raised up leaders 92  who delivered them from these robbers. 93  2:17 But they did not obey 94  their leaders. Instead they prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped 95  them. They quickly turned aside from the path 96  their ancestors 97  had walked. Their ancestors had obeyed the Lord’s commands, but they did not. 98  2:18 When the Lord raised up leaders for them, the Lord was with each leader and delivered the people 99  from their enemies while the leader remained alive. The Lord felt sorry for them 100  when they cried out in agony because of what their harsh oppressors did to them. 101  2:19 When a leader died, the next generation 102  would again 103  act more wickedly than the previous one. 104  They would follow after other gods, worshiping them 105  and bowing down to them. They did not give up 106  their practices or their stubborn ways.

A Divine Decision

2:20 The Lord was furious with Israel. 107  He said, “This nation 108  has violated the terms of the agreement I made with their ancestors 109  by disobeying me. 110  2:21 So I will no longer remove before them any of the nations that Joshua left unconquered when he died. 2:22 Joshua left those nations 111  to test 112  Israel. I wanted to see 113  whether or not the people 114  would carefully walk in the path 115  marked out by 116  the Lord, as their ancestors 117  were careful to do.” 2:23 This is why 118  the Lord permitted these nations to remain and did not conquer them immediately; 119  he did not hand them over to Joshua.

3:1 These were the nations the Lord permitted to remain so he could use them to test Israel – he wanted to test all those who had not experienced battle against the Canaanites. 120  3:2 He left those nations simply because he wanted to teach the subsequent generations of Israelites, who had not experienced the earlier battles, how to conduct holy war. 121  3:3 These were the nations: 122  the five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo-Hamath. 123  3:4 They were left to test Israel, so the Lord would know if his people would obey the commands he gave their ancestors through Moses. 124 

3:5 The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 3:6 They took the Canaanites’ daughters as wives and gave their daughters to the Canaanites; 125  they worshiped 126  their gods as well.

Othniel: A Model Leader

3:7 The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. 127  They forgot the Lord their God and worshiped the Baals and the Asherahs. 128  3:8 The Lord was furious with Israel 129  and turned them over to 130  King Cushan-Rishathaim 131  of Aram-Naharaim. They were Cushan-Rishathaim’s subjects 132  for eight years. 3:9 When the Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, he 133  raised up a deliverer for the Israelites who rescued 134  them. His name was Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 135  3:10 The Lord’s spirit empowered him 136  and he led Israel. When he went to do battle, the Lord handed over to him King Cushan-Rishathaim of Aram and he overpowered him. 137  3:11 The land had rest for forty years; then Othniel son of Kenaz died.

Deceit, Assassination, and Deliverance

3:12 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight. 138  The Lord gave King Eglon of Moab control over Israel 139  because they had done evil in the Lord’s sight. 3:13 Eglon formed alliances with 140  the Ammonites and Amalekites. He came and defeated Israel, and they seized the City of Date Palm Trees. 3:14 The Israelites were subject to 141  King Eglon of Moab for eighteen years.

3:15 When the Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, he 142  raised up a deliverer for them. His name was Ehud son of Gera the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. 143  The Israelites sent him to King Eglon of Moab with their tribute payment. 144  3:16 Ehud made himself a sword – it had two edges and was eighteen inches long. 145  He strapped it under his coat on his right thigh. 3:17 He brought the tribute payment to King Eglon of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.)

3:18 After Ehud brought the tribute payment, he dismissed the people who had carried it. 146  3:19 But he went back 147  once he reached 148  the carved images 149  at Gilgal. He said to Eglon, 150  “I have a secret message for you, O king.” Eglon 151  said, “Be quiet!” 152  All his attendants left. 3:20 When Ehud approached him, he was sitting in his well-ventilated 153  upper room all by himself. Ehud said, “I have a message from God 154  for you.” When Eglon rose up from his seat, 155  3:21 Ehud reached with his left hand, pulled the sword from his right thigh, and drove it into Eglon’s 156  belly. 3:22 The handle went in after the blade, and the fat closed around the blade, for Ehud 157  did not pull the sword out of his belly. 158  3:23 As Ehud went out into the vestibule, 159  he closed the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.

3:24 When Ehud had left, Eglon’s 160  servants came and saw the locked doors of the upper room. They said, “He must be relieving himself 161  in the well-ventilated inner room.” 162  3:25 They waited so long they were embarrassed, but he still did not open the doors of the upper room. Finally they took the key and opened the doors. 163  Right before their eyes was their master, sprawled out dead on the floor! 164  3:26 Now Ehud had escaped while they were delaying. When he passed the carved images, he escaped to Seirah.

3:27 When he reached Seirah, 165  he blew a trumpet 166  in the Ephraimite hill country. The Israelites went down with him from the hill country, with Ehud in the lead. 167  3:28 He said to them, “Follow me, for the Lord is about to defeat your enemies, the Moabites!” 168  They followed him, captured the fords of the Jordan River 169  opposite Moab, 170  and did not let anyone cross. 3:29 That day they killed about ten thousand Moabites 171 all strong, capable warriors; not one escaped. 3:30 Israel humiliated Moab that day, and the land had rest for eighty years.

3:31 After Ehud 172  came 173  Shamgar son of Anath; he killed six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad and, like Ehud, 174  delivered Israel.

Deborah Summons Barak

4:1 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight 175  after Ehud’s death. 4:2 The Lord turned them over to 176  King Jabin of Canaan, who ruled in Hazor. 177  The general of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth Haggoyim. 178  4:3 The Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, because Sisera 179  had nine hundred chariots with iron-rimmed wheels, 180  and he cruelly 181  oppressed the Israelites for twenty years.

4:4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, 182  wife of Lappidoth, was 183  leading 184  Israel at that time. 4:5 She would sit 185  under the Date Palm Tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel 186  in the Ephraimite hill country. The Israelites would come up to her to have their disputes settled. 187 

4:6 She summoned 188  Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh in Naphtali. She said to him, “Is it not true that the Lord God of Israel is commanding you? Go, march to Mount Tabor! Take with you ten thousand men from Naphtali and Zebulun! 4:7 I will bring Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to you at the Kishon River, along with his chariots and huge army. 189  I will hand him over to you.” 4:8 Barak said to her, “If you go with me, I will go. But if you do not go with me, I will not go.” 4:9 She said, “I will indeed go with you. But you will not gain fame 190  on the expedition you are undertaking, 191  for the Lord will turn Sisera over to a woman.” 192  Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 4:10 Barak summoned men from Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. Ten thousand men followed him; 193  Deborah went up with him as well. 4:11 Now Heber the Kenite had moved away 194  from the Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Mosesfather-in-law. He lived 195  near the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.

4:12 When Sisera heard 196  that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 4:13 he 197  ordered 198  all his chariotry – nine hundred chariots with iron-rimmed wheels – and all the troops he had with him to go from Harosheth-Haggoyim to the River Kishon. 4:14 Deborah said to Barak, “Spring into action, 199  for this is the day the Lord is handing Sisera over to you! 200  Has the Lord not taken the lead?” 201  Barak quickly went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 4:15 The Lord routed 202  Sisera, all his chariotry, and all his army with the edge of the sword. 203  Sisera jumped out of 204  his chariot and ran away on foot. 4:16 Now Barak chased the chariots and the army all the way to Harosheth Haggoyim. Sisera’s whole army died 205  by the edge of the sword; not even one survived! 206 

4:17 Now Sisera ran away on foot to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, for King Jabin of Hazor 207  and the family of Heber the Kenite had made a peace treaty. 208  4:18 Jael came out to welcome Sisera. She said to him, “Stop and rest, 209  my lord. Stop and rest with me. Don’t be afraid.” So Sisera 210  stopped to rest in her tent, and she put a blanket over him. 4:19 He said to her, “Give me a little water to drink, because I’m thirsty.” She opened a goatskin container of milk and gave him some milk to drink. Then she covered him up again. 4:20 He said to her, “Stand watch at the entrance to the tent. If anyone comes along and asks you, ‘Is there a man here?’ say ‘No.’ 4:21 Then Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg in one hand and a hammer in the other. 211  She crept up on him, drove the tent peg through his temple into the ground 212  while he was asleep from exhaustion, 213  and he died. 4:22 Now Barak was chasing Sisera. Jael went out to welcome him. She said to him, “Come here and I will show you the man you are searching for.” He went with her into the tent, 214  and there he saw Sisera sprawled out dead 215  with the tent peg in his temple.

4:23 That day God humiliated King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites. 4:24 Israel’s power continued to overwhelm 216  King Jabin of Canaan until they did away with 217  him. 218 

Celebrating the Victory in Song

5:1 On that day Deborah and Barak son of Abinoam sang this victory song: 219 

5:2When the leaders took the lead 220  in Israel,

When the people answered the call to war –

Praise the Lord!

5:3 Hear, O kings!

Pay attention, O rulers!

I will sing to the Lord! 221 

I will sing 222  to the Lord God of Israel!

5:4 O Lord, when you departed 223  from Seir,

when you marched from Edom’s plains,

the earth shook, the heavens poured down,

the clouds poured down rain. 224 

5:5 The mountains trembled 225  before the Lord, the God of Sinai; 226 

before the Lord God of Israel.

5:6 In the days of Shamgar son of Anath,

in the days of Jael caravans 227  disappeared; 228 

travelers 229  had to go on winding side roads.

5:7 Warriors 230  were scarce, 231 

they were scarce in Israel,

until you 232  arose, Deborah,

until you arose as a motherly protector 233  in Israel.

5:8 God chose new leaders, 234 

then fighters appeared in the city gates; 235 

but, I swear, not a shield or spear could be found, 236 

among forty military units 237  in Israel.

5:9 My heart went out 238  to Israel’s leaders,

to the people who answered the call to war.

Praise the Lord!

5:10 You who ride on light-colored female donkeys,

who sit on saddle blankets, 239 

you who walk on the road, pay attention!

5:11 Hear 240  the sound of those who divide the sheep 241  among the watering places;

there they tell of 242  the Lord’s victorious deeds,

the victorious deeds of his warriors 243  in Israel.

Then the Lord’s people went down to the city gates

5:12 Wake up, wake up, Deborah!

Wake up, wake up, sing a song!

Get up, Barak!

Capture your prisoners of war, 244  son of Abinoam!

5:13 Then the survivors 245  came down 246  to the mighty ones; 247 

the Lord’s people came down to me 248  as 249  warriors.

5:14 They came from Ephraim, who uprooted Amalek, 250 

they follow 251  after you, Benjamin, with your soldiers.

From Makir leaders came down,

from Zebulun came 252  the ones who march carrying 253  an officer’s staff.

5:15 Issachar’s leaders were with Deborah,

the men of Issachar 254  supported 255  Barak;

into the valley they were sent under Barak’s command. 256 

Among the clans of Reuben there was intense 257  heart searching. 258 

5:16 Why do you remain among the sheepfolds, 259 

listening to the shepherds playing their pipes 260  for their flocks? 261 

As for the clans of Reuben – there was intense searching of heart.

5:17 Gilead stayed put 262  beyond the Jordan River.

As for Dan – why did he seek temporary employment in the shipyards? 263 

Asher remained 264  on the seacoast,

he stayed 265  by his harbors. 266 

5:18 The men of Zebulun were not concerned about their lives; 267 

Naphtali charged on to the battlefields. 268 

5:19 Kings came, they fought;

the kings of Canaan fought,

at Taanach by the waters of Megiddo, 269 

but 270  they took no silver as plunder.

5:20 From the sky 271  the stars 272  fought,

from their paths in the heavens 273  they fought against Sisera.

5:21 The Kishon River carried them off;

the river confronted them 274  – the Kishon River.

Step on the necks of the strong! 275 

5:22 The horses 276  hooves pounded the ground; 277 

the stallions galloped madly. 278 

5:23Call judgment down on 279  Meroz,’ says the Lord’s angelic 280  messenger;

Be sure 281  to call judgment down on 282  those who live there,

because they did not come to help in the Lord’s battle, 283 

to help in the Lord’s battle against the warriors.’ 284 

5:24 The most rewarded 285  of women should be Jael,

the wife of Heber the Kenite!

She should be the most rewarded of women who live in tents.

5:25 He asked for water,

and she gave him milk;

in a bowl fit for a king, 286 

she served him curds.

5:26 Her left 287  hand reached for the tent peg,

her right hand for the workmen’s hammer.

She “hammered” 288  Sisera,

she shattered his skull, 289 

she smashed his head, 290 

she drove the tent peg through his temple. 291 

5:27 Between her feet he collapsed,

he fell limp 292  and was lifeless; 293 

between her feet he collapsed and fell limp,

in the spot where he collapsed,

there he fell limp – violently murdered! 294 

5:28 Through the window she looked;

Sisera’s mother cried out through the lattice:

‘Why is his chariot so slow to return?

Why are the hoofbeats of his chariot-horses 295  delayed?’

5:29 The wisest of her ladies 296  answer;

indeed she even thinks to herself,

5:30No doubt they are gathering and dividing the plunder 297 

a girl or two for each man to rape! 298 

Sisera is grabbing up colorful cloth, 299 

he is grabbing up colorful embroidered cloth, 300 

two pieces of colorful embroidered cloth,

for the neck of the plunderer!’ 301 

5:31 May all your enemies perish like this, O Lord!

But may those who love you shine

like the rising sun at its brightest!” 302 

And the land had rest for forty years.

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