2 The Lord’s angelic messenger 1 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. 2 I said, ‘I will never break my agreement 3 with you, 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.’ 4 But you have disobeyed me. 5 Why would you do such a thing? 6 3 At that time I also warned you, 7 ‘If you disobey, 8 I will not drive out the Canaanites 9 before you. They will ensnare you 10 and their gods will lure you away.’” 11
4 When the Lord’s messenger finished speaking these words to all the Israelites, the people wept loudly. 12 5 They named that place Bokim 13 and offered sacrifices to the Lord there.
6 When Joshua dismissed 14 the people, the Israelites went to their allotted portions of territory, 15 intending to take possession of the land. 7 The people worshiped 16 the Lord throughout Joshua’s lifetime and as long as the elderly men 17 who outlived him remained alive. These men had witnessed 18 all the great things the Lord had done for Israel. 19 8 Joshua son of Nun, the Lord’s servant, died at the age of one hundred ten. 9 The people 20 buried him in his allotted land 21 in Timnath Heres in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 That entire generation passed away; 22 a new generation grew up 23 that had not personally experienced the Lord’s presence or seen what he had done for Israel. 24
11 The Israelites did evil before 25 the Lord by worshiping 26 the Baals. 12 They abandoned the Lord God of their ancestors 27 who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They followed other gods – the gods of the nations who lived around them. They worshiped 28 them and made the Lord angry. 13 They abandoned the Lord and worshiped Baal and the Ashtars. 29
14 The Lord was furious with Israel 30 and handed them over to robbers who plundered them. 31 He turned them over to 32 their enemies who lived around them. They could not withstand their enemies’ attacks. 33 15 Whenever they went out to fight, 34 the Lord did them harm, 35 just as he had warned and solemnly vowed he would do. 36 They suffered greatly. 37
16 The Lord raised up leaders 38 who delivered them from these robbers. 39 17 But they did not obey 40 their leaders. Instead they prostituted themselves to other gods and worshiped 41 them. They quickly turned aside from the path 42 their ancestors 43 had walked. Their ancestors had obeyed the Lord’s commands, but they did not. 44 18 When the Lord raised up leaders for them, the Lord was with each leader and delivered the people 45 from their enemies while the leader remained alive. The Lord felt sorry for them 46 when they cried out in agony because of what their harsh oppressors did to them. 47 19 When a leader died, the next generation 48 would again 49 act more wickedly than the previous one. 50 They would follow after other gods, worshiping them 51 and bowing down to them. They did not give up 52 their practices or their stubborn ways.
20 The Lord was furious with Israel. 53 He said, “This nation 54 has violated the terms of the agreement I made with their ancestors 55 by disobeying me. 56 21 So I will no longer remove before them any of the nations that Joshua left unconquered when he died. 22 Joshua left those nations 57 to test 58 Israel. I wanted to see 59 whether or not the people 60 would carefully walk in the path 61 marked out by 62 the Lord, as their ancestors 63 were careful to do.” 23 This is why 64 the Lord permitted these nations to remain and did not conquer them immediately; 65 he did not hand them over to Joshua.
3 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. 1 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. 2 3 These were the nations: 3 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. 4 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. 5
5 The Israelites lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 6 They took the Canaanites’ daughters as wives and gave their daughters to the Canaanites; 6 they worshiped 7 their gods as well.
7 The Israelites did evil in the Lord’s sight. 8 They forgot the Lord their God and worshiped the Baals and the Asherahs. 9 8 The Lord was furious with Israel 10 and turned them over to 11 King Cushan-Rishathaim 12 of Aram-Naharaim. They were Cushan-Rishathaim’s subjects 13 for eight years. 9 When the Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, he 14 raised up a deliverer for the Israelites who rescued 15 them. His name was Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 16 10 The Lord’s spirit empowered him 17 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. 18 11 The land had rest for forty years; then Othniel son of Kenaz died.
12 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight. 19 The Lord gave King Eglon of Moab control over Israel 20 because they had done evil in the Lord’s sight. 13 Eglon formed alliances with 21 the Ammonites and Amalekites. He came and defeated Israel, and they seized the City of Date Palm Trees. 14 The Israelites were subject to 22 King Eglon of Moab for eighteen years.
15 When the Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, he 23 raised up a deliverer for them. His name was Ehud son of Gera the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. 24 The Israelites sent him to King Eglon of Moab with their tribute payment. 25 16 Ehud made himself a sword – it had two edges and was eighteen inches long. 26 He strapped it under his coat on his right thigh. 17 He brought the tribute payment to King Eglon of Moab. (Now Eglon was a very fat man.)
18 After Ehud brought the tribute payment, he dismissed the people who had carried it. 27 19 But he went back 28 once he reached 29 the carved images 30 at Gilgal. He said to Eglon, 31 “I have a secret message for you, O king.” Eglon 32 said, “Be quiet!” 33 All his attendants left. 20 When Ehud approached him, he was sitting in his well-ventilated 34 upper room all by himself. Ehud said, “I have a message from God 35 for you.” When Eglon rose up from his seat, 36 21 Ehud reached with his left hand, pulled the sword from his right thigh, and drove it into Eglon’s 37 belly. 22 The handle went in after the blade, and the fat closed around the blade, for Ehud 38 did not pull the sword out of his belly. 39 23 As Ehud went out into the vestibule, 40 he closed the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
24 When Ehud had left, Eglon’s 41 servants came and saw the locked doors of the upper room. They said, “He must be relieving himself 42 in the well-ventilated inner room.” 43 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. 44 Right before their eyes was their master, sprawled out dead on the floor! 45 26 Now Ehud had escaped while they were delaying. When he passed the carved images, he escaped to Seirah.
27 When he reached Seirah, 46 he blew a trumpet 47 in the Ephraimite hill country. The Israelites went down with him from the hill country, with Ehud in the lead. 48 28 He said to them, “Follow me, for the Lord is about to defeat your enemies, the Moabites!” 49 They followed him, captured the fords of the Jordan River 50 opposite Moab, 51 and did not let anyone cross. 29 That day they killed about ten thousand Moabites 52 – all strong, capable warriors; not one escaped. 30 Israel humiliated Moab that day, and the land had rest for eighty years.
31 After Ehud 53 came 54 Shamgar son of Anath; he killed six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad and, like Ehud, 55 delivered Israel.
4 The Israelites again did evil in the Lord’s sight 1 after Ehud’s death. 2 The Lord turned them over to 2 King Jabin of Canaan, who ruled in Hazor. 3 The general of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth Haggoyim. 4 3 The Israelites cried out for help to the Lord, because Sisera 5 had nine hundred chariots with iron-rimmed wheels, 6 and he cruelly 7 oppressed the Israelites for twenty years.
4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, 8 wife of Lappidoth, was 9 leading 10 Israel at that time. 5 She would sit 11 under the Date Palm Tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel 12 in the Ephraimite hill country. The Israelites would come up to her to have their disputes settled. 13
6 She summoned 14 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! 7 I will bring Sisera, the general of Jabin’s army, to you at the Kishon River, along with his chariots and huge army. 15 I will hand him over to you.” 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.” 9 She said, “I will indeed go with you. But you will not gain fame 16 on the expedition you are undertaking, 17 for the Lord will turn Sisera over to a woman.” 18 Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak summoned men from Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh. Ten thousand men followed him; 19 Deborah went up with him as well. 11 Now Heber the Kenite had moved away 20 from the Kenites, the descendants of Hobab, Moses’ father-in-law. He lived 21 near the great tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.
12 When Sisera heard 22 that Barak son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor, 13 he 23 ordered 24 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. 14 Deborah said to Barak, “Spring into action, 25 for this is the day the Lord is handing Sisera over to you! 26 Has the Lord not taken the lead?” 27 Barak quickly went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him. 15 The Lord routed 28 Sisera, all his chariotry, and all his army with the edge of the sword. 29 Sisera jumped out of 30 his chariot and ran away on foot. 16 Now Barak chased the chariots and the army all the way to Harosheth Haggoyim. Sisera’s whole army died 31 by the edge of the sword; not even one survived! 32
17 Now Sisera ran away on foot to the tent of Jael, wife of Heber the Kenite, for King Jabin of Hazor 33 and the family of Heber the Kenite had made a peace treaty. 34 18 Jael came out to welcome Sisera. She said to him, “Stop and rest, 35 my lord. Stop and rest with me. Don’t be afraid.” So Sisera 36 stopped to rest in her tent, and she put a blanket over him. 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. 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.’” 21 Then Jael wife of Heber took a tent peg in one hand and a hammer in the other. 37 She crept up on him, drove the tent peg through his temple into the ground 38 while he was asleep from exhaustion, 39 and he died. 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, 40 and there he saw Sisera sprawled out dead 41 with the tent peg in his temple.
23 That day God humiliated King Jabin of Canaan before the Israelites. 24 Israel’s power continued to overwhelm 42 King Jabin of Canaan until they did away with 43 him. 44