Judges 3

1 The Lord allowed some nations to stay in Canaan. He would use them to test the Israelites who had not yet fought wars in Canaan. 2 He wanted to teach the young men of Israel how to fight their enemies, because they had not fought battles before. 3 The nations who remained were:

  • the Philistines, with their five kings,
  • all the Canaanites,
  • the Sidonians,
  • the Hivites who lived in the Lebanon mountains, from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo-Hamath.
  • 4 These nations were still there to test the Israelites. The Lord wanted to know if his people would obey his commands. Those were the commands that he had told Moses to give to the ancestors of the Israelites.

    5 So the Israelites lived among those other nations, the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 6 Some Israelites married young women from these nations. They also let their daughters marry Canaanite men. As a result, the Israelites started to worship the Canaanite gods.

    3:6Many nations of people lived in Canaan before God gave it to the Israelites. The Philistines were sailors who lived in five cities near the Mediterranean Sea. The Moabites and the Ammonites were cousins of the Israelites. See Genesis 19:36-38. All these people worshipped false gods.


    7 The Israelites forgot to serve the Lord their God. They did things that he saw were evil. They worshipped idols of Baal and Asherah. 8 The Lord was very angry with the Israelites. He let King Cushan-Rishathaim of Aram Naharaim attack them. They were under his power for eight years.

    9 Then the Israelites called out to the Lord for help. So he chose Othniel to be their leader. He was the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. Othniel rescued them from their enemies. 10 The Lord's Spirit gave Othniel power to lead Israel. Othniel led them to fight against King Cushan-Rishathaim of Aram. The Lord helped Othniel to win the battle against the king. 11 As a result, the land of Israel had peace for 40 years. Then Kenaz's son Othniel died.


    12 Once again the Israelites did things that the Lord saw were evil. Because of this, the Lord gave Eglon, the king of Moab, power over Israel. 13 King Eglon made an agreement with the Ammonites and the Amalekites to join together to attack Israel. They attacked Jericho, ‘The City of Palm Trees’, and they took it for themselves. 14 The Israelites were under King Eglon's power for 18 years.

    15 Again the Israelites called out to the Lord for help. He chose Ehud to be their leader. He was the son of Gera, from Benjamin's tribe. Ehud's strong hand was his left hand. The Israelites sent him to pay their taxes to King Eglon of Moab.

    16 Ehud made a short sword that was sharp on both sides. He tied it to the top of his right leg and he hid it under his coat. 17 He took the money to give to King Eglon, who was a very fat man. 18 After Ehud had given the money to the king, he sent back home the men who had carried it. 19 But when Ehud reached the stone idols at Gilgal, he turned round to go back to the king. He said to King Eglon, ‘I have a secret message for you, sir!’ So the king said, ‘Leave us alone.’ All his servants went out. 20 The king was now sitting alone in his cool room on the roof of the palace. Ehud went near to the king and he said, ‘I have a message from God for you.’ The king started to get up from his chair. 21 Then Ehud used his left hand to take the sword from his right leg. He pushed it deep into the king's stomach. 22 The king's fat covered the whole sword, even its handle. Its point came out through the king's back. Ehud did not pull out the sword. He left it there. 23 Ehud went out of the room and he locked the doors. Then he escaped from the palace.

    3:16Ehud's sword was like a long knife, about 45 centimetres long.

    24 The king's servants came up to the room on the roof. They saw that the doors were locked. They thought that the king was using the toilet inside. 25 They waited for a long time and they started to worry. But the king still did not open the doors of his room. So they took the key and they opened the doors. Then they saw their master, the king! He was lying on the floor and he was dead.

    26 While the servants were waiting outside the king's room, Ehud had escaped. He went past the stone idols, and he ran to Seirah. 27 When he arrived there in the hill country of Ephraim, he made a loud noise with a trumpet. He led the Israelites down from the hills. 28 He said to them, ‘Follow me! The Lord will put your enemy, the Moabites, under your power!’ The Israelites followed him to the Jordan River, near the border of Moab. They would not let anyone go across the river. 29 That day they killed about 10,000 Moabite soldiers. They were all strong, brave fighters, but none of them escaped. 30 The Israelites won the fight against Moab that day. The land of Israel had peace for 80 years.


    31 After this, Anath's son Shamgar became Israel's leader. One time, he used a stick with a sharp point to kill 600 Philistines. He rescued the Israelites from their enemies, as Ehud had done.

    3:31They used sticks like this to push oxen to make them move and do work.