A Translation of the Bible/Judges

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Chapter 1[edit | edit source]

1 And it happened after the death of Joshua that the Israelis enquired of the LORD, saying: "Who shall go up for us first against the Canaanites, to fight against them?" 2 And LORD said: "Judah shall go up; behold, I have delivered the land into his hand." 3 And Judah said to Simeon his brother: "Come up with me into my territory, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and likewise I will go with you into your territory". So Simeon went with him. 4 And Judah went up; and the LORD delivered the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hand; and they struck down ten thousand men in Bezek. 5 And they found Adoni-bezek in Bezek; and they fought against him, and they struck down 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 And Adoni-bezek said: "Seventy kings, having their thumbs and their big toes cut off, gathered food under my table; as I have done, so has God punished me." And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.

8 And the tribe of Judah fought against Jerusalem, and took it, and destroyed it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire. 9 And afterwards the tribe of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites that dwelt in the hill-country, and in the South, and in the Lowland. 10 And Judah went against the Canaanites that dwelt in Hebron (and the name of Hebron was formerly Kiriath-arba) and they killed Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai. 11 And from there he[1] went against the inhabitants of Debir (and the name of Debir was formerly Kiriath-sepher). 12 And Caleb said: "Whoever attacks Kiriath-sepher, and takes it, I will give him Achsah my daughter as a wife." 13 And Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, took it; and he gave him Achsah his daughter as a wife. 14 And it happened, when she came to him, that she persuaded him to ask her father for a field; and she climbed down from her ass; and Caleb said to her: "What would you like?" 15 And she said to him: "Give me a present; since you have put me in the Negev Desert, please give me springs of water." And Caleb gave her the Upper Springs and the Lower Springs.

16 And the descendants of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, went up from the city of palm-trees with the tribe of Judah into 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 attacked the Canaanites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. And the name of the city was Hormah. 18 Also Judah took Gaza with its border, and Ashkelon with its border, and Ekron with its border. 19 And the LORD was with Judah; and he drove out the inhabitants of the hill-country; but he could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had iron chariots. 20 And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had spoken; and he drove out the three sons of Anak from there. 21 And the tribe of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem; but the Jebusites dwelt with the tribe of Benjamin in Jerusalem, to this day.

22 And the descendants[2] of Joseph also went up against Beth-el; and the LORD was with them. 23 And the descendants of Joseph sent spies to Beth-el (and the name of the city was formerly Luz). 24 And the watchers saw a man come out of the city, and they said to him: "Please show us the entrance to the city, and we will deal kindly you." 25 And he showed them the entrance to the city, and they destroyed the city with the edge of the sword; but they let the man go, and all his family. 26 And the man went to the land of the Hittites, and built a city, and called it Luz, which is its name to this day.

27 And Manasseh did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shean and its towns, nor of Taanach and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Dor and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Ibleam and its towns, nor the inhabitants of Megiddo and its towns; and the Canaanites were determined to dwell in that land. 28 And it happened, when the Israelis had grown strong, that they made the Canaanites do task-work, but they did not drive them out at all. 29 And Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who dwelt in Gezer; but the Canaanites dwelt in Gezer among them. 30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, nor the inhabitants of Nahalol; but the Canaanites dwelt among them, and became their vassals. 31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, nor the inhabitants of Zidon, nor of Ahlab, nor of Achzib, nor of Helbah, nor of Aphik, nor of Rehob; 32 but the Asherites dwelt 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, nor the inhabitants of Beth-anath; but he dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; nevertheless the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and of Beth-anath became their vassals. 34 And the Amorites forced the tribe of Dan into the hill-country; for they would not let them come down to the valley. 35 But the Amorites were determined to dwell in Harheres, in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim; yet the power[3] of the descendants of Joseph prevailed, so that they became their vassals. 36 And the border of the Amorites was from the foothills of Akrabbim, from Sela, and upwards.

Chapter 2[edit | edit source]

1 And the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said: "I caused you to go up out of Egypt, and have brought you to the land which I promised on oath to your fathers; 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 ye have not paid attention to My voice; what is this you have done? 3 Therefore I also said: I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be snares for you, and their gods shall be a trap for you.' 4 And it happened, when the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the Israelis, that the people wept in a loud voice. 5 And they called that place Bochim[4]; and they sacrificed there to the LORD.

6 Now when Joshua had sent the people away, every man of the Israelis went to his inheritance to possess the land. 7 And the people served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the LORD, which He had performed for Israel. 8 And Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the LORD, died at the age of a hundred and ten years. 9 And they buried him at the edge of his inheritance in Timnathheres, in the hill-country of Ephraim, on the north of the mountain of Gaash. 10 And all that generation were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them, who did not know the LORD, nor the work which He had performed for Israel.

11 And the Israelis did things that were evil in the sight of the LORD, and worshipped the Baalim. 12 And they abandoned the LORD, the God of their fathers, who brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, some of the gods of the peoples that were round about them, and worshipped them; and they provoked the LORD. 13 And they abandoned the LORD, and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. 14 And the LORD's anger was kindled against Israel, and He delivered them into the hands of ransackers who ransacked them, and He gave them into the hands of their enemies round about, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies. 15 Wherever they went out, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had spoken, and as the LORD had sworn unto them; and they were painfully distressed. 16 And the LORD raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who ransacked them. 17 And yet they did not pay attention to their judges, for they went astray after other gods, and worshipped them; they turned aside quickly out of the way in which their fathers had walked, obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do so. 18 And when the LORD raised up judges for them, then the LORD was with the judge, and saved them out of the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the LORD repented because of their groaning caused by those who oppressed them and crushed them. 19 But it happened, when the judge was dead, that they turned back, and acted more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them, and to worship them; they left nothing undone of their practices, nor of their stubborn way. 20 And the LORD'S anger was kindled against Israel; and He said: "Since this nation have transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not paid attention to My voice; 21 I also will no longer drive out from before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died; 22 that I may test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk in it, as their fathers kept it, or not." 23 So the LORD left those nations, without driving them out quickly; nor did He deliver them into the hand of Joshua.

Chapter 3[edit | edit source]

1 And these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them, all the people who had not known all the wars of Canaan; 2 in order that that the generations of the Israelis might know, to teach them war, at least those who previously had known nothing about it; namely, the five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Zidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon to the entrance of Hamath. 4 And they were there, to test Israel by them, to know whether they would pay attention to the commandments of the LORD, which He commanded to their fathers by the agency of Moses. 5 And the Israelis dwelt among the Canaanites, the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites; 6 and they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

7 And the Israelis did things that were evil in the LORD's sight, and forgot the LORD their God, and served the Baalim and the Asheroth. 8 Therefore the LORD's anger was kindled against Israel, and He gave them into the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Aramnaharaim; and the Israelis served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. 9 And when the Israelis cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a saviour to the Israelis, who saved them; he was Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. 10 And the LORD's spirit came upon him, and he judged Israel; and he went out to war, and the LORD delivered Cushan-rishathaim king of Aram into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Cushan-rishathaim. 11 And the land was at peace for forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

Ehud the son of Gera
12 And the Israelis again did things that were evil in the LORD's sight; and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done things that were evil in the LORD's sight. 13 And he gathered the Ammonites and Amalekites to himself; and he went and ravaged Israel, and they possessed the city of palm-trees. 14 And the Israelis served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. 15 But when the Israelis cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a saviour for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man; and the Israelis sent Eglon the king of Moab a present by him. 16 And Ehud made for himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit long; and he put it on a belt under his garment upon his right thigh. 17 And he offered the present to Eglon king of Moab. And Eglon was a very fat man. 18 And when he[5] had finished offering the present, he sent away the people who carried the present. 19 But he himself turned back from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and said: "I have a secret errand for thee, O king." And he said: "Keep silence." And all that stood by him went out from his presence. 20 And Ehud came to him; and he was sitting by himself alone in his cool upper chamber. And Ehud said: "I have a message from God for thee." And he stood up from his seat. 21 And Ehud stretched out his left hand, and took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his[6] belly. 22 And the handle also went in after the blade; and the fat closed round the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly; and it came out of his back. 23 Then Ehud went out of there into the porch, and shut the doors of the upper chamber behind him, and locked them. 24 Now when he was gone out, his servants came; and they saw, and, behold, the doors of the upper chamber were locked; and they said: "Surely he is covering his feet in the cabinet of the cool chamber."[7] 25 And they hung around until they were ashamed; and, behold, he did not open the doors of the upper chamber; so they took the key, and opened them; and, behold, their lord had fallen down dead on the earth. 26 And Ehud escaped while they lingered, having passed beyond the quarries, and escaped to Seirah. 27 And it happened, when he had come, that he blew a horn in the hill-country of Ephraim, and the Israelis went down with him from the hill-country, and he was leading them. 28 And he said to them: "Follow after me; for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand." And they went down after him, and captured the fords of the Jordan from the Moabites, and would not let any man pass over. 29 And at that time they killed about ten thousand men of Moab, every vigorous man, and every man of valour; and not a man escaped. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land was at peace for eighty years.

31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who killed six hundred Philistine men with an ox-goad; and he also saved Israel.

Chapter 4[edit | edit source]

1 And the Israelis again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, when Ehud was dead. 2 And the LORD gave them over into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; the captain of his host was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-goiim. 3 And the Israelis cried to the LORD, for he had nine hundred chariots of iron; and he oppressed the children of Israel greatly for twenty years.

4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, judged Israel at that time. 5 And she sat under the palm-tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el in the hill-country of Ephraim, and the children of Israel came to her for judgment. 6 And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him: "Has not the LORD, the God of Israel, commanded, saying: Go and draw toward Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? 7 And I will draw Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude, to the Kishon Brook; and I will deliver him into your hand." 8 And Barak said to her: "If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go." 9 And she said: "I will certainly go with you,but the journey that you take will not be for your honour; for the LORD will give Sisera over into the hand of a woman." And Deborah gotup, and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh; and ten thousand men went up, following him; and Deborah went up with him. 11 Now Heber the Kenite had dissociated himself from the Kenites - from the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses - and had pitched his tent as far away as Elon-bezaanannim, which is close to Kedesh. 12 And they told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 And Sisera gathered together all his chariots, the nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him, from Harosheth-goiim, to the Kishon Brook. 14 And Deborah said to Barak: "Get up; for this is the day on which the LORD has delivered Sisera into your hand. Has not the LORD gone out before you?" So Barak went down from Mount Tabor, with ten thousand men after him. 15 And the LORD defeated Sisera, and all his chariots, and all his army, with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera got out of his chariot, and fled away by foot. 16 But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the army, to Harosheth-goiim; and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; there was not one man left. 17 However, 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 family of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him: "Come in, my lord, come in to me; do not be afraid." And he came in to her, into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 And he said to her, "Give me, please, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty." And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him some to drink, and covered him. 20 And he said to her, "Stand at the entrance to the tent, and it shall be, when any man comes and asks you, and says: Is there any man here? then you shall say: No." 21 Then Jael Heber's wife took a tent-pin, and took a hammer in her hand, and went quietly to him, and smashed the pin into his temples, and it pierced through into the ground; for he was in a deep sleep. So he fainted and died. 22 And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said to him, "Come, and I shall show you the man you are seeking." And he came to her; and, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the tent-pin was through his temples. 23 So on that day God subdued Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. 24 And the power of the children of Israel prevailed more and more against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

Chapter 5[edit | edit source]

Deborah's Song
1 Then Deborah and Barak the son of Abinoam sang on that day, saying:

2 When men let their hair grow in Israel, when the people offer themselves willingly, bless the LORD.
3 Hear, O you kings; pay attention, O ye princes; I, I will sing to the LORD; I will sing praises to the LORD, the God of Israel.
4 LORD, when You went forth from Seir, when You marched out of the field of Edom, the Earth trembled, the Heavens also dropped; yes, the clouds dropped water.
5 The mountains quaked at the presence of the LORD, even that Sinai at the presence of the LORD, the God of Israel.
6 In the days of Shamgar the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were impassable, and the travellers walked through byways.
7 The rulers ceased in Israel, they ceased, until you arose, Deborah, until you arose, a mother in Israel.
8 They chose new gods; then was war in the gates; was there any shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?
9 My heart goes out to the governors of Israel, who offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless ye the LORD.
10 You who ride on white donkeys, you who sit on rich carpets, and you who walk by the way, tell of it.
11 To the sound of musicians[8] by the watering troughs! There they shall tell of the righteous acts of the LORD - yes, the righteous acts of His rulers in Israel. Then the people of the LORD marched down to the gates.
12 Wake up, wake up, Deborah! Wake up, wake up, utter a song! Arise, Barak, and lead away your captives, you son of Abinoam.
13 Then He caused a remnant to have dominion over the nobles and the people; the LORD made me have dominion over the mighty.
14 Out of Ephraim they came, the descendants of Amalek; after you, Benjamin, amid your peoples; governors came down out of Machir, and those who handle the marshal's staff came out of Zebulun.
15 And the princes of Issachar were with Deborah; what Issachar did, so did Barak; they rushed into the valley following him. There was great resolve of heart among the clans of Reuben.
16 Why did you tarry among the sheepfolds, to hear the pipings for the flocks? There was great heartsearching among the clans of Reuben.
17 Gilead stayed beyond the Jordan; and why does Dan reside by the ships? Asher dwelt by the seashore, and remains by its bays.
18 Zebulun is a people that put their lives in jeopardy, risking death, and Naphtali, upon the high places of the field.
19 The kings came, they fought; yes, the kings of Canaan fought in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they gained no money as spoils.
20 They fought from heaven, the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.
21 The Kishon Brook swept them away, that ancient brook, the Kishon Brook. O my soul, tread them down forcefully.
22 Then the horses' hooves stamped because of the prancings, the prancings of their mighty ones.
23 "Curse you, Meroz", said the angel of the LORD, "Curse you bitterly, you inhabitants of Meroz,
because they did not come to the help of the LORD, to the help of the LORD against the mighty.'
24 Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, shall be blessed above women, she shall be blessed above women who dwell in tents.
25 He asked for water; she gave him milk; she brought him curds in a lordly bowl.
26 She picked up a tent-pin in her hand, and a workmen's hammer in her right hand; and with the hammer she smashed Sisera, she smashed through his head. Yes, she pierced and struck through his temples.
27 He sank, he fell, he lay at her feet; he sank, he fell at her feet; where he sank, there he fell down dead.
28 Sisera's mother looked out through the window, and peered through the lattice. "Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why are the wheels of his chariots so slow?
29 The wisest of her princesses answer her; yes, she answers herself:
30 "Are they not finding, are they not dividing the spoil? A young woman, two young women to every man; a spoil of dyed garments, a spoil of dyed embroidered garments to Sisera, two dyed embroidered garments for the neck of every spoiler?"
31 So may all Your enemies perish, O LORD; but may those who love Him be like the Sun when he goes forth in his might.

And the land was at peace for forty years.

Chapter 6[edit | edit source]


1 And the children of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD; and the LORD delivered them into the hand of Midian for seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian prevailed against Israel; and due to Midian, the children of Israel made for themselves the dens which are in the mountains, and the caves, and the strongholds. 3 For whenever Israel had sown seed, the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the East; they came up to attack them; 4 and they encamped against them, and destroyed the produce of the earth, as far as the border with Gaza, and left no sustenance in Israel, neither sheep, nor oxen, nor asses. 5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came in as numerous as locusts; neither they nor their camels could not be counted; and they came into the land to destroy it. 6 And Israel was brought very low because of Midian; and the children of Israel cried to the LORD.

7 And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried to the LORD because of Midian, 8 that the LORD sent a prophet to the children of Israel; and he said to them: "Thus says the LORD, the God of Israel: I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you forth out of the house of bondage; 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 the LORD your God; you shall not fear the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell; but you have not heeded My voice."

11 And the angel of the LORD came, and sat under the oak at Ophrah, that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite; and his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the winepress, to hide it from the Midianites. 12 And the angel of the LORD appeared to him, and said to him: "The LORD is with you, you mighty man of valour." 13 And Gideon said to him: "Oh, my lord, if the LORD is with us, why then has all this happened to us? And where are all His wonderful works which our fathers told us about, saying: Did not the LORD bring us up from Egypt? But now the LORD has cast us off, and delivered us into the hand of Midian." 14 And the LORD turned to him, and said: "Go in this might of yours, and save Israel from the hand of Midian; have I not sent you?" 15 And he said to him: Oh, my lord, with what can I save Israel? Behold, my clan is the poorest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family[9]." 16 And the LORD said to him: "Surely I will be with you, and you shall smite the Midianites as if they were only one man[10]." 17 And he said to him: "If now I have found favour in your sight, then show me a sign that it is you who talks with me. 18 Do not leave here, please, until I come back to you, and bring forth my present, and lay it before you." And he said: "I will wait until you come back." 19 And Gideon went indoors, and prepared a kid, and unleavened cakes of an ephah of flour; he put the meat in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot, and brought it out to him under the oak, and presented it.

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 the LORD reached out with the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes; and fire went up from the rock, and burnt up the meat and the unleavened cakes; and the angel of the LORD vanished from his sight. 22 And Gideon realised that he was the angel of the LORD; and Gideon said: "Alas, O Lord GOD! For I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face." 23 And the LORD said to him: "Peace to you; do not fear; you shalt not die.' 24 Then Gideon built an altar there to the LORD, and called it 'The Lord is peace'; it is still in Ophrah of the Abiezrites to this day.

25 And on the same night, the LORD said to him: "Take your father's bull, and the second bull that is seven years old, and pull down your father's altar of Baal, and cut down the sacred tree that is next to it; 26 and build an altar to the LORD your God on top of this stronghold, in the levelled area, and take the second bull, and offer a burnt-offering with the wood of the sacred tree which you shall cut down." 27 Then Gideon took ten men from his servants, and did what the LORD had spoken to him; and it happened, 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 And when the men of the city got up early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was pulled down, and the sacred tree next to it was cut down, and the second bull had been offered on the altar that had been built. 29 And they said to each other: "Who has done this thing?" And when they enquired and asked, 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 pulled down the altar of Baal, and because he has cut down the sacred tree that was next to it." 31 And Joash said to all who stood in front of him: "Will you fight for Baal? Or will you defend his cause? Whoever will fight for him shall be put to death before morning; if he be a god, let him fight for himself, because someone has pulled down his altar." 32 Therefore on that day he was called Jerubbaal, meaning: "Let Baal fight against him", because he has broken down his altar.

33 Now all the Midianites and the Amalekites and the children of the east assembled together; and they crossed over, and camped in the Valley of Jezreel. 34 But the spirit of the LORD covered Gideon; and he blew a horn; and the clan of Abiezer was gathered together to follow him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout all Manasseh; and they were also gathered together to follow him; and he sent messengers to Asher, and to Zebulun, and to Naphtali; and they came up to meet them. 36 And Gideon said to God: "If You will save Israel by my hand, as You have spoken, 37 behold, I will put a woollen fleece on the threshing-floor; if there is dew only on the fleece, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that You will save Israel by my hand, as You have spoken." 38 And it was so; for he rose early the next day, and squeezed the fleece, and wrung dew out of the fleece, a bowlful of water. 39 And Gideon said to God: "Do not let Your anger be kindled against me, and I will only speak once: let me make a trial, please, just once with the fleece; let it now be dry only on the fleece, and let there be dew on all the ground." 40 And God did so that night; for it was dry only on the fleece, and there was dew on all the ground.

Chapter 7[edit | edit source]

Gideon continued

1 Then Jerubbaal, known as Gideon, and all the people who were with him, rose up early, and camped next to En-harod; and Midian's camp was to their north, next to Gibeath-moreh, in the valley. 2 And the LORD said to Gideon: "The people who are with you are too numerous for Me to give the Midianites into their power, in case Israel boast against Me, saying: my own power has saved me. 3 Now therefore proclaim in the hearing of the people, saying: 'Whoever is fearful and trembling, let him return home and depart early from Mount Gilead.'" And twenty two thousand of the people returned; and ten thousand remained. 4 And the LORD said to Gideon: "The people are still too numerous; bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there; and it shall be that if I say of someone to you: This one shall go with you, that one shall go with you; and if I say of someone to you: This one shall not go with you, that one shall not go." 5 So he brought down the people to the water, and the LORD said to Gideon: "Everyone who laps the water with his tongue, as a dog laps, you shall put him by himself; likewise, everyone who kneels down to drink." 6 And three hundred men lapped, putting their hand to their mouth; but all the rest of the people knelt down to drink water. 7 And the LORD said to Gideon: "I shall save you using the three hundred men who lapped, and deliver the Midianites into your power; and let all the other men go home." 8 So they picked up the people's food, and their horns; and he sent all the men of Israel back to their tents, but retained the three hundred men; and the camp of Midian was below him in the valley.

9 And it happened the same night, that the LORD said to him: "Rise up, get down upon the camp; for I have delivered it into your hand. 10 But if you fear to go down, go with Purah your servant down to the camp. 11 And you shall hear what they say; and afterwards your hands shall be strengthened to go down upon the camp." Then he went down with Purah his servant to the outermost edge of the armed men who were in the camp. 12 Now the Midianites and the Amalekites and all the children of the east lay along in the valley, as numerous as locusts; and they had innumerable camels, as many as grains of sand on the sea-shore. 13 And when Gideon came, behold, a man was telling a dream to his fellow, and saying: "Behold, I dreamed, and, lo, a cake of barley bread tumbled into the camp of Midian, and came to the tent, and hit it so that it fell, and turned it upside down, so that the tent lay flat." 14 And his fellow replied: "This is the sword of Gideon the son of Joash, a man of Israel: God has delivered Midian and all the army into his hand." 15 And when Gideon heard the narration of the dream, and its interpretation, he worshipped; and he returned to the camp of Israel, and said: "Arise; for the LORD has delivered the army of Midian into your hand." 16 And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and he gave bugles, and empty pitchers, with torches inside the pitchers, to all of them. 17 And he said to them: "Look on me, and do what I do; and, behold, when I come to the outermost edge of the camp, whatever I do, you shall do. 18 When I blow the bugle, I and all who are with me, then you shall also blow the bugles on every side of all the camp, and say: For the LORD and for Gideon!"

19 So Gideon, and the hundred men who were with him, came to the outermost edge of the camp at the start of the middle night-watch, when they had only just set the watchmen; and they blew the bugles, and smashed the pitchers that were in their hands. 20 And the three companies blew the bugles, and broke the pitchers, and held the torches in their left hands, and the bugles for blowing in their right hands; and they yelled: "The sword for the LORD and for Gideon!" 21 And every man stood in his place round about the camp; and all the army ran; and they shouted, and fled. 22 And they blew the three hundred bugles, and the LORD set every man's sword against his fellow, throughout all the army; and the army fled as far as Beth-shittah in the direction of Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, next to Tabbath. 23 And the men of Israel were assembled from Naphtali, and from Asher, and from all Manasseh, and pursued after Midian. 24 And Gideon sent messengers throughout all the hill-country of Ephraim, saying: "Come down against Midian, and seize the waters in front of them, as far as Beth-barah, and also the River Jordan." So all of the men of Ephraim were assembled, and took the waters as far as Beth-barah, and also the River Jordan. 25 And they captured the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb; and they slew Oreb at the Rock of Oreb, and they slew Zeeb at the Winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian; and they brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon beyond the Jordan.

Chapter 8[edit | edit source]

Gideon continued

1 And the men of Ephraim said to him: "Why have you treated us like this, that you did not call us when you went to fight with Midian?" And they chided him sharply. 2 And he said to them: "What have I now done in comparison with you? Aren't the gleanings of Ephraim better than the vintage of Abiezer? 3 God has delivered the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb into your hand; and what was I able to do in comparison with you?" Then their anger with him was abated, after he said that. 4 And Gideon came to the Jordan, and crossed over, he, and the three hundred men who were with him; they were exhausted, yet still pursuing. 5 And he said to the men of Succoth: " Please give some loaves of bread to my followers, for they are exhausted, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian." 6 And the princes of Succoth said: "Are the forces of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your power, that we should give bread to your army?" 7 And Gideon said: "Because of this, when the LORD has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, then I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers." 8 And he went from there to Penuel, and spoke to them in the same way; and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. 9 And he spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying: "When I come back in peace, I will break down this tower."

10 And Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the army of the children of the east; for a hundred and twenty thousand swordsmen that drew sword had fallen. 11 And Gideon went up by the caravan route to the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the army; for the army was off guard. 12 And Zebah and Zalmunna fled; and he pursued after them; and he took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and threw all the army into a panic. 13 And Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle via the ascent of Heres. 14 And he caught a young man, one of the men of Succoth, and questioned him; and he wrote down for him the princes of Succoth, and its elders, seventy seven men. 15 And he came to the men of Succoth, and said: "Behold Zebah and Zalmunna, about whom you taunted me, saying: 'Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna already in your power, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?'" 16 And he took the elders of the city, and thorns from the wilderness and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. 17 And he broke down the tower of Penuel, and slew the men of the city. 18 Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna: "Where are the men whom you slew at Tabor?" And they replied: "As you are, so were they; they resembled the children of a king." 19 And he said: "They were my brothers, the sons of my mother; as the LORD lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not slay you." 20 And he said to Jether his first-born: "Up, and slay them." But the youth did nor draw his sword; for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. 21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said: "Get up yourself, and fall upon us; for as the man is, so is his strength." And Gideon rose up, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescents that were on their camels' necks.

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon: "Rule over us, both you, and your son, and also your son's son; for you have saved us from the hand of Midian." 23 And Gideon said to them: "I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you; the LORD shall rule over you." 24 And Gideon said to them: "I would ask a favour of you, that every man of you will give me the earrings from his spoils." 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 the earrings of his spoils on it. 26 And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; as well as the crescents, the pendants and the purple garments that were on the kings of Midian, and as well as the chains that were about their camels' necks. 27 And Gideon made an ephod of the gold, and put it in his city, in Ophrah; and all Israel falsely worshipped it there; and it became a snare to Gideon, and to his house. 28 So Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, and they did not exalt themselves again. And the land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon.

29 And Jerubbaal the son of Joash went and dwelt in his own house. 30 And Gideon fathered seventy sons; for he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem she also bore him a son, and he gave him the name Abimelech. 32 And Gideon the son of Joash died at a ripe old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 33 And it happened, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel again went astray, worshipping the Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god. 34 And the children of Israel did not remember the LORD their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side; 35 nor did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, namely Gideon, to rerurn all the good that he had done for Israel.

Chapter 9[edit | edit source]

The children of Gideon

1 And Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem, to his mother's family, and spoke with them, and with all of his mother's father's family, saying: 2 "Speak, please, to all the men of Shechem: Which is better for you, that all the sons of Jerubbaal, who are seventy persons, rule over you, or that one rule over you? Rremember also that I am your flesh and blood." 3 And his mother's family spoke all these words about him to all the men of Shechem; and they agreed in their hearts to follow Abimelech; for they said: "He is our brother." 4 And they gave him seventy pieces of silver from the house of Baal-berith, with which Abimelech hired reckless and worthless fellows, who followed him. 5 And he went to his father's family at Ophrah, and slew his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, being seventy persons, upon one stone; but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left alive, for he hid himself.

6 And all the men of Shechem assembled together, and all Beth-millo, and went and made Abimelech king, by the oak next to the pillar that was in Shechem. 7 And when they told this to Jotham, he went and stood on top of Mount Gerizim, and spoke in a loud voice, and said to them: "Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God may listen to you. 8 Once upon a time, the trees went out to anoint a king over them; and they said to the olive-tree: Reign over us. 9 But the olive-tree said to them: Should I stop making oil, seeing that by me they honour God and man, and go to hold sway over the trees? 10 And the trees said to the fig-tree: Come, and reign over us. 11 But the fig-tree said unto them: Should I stop making sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to hold sway over the trees? 12 And the trees said to the vine: Come, and reign over us. 13 And the vine said to them: Should I stop making my wine, which cheers God and man, and go to hold sway over the trees? 14 Then all the trees said to the bramble: Come, and reign over us. 15 And the bramble said to the trees: If in truth you will anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shadow; and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon. 16 Now therefore, if you have dealt truly 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 what his deeds deserved – 17 for my father fought for you, and risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian; 18 and you have today risen up against my father's house, and have slain his sons, seventy persons, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his maid-servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother – 19 if you then have dealt truly and uprightly with Jerubbaal and with his house today, 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 lived there, being afraid of Abimelech his brother.

22 And Abimelech was prince over Israel for 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 that the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal might come, and that their blood might be laid upon Abimelech their brother, who slew them, and upon the men of Shechem, who helped him to slay his brothers. 25 And the men of Shechem put men in ambush for him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all that passed by them along that way; and Abimelech was told.

26 And Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and went to Shechem; and the men of Shechem trusted him. 27 And they went out into the field, and harvested their vineyards, and trod the grapes, and held a festival, and 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? Isn't he the son of Jerubbaal? And Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem; but why should we serve him? 29 And would that this people were under my control! Then I would remove Abimelech." And he said to Abimelech: "Recruit your army, and come out." 30 And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, he became angry. 31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech in Tormah, saying: "Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem; and, behold, they will incite the city against you. 32 Now therefore, get up in the middle of the night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field. 33 And it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early, and attack the city; and, behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then may you do to them whatever you can." 34 And Abimelech rose up, and all the people who were with him, by night, and they lay in wait about Shechem in four companies. 35 And Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city; and Abimelech rose up, and the people who were with him, from the ambush. 36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul: "Behold, people are coming down from the tops of the mountains." And Zebul said to him: "You seest the shadow of the mountains and think they are men." 37 And Gaal spoke again and said: "See, people come down from the centre of the land, and one company comes by way of Elon-meonenim." 38 Then Zebul said to him: "Where now is your mouth, that you said: Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? Is this not the people that you have despised? Go out now, please, and fight with them." 39 And Gaal went out in the view of the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. 40 And Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many fell wounded, right up to the entrance of the gate. 41 And Abimelech stayed at Arumah; and Zebul expelled Gaal and his brothers, so that they should not live in Shechem. 42 And it came to pass, the next day, that the people went out into the field; and Abimelech was told. 43 And he took the people, and divided them into three companies, and lay in wait in the field; and he looked, and, behold, the people were coming out of the city; and he rose up against them, and devastated them. 44 And Abimelech, and the companies that were with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city; and the two companies rushed upon all who were in the field, and devastated them. 45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people in it; and he smashed down the city, and sowed it with salt.

46 And when all the men of the tower of Shechem heard about this, they went into the stronghold of the house of El-berith. 47 And Abimelech was told that all the men of the tower of Shechem had gathered together. 48 And Abimelech went up to mount Zalmon, he and all the people that were with him; and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it up, and laid it on his shoulder; and he said to the people that were with him: 'What you have seen me do, hurry, and do as I have done.' 49 And of all the people, each man also cut down his bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them against the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire with them; so that all the men of the tower of Shechem also died, about a thousand men and women.

50 Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and captured it. 51 But there was a strong tower within the city, and all the men and women fled there, everyone from of the city, and shut themselves in, and got up to the roof of the tower. 52 And Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and went close to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. 53 And a certain woman cast an upper millstone on Abimelech's head, and broke his skull. 54 Then he called hastily to the young man, his armour-bearer, and said to him: "Draw your sword, and kill me, so that men do not say of me: A woman slew him." And his young man thrust right through him, and he died. 55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, every man departed back to his place. 56 Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did to his father, in slaying his seventy brothers; 57 and all the wickedness of the men of Shechem God repaid on their heads; and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.

Chapter 10[edit | edit source]

The Israelis in trouble

1. And after Abimelech Tola the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of the tribe of Issachar arose to save Israel; and he lived in Shamir in the hill-country of Ephraim. 2. And he judged Israel for twenty-three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir. 3. And after him arose Jair, from Gilead, and he judged Israel for twenty-two years. 4. And he had thirty sons, who rode on thirty ass colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havvoth-jair until today, which are in the land of Gilead. 5. And Jair died, and was buried in Kamon.

6. And the children of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and served the Baalim, and the Ashtaroth, and the gods of Aram, and the gods of Zidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the children of Ammon, and the gods of the Philistines; and they abandoned the Lord, and did not serve Him. 7. And the LORD's anger was kindled against Israel, and He gave them over into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the Ammonites. 8. And they oppressed and crushed the children of Israel that year; for eighteen years they oppressed they all the Israelis who were across the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. 9. And the Ammonites also crossed over the Jordan to fight against the tribes of Judah, Benjamin and Ephraim, so that the Israelis were greatlyly distressed.

10 And the Israelis cried to the LORDaying: "We have sinned against You, for we have forsaken our God, and have served the Baalim." 11 And the LORD said to the Israelis: "Did I not save you from the Egyptians and the Amorites, from the Ammonites and the Philistines? 12 Also the Zidonians, the Amalekites and the Maonites, oppressed you; and you cried to Me, and I saved you out of their hand. 13 Yet you have abandoned Me, and served other gods; so I will not save you any more. 14 Go and cry to the gods which you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress." 15 And the Israelis said to the Lord: "We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you; only deliver us, please, today." 16 And they put away the strange gods from among them, and served the LORD; and His soul was grieved for the misery of the Israelis. 17 Then the Ammonites gathered together, and camped in Gilead. And the Israelis assembled, and camped in Mizpah. 18 And the people, the princes of Gilead, said to each other: "Which man will begin to fight against the Ammonites? He shall be ruler over all the inhabitants of Gilead."

Chapter 11[edit | edit source]


1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of a prostitute; and Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2 And Gilead's wife bore him sons; and when his wife's sons grew up, they drove Jephthah out, and said to him: "You shalt not inherit 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 worthless men gathered around Jephthah, and they went out raiding with him.

4 And it came to pass after a while, that the Ammonites made war against Israel. 5 And it came to pass that when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 And they said to Jephthah: "Come and be our chief, that we may fight with the Ammonites." 7 And 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 distress?" 8 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah: "That is why we have returned to you now, so that you may go with us, and fight with the Ammonites, and you shall be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead." 9 And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead: "If you bring me back home to fight with the Ammonites, and the LORD gives them over to me, I will be your head." 10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah: 'The LORD shall be witness between us; surely we shall do according to your word." 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him their head and chief; and Jephthah spoke all his words before the LORD in Mizpah.

Footnotes[edit | edit source]

  1. i.e. the detachment of the tribe of Judah commanded by Caleb
  2. lit. house
  3. lit. hand
  4. i.e. Weepers
  5. i.e. Ehud
  6. i.e. Eglon's
  7. i.e. he is going to the toilet
  8. Per RSV
  9. lit. father's house
  10. lit. as one man