These are the nations the Lord did not force to leave. He wanted to test the Israelites who had not fought in the wars of Canaan. (The only reason the Lord left those nations in the land was to teach the descendants of the Israelites who had not fought in those wars how to fight.) These are the nations: the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the people of Sidon, and the Hivites who lived in the Lebanon mountains from Mount Baal Hermon to Lebo Hamath. Those nations were in the land to test the Israelites—to see if they would obey the commands the Lord had given to their ancestors by Moses.

The people of Israel lived with the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. The Israelites began to marry the daughters of those people, and they allowed their daughters to marry the sons of those people. Israel also served their gods.

Othniel, the First Judge

The Israelites did what the Lord said was wrong. They forgot about the Lord their God and served the idols of Baal and Asherah. So the Lord was angry with Israel and allowed Cushan-Rishathaim king of Northwest Mesopotamia to rule over the Israelites for eight years. When Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord sent someone to save them. Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, saved the Israelites. 10 The Spirit of the Lord entered Othniel, and he became Israel’s judge. When he went to war, the Lord handed over to him Cushan-Rishathaim king of Northwest Mesopotamia. 11 So the land was at peace for forty years. Then Othniel son of Kenaz died.

Ehud, the Judge

12 Again the people of Israel did what the Lord said was wrong. So the Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power to defeat Israel because of the evil Israel did. 13 Eglon got the Ammonites and the Amalekites to join him. Then he attacked Israel and took Jericho, the city of palm trees. 14 So the people of Israel were ruled by Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.

15 When the people cried to the Lord, he sent someone to save them. He was Ehud, son of Gera from the people of Benjamin, who was left-handed. Israel sent Ehud to give Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded. 16 Ehud made himself a sword with two edges, about eighteen inches long, and he tied it to his right hip under his clothes. 17 Ehud gave Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18 After he had given Eglon the payment, Ehud sent away the people who had carried it. 19 When he passed the statues near Gilgal, he turned around and said to Eglon, “I have a secret message for you, King Eglon.”

The king said, “Be quiet!” Then he sent all of his servants out of the room. 20 Ehud went to King Eglon, as he was sitting alone in the room above his summer palace.

Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king stood up from his chair, 21 Ehud reached with his left hand and took out the sword that was tied to his right hip. Then he stabbed the sword deep into the king’s belly! 22 Even the handle sank in, and the blade came out his back. The king’s fat covered the whole sword, so Ehud left the sword in Eglon. 23 Then he went out of the room and closed and locked the doors behind him.

24 When the servants returned just after Ehud left, they found the doors to the room locked. So they thought the king was relieving himself. 25 They waited for a long time. Finally they became worried because he still had not opened the doors. So they got the key and unlocked them and saw their king lying dead on the floor!

26 While the servants were waiting, Ehud had escaped. He passed by the statues and went to Seirah. 27 When he reached the mountains of Ephraim he blew the trumpet. The people of Israel heard it and went down from the hills with Ehud leading them.

28 He said to them, “Follow me! The Lord has helped you to defeat your enemies, the Moabites.” So Israel followed Ehud and captured the crossings of the Jordan River. They did not allow the Moabites to cross the Jordan River. 29 Israel killed about ten thousand strong and able men from Moab; not one escaped. 30 So that day Moab was forced to be under the rule of Israel, and there was peace in the land for eighty years.

Shamgar, the Judge

31 After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath saved Israel. Shamgar killed six hundred Philistines with a sharp stick used to guide oxen.