Judges 3-5 Bible in Basic English

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The Nations Left to Test Israel

3 1  Now these are the nations which the Lord kept in the land for the purpose of testing Israel by them, all those who had had no experience of all the wars of Canaan; 2  Only because of the generations of the children of Israel, for the purpose of teaching them war—only those who up till then had no experience of it; 3  The five chiefs of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites and the Zidonians and the Hivites living in Mount Lebanon, from the mountain Baal-hermon as far as Hamath: 4  For the purpose of testing Israel by them, to see if they would give ear to the orders of the Lord, which he had given to their fathers by the hand of Moses. 5  Now the children of Israel were living among the Canaanites, the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites: 6  And they took as wives the daughters of these nations and gave their daughters to their sons, and became servants to their gods.

Othniel Delivers Israel from Chushan-rishathaim

7  And the children of Israel did evil in the eyes of the Lord, and put out of their minds the Lord their God, and became servants to the Baals and the Astartes.

8  So the wrath of the Lord was burning against Israel, and he gave them up into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel were his servants for eight years. 9  And when the children of Israel made prayer to the Lord, he gave them a saviour, Othniel, the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. 10  And the spirit of the Lord came on him and he became judge of Israel, and went out to war, and the Lord gave up Cushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia, into his hands and he overcame him. 11  Then for forty years the land had peace, till the death of Othniel, the son of Kenaz.

Ehud Delivers Israel from Moab

12  Then the children of Israel again did evil in the eyes of the Lord; and the Lord made Eglon, king of Moab, strong against Israel, because they had done evil in the Lord's eyes. 13  And Eglon got together the people of Ammon and Amalek, and they went and overcame Israel and took the town of palm-trees. 14  And the children of Israel were servants to Eglon, king of Moab, for eighteen years. 15  Then when the children of Israel made prayer to the Lord, he gave them a saviour, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man; and the children of Israel sent an offering by him to Eglon, king of Moab. 16  So Ehud made himself a two-edged sword, a cubit long, which he put on at his right side under his robe. 17  And he took the offering to Eglon, king of Moab, who was a very fat man. 18  And after giving the offering, he sent away the people who had come with the offering. 19  But he himself, turning back from the stone images at Gilgal, said, I have something to say to you in secret, O king. And he said, Let there be quiet. Then all those who were waiting before him went out. 20  Then Ehud came in to him while he was seated by himself in his summer-house. And Ehud said, I have a word from God for you. And he got up from his seat. 21  And Ehud put out his left hand, and took the sword from his right side, and sent it into his stomach; 22  And the hand-part went in after the blade, and the fat was joined up over the blade; for he did not take the sword out of his stomach. And he went out into the ... 23  Then Ehud went out into the covered way, shutting the doors of the summer-house on him and locking them. 24  Now when he had gone, the king's servants came, and saw that the doors of the summer-house were locked; and they said, It may be that he is in his summer-house for a private purpose. 25  And they went on waiting till they were shamed, but the doors were still shut; so they took the key, and, opening them, saw their lord stretched out dead on the floor. 26  But Ehud had got away while they were waiting and had gone past the stone images and got away to Seirah. 27  And when he came there, he had a horn sounded in the hill-country of Ephraim, and all the children of Israel went down with him from the hill-country, and he at their head. 28  And he said to them, Come after me; for the Lord has given the Moabites, your haters, into your hands. So they went down after him and took the crossing-places of Jordan against Moab, and let no one go across. 29  At that time they put about ten thousand men of Moab to the sword, every strong man and every man of war; not a man got away. 30  So Moab was broken that day under the hand of Israel. And for eighty years the land had peace.

Shamgar Delivers Israel from the Philistines

31  And after him came Shamgar, the son of Anath, who put to death six hundred Philistines with an ox-stick; and he was another saviour of Israel.

Deborah and Barak Defeat Sisera

4 1  And the children of Israel again did evil in the eyes of the Lord when Ehud was dead. 2  And the Lord gave them up into the hands of Jabin, king of Canaan, who was ruling in Hazor; the captain of his army was Sisera, who was living in Harosheth of the Gentiles. 3  Then the children of Israel made prayer to the Lord; for he had nine hundred iron war-carriages, and for twenty years he was very cruel to the children of Israel.

4  Now Deborah, a woman prophet, the wife of Lapidoth, was judge of Israel at that time. 5  (And she had her seat under the palm-tree of Deborah between Ramah and Beth-el in the hill-country of Ephraim; and the children of Israel came up to her to be judged.) 6  And she sent for Barak, the son of Abinoam, from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, Has not the Lord, the God of Israel, given orders saying, Go and get your force into line in Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men of the children of Naphtali and of the children of Zebulun? 7  And I will make Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his war-carriages and his forces, come against you at the river Kishon, where I will give him into your hands. 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: though you will get no honour in your undertaking, for the Lord will give Sisera into the hands of a woman. So Deborah got up and went with Barak to Kedesh.

10  Then Barak sent for Zebulun and Naphtali to come to Kedesh; and ten thousand men went up after him, and Deborah went up with him. 11  Now Heber the Kenite, separating himself from the rest of the Kenites, from the children of Hobab, the brother-in-law of Moses, had put up his tent as far away as the oak-tree in Zaanannim, by Kedesh. 12  And word was given to Sisera that Barak, the son of Abinoam, had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13  So Sisera got together all his war-carriages, nine hundred war-carriages of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth of the Gentiles as far as the river Kishon. 14  Then Deborah said to Barak, Up! for today the Lord has given Sisera into your hands: has not the Lord gone out before you? So Barak went down from Mount Tabor and ten thousand men after him. 15  And the Lord sent fear on Sisera and all his war-carriages and all his army before Barak; and Sisera got down from his war-carriage and went in flight on foot. 16  But Barak went after the war-carriages and the army as far as Harosheth of the Gentiles; and all Sisera's army was put to the sword; not a man got away.

17  But Sisera went in flight on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite; for there was peace between Jabin, king of Hazor, and the family of Heber the Kenite. 18  And Jael went out to Sisera, and said to him, Come in, my lord, come in to me without fear. So he went into her tent, and she put a cover over him. 19  Then he said to her, Give me now a little water, for I have need of a drink. And opening a skin of milk, she gave him drink, and put the cover over him again. 20  And he said to her, Take your place at the door of the tent, and if anyone comes and says to you, Is there any man here, say, No. 21  Then Jael, Heber's wife, took a tent-pin and a hammer and went up to him quietly, driving the pin into his head, and it went through his head into the earth, for he was in a deep sleep from weariness; and so he came to his end. 22  Then Jael went out, and meeting Barak going after Sisera, said to him, Come, and I will let you see the man you are searching for. So he came into her tent and saw, and there was Sisera stretched out dead with the tent-pin in his head. 23  So that day God overcame Jabin, king of Canaan, before the children of Israel. 24  And the power of the children of Israel went on increasing against Jabin, king of Canaan, till he was cut off.

The Song of Deborah and Barak

5 1  At that time Deborah and Barak, the son of Abinoam, made this song, saying: 2  Because of the flowing hair of the fighters in Israel, because the people gave themselves freely, give praise to the Lord. 3  Give attention, O kings; give ear, O rulers; I, even I, will make a song to the Lord; I will make melody to the Lord, the God of Israel. 4  Lord, when you went out from Seir, moving like an army from the field of Edom, the earth was shaking and the heavens were troubled, and the clouds were dropping water. 5  The mountains were shaking before the Lord, before the Lord, the God of Israel.

6  In the days of Shamgar, the son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were not used, and travellers went by side roads. 7  Country towns were no more in Israel, *** were no more, till you, Deborah, came up, till you came up as a mother in Israel. 8  They had no one to make arms, there were no more armed men in the towns; was there a body-cover or a spear to be seen among forty thousand in Israel? 9  Come, you rulers of Israel, you who gave yourselves freely among the people: give praise to the Lord. 10  Let them give thought to it, who go on white asses, and those who are walking on the road. 11  Give ear to the women laughing by the water-springs; there they will give again the story of the upright acts of the Lord, all the upright acts of his arm in Israel.

12  Awake! awake! Deborah: awake! awake! give a song: Up! Barak, and take prisoner those who took you prisoner, O son of Abinoam. 13  Then the chiefs went down to the doors; the Lord's people went down among the strong ones. 14  Out of Ephraim they came down into the valley; after you, Benjamin, among your tribesmen; from Machir came down the captains, and from Zebulun those in whose hand is the ruler's rod. 15  Your chiefs, Issachar, were with Deborah; and Naphtali was true to Barak; into the valley they went rushing out at his feet. In Reuben there were divisions, and great searchings of heart. 16  Why did you keep quiet among the sheep, hearing nothing but the watchers piping to the flocks? 17  Gilead was living over Jordan; and Dan was waiting in his ships; Asher kept in his place by the sea's edge, living by his inlets. 18  It was the people of Zebulun who put their lives in danger, even to death, with Naphtali on the high places of the field. 19  The kings came on to the fight, the kings of Canaan were warring; in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo: they took no profit in money. 20  The stars from heaven were fighting; from their highways they were fighting against Sisera. 21  The river Kishon took them violently away, stopping their flight, the river Kishon. Give praise, O my soul, to the strength of the Lord! 22  Then loudly the feet of the horses were sounding with the stamping, the stamping of their war-horses. 23  A curse, a curse on Meroz! said the angel of the Lord. A bitter curse on her townspeople! Because they came not to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord among the strong ones.

24  Blessings be on Jael, more than on all women! Blessings greater than on any in the tents! 25  His request was for water, she gave him milk; she put butter before him on a fair plate. 26  She put out her hand to the tent-pin, and her right hand to the workman's hammer; and she gave Sisera a blow, crushing his head, wounding and driving through his brow. 27  Bent at her feet he went down, he was stretched out; bent at her feet he went down; where he was bent down, there he went down in death. 28  Looking out from the window she gave a cry, the mother of Sisera was crying out through the window, Why is his carriage so long in coming? When will the noise of his wheels be sounding? 29  Her wise women gave answer to her, yes, she made answer again to herself, 30  Are they not getting, are they not parting the goods among them: a young girl or two to every man; and to Sisera robes of coloured needlework, worked in fair colours on this side and on that, for the neck of the queen? 31  So may destruction come on all your haters, O Lord; but let your lovers be like the sun going out in his strength. And for forty years the land had peace.

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