December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- The following are the nations which the LORD allowed to remain, so that through them he might try all those Israelites who had no experience of the battles with Canaan
- training them in battle, those generations only of the Israelites who would not have had that previous experience):
- 1 the five lords of the Philistines; and all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwell in the mountain region of Lebanon between Baal-hermon and the entrance to Hamath.
- These served to put Israel to the test, to determine whether they would obey the commandments the LORD had enjoined on their fathers through Moses.
- Besides, the Israelites were living among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
- In fact, they took their daughters in marriage, and gave their own daughters to their sons in marriage, and served their gods.
- 2 Because the Israelites had offended the LORD by forgetting the LORD, their God, and serving the Baals and the Asherahs,
- the anger of the LORD flared up against them, and he allowed them to fall into the power of Cushan-rishathaim, king of Aram Naharaim, whom they served for eight years.
- But when the Israelites cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a savior, Othniel, son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz, who rescued them.
- The spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the LORD delivered Cushan-risha-thaim, king of Aram, into his power, so that he made him subject.
- The land then was at rest for forty years, until Othniel, son of Kenaz, died.
- Again the Israelites offended the LORD, who because of this offense strengthened Eglon, king of Moab, against Israel.
- In alliance with the Ammonites and Amalekites, he attacked and defeated Israel, taking possession of the city of palms.
- The Israelites then served Eglon, king of Moab, for eighteen years.
- But when the Israelites cried out to the LORD, he raised up for them a savior, the Benjaminite Ehud, son of Gera, who was left-handed. It was by him that the Israelites sent their tribute to Eglon, king of Moab.
- Ehud made himself a two-edged dagger a foot long, and wore it under his clothes over his right thigh.
- He presented the tribute to Eglon, king of Moab, who was very fat,
- and after the presentation went off with the tribute bearers.
- He returned, however, from where the idols are, near Gilgal, and said, "I have a private message for you, O king." And the king said, "Silence!" Then when all his attendants had left his presence,
- and Ehud went in to him where he sat alone in his cool upper room, Ehud said, "I have a message from God for you." So the king rose from his chair,
- and then Ehud with his left hand drew the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into Eglon's belly.
- The hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade because he did not withdraw the dagger from his body.
- Then Ehud went out into the hall, shutting the doors of the upper room on him and locking them.
- When Ehud had left and the servants came, they saw that the doors of the upper room were locked, and thought, "He must be easing himself in the cool chamber."
- They waited until they finally grew suspicious. Since he did not open the doors of the upper room, they took the key and opened them. There on the floor, dead, lay their lord!
- During their delay Ehud made good his escape and, passing the idols, took refuge in Seirah.
- On his arrival he sounded the horn in the mountain region of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down from the mountains with him as their leader.
- "Follow me," he said to them, "for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your power." So they followed him down and seized the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, permitting no one to cross.
- On that occasion they slew about ten thousand Moabites, all of them strong and valiant men. Not a man escaped.
- Thus was Moab brought under the power of Israel at that time; and the land had rest for eighty years.
- After him there was Shamgar, son of Anath, who slew six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He, too, rescued Israel.
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1  The Philistines: non-Semitic invaders who gave their name to all Palestine, although they occupied only its south-western plains. Their confederation embraced the five leading cities of Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Gath and Ekron.
2  Asherahs: elsewhere rendered "sacred poles." See note on Exodus 34:13 and on Deut 7:5. Here the word seems to mean "goddesses."
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