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For other English-language translations of this work, see Judges (Bible).
Judges , translated by Wikisource
Free Bible

Chapter 1[edit]

1 After the death of Joshua, the Children of Israel asked God: "Who will go and fight the Ca'ananites?"
2 God said: "Judah should fight, I have given him the land."
3 And Judah said to Simeon his brother: "Come with me with my destiny, so we can fight the Ca'ananites and I will come with you and your destiny likewise."
4 Judah fought after God gave them the Ca'ananites and Perizites and ten thousand men were killed at Bezek.

5 They found Adoni Bezek in Bezek, and fought against him, and defeated the Caananites and the Perizzites. 6 Adoni Bezek fled, and they pursued him and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and big toes. 7 Adoni Bezek said, "Seventy kings[1] with their thumbs and big toes cut off, would eat scraps from the floor beneath my table. As I have done, just so God has repaid me." They brought to Jerusalem, and he died there.

8 Now the people of Judah waged war against Jerusalem, and captured it, and killed its inhabitants[2] and set it on fire. 9 And afterward the Judahites went down to wage war against the Canaanites who lived in the hills, and in the Negev, and in the Shephelah. 10 Judah went against the Canaanites inhabiting Hebron (now the name of Hebron used to be Kiriath Arba) and they killed Sheshai, and Ahiman, and Talmai. 11 From there they went against the inhabitants of Debir (and the name of Debir used to be Kiriath Sepher).

12 And Caleb said, "Whoever attacks Kiriath Sepher and captures it, I will give him my daughter Achsah as his wife." 13 Then Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother, captured it. So he gave him his daughter Achsah to be his wife. 14 Now, when she came to him, persuaded him to ask her father for a field. She got down from a donkey, and Caleb said do her, "What do you want?"

15 She said to him, "Grant me a blessing, because you have given me a land in the Negev, give me springs of water." So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

16 The descendants of the Kenite, Moses' father-in-law, went up from the City of Palms with the Judahites into the wilderness of Judah, in the Negev of Arad, and they went and dwelled among the people. 17 Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they killed the Canaanites who dwelt in Zephath, and exterminated[3] it. The name of the city was called Hormah.[4] 18 Judah captured Gaza with its territory, Ashkelon with its territory, and Ekron with its territory. 19 Yahweh 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 chariots of Iron. 20 They gave Hebron to caleb, as Moses had commanded, and he drove out from there the three sons of the Anak. 21 But the Benjamites did not drive out the Jebusites who inhabited Jerusalem. So the Jebusites live alongside the Benjamites to the present day.

22 In addition, the house of Joseph went up against Bethel, and Yahweh was with them. 23 The house of Joseph sent out men to spy out Bethel (its name used to be Luz). 24 The spies saw a man going out from the city, and they said to him, "Show us how to get into the city, and we will spare your life."[5] 25 So he showed them how to get into the city, and they killed its inhabitants,[6] but they let the man and his clan leave. 26 This man went to the land of the Hittites, and build a city, and named it Luz, which is its name to the present day.

27 The Manassites did not drive out [the inhabitants] of Beth Shean and its villages, Tanaach and its villages, the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, the inhabitants of Yibleam and its villages, the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages. The Canaanites were determined to stay in the region. 28 Once Israel was strong, they put the Canaanites to forced labor, and did not drive them out.

29 Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who inhabited Gezer, and the Canaanites lived among them in Gezer.

30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron and the inhabitants of Nahalol, so the Canaanites lived among them are were put to forced labor.

31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Akko, the inhabitants of Sidon, Ahlab, Achzib, Helbah, Aphik, or Rehob. 32 The Asherites lived among the Canaanites who inhabited the land, because they did not drive them out.

33 Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth Shemesh and the inhabitants of Beth Anah, and they dwelt among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land. The inhabitants of Beth Shemesh and Beth Anah were put to forced labor for them.

34 The Amorites pushed the Danites into the hill-country, because they would not allow them to come down to the valley. 35 The Amorites were determined to stay in Mount Heres in Aijalon, and in Shaalbim. They were overpowered by the house of Joseph, and they were put to forced labor. 36 The territory of the Amorites was from the ascent of Akrabbim, from the rock and upward.

Chapter 2[edit]

1 And an angel of Yahweh went up from the Gilgal to the Bochim, and said, "I brought you up from Egypt, and brought you into the land which I swore to your fathers, and I said, 'I will never break my covenant with you. 2 And you must make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land. You must tear down their altars.' But you have not listened to my voice. Why have you done this? 3 And I also said, 'I will not drive them out before you, and they will stick beside you and their gods will ensnare you.'"

4 Then, when the angel of Yahweh said these things to all the Israelites, the people lifted their voice and wept. 5 And they called the name of that place Bochim,[7] and they sacrificed there to Yahweh. 6 And Joshua dismissed the people, and the Israelites went each to his inheritance to possess the land. 7 And the people served Yahweh all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who outlived Joshua, who had seen all the great works of Yahweh that he did for Israel. 8 And Joshua bin Nun, the servant of Yahweh, died at one hundred ten years old. 9 And they buried him within his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill-country of Ephraim, on the northside of the hill Gaash. 10 And also all that generation were gathered to their fathers, and there arose another generation after them who did not know Yahweh, nor the works which he had done for Israel.

11 And the Israelites did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and served the Baals. 12 And they abandoned Yahweh, the god of their fathers, who brought them from the land of Egypt, and followed other gods, of the gods of the peoples who surrounded them, and bowed down to them, and provoked Yahweh. 13 And they abandoned Yahweh and served Baal and Ashtaroth. 14 And Yahweh's anger burned against Israel, and he handed them over to plunderers, and they plundered them, and he sold them to the hand of their enemies all around, and they could no longer stand against their enemies. 15 Wherever they went, Yahweh's hand was against them for ill, as Yahweh had said, and as Yahweh had sworn to them, and they were greatly distressed. 16 And Yahweh would raise up judges, and they would deliver them from the hands of their plunderers. 17 And yet they would not listen to their judges, but rather went whoring after other gods, and bowed down to them. They turned quickly away from the path which their fathers walked, obeying the commands of Yahweh. They did not do so. 18 And when Yahweh would raise up judges, then Yahweh would be with the judge, and deliver them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge, because Yahweh would relent because of their groaning on account of those who oppressed and troubled them. 19 And then, when the judge was dead, they would return, and corrupt themselves more than their fathers, following other gods and serving them, and bowing down to them. They did not desist from their deeds, nor from their stubborn ways. 20 And Yahweh's anger would burn hot against Israel, and he would say, "Because this people has broken my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not listened to my voice, 21 I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left behind when he died, 22 in order to use them to test Israel, whether they will observe to walk in the path of Yahweh, as their fathers observe, or not. 23 So Yahweh left those peoples without driving them out quickly, nor did he hand them over to Joshua.

Chapter 3[edit]

1 And these are the nations which Yahweh left to use them to test Israel, all who did not know all the wars of Canaan, 2 only so that the generations of the Israelites should know, to teach them war, only those who did not know it before: 3 five sarens of Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites dwelling in the hill-country of Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebo-hamath. 4 They were to be used to test Israel, to know whether they would listen to the commandments of Yahweh which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. 5 And the Israelites lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites. 6 And they took their daughters as their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods. 7 And the Israelites did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and forgot Yahweh their god, and served the Baals and the Asherahs. 8 And Yahweh's anger burned hot against Israel, and he sold them to the hand of Cushan-rishathaim king of Aram-naharaim, and the Israelites served Cushan-rishathaim eight years. 9 And when the Israelites cried to Yahweh, Yahweh raised up a deliverer for the Israelites, and he delivered them: Othniel son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.[8] 10 And Yahweh's spirit came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war, and Yahweh handed over to him Cushan-rishathaim king of Aram, and his hand prevailed against Cushan-rishathaim. 11 And the land had quiet for forty years. And Othniel son of Kenaz died.

12 And the Israelites again did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and Yahweh strengthened Eglon king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the eyes of Yahweh. 13 And he gathered the Ammonites and the Amalekites, and went and attacked Israel, and captured the City of Palms. 14 And the Israelites served Eglon king of Moab eighteen years. 15 And the Israelites cried out to Yahweh, and Yahweh raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud son of Gera, a Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the Israelites sent tribute by his hand to Eglon king of Moab.

16 And Ehud made himself a two-edged dagger, a gomed[9] long, and he girded it under his clothing on his left thigh. 17 And he brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, and Eglon was a very fat[10] man. 18 And when he had finished offering the tribute, he sent away the people who carried the tribute. 19 And he turned back from the stone idols which were at the Gilgal, and said, "I have a secret matter for you, O king."

And he said, "Stay silent." And all his attendants went out from his presence. 20 And Ehud approached him, as he sat in a cool upper room,[11] where he was alone.

And Ehud said, "I have something from God for you." And he rose from his seat. 21 And Ehud extended his left hand, and took the dagger from upon his right thigh, and thrust it into his stomach. 22 And the handle went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, so that he could not pull the dagger back out of his stomach, and the excrement[12] came out. 23 Then Ehud went out through the misdronah,[13] and shut the doors of the upper room behind him, and locked them.

24 And he went out, and his servants came, and they saw that the doors of the upper room were locked. And they said, "He must be relieving himself in the cool room." 25 And they waited until they were embarrassed, and saw that he had still not opened the doors of the cool room. So they took the key and opened it, and there they saw him: their lord had fallen dead on the ground. 26 And Ehud escaped while they waited, and passed beyond the stone images, and escaped to the Seirath.

27 And when he arrived, he blew the rams-horn in the hill-country of Ephraim, and the Israelites came down with him from the hill-country, with him leading them. 28 And he said to them, "Follow me, because Yahweh has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand." And they went down after him, and seized the fords of the Jordan toward Moab, and did not allow any man to cross over. 29 And they killed about ten thousand Moabite men at that time, all healthy and powerful warriors, and not a man escaped. 30 And Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel, and the land had quiet eighty years.

31 And after him was Shamgar son of Anath, and he killed six hundred Philistines with an ox-goad, and he also delivered Israel.

Chapter 4[edit]

1 And again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, when Ehud died. 2 And Yahweh sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor, and the captain of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth of the Nations. 3 And the Israelites cried out to Yahweh, because he had nine hundred chariots of iron, and he oppressed the Israelites severely for twenty years. 4 And Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, judged Israel at that time. 5 And she would sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill-country of Ephraim, and the Israelites would come up to her for judgment. 6 And she sent and called Barak son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, "Has Yahweh the god of Israel not commanded you to go and approach Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men of the people of Naphtali and Zebulun? 7 And I will draw toward you, toward the river Kishon, Siserah the captain of Jabin's army, and his chariots and multitude, and I will hand them over to you."

8 And Barak said to her, "If you will go with me, I will go. And if you will not go with me, I will not go."

9 And she said, "I will certainly go with you. However, you will not be glorified on the journey that you take, but Yahweh will sell Siserah into the hand of a woman." And Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 And Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali to Kedesh, and he went up with ten thousand men at his feet, and Deborah went with him.

11 And Heber the Kenite, of the descendants of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from Kain,[14] and pitched his tent toward Elon in Zaanaim, which is by Kedesh. 12 And it was reported to Sisera that Barak son of Abinoam had gone to to Mount Tabor. 13 And Sisera mustered all his chariotry, nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth of the Nations to the river Kishon. 14 And Deborah said to Barak, "Get up, because this is the day Yahweh has given Sisera into your hand. Has Yahweh not gone up before you?" So Barak went down from Mount Tabor, and ten thousand men followed him.

15 And Yahweh attacked Sisera, and all his chariotry, and all his army, with the edge of the sword, and Sisera got down from his chariot and fled on foot. 16 And Barak pursued the chariots, and the army, to Harosheth of the Nations, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword, and there was not a single survivor. 17 And Sisera fled on foot to the tent of Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, because there was peace between Jabin king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, "Turn in, my lord, turn in to me. Do not be afraid." And when he had turned to him in her tent, she covered him with a blanket.

19 And he said, "Please, give me a little water to drink, because I am thirsty." And she opened a skin of milk, and gave him a drink, and covered him.

20 And he said to her, "Stand in the door of the tent, and then if any man comes and asks you, and says, 'Is there anyone here?', say, 'No.'" 21 Then Jael, the wife of Heber, took a tent-spike, and took a hammer in her hand, and crept up to him, and struck the spike into his temple, and stuck him to the ground, as he was fast asleep. And he died. 22 And then, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael went out to meet him, and said to him, "Come, and I will show you the man you are looking for." And when he came in to her, Sisera lay dead with a spike through his temple. 23 So on that day God subdued Jabin king of Canaaan before the Israelites. 24 And the hand of the Israelites continued to prevail against Jabin king of Canaan until they destroyed Jabin king of Canaan.

Judges 5[edit]

0 And Devorah(Deborah) and Varak son of Avino'am did sing(S) on that day(R), saying (S):

1 In Israel's wild-haired outburst, in volunteering, a nation sanctified Yahweh.

2 Listen, kings, attention (R) nobles, (S) I, to Yahweh, I shall sing. My tune(R) to Yahweh, God of Israel.

3 Yahweh, as you exited Sa'ir, in your strides from Edom's field(S), Earth rumbled, also the skies dripped(S) and rainclouds dripped(R) water.(S) 4 Mountains flowed before Yahweh. This being(R) Sinai. Before Yahweh, the God of Israel.(S)

5 In the days of Shamgar son of (R) 'anat, (S) in the days of Ya'al, the mainroads stopped, and the wayfarers did walk roundabout roads.(S) 6 They no more decreed on Israel,(R) no more, (S) until I arose, Deborah, arose as a mother of Israel.(S) 7 He did chose (R) new Gods, then war at the gates. Will a shield and a spear be seen among forty thousand in Israel?(S)

8 My heart goes out (R) to Israel's lawmakers, (S) the volunteers of the nation. Bless(R) Yahweh.(S) 9 Those riding pure-white mules,(S) sitting (R) in judgement, and walking the upright path, hold forth.(S) 10 In archers' voices, inbetween (R) the water wells,(S) there will Yahweh's righteousness be carried forth. (S) The righteousness of his nobility in Israel(S). Then to the gates (R) Yahweh's nation will descend(S). 11 Arise, Deborah, arise.(S) Arise, arise, speak song.(S) Stand, Varak and capture your captors, son (R)of Avino'am.(S)

12 Then the fragment oversaw the nation's mighty.(S) Yahweh had me oversee champions.(S) 13 Ephraim's kind, their roots(R) of 'amalek(S), after you comes Benjamin, in your people.(S) From Machir's line descended lawmakers.(S) Out of Zvulun, carriers of the (R) census staff.(S) 14 And my ministers from Isaschar are with Deborah.(S) And as is Isaschar(R), so is Barak. In the valley, dispatched at his hands [15], In Reuben's divisions are the great bearers (R) of heart.(S) 15 Why did you sit between the sheepfolds, to listen to the whistles of the herders? In Reuben's divisions are the great seekers (R) of heart(S). 16 Gil'ad, in the trans-Jordan dwells,(S) and Dan, why will he wander on ships,(S) that return to (R) sea shores?(S) And on its bays will dwell.(S) 17 Zvulun, (R) a people who risks its life onto death, and Naftali, on the (R) high fields.(S)

18 Kings came, and battled.(S) Then the kings of Canaan battled. In Ta'nach on (R) Megido's waters (S), they took no wage of silver.(S) 19 Of (R) the skies, they battled.(S) The stars on their tracks battled with (R) Sisra.(S) 20 The Kishon creek dragged them.(S) Ancient Kishon creek, steep my soul (R) in courage.(S) 21 Then the horses hooves stamped with the (R) gallopping (S) gallops of its mighty warriors.(S) 22 "Accursed Maroz", said an angel of Yahweh, "be cursed, its accursed settlers." (R) Because they did not come to Yahweh's aid, (S) to aid (R) Yahweh with the champions.(S)

23 Of the women, be blessed Ya'el, wife of Chever (R) the Keynite.(S) Of all the women in the tent, be blessed.(S) 24 He pleaded "Water", she gave milk.(S) In the chalice of the mighty, she offered (R) butter.(S) 25 To the tent-pin she sent her hand,(S) and her right hand(R) to the worker's hammer.(S) And she struck Sisra, smashed (R) his head(S), And she split it right through his temples.(S) 26 Between her legs he crouched, fell, lay.(S) Between her legs, crouched, (R) fell(S). In that he crouched, there he fell, plundered.(S)

27 Out the window Sisra's mother, appeared, and worried over the lattice. (S) Why does his chariot hesitate to come? (S) Why are the stomps of his chariots late?(S) 28 The wisest of her female minister answered her,(S) Even she could come back with (R)her own answer(S) 29 For will they not find and divide plunder?(S) A broad bosom or two for each guy?(S) Plundered dyed cloth for Sisra? Plunder of embroidered colored plunder? Colored embroidery for the necks of the spoilers?(S)

30 Thus will all your enemies be lost, Yahweh(R), and those who love him, as the sunrise in his might.(S) And the land quieted for forty years.(R)(Sh)

Judges 6[edit]

1 And the Israelites did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and Yahweh handed them over to Midian seven years. 2 And the hand of Midian overpowered the Israelites. Hiding from Midian, the Israelites made shelters which were in the hills, and caves, and mountain strongholds. 3 And then, when Israel had sown, Midian would come up, with the Amalekites and the people of the east. They would come up against them. 4 And they encamped against them and destroyed the produce of the land all the way to Gaza, and left nothing for Israel to live on, whether flocks, or oxen, or donkeys. 5 For they came up with their animals and tents. They came like locusts in number. They and their camels could not be counted, and they entered the land to destroy it. 6 And Israel was devastated by Midian, and the Israelites cried out to Yahweh.

7 And then, when the Israelites cried out to Yahweh on account of Midian, 8 Yahweh sent a prophet to the Israelites, and he said to them, "Thus says Yahweh, the god of Israel. It was I who brought you up from Egypt, and brought you out from the house of slavery. 9 And I rescued you from the hand of Egypt, and from the hand of all who oppressed you, and I drove them out from before you and gave you their land. 10 And I said to them, I am Yahweh your god. Do not fear the gods of the Amorites, whose land you inhabit. But you have not obeyed my voice."

11 And an angel of Yahweh came and sat under the oak which is at Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abi-ezrite, and his son Gideon was threshing wheat at the winepress, to hide it from Midian. 12 And the angel of Yahweh appeared to him, and said to him, "Yahweh is with you, mighty warrior!"

13 And Gideon said to him, "Oh, my lord, if Yahweh is really with us, then why has all this happened to us? And where are all his miracles which our fathers recounted, saying that Yahweh brought us out of Egypt? And now Yahweh has abandoned us and put us in the palm of Midian.

14 And Yahweh turned to him, and said, "Go in this might of yours, and you will save Israel from the palm of Midian. Have I not sent you?"

15 And he said to him, "My Lord, how can I save Israel? See, my clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family?"

16 And Yahweh said to him, "But I will be with you, and you will strike down Midian like a single man."

17 And he said to him, "Please, if I have found grace in your eyes, give me a sign that you spoke with me. 18 Please, do not leave until I come to you and bring out my offering, and set it in front of you."

And he said, "I will wait until you return."

19 And Gideon went and prepared a young goat and unleavened cakes with an ephah of flour. The flesh he put in a basket, and brought it to him under the oak, and approached.

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 And the angel of Yahweh extended the end of the staff that was in his hand, and touched the meat and the unleavened cakes. And fire rose from the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes. And the angel of Yahweh left his sight.

22 And Gideon saw that he was an angel of Yahweh. And Gideon said, "Alas, My Lord Yahweh, because I have seen an angel of Yahweh face to face."

23 And Yahweh said to him, "Peace to you. Do not be afraid. You will not die." 24 And Gideon built an altar there to Yahweh, and called it Yahweh-shalom. To this day it is still in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites.

25 And then, that night, Yahweh said to him, "Take a young bull which belongs to your father, and the second bull, seven years old, and tear down the altar of the Baal that your father has, and cut down the Asherah which is beside it. 26 And build a proper altar to Yahweh your god on top of this rock, and take the second bull, and offer it as a burnt offering with the wood of the Asherah which you cut down. 27 Then Gideon took ten of his slaves, and did what Yahweh had said to him. However, because he was too afraid of his relatives and the men of his city to do it by day, he did it by night.

28 And the men of the city rose in the morning, and saw that the altar of the Baal was torn apart, and the Asherah which was beside it was cut down, and the second bull had been offered on the altar that was built. 29 And they said to one another, "Who did this thing?" And when they investigated the matter, they said, "Gideon son of Joash did this thing." 30 And the men of the city said to Joash, "Bring out your son to be put to death, because he tore apart the altar of the Baal, and because he cut down the Asherah which was beside it."

31 And Joash said to all those who stood about him, "Are you going to seek punishment on behalf of the Baal? Would you like rescue him? Whoever pleads for him, let that person be put to death this very morning. If he is a god, he can seek punishment on his own behalf because his altar is torn apart." 32 So on that day they called him Jerubbaal, meaning, "Let the Baal punish him himself, because he has torn apart his altar."

33 And all Midian, and Amalek, and the people of the east gathered, and crossed over, and encamped in the valley of Jezreel. 34 And Yahweh's spirit possessed Gideon[16] Gideon, and he blew a ram's horn, and Abiezer was summoned to follow him. 35 And he sent messengers throughout Manasseh, which was also summoned to follow him, and he sent messengers through Asher, and Zebulun, and Naphtali, and they came up to meet them.

36 And Gideon said to God, "If you are going to save Israel by my hand, as you ssaid, 37look, I will set a wood fleece on the tthreshing-floor. If there is dew on the fleece only, and on all the ground iit is dry, then I will know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you ssaid. 38 And so it was. He woke up early the next day and squeezed the fleece, and wrung the dew from the fleece: a full bowl of water. 39 And Gideon said to God, "Please, do not let your anger burn against me, and I will speak just once more. Please, let me test you one more time with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and let there be dew on all the ground. 40 And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.

Judges 7[edit]

1 Then Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, rose early with all the people who were with him, and encamped by Ein Harod, and the Midianite camp was to their north, by the hill of Moreh, in the valley. 2And Yahweh said to Gideon, "There are too many people with you for me to give Midian into your hands, because Israel might boast against me, 'My own hand saved me.' 3 Now then, proclaim in the ears of the people, 'Whoever is fearful and afraid, let him return and go back quickly from Mount Gilead." And twenty-two thousand of the people returned, and ten thousand remained.

4 And Yahweh said to Gideon, "There are still too many people. Bring them down to the water, and I will test them for you there. Then, of whomever I say to you, 'This one will go with you,' that one will go with you. And of whomever I say to you, 'This one will not go with you,' that one will not go. 5 And he brought the people down to the water, and Yahweh said to Gideon, "Everyone who laps the water with his tongue like a dog laps, you will set by themselves, and those who kneel on their knees to drink." 6 And the number of those who lapped with their hand to their mouth were three hundred men, and all the rest of the people kneeled on their knees to drink water.

7 And Yahweh said to Gideon, "By the three hundred men who lapped I will save you, and give Midian into your hand, and all the people will go to their place." 8 And the people took food in their hand, and their trumpets, and he sent all the men of Israel each to their tents, but retained the three hundred men. And the camp of Midian was beneath him in the valley.

9 And then, that very night, Yahweh said to him, "Get up and go down to the camp, because I have given it into your hand. 10 And if you are afraid to go down there, go with Purah your servant to the camp. 11 And you will hear what they say, and afterward your hands will be strengthened to go down to the camp. Then he went down with Purah his servant to the edge of where the armed men were encamped. 12 Now Midian and Amalek and all the people of the east lay in the valley like locusts in number, and their camels were uncountable, like the sand of the seashore in number. 13 And when Gideon arrived, he saw a man telling a dream to his companion, saying, ""Look: I dreamed a dream. There was loaf of barley bread, tumbling into the camp of Midian, and when it reached a tent it struck it so that it fell, and knocked it over, so that the tent fell."

14 And his companion answered and said, "This can be nothing but the sword of Gideon ben Joash, an Israelite man. God has given Midian and all its army into his hand."

15 And so, when Gideon heard the telling of the dream, and its interpretation, he prostrated himself, and return to the army of Israel, and said, "Arise, because Yahweh has given the camp of Midian into your hand." 16 And he divided the three hundred men into three divisions, and put trumpets in all their hands, and empty pitchers, and lamps in the pitchers. 17 And he said to them, "Watch me and do the same. Now, when I come out of the camp, do what I do. 18 And when I and all who are with me blow on the ram's-horn, then you blow on your trumpets, along with everyone all around the camp, and say, 'For Yahweh and for Gideon!'"

19 So Gideon, and the hundred men who were with him, reached the edge of the camp at the beginning of the middle watch, just when the watch began. And they blew the trumpets and broke the pitchers in their hands. 20 And the three divisions blew the trumpets, and broke the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and in their right hands the trumpets to blow. And they shouted, "The sword of Yahweh and of Gideon!" 21 And each man stood at his place in the camp, and all the camp ran, and shouted, and fled. 22 And the three hundred blew the trumpets, and Yahweh set every man's sword against the other, throughout the whole camp, and the camp fled from Beth-shittah to Zererath, as far as the border of Abel-meholah by Tabbath. 23 And the men of Israel gathered from Naphtali, and from Asher, and from all Manasseh, and pursued Midian. 24 And Gideon sent messengers through all the hill-country of Ephraim, saying, "Come down against Midian, and take them at the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered together and took the waters as far as Beth-barah and the Jordan. 25 And they took the two princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And they killed Oreb at the rock Oreb, and they killed Zeeb at the winepress of Zeeb, and pursued Midian, and brought the heads of Oreb and Zeeb to Gideon from the other side of the Jordan.

Judges 8[edit]

1 And the men of Ephraim said to him, "What is this thing you've done to us, to not call us when you went to fight against Midian?" And they rebuked him sharply.

2 And he said to them, "What have I done now, compared to you? Are not the few grapes left in the field after Ephraim's harvest better than the whole grape harvest of Abiezer? 3 It is into your hands that God gave the leaders of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. And what could I do, compared to you?" Then they became calmer toward him after he said that.

4 And Gideon came to the Jordan. As he crossed over with the three hundred men, they were faint, and yet they pursued. 5 And he said to the men of Succoth, "Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me, because they are faint, and I am pursuing Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian."

6 And the leaders of Succoth said, "Are Zebah and Zalmunna now in your custody, that we should give your army bread?"

7 And Gideon said, "For this reason, when Yahweh gives Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with wild thorns and briers."

8 And he went up from there to Penuel, and he said the same things to them. And the men of Penuel replied to him just as the men of Succoth had. 9 And he also spoke to the men of Penuel, saying, "When I return victorious, I will tear down this tower."

10 Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand strong, all who were left of all the army of the eastern people, because one hundred twenty thousand swordsmen had fallen. 11 And Gideon went up along the route where nomads live, east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and attacked the camp when the camp was unsuspecting. 12 And when Zebah and Zalmunna fled, he pursued them, and captured the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and terrified the whole army. 13 And Gideon ben Joash returned from the battle before sunrise.

14 And he captured a young man among the men of Succoth, and questioned him, and he wrote down for him the leaders of Succoth and its elders: seventy men. 15 And he came to the men of Succoth, and he said, "Here are Zebah and Zalmunna, of whom you mocked me. 'Are Zebah and Zalmunna in your custody, that we should give your weary men bread?'" 16 And he took the elders of the city, and wild thorns and briers, and used them to teach the men of Succoth a lesson. 17 And he tore down the tower of Penuel, and killed the men of the city.

18 And he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, "What sort of men did you kill at Tabor?"[17]

And they said, "They were like you. Each of them looked like children of a king."

19 And he said, "They were my brothers, my mother's sons. On Yahweh's life, if you had not killed them, I would not kill you."

20 And he said to Jether his oldest, "Get up! Kill them!" But the lad did not draw his sword, because he was afraid, because he was just a lad.

21 And Zebah and Zalmunna said, "Get up yourself, and finish us off yourself, like a man!" And Gideon get up and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the ornaments which were on their camels' necks.

22 Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, "Rule over us, both you and your son, and your son's son, because you have rescued us from Midian's hand."

23 And Gideon said to them, "I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. Yahweh will rule over you." 24 And Gideon said to them, "I would ask of you a favor. Give me each man the earrings he has plundered." (They had gold earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.)

25 And they said, "We would gladly give them." And they spread out a cloak, and each threw on it the earrings he had plundered. 26 Now the weight of the gold earrings that he asked for was one thousand seven hundred [shekels] of gold, not counting the ornaments, and pearls, and the purple garments that were on the kings of Midian, and not counting the chains on the camels' necks. 27 And Gideon made it into an ephod, and put it in his city, in Ophrah, and all Israel went whoring there after it. And it became a snare to Gideon and his house. 28 And Midian was subdued before the Israelites, and lifted up their heads no more. And the land was quiet forty years in the days of Gideon. 29 And Jerubbaal ben Joash went and lived in his house. 30 And Gideon had seventy sons from his own loins, because he had many wives. 31 And his concubine who was in Shechem also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech.[18] 32 And Gideon ben Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the grave of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abi-ezrites. 33 Then, as soon as Gideon died, the Israelites returned to whoring after the Baalim, and made Baal-berith their god. 34 And the Israelites did not remember Yahweh their god, who had delivered them from the hand of all their enemies surrounding them. 35 And they did not faithfully repay Jerubbaal, Gideon, for all the good that he did for Israel.

Judges 9[edit]

1And Abimelech ben Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's brethren, and spoke to them, and to all the clan of his mother's father's house, saying, 2"Speak, please, in the ears of all the lords of Shechem. What is better for you: that you are ruled by seventy men of Jerubbaal, or whether one man rules over you? And remember that I am your bone and your flesh.

3And his mother's brethren spoke in the ears of all the lords of Shechem all these words, and they decided to follow Abimelech, because they said, "He is our brother." 4 And they gave him seventy [shekels] of silver from the house of Baal-berith, and Abimelech used them to hire morally worthless men, and they followed him. 5 And he came to his father's house at Ophrah, and killed his brothers, the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy men, on one stone. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerubbaal, survived, because he hid himself. 6 And all the lords of Shechem gathered together, and all the house of Millo, and made Abimelech king at the oak of the pillar which was at Shechem.

7 And it was reported to Jotham, and he stood at the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted his voice, and called out, and said to them, "Listen to me, lords of Shechem, and God will listen to you! 8 The trees went looking to anoint a king over themselves, and they said to the olive tree, 'Rule over us.' 9 And the olive tree said to them, 'Should I leave my fatness, by which through me they God and men are honored, and to go and hold sway over the trees?'

10"And the trees said to the fig tree, 'You come rule over us.' 11And the fig tree said to them, 'Should I leave my sweetness, and my good fruit, to go and hold sway over the trees?'

12"And the trees said to the vine, 'You come rule over us.' 13And the vine said to them, 'Should I leave my wine, which gives joy to God and men, and go and hold sway over the trees?'

14"And all the trees said to the boxthorn, 'You come rule over us.' 15 And the boxthorn said to the trees, 'If you will truly anoint me as king over you, come take refuge in my shade. And if not, let a fire come from the boxthorn and consume the cedars of Lebanon.'

16 "Now then, if you have acted truly and with integrity in making Abimelech king, and if you have done right by Jerubbaal and his house, and if you have repaid him as his work deserves -- 17because my father fought for you, and put his life on the line to rescue you from Midian's hand -- 18and you have risen up against my father's house today and killed his sons, seventy men, on one stone, and have enthroned Abimelech, the son of his slave-woman, over the lords of Shechem, because he is your brother -- 19 if you have acted truly and with integrity toward Jerubbaal and toward his household today, rejoice with Abimelech, and let him rejoice with you as well. 20 But if not, let fire break out from Abimelech and consume the lords of Shechem and the house of Millo, and let fire break out from the lords of Shechem and from the house of Millo, and consume Abimelech." 21And Jotham fled, and ran away, and went to Beer, and lived there, away from Abimelech his brother.

22 When Abimelech had ruled over Israel three years, 23 God sent a evil spirit between Abimelech and the lords of Shechem, and the lords of Shechem betrayed Abimelech, 24 to bring the violence done to the seventy sons of Jerubbaal, and their blood, upon Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the lords of Shechem, who supported him in killing his brothers. 25 And the lords of Shechem set an ambushers against him along the hill-tops, and they robbed all who passed through them along the way, and it was reported to Abimelech.

26 And Gaal ben Ebed came with his brothers, and they went over to Shechem, and the lords of Shechem put their confidence in them. 27 They went to the fields, and gathered their vineyards, and pressed the grapes, and gave thanks, and went to the house of their god, and ate and drank and reviled Abimelech. 28 And Gaal ben Ebed said, "Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerubbaal, and Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem. Why should he serve him? 29 If only these people were under my hand, then I would get rid of Abimelech." And he said to Abimelech, "Bring out your whole army."

30 And Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal ben Ebed, and his anger burned. 31 And he sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, to say, "Look! Gaal ben Ebed and his brothers have come to Shechem, and now they are inciting the city against you. 32 So then, come up at night, you and the people who are with you, and set an ambush in the field. 33 Then, in the morning, at daybreak, get up early and raid the city, and then when he and the people who are with him go out against you, you can to do them whatever you like."

34 And Abimelech rose up, and all the people who were with him, at night, and they laid in ambush against Shechem in four divisions. 35 And Gaal ben Ebed went out, and stood in the entrance of the city gates, and Abimelech rose up with the people who were with him from their ambush. 36 And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, "Look! People are coming down from the hill-tops!"

And Zebul said to him, "You're seeing the shadows of the hills and imagining people."

37And Gaal spoke to him again, and said, "Look! People are coming down from middle[19] of the land, and another division is coming by way of the diviners' tree."

38And Zebul said to him, "Now where is that mouth of yours, that said, 'Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? Is this not the people whom you rejected? Go out and fight with him." 39 And Gaal went out before the lords of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. 40 And Abimelech pursued him, and he fled from him, and many fell wounded as far as the entrance to the gate. 41 And Abimelech lived at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers from living in Shechem. 42 Then, the next day, the people went out to the field, and they told Abimelech. 43 And he took the people and divided them into three divisions, and set an ambush in the field, until he saw the people coming out from the city, and he rose up against them and attacked them. 44 And Abimelech and the divisions which were with him rushed out and stood in the city gate's entrance, and the two other divisions rushed out against all the people in the field, and struck them down. 45 And Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and he seized the city, and killed the people that were in it, and tore apart the city and sowed it with salt.

46 When all the lords of Shechem heard, they entered into an underground chamber of the house of El-berith. 47 And it was reported to Abimelech that all of the lords of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. 48 And Abimelech went up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people with him, and Abimelech took axes with him, and cut down a tree branch, and picked it up and put it on his shoulder, and said to the people with him, "Hurry! Do what you see me do!" 49 And the people also each cut down a branch, and followed Abimelech, and put them over the underground chamber on fire, and then all the men of the tower of Shechem died, about a thousand men and women.

50 And Abimelech went to Thebez and encamped against Thebez and seized it. 51 And there was a strong tower in the city, and all the men and women, and all the lords of the city, shut themselves in, and went up to the roof of the tower. 52 And Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and came near the door fo the tower to burn it with fire. 53 And a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech's head, and broke his skull. 54 And quickly he called to the lad who carried his things, and said to him, "Draw your sword and kill me, lest they say of me, 'A woman killed him.'" And the lad thrust through him, and he died. 55 And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they left, each for his own place. 56 So God repaid the evil of Abimelech which he did to his father by killing his seventy brothers. 57 And all the evil of the men of Shechem God returned on their own heads, and the curse of Jotham ben Jerubbaal came upon them.

Judges 10[edit]

1 And after Abimelech, Tola ben Puah ben Dodo, a man of Issachar, arose to save Israel, and he lived in Shamir in the hill-country of Ephraim. 2 And he judged Israel twenty-three years, and died, and was buried in Shamir.

3 And after him Jair the Gileadite arose and judged Israel twenty-two years. 4 And he had thirty sons riding thirty donkeys, and they had thirty donkeys,[20] which are called Havoth-jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. 5 And Jair died and was buried in Camon.

6 And the Israelites again did what was evil in Yahweh's sight, and served the Baalim, and the Ashtaroth, and the gods of Aram, and the gods of Sidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines, and abandoned Yahweh, and did not serve him. 7 And Yahweh's anger burned hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Philistines, and into the hand of the Ammonites. 8 And that year they broke down and crushed the Israelites for eighteen years, all the Israelites who were in Transjordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in the Gilead. 9 And the Ammonites crossed over the Jordan to wage war against Judah as well, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, and they gravely troubled Israel. 10 And the Israelites cried out to Yahweh: "We have sinned against you, both because we have abandoned our god, and also served the Baalim."

11 And Yahweh said to the Israelites, "Did [I] not [deliver you from the hand of][21] Egypt, and from the Amorites, and from the Ammonites, and from Philistines, 12and Sidonians, and Amalek, and Maon? They oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I delivered you from their hand. 13 And you have abandoned me, and served other gods. Therefore I will no longer deliver you. 14Go cry to the gods you have chosen. Let them rescue you in your time of trouble."

15 And the Israelites said to Yahweh, "We have sinned. Do to us whatever seems good to you, but rescue us today." 16 And they put away the foreign gods from among them, and served Yahweh, and his soul ached for Israel's suffering. 17 And the Ammonites were mustered, encamped in the Gilead. And the Israelites gathered and encamped at Mizpah. 18 And the people, the leaders of Gilead, said to one another, "Who is the man who will begin to make war against the Ammonites? He will be the head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.

Judges 11-21[edit]

[not translated]


  1. The word "king" is used not just for rulers of large states in the Bible, but also for people ruling an area as small as a single town.
  2. killed its inhabitants: literally, struck it to the mouth of a sword
  3. Hebrew, herem, a word referring to the killing of the entire population of a conquered area as an offering to God.
  4. Hormah, as spelled in Hebrew hrmh, looks like the word for extermination (herem, spelled hrm).
  5. spare your life: literally, show you kindness.
  6. killed its inhabitants: literally, struck the city to the mouth of a sword.
  7. (2:5) Bochim is Hebrew for "weepers."
  8. (3:9) Caleb's younger brother. There are two opinions as to the meaning of this phrase: was it Othniel or Kenaz who is identified here as Caleb's younger brother.
  9. (3:16) gomed. This Hebrew term occurs only here, and its meaning is unclear.
  10. (3:17) fat. The word in Hebrew is generally used of healthy livestock or people, so it is questionable whether the portrayal here is of an obese man or a large, healthy, strong one.
  11. (3:20) cool upper room. This expression occurs only in this story, and has been translated several ways.
  12. (3:22) excrement. The Hebrew expression parshedonah occurs only here, and its meaning is unclear. If the parshedonah is an architectural feature of some kind, the expression could be translated "he went out [by] the parshedonah" instead of and the parshedonah came out."
  13. (3:23) misdronah. This Hebrew term occurs only here, and therefore its meaning is unclear.
  14. (4:11) Kain. A collective term for the Kenite nation, and the first name of Adam's oldest son, traditionally spelled "Cain" in English
  15. The actual translation is dispatched at his _feet_, but since this is decribing a group of armies it is probable that each "foot" is an infantry. This double-meaning doesn't work in English, but hands works.
  16. (6:34) possessed: literally, wore, like an article of clothing.
  17. (8:18) What sort of men did you kill at Tabor? Or, Where are the men you killed at Tabor?
  18. Abimelech can be read in Hebrew as "my father is king."
  19. (9:37) middle. The Hebrew word tabbur is a rare one. Another interpretation reads it as "top."
  20. (10:40) and they had thirty donkeys. Removing a single letter would cause this phrase to read, and they had thirty cities.
  21. (10:11) deliver you from the hand of. To make the sentence work in English, these words have been moved from verse 12, with some duplication, into this verse in the English translation.

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