For other English-language translations of this work, see Judges (Bible).
Judges , translated by Wikisource
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Chapter 1Edit

1 Now it came about, after the death of Joshua, the Children of Israel inquired of YHWH saying: "Who should go first for us and fight the Cana'anites?"
2 Then YHWH said: "[The tribe of] Judah should go up. Indeed, I have given the land into his control."
3 And [the tribe of] Judah said to its brother [tribe] Simeon: "Go with me into my allotment so we can fight the Cana'anites and I myself will likewise go with you into your allotment. So Simeon went with him."
4 So Judah went up and YHWH gave the Cana'anites and Perizites into their control, and ten thousand men were struck down at Bezek.

5 They found Adoni-Bezek in Bezek, and fought against him, and defeated the Cana'anites 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 him 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 Cana'anites 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 Cana'anites, 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 2Edit

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[8] 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 3Edit

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.[9]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[10] 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[11] 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,[12] 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[13] came out. 23 Then Ehud went out [through] the misdronah,[14] 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 4Edit

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,[15] 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.

Chapter 5Edit

0 And Deborah and Barak son of Avino'am sang 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, 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,[16] 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

Chapter 6Edit

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[17] 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.

Chapter 7Edit

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 son of 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.

Chapter 8Edit

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?"[18]

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.[19]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.

Chapter 9Edit

1And Abimelech son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's brothers, 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 brothers 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[20] 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.

Chapter 10Edit

1 And after Abimelech, Tola son of Puah son of 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,[21] 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][22] 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."

Chapter 11Edit

1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a warrior, the son of a prostitute, and Gilead was the father of Jephthah. 2 And Gilead's wife bore him sons, and his wife's sons grew up, and they drove out Jephthah, and said to him, "You will not inherit with our father's house, because you are the son of another woman." 3 Then Jephthah ran away from his brothers, and lived in the land of Tob, and worthless man gathered themselves around Jephthah, and went out with him.

4 Some time later, the Ammonites made war against Israel. 5 And so, when the Ammonites made war against, the elders of Gilead went to take Jephthah from the land of Tob. 6 And they said to Jephthah, "Come and be our commander, and we will fight against the Ammonites."

7 And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "Did you not hate me, and drive me from my father's house? So why do you come to me now, when you are in trouble?"

8 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "This is why we come back to you now: so that you will go with us, and make war against the Ammonites, and be our head, for all the inhabitants of Gilead.

9 And Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, "If you bring me back to make war against the Ammonites, and Yahweh delivers them to me, I will be your head?"

10 And the elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, "Yahweh will judge between us, if we do not do as you say." 11 Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people set him over them as head and commander, and Jephthah spoke all his words before Yahweh at Mizpah.

12 And Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites, saying, "What is there between us, that you have come against me to make war against my land?"

13 And the king of the Ammonites said to Jephthah's messengers, "Because Israel took my land when they came up from Egypt, from Arnon to the Jabbok, and to the Jordan.[23] And now, restore them peacefully."

14 Once again Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites. 15 And he said to them, "Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab, or the land of the Ammonites. 16 But when they came up from Egypt, Israel went through the wilderness to the Red Sea, and came to Kadesh. 17 And Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, "Please, let me cross through your land. But the king of Edom would not listen. And likewise they sent to the king of Moab, but he would not consent, and Israel stayed in Kadesh.[24]18 And they went through the wilderness, going around the land of Edom and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and encamped on the other side of Arnon, but they did not come into the territory of Moab, because Arnon was the border of Moab.[25]19 And Israel sent messengers to Sihon, king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, 'Please, let us pass through your land to my place.'[26]20 But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his territory, and Sihon gathered all his people, and encamped at Jahaz, and made war with Israel. 21 And Yahweh, the god of Israel, delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they struck them. So Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that land. 22 And they possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from Arnon as far as the Jabbok, and from the wilderness as far as the Jordan.[27]

23"And now Yahweh, the god of Israel, has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and should you possess it? 24 Will you not take possession of whatever Chemosh[28] your god gives you to possess? And whenever Yahweh our god drives someone from before us, we will possess it. 25 And now are you any better than Balak son of Zippor,[29] the king of Moab? Did he ever quarrel with Israel, or fight against them? 26 Now Israel has lived in Heshbon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities throughout Arnon for three hundred years. So why did you not recover them within that time? 27 I have done you no wrong, and you have wronged me by making war against me. May Yahweh the judge judge today between the Israelites and the Ammonites."

28 But the king of the Ammonites did not listen to the words of Jephthah which he sent him. 29 The Yahweh's spirit came upon Jephthah, and he passed through the Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed through Mizpah of Gilead, and from Mizpah he passed on to the Ammonites. 30 And Jephtah made a vow to Yahweh, and said, "If you will really deliver the Ammonites into my hand, 31 then whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me when I return victorious from the Ammonites, will belong to Yahweh, and I will offer it as a burnt offering."

32 And Jephthah passed on to the Ammonites to make war against them, and Yahweh delivered them into his hand. 33 And he struck them down from Aroer as far as you go towar Minnith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel-keramim, with very great slaughter. And the Ammonites were subdued before the Israelites.

34 And Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, and there he saw his daughter, coming out to meet him with tambourines and dances. Now she was his only one; he had no other son or daughter. 35 And when he saw her, he tore his clothes and said, "Oh, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and troubled me.[30] I have opened my mouth to Yahweh, and I cannot renege."

36 And she said to him, "My father, you have opened your mouth to Yahweh. Do to me what has come from your mouth, because Yahweh has taken vengeance for you against your enemies, against the Ammonites."

37 And she said to her father, "Let me have this one thing. Leave me be for two months, and I will go up and down the mountains and mourn for my virginity, I and my friends."

38 And he said, "Go." And he sent her away for two months, and she went with her friends and mourned for her virginity in the mountains. 39 Then at the end of two months, she returned to her father, and he did to her what he had vowed, and she knew no man. And it became a custom in Israel: 40 annually the daughters of Israel went up to commemorate[31] the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days each year.

Chapter 12Edit

1 Now the men of Ephraim were mustered, and passed northward, and said to Jephthah, "Why did you cross over to make war against the Ammonites without calling us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire."

2 And Jephthah said to them, "I was in a serious dispute, I and my people, with the Ammonites, and when I called to you, you did not rescue me from their hand. 3 And when I saw that you would not deliver me, I put my life in the balance, and crossed over to the Ammonites, and Yahweh delivered them into my hand. So why have you come up against me today to make war with me?"

4 Then Jephthah mustered all the men of Gilead, and made war against Ephraim, and the men of Gilead struck down Ephraim, because they said, "You Gileadites are fugitives of Ephraim among Ephraim and among Manasseh."

5 And the Gileadites seized the fords of the Jordan toward Ephraim, and then, when [one of] the fleeing survivors of Ephraim said, "Let me cross over," the men of Gilead said to him, "Are you an Ephrathite?"[32]

And he would say, "No."

6 And they would say to him, "Say shibboleth.

And he would say, "sibboleth," as he could not pronounce it right. Then they took him and slaughtered him at the fords of the Jordan. And at that time about forty-two thousand men of Ephraim fell.

7 And Jephthah judged Israel six years, and Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried among the cities of Gilead.

8 And after him Ibzan from Bethlehem judged Israel. 9 And he had thirty sons and thirty daughters, whom he sent outside, and took in thirty daughters from outside for his sons. And he judged Israel seven years. 10 And Ibzan died and was buried in Bethlehem.

11 And after him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years. 12 And Elon the Zebulunite died and was buried in Ayalon in the land of Zebulun.

13 And after him Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite judged Israel. 14 And he had forty sons and thirty son's sons, who rode on seventy donkeys, and he judged Israel eight years. 15 And Abdon son of Hillel the Pirathonite died and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill-country of the Amalekites.

Chapter 13Edit

1 And again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of Yahweh, and Yahweh handed them over to Philistines forty years.

2 Now there was a certain man from Zorah, of the Danite clan, and his name was Manoah, and his wife was barren, and bore no children. 3 And an angel of Yahweh appeared to the woman, and said to her, "Behold, now! You are barren, and have borne no children, but you will conceive and give birth to a son. 4 Now then, take care not to drink wine or beer, and not to eat anything unclean.[33]5 For behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and no razor is to touch his head, because the lad is to be a Nazirite of God from the womb, and he will begin to deliver Israel from Philistine hands."

6 And the woman went and said to her husband, "A man of God came to me, and he appeared like an angel of God, gravely terrifying. I did not ask where he was from, and he did not tell me his name. 7 And he said to me, 'Behold, you will conceive and give birth to a son, and now do not drink wine or beer, or eat anything unclean, because the lad will be a Nazirite of God from the womb to the day of his death.'"

8 And Manoah prayed to Yahweh, and said, "Please, My Lord, let the man of God that you sent come again to us, and instruct us what we should do with the boy to be born."

9 And God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field, but Manoah her husband was not with her. 10 And the woman ran quickly and told her husband, and said to him, "Look: the man who came that day has appeared to me!"

11 And Manoah got up and followed his wife, and came to the man, and said to him, "Are you the man who spoke to the woman?"

And he said, "I am."

12 And Manoah said, "Now may your words come to pass. What is the rules rules for the child? We will do them."

13 And the angel of Yahweh said to Manoah, "Let the woman take care to do everything I told her. 14 She must not eat of anything that comes from a grapevine, and must not drink wine or beer, or eat any unclean thing. Let her observe all that I commanded her."

15 And Manoah said to the angel of Yahweh, "Please, let us keep you until we have prepared a young goat for you."

16 And the angel of Yahweh said to Manoah, "If you keep me here, I will not eat your bread. And if you offer a burnt offering, you must offer it to Yahweh." (Because Manoah did not know that he was an angel of Yahweh.)

17 And Manoah said to the angel of Yahweh, "What is your name, so that we may honor you when the things you said happen?"

18 And the angel of Yahweh said to him, "Why do you ask my name? It is extraordinary."

19 And Manoah took the young goat and a meal-offering, and offered in on a rock to Yahweh, and the angel did an extraordinary thing as Manoah and his wife watched. 20 Now it happened, when the flame went up from the altar toward the sky, the angel of Yahweh went up in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife saw, and fell, their faces toward the ground. 21 And the angel of Yahweh did not appear to Manoah and his wife any more. Then Manoah knew that it was an angel of Yahweh. 22 And Manoah said to his wife, "We will surely die, because we saw God."

23 And his wife said to him, "If Yahweh wanted to kill us, we would not have taken the burnt offering and the meal-offering from our hands, and he would not have shown us all these things, nor would he have told us these sorts of things now.

24 And the woman bore a son, and called his name Samson. And the lad grew, and Yahweh blessed him. 25 And Yahweh's spirit began to stir him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Chapter 14Edit

1 And Samson went down to Timnath, and saw a woman in Timnath among the Philistine women. 2 And he went up and told his father and his mother, and said, "I have seen a woman in Timnath among the Philistine woman. So get her for me as a wife."

3 And his father and his mother said to him, "Is there no woman among the daughters of your brothers, or among all my people, that you go to take a wife from Philistines, the uncircumcised?"

And Samson said to his father, "Get me her. She looks all right to me." 4 And his father and his mother did not know that it was from Yahweh, that he was looking for an occasion against Philistines. And at that time Philistines dominated Israel.

5 Then Samson went down, and his father and his mother, to Timnath, and came to the vineyards of Timnath, and there a young lion roared against him. 6 And the spirit of Yahweh came upon him, and he tore it apart like someone might tear apart a young goat, without anything in his hand, and he did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. 7 And he went down and talked with the woman, and she seemed good to Samson. 8 And he returned after a time to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and he saw a swarm of bees and honey in the body of the lion. 9 And he took some in his hands, and spent some time eating, and came to his father and his mother, and gave to them, and they ate. But he did not tell them that he took the honey from the body of the lion.

10 And his father went down to the woman, and Samson made a feast there, because that is what young men would do. 11 And when they saw him, they took thirty companions to be with him. 12 And Samson said to them, "I will now tell you a riddle. If you can solve it for me during the seven days of the feast, and tell me, I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothes. 13 But if you cannot tell me, then you will give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing."

And they said to him, "Tell us your riddle, and we'll listen."

14 And he said, "Out of the eater came something to eat, and out of the strong came something sweet." And they could not explain the riddle in three days.

15 And then on the seventh day, they said to Samson's wife, "Trick your wife into telling us the riddle, or else we will burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you not called us to take our possessions?"

16 And Samson's wife wept in front of him, and said, "You just hate me! You do not love me! You have told a riddle to the sons of my people, and have not told me."

And he said to her, "Look. I have not told my father or my mother. Why should I tell you?"

17 And she wept in front of him all seven days, while their feast lasted. And then, on the seventh day, he told her, because she wore him out. And she told the riddle to the sons of her people.

18 And the men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun set, "What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?"

And he said to them, "If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle."

19 And the spirit of Yahweh came upon him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and killed thirty men there, and looted them, and gave changes of clothing to those who explained the riddle. And his anger burned hot, and he went up to his father's house. 20 And Samson's wife was married to his companion who was his friend.

Chapter 15Edit

1 And after some time, in the time of the wheat harvest, Samson visited his wife with a young goat, and he said, "I will go to bed with my wife in her room." But her father would not let him go in.

2 And her father said, "I really thought you really hated her, and I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more attractive than her? Please, take her instead of her."

3 And Samson said to them, "I am not responsible this time for whatever harm I do to Philistines." 4 And Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took torches, and set them tail to tail, and set a torch in the middle between each pair of tails. 5 And when he had set the torches on fire, he turned them loose into the standing grain of Philistines, and burnt up both the sheaves and the standing grain, and vineyards [and] olives trees.

6 And Philistines said, "Who did this?"

And they answered, "Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he took his wife and gave her to his companion." And Philistines went up and burnt her and her father with fire.

7 And Samson said to them, "Because you did this, I will take vengeance against you, and then I will stop." 8 And he struck them hip and thigh with great slaughter, and he went down and lived in a cave in the cliff Etam.

9 And Philistines went up and encamped in Judah, and spread themselves out at Lehi. 10 And the men of Judah said, "Why have you come up against us."

And they said, "We have come to take Samson captive, to do to him as he did to us."

11 Then three thousand men from Judah went down to the cave of the cliff Etam, and said to Samson, "Do you not know that Philistines rule over us? What is this you have done to us?"

And he said to them, "What they did to me, I did to them."

12 And they said to him, "We have come down to bind you and hand you over to Philistines."

And Samson said, "Swear to me that you will not harm me yourselves."

13 And they spoke to him, saying, "No. We will simply tie you up, and hand you over to them, but we will certainly not kill you." And they bound him with two fresh ropes, and brought him up from the cliff. 14 He came to Lehi, and Philistines shouted against him, and the spirit of Yahweh came upon him, and the ropes which were on his arms became like cotton threads burnt by fire, and the restraints melted off his hands.

15 And he found the fresh jawbone[34] of a donkey, and reached out and took it, and killed a thousand men with it. 16 And Samson said, "With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps,[35] with the jawbone of a donkey I have slain a thousand men." 17 Then, when he finished speaking, he tossed away the jawbone from his hand, and called that place Ramath-lehi.[36]

18 And he was very thirsty, and called to Yahweh, and said, "You have placed this great deliverance in the hand of your servant. And now will I die of thirst, and fall into the hand of the uncircumcised?" 19 And God split open the hollow place which was at Lehi, and water came out of it, and when he had drunk, his spirit returned, and he revived. Therefore the name of the place is called Ein-hakkore,[37] which is at Lehi to this day. 20 And he judged Israel in the days of Philistines twenty years.

Chapter 16Edit

1 Now Sampson went to Gaza, and saw a prostitute there, and went to bed with her. 2 [And it was reported] to the Gazites, "Samson is here."

And they surrounded him, and waited to ambush him all night by the gate of the city, and kept quiet all night, saying, "At daybreak we will kill him."

3 And Samson laid there till midnight, and got up at midnight, and took hold of the doors of the city gate, and of the two posts, and left with them, along with the cross-bar, and put them on his shoulders, and took them up to the top of the hill which is in front of Hebron.

4 Later, after that, he loved a woman in the valley Sorek, and her name was Delilah. 5 And the Philistine sarens[38] came up to her, and said to her, "Trick him, and find out where his great strength [come from], and how we can overpower him, to bind him and control him. And we will each give you eleven hundred [shekels] of silver.[39]

6 And Delilah said to Samson, "Please, tell me where your great strength [comes from], and how you might be tied up and defeated."

7 And Samson said to her, "If they tie me with seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, then I will will be weak as any other man."

8 And the Philistine sarens brought up to her seven fresh bowstrings, not yet dried, and she tied him up with them. 9 Now there were men waiting to ambush him, staying with her in the room. And she said to him, "Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And he broke the bowstrings, like threads of yarn burnt by fire would break. So they did not learn of his strength.

10 And Delilah said to Samson, "Look. You have toyed with me and told me lies. Now, please, tell me how you could be tied up."

11 And he said to her, "If they tie me up with new ropes that were never used, then I will be weak as any other man."

12 And Delilah took new ropes, and bound him with them, and said to him, "Philistines are upon you, Samson!" And there were people waiting to ambush him in the room. And he broke them off his arms like thread.

13 And Delilah said to Samson, "So far you have been toying with me, and told me lies. Tell me how you could be tied up."

And he said to her, "If you weave the seven locks of my head into the loom."

14 And she fashioned it with the pin, and said to him, "Philistines are upon you, Samson!"

And he awoke out of his sleep, and left with the pin of the beam, and with the loom.

15 And she said to him, "How can you say, I love you, when your heart is not with me? You have toyed with me these three told, and have not told me where your great strength [comes from]."

16 Then she wore him out every day with her words, and pressed him, and his soul was troubled to death. 17 And he told her everything in his heart, and said to her, "No razor has touched my head, because I have been a Nazirite of God from my mother's womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will leave me, and I will be as weak as any other man."

18 And Delilah saw that he had told her everything in his heart, and she sent to the Philistine sarens, saying, "Come up this time, because he has told me everything in his heart." Then the Philistine sarens came up, with the money in their hand. 19 She lulled him to sleep on her knees, and she called for a man, and she had him shave off the seven locks of his head, and she gained control of him, and his strength left him.

20 And she said, "Philistines are upon you, Samson!"

And he awoke from his sleep, and thought, "I will go out like the other times," and he shook himself. And he did not realize that Yahweh had left him. 21 And Philistines seized him, and gouged out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with brass fetters, and put him to work grinding grain in the prison. 22 But the hair of his head began to grow after he was shaven.

23 And the Philistine sarens gathered to present a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to celebrate. And they said, "Our god has delivered Samson our enemy into our hand." 24 And the people saw him, and praised their god, because they said, "Our god has delivered our enemy into our hands, the destroyer of our land, who slew many of us." 25 And then, when their hearts were glad, they said, "Call for Samson, and we will have fun with him." And they called for Samson from the prison-house, and he amused them, and they set him between the pillars.

26 And Samson said to the lad who held his hand, "Set me where I can feel the pillars which hold up the house, so I can lean against them." 27 Now the house was full of men and women, and all the Philistine sarens were there, and on the roof there were about three thousand men and women, who watched as Samson amused them.

28 And Samson called to Yahweh, and said, "My Lord Yahweh, please remember me, and strengthen me, please, just this once, O God, and I will take revenge against Philistines for my two eyes. 29 And Samson reached out for the two central pillars that supported the house, one with his right hand, and one with his left. 30 And Samson said, "Let me die with Philistines." And he pushed hard, and the house fell on the sarens, and on all the people who were in it. And so the dead which he killed in his death were more than those he killed in his life. 31 Then his brothers and all his father's family came down, and took him, and went up and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burial plot of Manoah his father. He had judged Israel twenty years.

Chapter 17Edit

1 And there was a man from the hill-country of Ephraim, and his name was Micaiah. 2 And he said to his mother, "The eleven hundred [shekels] of silver which were taken from you, which I heard you utter a curse about -- look, I took the silver."

And his mother said, "May Yahweh bless you, my son."

3 And when he returned the eleven hundred [shekels] of silver to his mother, his mother said, "I consecrated the silver to Yahweh from my hand for my son, to make a graven image and a molten image. So now I will give it back to you." 4 And he returned the silver to his mother, and she took two hundred [shekels] of silver, and gave them to the smith, and he made a graven image and a molten image, and they were in the house of Micaiah. 5 And the man Micah had a temple, and made an ephod and teraphim, and ordained one of his sons as a priest. 6 In those days there was no king in Israel. Every man did what was right in his own eyes.

7 And there was a young man from Bethlehem-judah, from the clan of Judah, and he was a Levite, and he sojourned there. 8 And the men left the city of Bethlehem-judah to sojourn wherever he could, and he came to the hill-country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, as he journeyed. 9 And Micah said to him, "Where are you coming from?"

And he said, "I am a Levite from Bethlehem-judah, and I am going to stay wherever I can."

10 And Micah said to him, "Stay with me, and become my father and priest, and I will give you ten [shekels] of silver per year, and a change of clothes, and your maintenance." And the Levite went. 11 And the Levite was willing to stay with the man, and the young man was like one of his sons to him. 12 And Micah ordained the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. 13 And Micah said, "Now I know that Yahweh will do good for me, because I have a Levite for a priest."

Chapter 18Edit

1 In those days there was no king in Israel, and in those days the tribe of the Danites was seeking for itself an inheritance to settle, because to that day their inheritance had not fallen to them among the tribes of Israel. 2 And the people of Dan sent from their clan five men from their whole tribe, valiant men from Zorah and Eshtaol, to spy out the land and to investigate it, and they said to them, "Go investigate the land." And they came to the hill-country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and stayed the night there. 3 When they were near the house of Micah, they recognized the voice of the young Levite, and they turned there and said to him, "Who brought you here? And what are you doing here? And what do you have here?"

4 And he said to them, "Like so and like so Micah deals with me, and has hired me, and I am his priest."

5 And they said to him, "Please ask of God, so that we can know whether our journey where we go will succeed."

6 And the priest said to him, "Go in peace. Yahweh is watching over your journey."

7 And the five men went and came to Laish, and saw the people who were there, and how they lived securely, in the same manner as the Sidonians, quiet and secure. And there was no one to put them to shame in anything, possessing authority.[40] And they were far from the Sidonians, and had no business with anyone. 8 And they came to their brothers in Zorah and Eshtaol, and their brothers said to them, "What [do] you [say]?"

9 And they said, "Arise, and we will go up against them, because we have seen the land, and that it is very good. Why stand here waiting? Do not hesitate to go and take possession of the land. 10 When you go, you will come to an unsuspecting people in a broad land, because God has given it into your hands, a place where there is no lack of anything in the land."

11 Then, from the clan of the Danites, from Zorah and from Eshtaol, six hundred men left girded with weapons of war. 12 And their went up and encamped at Kiriath-jearim in Judah. That is why that place is called Mahaneh-dan to this day. There it is: behind Kiriath-jearim. 13 And they passed on from there to the hill-country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah. 14 Then the five men who went to spy out the land of Laish said to their brothers, "Did you know that in these houses there are an ephod, and teraphim, and a graven image, and a cast image? And now consider what you will do." 15 And they turned toward there, and came to the house of the young Levite, the house of Micah, and asked him how he was. 16 And the six hundred men armed with weapons for war stood at the entrance of the gate, who were from the Danites. 17 And the five men who went to spy out the land went up, came there, [and] took the graven image, and the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. And the priest stood at the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men armed with weapons of war.

18 And these people went into Micah's house, and took the graven image, the ephod, and the teraphim, and the molten image. And the priest said to them, "What are you doing?'

19 And they said to him, "Keep quiet. Put your hand over your mouth, and go with us, and become a father and a priest to us. Is it better for you to be the priest of one man's house, or to be the priest of a tribe and clan in Israel?" 20 And the priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the teraphim, and the graven image, and went among the people. 21 And they turned and went, and put the little ones and the livestock and the goods in front of them.

22 When they were far away from the house of Micah, the men who were of the houses which were near the house of Micah came together and overtook the Danites. 23 And they called out to the Danites, and they turned their faces and said to Micah, "What is bothering you, that you are all together here?"

24 And he said, "You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and gone. And what do I have left? And why would you say to me, 'What is bothering you?'"

25 And the Danites said to him, "Do not let your voice be heard among us, or maybe angry people will find you, and you and your household will die." 26 And the Danites went on their way, and Micah saw that they were too strong for him, and he turned and went home. 27 And they took the things Micah had made, and the priest Micah had, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the mouth of the sword, and burnt the city which fire. 28 And there was no one to save them, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no business with anyone, and it was in the valley by Beth-rehob. And they built a city and lived there. 29 And they named the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel, but the city was called Laish at first. 30 And the Danites set up the graven image, and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses,[41] he and his sons were priests to the tribe of Dan until the day when the land went into captivity. 31 And they set up Micah's graven image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

Chapter 19Edit

1 And it happened in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a Levite man sojourning in a remote part of the Ephraimite hill-country who took to himself a concubine from Bethlehem-judah. 2 And his concubine was unfaithful to him, and went away from his to her father's house in Bethlehem-judah, and was there four whole months. 3 And her husband arose and went after her, to persuade her to return, and his servant was with him, and a pair of donkeys. And she brought him to her father's house, and when the father of the young woman saw him, he rejoiced to meet him. 4 And his father-in-law, the young woman's father, kept him there, and he stayed with him three days, and they ate and drank, and stayed the nights there. 5 Then, on the fourth day, they woke up early in the morning, and he got up to leave. And the father of the young woman said to his son-in-law, "Refresh yourself with a bit of bread, and afterward you can go."

6 And they sat down, and the two of them ate and drank together, and the young woman's father said to the man, "Please, consent to stay the night, and let your heart be glad." 7 And when the man got up to go, his father-in-law urged him, and he stayed the night there again.

8 And he got up early in the morning of the fifth day to go, and the father of the young woman said to him, "Please, refresh yourself." And they stayed till the afternoon, and the two of them ate.

9 And the man got up to leave, with his concubine and his servant, and his father-in-law, the young woman's mother, said to him, "Look, please, the day is drawing toward evening. Please, stay the night. Look, the day is ending. Stay here, and let your heart be glad, and tomorrow you can get up early and go on your way home."

10 But the man was not willing to stay the night, and he got up and went on his way till he reached Jebus, which is Jerusalem, and with him a pair of donkeys saddled, and his concubine. 11 As they were by Jebus, late in the day, the servant said to his master, "Let's go turn in to this city of the Jebusites, and stay the night there."

12 And his master said to him, "Let's not turn in to a foreign city which does not belong to Israelites. We will go on to Gibeah." 13 And he said to his servant, "Come on, let's go to one of these places and stay the night in Gibeah or in Ramah." 14 And they went along on their way, and the sun went down [as they were] near Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin.

15 And they turned in there to go stay the night in Gibeah, and he went and sat in the town square, and no one took them into a house to stay the night. 16 And then at evening there came an old man from his work in the field, a man from the hill-country of Ephraim who was residing in Gibeah, where the men of that place were Benjamites. 17 And he lifted his eyes and saw a traveling man in the city square, and the old man said, "Where are you going, and where are you coming from?"

18 And he said to him, "We are passing from Bethlehem-judah to a remote part of the Ephraimite hill-country. I am from there, and I am going to my home,[42] and no one would take me into their home. 19 But there is both straw and feed for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, and for your handmaid, and for the servant who is with your slaves. There is no lack of anything."

20 And the old man said, "Fine, but just let me take care of all your needs. Just do not stay the night in the square." 21 And he brought them into his house, and gave feed to the donkeys, and they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

22 Just as they were enjoying themselves, men of the city, worthless men, surrounded the house, beat on the door, and said to the owner of the house, "Bring out the man who came to your house, and we will know[43] him."

23 And the man who owned the house went out to them and said to them, "No, my brothers! Please, do not do this evil thing, considering that this man came to my house, do not do this foolish deed. 24 Look -- my daughter is a virgin, and his concubine -- please, I will bring them out. Have your way with them, and do with them what you like, but do not do this foolish thing to this man. 25 But the men would not listen to him, and the man took his concubine, and brought her out to them. And they knew her, and abused her all night until morning, and let her go at sunrise. 26 And the woman came at daybreak, and fell down at the door of the man's house where her master was, until it was light.

27 And her master got up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went to go on his way, and saw the woman, his concubine, fallen down at the entrance to the house, with her hands on the threshold. 28 And he said to her, "Get up and let's go." But no one answered. And the man put her up on the donkey, and got up and went to his place.

29 And he came to his house, and took a knife,[44] and took ahold of his concubine and cut her limb by limb into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout the territory of Israel. 30 And then everyone who saw it said, "Nothing like this has occurred or been seen from the day the Israelites came up from the land of Egypt until this day. Consider it, discuss it, and speak!"

Chapter 20Edit

1 And all the Israelites went out, and the assembly was gathered together like a single man, from Dan to Beersheba[45], and the land of Gilead, to Yahweh at Mizpah. 2 And the chiefs of all the people, all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of God's people: four hundred thousand footmen who drew the sword. 3 And the Benjamites heard that the Israelites had gone up to Mizpah. And the Israelites said, "Tell us about this evil thing."

4 And the Levite man, the husband of the woman who was murdered, replied and said, "I came to Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin, with my concubine to stay the night. 5 And the lords of Gibeah rose up against me, and surrounded me at the house at night, looking to kill me, and they had their way with my concubine, and she died. 6 And I took hold of my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the territory of the inheritance of Israel, because they have committed this heinous foolishness in Israel. 7 Now, you are Israelites: speak and make a decision here."

8 And all the people arose as one man, saying, "None of us will go to his tent, and none of us will turn to their house. 9 And as for what we will do to Gibeah, we will attack it by lot.[46]10 We will take ten men out of a hundred of all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred out of thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to take provisions for the people, so that they when they arrive at Gibeah of Benjamin they can repay all the foolishness that has been done in Israel." 11 And all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, joined like a single man.

12 And the tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin,[47] saying, "What is this evil that has been done among you? 13 Now give [us] the worthless men who are in Gibeah, and we will put them to death, and burn away the evil from Israel." But the Benjamites would not listen to the voice of their brothers the Israelites. 14 And the Benjamites gathered themselves from the cities to Gibeah to go out for war against the Israelites. 15 And the Benjamites from their cities were numbered at that time twenty-six thousand men who drew the sword, not counting the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were seven hundred well-trained men. 16 Among all this people there were seven hundred well-trained men who were left-handed. All of them could sling stones at a hair and not miss. 17 And the men of Israel, not counting Benjamin, were four hundred thousand men who drew the sword, all warriors.

18 And the Israelites arose and went up to Bethel and inquired of God, and said, "Which of us should go up first to battle with the Benjamites?"

And Yahweh said, "Judah first."

19 And the Israelites rose up in the morning and encamped against Gibeah. 20 And the men of Israel went out to battle with Benjamin, and the men of Israelite put themselves in battle array at Gibeah. 21 And the Benjamites came out from Gibeah and utterly destroyed[48] on that day twenty-two thousand men among the Israelites. 22 And the army of Israelite men rallied and set themselves again in battle array in the place where they had placed themselves the first day. 23 And the Israelites went up and wept before Yahweh until evening, and inquired of Yahweh, saying, "Should I approach for battle against with the sons of Benjamin my brother?"

And Yahweh said, "Go up against him."

24 And the Israelites came near to the Benjamites on the second day. 25 And Benjamin went out against them from Gibeah on the second day and utterly destroyed[49] of the Israelites eighteen thousand men, all who drew the sword.

26 Then all the Israelites, and all the people, went up and came to Bethel and wept, and sat there before Yahweh, and fasted on that day until the evening, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before Yahweh. 27 And the Israelites inquired of Yahweh. Now the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days. 28 And Phinehas the son of Eleazar the son of Aaron stood before it in those days, saying, "Should I go out to war yet again against the sons of Benjamin my brother, or should I cease?"

And Yahweh said, "Go up, because tomorrow I will hand them over to you."

29 And Israel set ambushers around Gibeah. 30 And the Israelites went up against Benjamin on the third day, and set themselves in battle array against Gibeah, like the other times. 31 And the Benjamites went out against the people. They were drawn away from the city, and began to strike some of the people, killing them like the other times, along the highways, the one going up to Bethel and the other toward Gibeah in the field, about thirty thousand men of Israel. 32 And the Benjamites said, "They fall before us like at first."

And the Israelites said, "Let us flee and draw them away from the city to the highways." 33 And all the men of Israel rose from their place and set themselves in battle array at Baal-tamar, and the Israelite ambush emerged from its place in the plain of Gibeah. 34 And then thousand choice men came against Gibeah from all Israel, and the battle was heavy, and they did not realize that a catastrophe was closing in on them. 35 And Yahweh smote Benjamin before Israel, and the Israelites destroyed among the Benjamites that day twenty-five thousand one hundred men, all who drew the sword.

36 And the Benjamites saw that they were beaten, and the men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin because they trusted the ambush which they set toward Gibeah. 37 And the ambushers sprung up and raced toward Gibeah, and marched along, and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. 38 And there was a signal between the Israelite men and the ambushers, to send up a cloud of smoke from the city. 39 And when the Israelites turned in the battle, Benjamin began to strike down some of the Israelite men, about thirty people, because they said, "Surely they are beaten before us like in the first battle." 40 But when the signal began to rise from the city, a pillar of smoke, Benjamin looked behind and saw the whole city going up [in smoke] toward the sky. 41 And the men of Israel turned around, and the men of Benjamin were terrified, because they saw that disaster had struck them. 42 And they turned before the men of Israel toward the route to the wilderness, and the fighting overtook them, and those who were from the cities they destroyed among them. 43 They surrounded Benjamin, pursued them, easily overtook them as far as a place near Gibeah to its east. 44 And of the Benjamites eighteen thousand men fell, all of them soldiers. 45 And they turned and fled toward the wilderness, to the rock of Rimmon, and they finished off along the highways five thousand men, and pursued them closely Gidom, and struck down two thousand of them. 46 So all who fell that day of Benjamin were twenty-five thousand men who drew the sword, all of them soldiers.

47 But six hundred men turned and fled to the wilderness, to the rock of Rimmon, and stayed at the rock of Rimmon four months. 48 And the men of Israel turned back to the Benjamites, and killed them with the edge of the sword: the whole[50] town, the livestock, and whatever was found there. Also all the towns that they found they set on fire.

Chapter 21Edit

1 And the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, "None of us will give his daughter to Benjamin as a wife." 2 And the people came to Bethel, and sat there till evening before God, and lifted their voices and wept, a great weeping. 3 And they said, "Why, Yahweh, god of Israel, has this happened in Israel, for one tribe to be missing from Israel today?"

4 Then the next day the people rose early and built an altar there, and offered burnt offerings and peace-offerings. 5 And the Israelites said, "Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up with the assembly to Yahweh?" Because they had made a great oath concerning anyone who did not come up to Yahweh at Mizpah: "He will surely be put to death."

6 And the Israelites were filled with regret for Benjamin their brother, and they said, "Today one tribe is cut off from Israel. 7 What will we do for wives for the survivors, when we have sworn by Yahweh not to give them any of our daughters as wives?"

8 And they said, "What one is there of the tribes of Israel which did not go up to Yahweh at Mizpah?" And they realized that no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead. 9 The people were counted, and they saw that there were none of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there.

10 And the congregation sent there twelve thousand men of their warriors, and commanded them, saying, "Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the mouth of the sword, and the women and little ones. 11 And this is what you should do: every male, and every woman you have had intimate relations with a male, you must exterminate. 12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins who had not known a man by lying with any male, and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, in the land of Canaan.

13 And the whole congregation sent word to the Benjamites who were at the rock of Rimmon, and called peacefully to them. 14 And Benjamin returned at this time, and they gave them wives of those whom they had kept alive from the women of Jabesh-gilead, but they were not enough for them.

15 And the people were filled with regret for Benjamin, because Yahweh had made a break among the tribes of Israel.

16 And the elders of the congregation said, "What should we do for wives for those who remain, because the women of Benjamin have been destroyed?"

17 And they said, "There must be heirs for the Benjamite survivors. An Israelite tribe should not be destroyed. 18 But we cannot give them wives of our daughters, because the Israelites swore, 'Cursed be whoever gives a wife to Benjamin.'" 19 And they said, "Look -- there is a feast of Yahweh at Shiloh annually along the north of Bethel, east of the highway which goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and south of Lebonah.

20 And they commanded the Benjamites, saying, "Go and set an ambush in the vineyards. 21 And when you see that the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, come out from the vineyards and let each man kidnap himself a wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 And then, when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, we can say, 'Be kind to them, because we did not get each man a wife in the battle, [and] because you are not guilty of giving them to them.'"

23 And the Benjamites did so, and took wives according to their number from those who danced, that they abducted, and they went and returned to their inheritance, and built up their cities, and settled in them. 24 And the Israelites went from there at that time, each man to his tribe and to his clan, and they went out from there each to his inheritance.

25 In those days there was no king in Israel. Each man did what was right in his own eyes.


  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. (2:8) bin In Hebrew names, ben means son of. For reasons that are not known, it is spelled bin when it appears in the name of Joshua son of Nun.
  9. (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?
  10. (3:16) gomed. This Hebrew term occurs only here, and its meaning is unclear.
  11. (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.
  12. (3:20) cool upper room. This expression occurs only in this story, and has been translated several ways.
  13. (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." An other possibility is that the "-ah" is a destination suffix, which would render the verse as "he went out to the parshedon."
  14. (3:23) misdronah. This Hebrew term occurs only here, and therefore its meaning is unclear. Again, could be that the "-ah" is the standard biblical Hebrew destination suffix, rendering the word as "to the misdron".
  15. (4:11) Kain. A collective term for the Kenite nation, and the first name of Adam's oldest son, traditionally spelled "Cain" in English
  16. 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.
  17. (6:34) possessed: literally, wore, like an article of clothing.
  18. (8:18) What sort of men did you kill at Tabor? Or, Where are the men you killed at Tabor?
  19. Abimelech can be read in Hebrew as "my father is king."
  20. (9:37) middle. The Hebrew word tabbur is a rare one. Another interpretation reads it as "top."
  21. (10:40) and they had thirty donkeys. Removing a single letter would cause this phrase to read, and they had thirty cities.
  22. (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.
  23. According to Numbers 21:26, this land had once belonged to Moab, not Amon. However, these two nations were closely related.
  24. Numbers 40:14-21
  25. Numbers 21:13
  26. Numbers 21:21-22
  27. Numbers 21:23-25
  28. Chemosh - the god of Moab (Numbers 21:29) and Amon. It was the general belief of peoples in the region that each land had its own gods, and that the victory of a nation at war was the victory of that nation's god.
  29. The king of Moab at the time of the events described (Numbers 22:4)
  30. (11:35) and troubled me. Hebrew, w'at hayyit b'okray, literally, "and you are among those who trouble me."
  31. (11:40) commemorate. The Hebrew verb is rare. Perhaps it should be translated, lament.
  32. Ephrathite. A member of the Tribe of Ephraim.
  33. (13:4) unclean. The Hebrew term here speaks of foods considered ritually impure, not of hygienic concerns in the modern sense.
  34. (15:15) jawbone. The Hebrew term is lehi, the same as that of the location mentioned in the previous verse.
  35. (15:16) heaps upon heaps. In Hebrew, there is a pun here, based on the homonym hamor which, depending on context, can mean "donkey" or "heap."
  36. (15:17) Ramath-lehi. Hebrew for Jawbone Height.
  37. (15:19) Ein-hakkore. Hebrew for well of the one calling out.
  38. (16:5) sarens: a word used only for Philistine leaders.
  39. (16:5) eleven hundred shekels. Estimates of the exact value of a shekel in biblical terms vary due to the difficulties involved in estimating the value of ancient economic exchanges, but eleven hundred shekels was an enormous sum of money. The biblical compensation for the wrongful death of a slave was only thirty shekels (Exodus 21:31). In weight 1100 shekels comes to about 12 kilogrammes.
  40. (18:7) And there was no one to put them to shame in anything, possessing authority. This sentence is difficult in Hebrew, and the translation here is a mere guess.
  41. (18:30) Moses. The Masoretic Text adds a superscripted consonant, changing the name "Moses" into "Manasseh."
  42. (19:18) and I am going to my home. For this phrase this translation follows the Septuagint. The Masoretic Text here is grammatically odd and difficult to understand, but seems to mean something like and I am going [to] the house of Yahweh.
  43. (19:22) know. As in many other verses, this is a euphemism for sexual relations.
  44. (19:29) knife - the specific word used here for "knife" is found only here and in Genesis chapter 22, the binding of Isaac (the Akeida).
  45. (20:1) from Dan to Beersheba - Dan was the north end of the land of Israel at the time, and Beersheba was the south; so "from Dan to Beersheba" meant the entire land.
  46. (20:9) we will attack it by lot. Literally, against it by lot.
  47. (20:12) tribe of Benjamin. Following the Septuagint here. The Masoretic Text reads, tribes of Benjamin.
  48. (20:21) utterly destroyed. Literally, destroyed to the ground.
  49. (20:25) utterly destroyed. As in 20:21.
  50. (20:48) the whole town, the livestock, and whatever was found there. This translation is attempting to follow the Masoretic Text in reading the Hebrew word mtm as metom, and thus "whole." If instead we follow Gesenius and some other in reading the word as metim, "people," we would read the town, the people, the livestock, and whatever was found there.