Once again the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They served the gods that were named after Baal. They served the goddesses that were named after Ashtoreth. They worshiped the gods of Aram and Sidon. They served the gods of Moab and Ammon. They also worshiped the gods of the Philistines. The people of Israel deserted the Lord. They didn't serve him anymore.
So the LORD's anger burned against them. He handed them over to the Philistines and the Ammonites.
That year they broke Israel's power completely. They treated the people of Israel badly for 18 years. Those people lived east of the Jordan River. They lived in Gilead. That was the land of the Amorites.
The Ammonites also went across the Jordan. They crossed over to fight against Judah, Benjamin and the people of Ephraim. Israel was suffering terribly.
Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. They said, "We have sinned against you. We have deserted our God. We have served the gods that are named after Baal."
The LORD replied, "The Egyptians and Amorites beat you down. So did the Ammonites and Philistines.
And so did the Amalekites and the people of Sidon and Maon. Each time you cried out to me for help. And I saved you from their power.
"But you have deserted me. You have served other gods. So I will not save you anymore.
Go and cry out to the gods you have chosen. Let them save you when you get into trouble!"
But the people of Israel replied to the Lord. They said, "We have sinned. Do to us what you think is best. But please save us now."
Then they got rid of the strange gods that were among them. They served the Lord. And he couldn't stand to see Israel suffer anymore.
The Ammonites were called together to fight. They camped in the land of Gilead. Then the men of Israel gathered together. They camped at the city of Mizpah.
The leaders of Gilead spoke to each other. They said, "Who will lead the attack against the Ammonites? That man will be the ruler of all of the people who live in Gilead."