The LORD left certain nations in the land to test those Israelites who had not participated in the wars of Canaan.
He did this to teach warfare to generations of Israelites who had no experience in battle.
These were the nations: the Philistines (those living under the five Philistine rulers), all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites living in the hill country of Lebanon from Mount Baal-hermon to Lebo-hamath.
These people were left to test the Israelites -- to see whether they would obey the commands the LORD had given to their ancestors through Moses.
So Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites,
and they intermarried with them. Israelite sons married their daughters, and Israelite daughters were given in marriage to their sons. And the Israelites worshiped their gods.
The Israelites did what was evil in the LORD's sight. They forgot about the LORD their God, and they worshiped the images of Baal and the Asherah poles.
Then the LORD burned with anger against Israel, and he handed them over to King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram-naharaim. a And the Israelites were subject to Cushan-rishathaim for eight years.
But when Israel cried out to the LORD for help, the LORD raised up a man to rescue them. His name was Othniel, the son of Caleb's younger brother, Kenaz.
The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he became Israel's judge. He went to war against King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram, and the LORD gave Othniel victory over him.
So there was peace in the land for forty years. Then Othniel son of Kenaz died.
Once again the Israelites did what was evil in the LORD's sight, so the LORD gave King Eglon of Moab control over Israel.
Together with the Ammonites and Amalekites, Eglon attacked Israel and took possession of Jericho. b14
And the Israelites were subject to Eglon of Moab for eighteen years.
But when Israel cried out to the LORD for help, the LORD raised up a man to rescue them. His name was Ehud son of Gera, of the tribe of Benjamin, who was left-handed. The Israelites sent Ehud to deliver their tax money to King Eglon of Moab.
So Ehud made himself a double-edged dagger that was eighteen inches c long, and he strapped it to his right thigh, keeping it hidden under his clothing.
He brought the tax money to Eglon, who was very fat.
After delivering the payment, Ehud sent home those who had carried the tax money.
But when Ehud reached the stone carvings near Gilgal, he turned back. He came to Eglon and said, "I have a secret message for you." So the king commanded his servants to be silent and sent them all out of the room.
Ehud walked over to Eglon as he was sitting alone in a cool upstairs room and said, "I have a message for you from God!" As King Eglon rose from his seat,
Ehud reached with his left hand, pulled out the dagger strapped to his right thigh, and plunged it into the king's belly.
The dagger went so deep that the handle disappeared beneath the king's fat. So Ehud left the dagger in, and the king's bowels emptied.
Then Ehud closed and locked the doors and climbed down the latrine and escaped through the sewage access.
After Ehud was gone, the king's servants returned and found the doors to the upstairs room locked. They thought he might be using the latrine,
so they waited. But when the king didn't come out after a long delay, they became concerned and got a key. And when they opened the door, they found their master dead on the floor.
While the servants were waiting, Ehud escaped, passing the idols on his way to Seirah.
When he arrived in the hill country of Ephraim, Ehud sounded a call to arms. Then he led a band of Israelites down from the hills.
"Follow me," he said, "for the LORD has given you victory over Moab your enemy." So they followed him. And the Israelites took control of the shallows of the Jordan River across from Moab, preventing anyone from crossing.
They attacked the Moabites and killed about ten thousand of their strongest and bravest warriors. Not one of them escaped.
So Moab was conquered by Israel that day, and the land was at peace for eighty years.
After Ehud, Shamgar son of Anath rescued Israel. He killed six hundred Philistines with an ox goad.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)