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Judges 3; Judges 4; Judges 5

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Judges 3

1 The LORD left some nations in the land. He left them there in order to put the people of Israel to the test. He did it for all those who hadn't lived through any of the wars in Canaan.
2 He wanted to teach the men in Israel who had never been in battle before. He wanted them to learn how to fight.
3 So he left the five rulers of the Philistines. He left the people of Canaan and the people of Sidon. He left the Hivites who were living in the Lebanon mountains. They lived in the area that was between Mount Baal Hermon and Lebo Hamath.
4 The LORD left those nations where they were in order to put Israel to the test. He wanted to see whether they would obey his commands. He had given those commands through Moses to their people of long ago.
5 So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites.
6 They got married to the daughters of those people. They gave their own daughters to the sons of those people. And they served the gods of those people.
7 The people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They forgot the LORD their God. They served the gods that were named after Baal. They also served the goddesses that were named after Asherah.
8 So the LORD's anger burned against Israel. He gave them over to the power of Cushan-Rishathaim. He was the king of Aram Naharaim. For eight years Israel was under his rule.
9 They cried out to the Lord. Then he gave them a man to save them. His name was Othniel, the son of Kenaz. He was Caleb's younger brother.
10 The Spirit of the LORD came on Othniel. So he became Israel's leader. He went to war. The LORD handed Cushan-Rishathaim, the king of Aram, over to him. Othniel overpowered him.
11 So the land was at peace for 40 years. Then Othniel, the son of Kenaz, died.
12 Once again the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. Because they did that, the LORD gave Eglon power over Israel. Eglon was the king of Moab.
13 He got the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him. All of them came and attacked Israel. They took over Jericho. Jericho was also known as The City of Palm Trees.
14 For 18 years the people of Israel were under the rule of Eglon, the king of Moab.
15 Again the people of Israel cried out to the Lord. Then he gave them a man to save them. His name was Ehud, the son of Gera. Ehud was left-handed. He was from the tribe of Benjamin. The people of Israel sent Ehud to Eglon, the king of Moab. They sent him to give the king what he required them to bring him.
16 Ehud had made a sword that had two edges. It was about a foot and a half long. He tied it to his right leg under his clothes.
17 Eglon, the king of Moab, was a very fat man. Ehud gave him the gift he had brought.
18 After that, he sent away those who had carried it.
19 At the place where some statues of gods stood near Gilgal, Ehud turned back. He said, "King Eglon, I have a secret message for you." The king said, "I want everyone to be quiet." And all of his attendants left him.
20 Then Ehud approached him. King Eglon was sitting alone in the upstairs room of his summer palace. Ehud said, "I have a message from God for you." So the king got up from his seat.
21 Then Ehud reached out his left hand. He pulled out the sword that was tied to his right leg. He stuck it into the king's stomach.
22 Even the handle sank in after the blade. The blade came right out the king's back. Ehud didn't pull the sword out. And the fat closed over it.
23 Ehud went out to the porch. He shut the doors of the upstairs room behind him. Then he locked them.
24 After he had gone, the servants came. They found the doors of the upstairs room locked. They said, "Eglon must be going to the toilet in the inside room of the house."
25 They waited for a long time. They waited so long they became worried. But the king still didn't open the doors of the room. So they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their king. He had fallen to the floor. He was dead.
26 While Eglon's servants had been waiting, Ehud had gotten away. He passed by the statues of gods and escaped to Seirah.
27 There in the hill country of Ephraim he blew a trumpet. Then he led the people of Israel down from the hills.
28 "Follow me," Ehud ordered. "The LORD has handed your enemy Moab over to you." So they followed him down. They took over the only places where people could go across the Jordan River to get to Moab. They didn't let anyone go across.
29 At that time they struck down about 10,000 men of Moab. All of those men were strong and powerful. But not even one escaped.
30 That day Moab was brought under the rule of Israel. So the land was at peace for 80 years.
31 After Ehud, Shamgar became the next leader. He was the son of Anath. He struck down 600 Philistines with a large, pointed stick that was used to drive oxen. He saved Israel too.

Judges 4

1 After Ehud died, the people of Israel once again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord.
2 So the LORD gave them over to the power of Jabin. He was a king in Canaan. He ruled in Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera. Sisera lived in Harosheth Haggoyim.
3 Jabin used 900 chariots that had some iron parts. He treated the people of Israel very badly for 20 years. So they cried out to the LORD for help.
4 Deborah was a prophet. She was the wife of Lappidoth. She was leading Israel at that time.
5 Under The Palm Tree of Deborah she served the people as their judge. That place was between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim. The people of Israel came to her there. They came to have her decide cases for them. She settled matters between them.
6 Deborah sent for Barak. He was the son of Abinoam. Barak was from Kedesh in the land of Naphtali. Deborah said to Barak, "The Lord, the God of Israel, is giving you a command. He says, 'Go! Take 10,000 men from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun with you. Then lead the way to Mount Tabor.
7 I will draw Sisera into a trap. He is the commander of Jabin's army. I will bring him, his chariots and his troops to the Kishon River. There I will hand him over to you.' "
8 Barak said to her, "If you go with me, I'll go. But if you don't go with me, I won't go."
9 "All right," Deborah said. "I'll go with you. But because of the way you are doing this, you won't receive any honor. The LORD will hand Sisera over to a woman." So Deborah went to Kedesh with Barak.
10 There he sent for Zebulun and Naphtali. And 10,000 men followed him. Deborah also went with him.
11 Heber, the Kenite, had left the other Kenites. They came from the family line of Hobab. He was the brother-in-law of Moses. Heber set up his tent by the large tree in Zaanannim near Kedesh.
12 Sisera was told that Barak, the son of Abinoam, had gone up to Mount Tabor.
13 So Sisera gathered together his 900 chariots that had some iron parts. He also gathered all of his men together. He brought them from Harosheth Haggoyim to the Kishon River.
14 Then Deborah said to Barak, "Go! Today the LORD will hand Sisera over to you. Hasn't the LORD gone ahead of you?" So Barak went down Mount Tabor. His 10,000 men followed him.
15 As Barak's men marched out, the LORD drove Sisera away from the field of battle. He scattered all of Sisera's chariots. Barak's men struck down Sisera's army with their swords. Sisera left his chariot behind. He ran away on foot.
16 But Barak chased Sisera's chariots and army. He chased them all the way to Harosheth Haggoyim. All of Sisera's men were killed with swords. Not even one was left.
17 But Sisera ran away on foot. He ran to the tent of Jael. She was the wife of Heber, the Kenite. Sisera ran there because Heber's family was friendly toward Jabin, the king of Hazor.
18 Jael went out to meet Sisera. "Come in, sir," she said. "Come right in. Don't be afraid." So he entered her tent. Then she covered him up.
19 "I'm thirsty," he said. "Please give me some water." So Jael opened a bottle of milk. The bottle was made out of animal skin. She gave him a drink of milk. Then she covered him up again.
20 "Stand in the doorway of the tent," he told her. "Someone might come by and ask you, 'Is anyone here?' If that happens, say 'No.' "
21 But Heber's wife Jael picked up a tent stake and a hammer. She went quietly over to Sisera. He was lying there, fast asleep. He was very tired. She drove the stake through his head right into the ground. So he died.
22 Barak came by because he was chasing Sisera. Jael went out to meet him. "Come right in," she said. "I'll show you the man you are looking for." So he went in with her. Sisera was lying there with the stake through his head. He was dead.
23 On that day God brought Jabin under Israel's control. He was a king in Canaan.
24 Israel's power grew stronger and stronger against Jabin, a king in Canaan. They became so strong that they destroyed him.

Judges 5

1 On that day Deborah and Barak sang a song. Barak was the son of Abinoam. Here is what Deborah and Barak sang.
2 "The princes in Israel lead the way. The people follow them just because they want to. Praise the Lord!
3 "Kings, hear this! Rulers, listen! I will sing to the Lord. I will sing. I will make music to the Lord. He is the God of Israel.
4 "Lord, you went out from Mount Seir. You marched out from the land of Edom. The earth shook. The heavens poured. The clouds poured down their water.
5 The mountains shook because of the Lord. He was at Mount Sinai. They shook because of the Lord. He is the God of Israel.
6 "The roads were deserted. So travelers used the winding paths. That happened in the days of Shamgar, the son of Anath. It happened in the days of Jael.
7 Life in the villages of Israel stopped. It stopped until I, Deborah, came. I came as a mother in Israel.
8 The people chose new gods. Then war came to the city gates. But no shields or spears were seen anywhere. There weren't any among 40,000 men in Israel.
9 My heart is with the princes in Israel. It's with the people who follow them just because they want to. Praise the Lord!
10 "Some of you ride on white donkeys. Some of you sit on your saddle blankets. Some of you walk along the road. Think about
11 the voices of the singers at the watering places. They sing about the right things the LORD does. They sing about the right things his warriors in Israel do. "The people of the LORD went down to the city gates.
12 'Wake up, Deborah! Wake up!' they said. 'Wake up! Wake up! Begin to sing! Barak, get up! Son of Abinoam, capture your prisoners!'
13 "Then the people who were left came down to the nobles. The people of the LORD came to me against the powerful enemy.
14 Some came from the part of Ephraim where some Amalekites lived. Benjamin was with the people who followed Ephraim. Captains came down from Makir. Those who rule like commanders came down from Zebulun.
15 The princes of Issachar were with Deborah. The men of Issachar were with Barak. They rushed behind him into the valley. In the territories of Reuben, men looked deeply into their hearts.
16 Why did they stay among the campfires? Why did they stay to hear shepherds whistling for the flocks? In the territories of Reuben, men looked deeply into their hearts.
17 Gilead stayed east of the Jordan River. Why did Dan stay near the ships? The men of Asher remained on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. They stayed in their safe harbors.
18 The people of Zebulun put their very lives in danger. So did Naphtali on the hills in the open country.
19 "Kings came and fought. The kings of Canaan fought at Taanach by the streams of Megiddo. But they didn't carry any silver away. They didn't take anything at all.
20 From the heavens the stars fought. From the sky they fought against Sisera.
21 The Kishon River swept them away. The Kishon is a very old river. My spirit, march on! Be strong!
22 The hoofs of the horses pounded like thunder. The powerful horses of our enemies galloped away.
23 'Let Meroz be cursed,' said the angel of the Lord. 'Let bitter curses fall on its people. They did not come to help the Lord. They did not come to help him against our powerful enemies.'
24 "May Jael be the most blessed woman of all. May the wife of the Kenite Heber be blessed. May she be the most blessed woman of all those who live in tents.
25 Sisera asked for water. She gave him milk. In a bowl that was fit for nobles she brought him buttermilk.
26 Her hand reached out for a tent stake. Her right hand reached for a hammer. She hit Sisera. She crushed his head. She drove the stake right through his head.
27 He sank down. He fell at her feet. He was lying there. At her feet he sank down. He fell. He fell where he sank down. That's where he died.
28 "Sisera's mother looked out through the window. From behind the wooden screen she cried out. 'Why is his chariot taking so long to get here?' she said. 'Why can't I hear the noise of his chariots yet?'
29 Her wisest ladies answer her. And here's what she keeps saying to herself.
30 She says, 'They must be finding riches to bring back. They must be dividing them up. Each man is getting a woman or two. They are giving colorful clothes to Sisera. The clothes are very beautiful. He will bring some for me to wear. The men must be finding many things to bring home.'
31 "Lord, may all of your enemies be destroyed. But may those who love you be like the morning sun. May they be like the sun when it shines the brightest." So the land was at peace for 40 years.