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The Oxford Study Bible Study Bible supplemented with commentary from scholars of various religions.

Chapter 3

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1As a means of testing all the Israelites who had not taken part in the battles for Canaan, the LORD left these nations, 2his purpose being to train succeeding generations of Israel in the art of warfare, or those at least who had not learnt it in former times. 3They were: the five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon and from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. 4His purpose also was to test whether the Israelites would obey the commandments which the LORD had given to their forefathers through Moses. 5Thus the Israelites lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; 6they took their daughters in marriage and gave their own daughters to their sons; and they served their gods.

7The Israelites did what was wrong in the eyes of the LORD: forgetting the LORD their God, they served the baalim and the asheroth. 8The anger of the LORD was roused against Israel and he sold them into the power of King Cushan-rishathaim of Aramnaharaim, who kept them in subjection for eight years.

9Then the Israelites cried to the LORD for help, and to deliver them he raised up Othniel son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz, and he set them free. 10The spirit of the LORD came upon him and he became judge over Israel. He took the field, and the LORD delivered King Cushan-rishathaim of Aram into his hands; Othniel was too strong for him. 11Thus the land was at peace for forty years until Othniel son of Kenaz died.

12Once again the Israelites did what was wrong in the eyes of the LORD, and because of this he roused King Eglon of Moab against Israel. 13Eglon mustered the Ammonites and the Amalekites, attacked Israel, and took possession of the city of palm trees. 14The Israelites were subject to King Eglon of Moab for eighteen years.

15Then they cried to the LORD for help, and to deliver them he raised up Ehud son of Gera the Benjamite; he was left-handed. The Israelites sent him to hand over their tribute to King Eglon. 16Ehud had made himself a two-edged sword, about eighteen inches long a 3:16 about…long: lit. a short cubit in length. , which he fastened on his right side under his clothes 17when he brought the tribute to King Eglon. Eglon was a very fat man. 18After Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he sent on the men who had carried it, 19while he himself turned back from the Carved Stones at Gilgal. ‘My lord king,’ he said, ‘I have a message for you in private.’ Eglon called for silence and dismissed all his attendants. 20Ehud then approached him as he sat in the roof-chamber of his summer palace. He said, ‘Your majesty, I have a message from God for you.’ As Eglon rose from his seat, 21Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right side, and drove it into Eglon's belly. 22The hilt went in after the blade and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out but left it protruding behind b 3:22 behind: Heb. word of uncertain meaning. . 23Ehud then went out to the porch c 3:23 porch: Heb. word of uncertain meaning. , where he shut the door on him and fastened it.

24After he had gone, Eglon's servants came and, finding the doors fastened, they said, ‘He must be relieving himself in the closet of his summer palace.’ 25They waited until they became alarmed and, when he still did not open the door of the roof-chamber, they took the key and opened the door; and there was their master lying dead on the floor.

26While they had been waiting, Ehud had made good his escape; he passed the Carved Stones and escaped to Seirah. 27Once there, he sounded the trumpet in the hill-country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down from the hills with him at their head. 28He said to them, ‘Follow me, for the LORD has delivered your enemies, the Moabites, into your hands.’ They went down after him, and held the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites, allowing no one to cross. 29They killed at that time some ten thousand Moabites, all of them stalwart and valiant fighters; not one escaped. 30Moab became subject to Israel on that day, and the land was at peace for eighty years.

31After Ehud there was Shamgar son of Anath. He killed six hundred Philistines with an ox-goad, and he too delivered Israel.

Notes:

a 3:16 about…long: lit. a short cubit in length.

b 3:22 behind: Heb. word of uncertain meaning.

c 3:23 porch: Heb. word of uncertain meaning.

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