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The Book of the Judges


Chapter 1-6 | 7-10 | 11-17 | 18-end | Next Book


The 1st Chapter

      After the death of Josua the children of Israel asked the Lord saying: Who shall go up first unto the Cananites to fight against them? And the Lord said: Juda shall go up: behold I have delivered the land into his hands. Then Juda said unto Simeon his brother: come with me into my lot, and let us fight against the Cananites: And I likewise will go with thee into thy lot. And so Simeon went with him.
      And Juda went up, and the Lord delivered the Cananites and Pheresites into their hands. And they slew of them in Bezek ten thousand men. And they found Adonibezek in Bezek. And they fought against him, and slew the Cananites and Pherisites. But Adonibezek fled, and they followed after him, and caught him, and cut off his thumbs and his great toes. Then Adonibezek said: three score and ten kings having their thumbs and great toes cut off, gathered their meat under my table wherefore as I have done so God hath done to me again. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and there he died.
      The children of Juda fought against Jerusalem and took it, and smote it with the edge of the sword, and set the city on fire. And after that the children of Juda went even to fight against the Cananites that dwelt in the mountain, in the south, and in the low country. And Juda went unto the Cananites that dwelt in Hebron, which before time was called Kariath Arbe. And slew Sesai, Ahiman and Thalmai. And from thence they went to the inhabiters of Dabir, whose name in old time was called Kariathsepher.
      And Caleb said: he that smiteth Kariathsepher, and taketh it, to him will I give Acsah my daughter to wife. And Othoniel the son of Kenez Calebs younger brother took it: to whom he gave Acsah his daughter to wife, and as they went she counseled him to ask of her father a field. And then she lighted I off her ass: and Caleb said unto her: What aileth thee? She said unto him: give me a blessing: for thou hast given me a Southward and a dry land, give me also springs of water. And Caleb gave her springs both above and beneath. And the children of the Kenite, Moses father in law, went up out of the city of palm trees, with the children of Juda, into the wilderness of Juda that lieth in the South of Arad, and dwelt among the people.
      And Juda went and Simeon with him, and they slew the Cananites that inhabited Zephath, and utterly destroyed it, and called the name of the city Hormah. And Juda took Azah with the coasts thereof, and Askalon with the coasts thereof, and Akaron with the coasts thereof. And the Lord was with Juda that he conquered the mountains, but they could not drive out the inhabiters of the valleys, because they had chariots of iron. And they gave Hebron unto Caleb as Moses said. And he expelled thence the three sons of Enack.
      And the children of BenJamin did not cast out the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem, but the Jebusites dwell with the children of BenJamin in Jerusalem unto this day.
      And in like manner the house of Joseph went up to Bethel and the Lord with them, and the house of Joseph searched out Bethel which before time was called Lus. And the spies saw a man come out of the city and they said unto him shew us the way into the city. And we will shew thee mercy. And he showed them the way into the city, and they smote it with the edge of the sword, but let the man and all his household go free. And the man went into the land of the Hethites, and built a city and called the name thereof Lus which is the name thereof unto this day.
      Neither did Manasses expel Bethsean with her towns, neither Thaanach with her towns, neither the inhabiters of Dor with her towns, neither the inhabiters of Jeblaam with her towns, neither the inhabiters of Magedo with her towns, and so the Cananites went to and dwelt in the said land. But as soon as Israel was waxed mighty, they put the Cananites to tribute: but expelled them not.
      In like manner Ephraim expelled not the Cananites that dwelt in Gazer, but the Cananites dwelt still in Gazer among them.
      Neither did Zabulon expel the inhabiters of Ketron, neither the inhabiters of Nahalol: but the Cananites dwelt among them and became tributaries.
      Neither did Aser cast out the inhabiters of Acho, neither the inhabiters of Zidon, of Ahalab, Aczib, Halbah, Aphek, nor of Rohob, but the Aserites dwelt among the Cananites the inhabiters of the land, and drove them not out.
      Neither did Nephthalim drive out the enhabitors of Bethsames, nor the inhabiters of Bethanath, but dwelt amongst the Cananites the inhabiters of the land. Nevertheless the inhabiters of Bethsames, and of Bethanath became tributaries unto them.
      And the Amorites kept the children of Dan in the mountains, and suffered them not the come down to the valleys. And so the Amorites went and dwelled in mount Heres in Hailon and in Galabim. Neverthelater the hand of Joseph waxed heavy upon them, so that they became tributaries. And the coasts of the Amorites was from the going up to Acrabim, and from the rock upward.




The 2nd Chapter

      And the angel of the Lord came up from Galgal to Bocim, and said, I brought you out of Egypt and have brought you unto the land which I sware unto your fathers. And I said that I would never break my appointment with you, but ye should have made no covenant with the inhabiters of this land, ye should have broken down their altars: but ye have not obeyed my voice: why have ye this done? Wherefore I have likewise determined that I will not cast them out before you: abut they shall be in the sides of you, and their Gods shall be snares unto you. And when the angel of the Lord had spoken these words unto all the children of Israel, the people cried out and wept. And called the name of the said place, Bocim, and offered there unto the Lord.
      And when Jonua had sent the people away, the children of Israel went every man into his inheritance to possess the land. And the people served the Lord all the days of Josua, and all the days of the elders that outlived Josua, and had seen all the great works of the Lord that he did to Israel. And Josua the son of Nun the servant of the Lord died when he was an hundred and ten years old: whom they buried in the coasts of his inheritance: even in Thamnath hares in mount Ephraim on the north side of the hill Gaas. And even so all that generation were put unto their fathers, and there arose another generation after them which neither knew the Lord, nor yet the works which he did unto Israel.
      And then the children of Israel did wickedly in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim, and forsook the Lord God of their fathers, which brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed strange Gods, even of the Gods of the nations that were round about them, and bowed themselves unto them, and angered the Lord. And so they forsook the Lord and served Baal and Astharoth. Wherefore the Lord waxed angry with Israel, and delivered them unto the hands of raveners to spoil them and sold them into the hands of their enemies round about them, so that they had no power any longer to stand before their enemies. But unto whatsoever thing they went, the hand of the Lord was upon them with evil luck, even as the Lord promised them, and as he sware unto them. And they were sore vexed.
      Nevertheless the Lord raised up Judges, which delivered them out of the hands of their oppressors, and yet for all that they would not hearken unto their Judges: But went a whoring after strange Gods and bowed themselves unto them, and turned quickly out of the way which their fathers walked in obeying the commandments of the Lord, and did not so.
      And when the Lord raised them up Judges, he was with the Judge, and delivered them out of the hands of their enemies all the days of the Judge: for the Lord had compassion over their sorrowings which they had by the reason of them that oppressed them and vexed them: yet for all that as soon as the judge was dead they turned and did worse than their fathers in following strange Gods, and in serving them, and ceased not from their inventions nor from their malicious ways.
      Wherefore the Lord was angry with Israel and said: because this people hath transgressed mine appointment which I commanded their fathers and have not obeyed my voice, therefore henceforth I will not cast out one man before them of the nations which Josua left when he died, and that to prove Israel through them whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk therein as their fathers did or not. And so the Lord left those nations alone, and drove them not out immediately, neither delivered them into the hands of Josua.




The 3rd Chapter

      These are the nations which the Lord left to tempt Israel: even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan: Only for the learning of the generation of the children of Israel: which before knew nothing of war, he left the five Lords of the Philistines, and all the Cananites, the Sidonites, the Hevites that dwelt in mount Libanon: even from mount Baal Hermon unto Hemath. Those remained to prove Israel by, to wete whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the Lord, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.
       And as the children of Israel dwell among the Cananites, hethites, Amorites, Pheresites, Hevites, and Jebusites, they took the daughters of them to be their wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their Gods. And so the children of Israel did wickedly in the sight of the Lord and forgot the Lord their God and served Baalim and Aseroth. Therefore the Lord was angry with Israel and delivered them into the hands of Chusan Rasathaim King of Mesopotamia. So that the children of Israel served Chusan Rasathaim eight years.
      And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord. And the Lord stirred them up a saver and saved them: one Othoniel the son of Kenes, Calebs younger brother. And the spirit of the Lord came upon him. And he judged Israel, and went out to war. And the Lord sold Chusan Rasathaim King of Mesopotamia into his hand. So that his hand was mighty over Chusan Rasathaim. And the land had rest forty years. And Othoniel the son of Kenes died. And then the children of Israel went to again, and committed wickedness in the sight of the Lord. And then the Lord hardened Eglon the King of the Moabites, against the children of Israel, because they had committed wickedness before the Lord. And this Eglon gathered unto him the children of Ammon, and the Amalekites, and went and smote the children of Israel, and conquered the city of Palm trees. And the children of Israel served Eglon the King of the Moabites eighteen years. And then they cried unto the Lord. And the Lord stirred them up a saver, Ahud the son of Gera, the son of Jemini, a man that could do nothing handsomely with his right hand.
      By whom the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of the Moabites which Ahud made him a dagger with two edges, of a cubit length, and he did gird it under his coat upon his right thigh and carried the present unto Eglon the King of the Moabites, which Eglon was a very fat man. And when he had presented the present, he sent the people that bare it away, but he himself turned again from the Idols by Galgal, and said: I have a secret unto thee O King: and the King commanded him to hold his peace until all that stood about him, were gone out from him.
      And Ahud came in unto him in a summer parlor, which he had several unto himself alone, and said: I have a message unto thee from God. And he arose out of his seat. And Ahud put forth his left hand and took the dagger from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly, so that the haft went in after the blade. And the haft stopped in the fat, for he drew not the dagger out of his belly. And the dirt came out. But Ahud gat him out at a *postern door and shut the doors of the parlor upon him and locked them.
      When he was gone out, his servants came and looked. And behold, the doors of the parlor were locked. And they said, Ah, he is doing of his easement in his summer chamber. And when they had tarried till they were ashamed, for no man did the doors of the parlor open: then they took a key and opened them. And behold their Lord was fallen down dead, unto the earth. But Ahud escaped while they tarried and was gone beyond the Idols and escaped into Seirath.
       And when he was come he blew a trumpet in mount Ephraim. And the children of Israel went down with him off the hill and he before them. And he said unto them, follow me: for the Lord hath delivered your enemies, the Moabites into your hands. And they descended after him and took the passages of Jordan from the Moabites, and suffered not a man to pass over. And they slew of the Moabites, the same time upon a ten thousand men, all fat, and men of might: that there escaped not a man, and so the Moabites were subdued that day, under the hands of Israel: and the land had rest eighty years.
      And after him came Samgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox *goad, and delivered Israel also.


*postern (back) *goad: pointed stick used to prod animals.




The 4th Chapter

      And the children of Israel began again to do wickedly in the sight of the Lord, when Ahud was dead. And the Lord sold them into the hands of Jabin King of Canaan, that reigned in Hazer, whose captain of war was Sisara, which dwelt in Haroseth of the gentiles. And the children of Israel cried unto the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots of iron, he oppressed the children of Israel with power twenty years.
      And Debora a Prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth judged Israel the same time, and dwelt under the palm tree of Debora, between Ramath and Bethell, in mount Ephraim.
      And the children of Israel came to her for judgement. And she sent and called Barak the son of Abinoam, out of Kedes Nephthalim, and said unto him.
      The Lord God of Israel commandeth thee, that thou go and draw to mount Thabor and take with thee ten thousand men, of the children of Nephthalim and of the children of Zabulon. And I will bring unto the river Kison Sisara, the Captain of war unto Jabin, with his chariots, and his people, and will deliver them into thine hands. And Barak said unto her, if thou wilt go with me, I will go: But and if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she answered, I will surely go with thee, but then the praise shall not be thine in the way which thou goest, for the Lord shall deliver Sisara into the hands of a woman. And she arose and went with Barak to Kedes. And Barak called Zabulon and Nephthalim to Kedes. And he went up afoot with ten thousand men: and Debora went with him.
      But Heber the kenite was removed out of Kin, which was of the children of Hobab the father in law of Moses, and pitched his tent until he was come unto the Oak of Zaanaim, by Kedes.
      And then it was showed unto Sisara how that Barak the son of Abinoam was gone up to mount Thabor. And Sisara called for all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and for all the people that he had, from Haroseth of the gentiles unto the river of Kison. Then said Debora unto Barak: up, for this is the day in which the Lord hath delivered Sisara into thine hands: for the Lord is gone out before thee. And so Barak went down from mount Thabor, and ten thousand men after him.
      But the Lord trounced Sisara and all his chariots and all his host with the edge of the sword, before Barak. And Sisara lighted down off his chariot and fled afoot. But Barak followed after the chariots and after the host, even unto Haroseth of the gentiles. And all the host of Sisara fell upon the edge of the sword, that there was not a man left. Howbeit, Sisara fled afoot to the tent of Jael the wife of Haber the kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor, and the household of Haber the Kenite.
      And Jael went out against Sisara and said unto him: turn in my lord, turn into me and fear not. And he turned into her tent: and she covered him with a mantle. And he said unto her, give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk and gave him drink and covered him. And he said unto her, stand in the door of thy tent, and if any man come and ask thee, or enquire of thee whether there be any man here, say nay.
      Then Jael Habers wife took a nail of the tent, and an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail through the temples of his head into the ground, as he slumbered being weary: And so he died.
      And behold as Barak followed after Sisara, Jael came out against him, and said unto him: come and I will show thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent: Behold, Sisara lay dead, and the nail through his temples. And so God brought Jabin the king of Canaan into subjection that day, before the children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel prospered and was sore upon Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had brought him to nought.




The 5th Chapter

      Then Debora and Barak the son of Abinoam sang the same day: saying Praise the Lord in them that were willing while other sat still in Israel. Hear kings and hearken Lords, I will sing, and give praise unto the Lord God, of Israel.
      Lord when thou departed out of Seir and camest from the fields of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heaven rained, and the clouds dropped water: the mountains melted before the Lord, even mount Sinai before the Lord God of Israel.
      In the days of Samgar the son of Anath and in the days of Jael, the high ways were unoccupied. And they that walked by paths, went by ways that set compasses about. The villages were uninhabited in Israel, were uninhabited: until I Debora arose until I arose a mother in Israel.
       God chose new fashions of war, for when they had war at their gates: there was not seen among forty thousand, either shield or spear in Israel. Mine heart loveth the maintainers of the law in Israel, that are willing among the people. Bless the Lord ye that ride on goodly Asses and sit in judgment. And ye that walk by the ways make *ditties.
      Now the archers did cry, where men draw water, there shall they tell of the justice of the Lord, and of the justice of his uplandish folk in Israel. And then the people of the Lord went down unto the gates.
      Up up Debora, up up and sing a song, up Barak, and take thy prey, thou son of Abinoam. Then they that had escaped, reigned over the proudest of the people. The Lord reigneth over the strong.
      Ephraim was the first against Amalek, and after them BenJamin, among the people.
      Of Machir came learned men in the law, and of Zabulon that well could draw with the pen of a scribe.
      The lords of Isacar were with Debora. And as Barak, even so was Isacar sent into the valley afoot. But in the divisions of Ruben, were great imaginations of heart.
      Wherefore abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks. In the divisions of Ruben, great were the imaginations of heart. Galaad abode on the other side Jordan, and why tarried Dan in ships. And Aser sat in the havens of the sea, and abode still in his own coasts. Zabulon is a people that put their lives in jeopardy of death, and Nephthalim in like manner, even unto the top of the fields. Kings came and fought. Then fought the King of Canaan at Thanach, upon the water of Magedo. But the silver that they coveted, they carried not away.
      From heaven came battle: for the stars being in their course, fought against Sisara. The river of Kison caught them away: that ancient river the river Kison.
      My soul: tread thou the mighty underfoot. Then they mauled the horses legs, that their mighty coursers left prancing.
      Curse Meres bade the angel of the Lord, Curse, Curse the inhabiters thereof because they came not forth to help the Lord, to help the Lord among the mighty.
      Blessed be Jael the wife of Haber the Kenite, above other women: above other women blessed be she in the tent.
      He asked water, but she gave him milk, and brought butter in a goodly dish. She caught a nail in her left hand, and a working hammer in her right, and nailed Sisara and wounded his head and pierced and went through his temples. Between her feet he bowed himself, fell down and lay still: Between her feet he bowed himself and fell. And whither he bowed himself, thither he fell brought to nought.
      Through a window looked Sisaras mother and howled through a lattice, why abideth his chariot so long, that it cometh not, why tarry the wheels of his wagons? The wisest of her ladies answered her: yea and she answered her own words herself, haply, they have found, and divide the spoil. A maid, yea two maids for a piece: a spoil of divers colors for Sisara, a spoil of divers colors with broidered works, divers colored broidered works for the neck for a prey. So, perish all thine enemies Lord: but they that love thee, let them be as the sun rising in his might.
      And the land had rest forty years.


*ditties. *simple song.




The 6th Chapter

      And the children of Israel committed wickedness in the sight of the Lord. And the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Madianites seven years. And when the hand of the Madianites was sore upon Israel, the children of Israel made them dens in the mountains and caves and strong holds. For when Israel had sown then came the Madianites the Amalekites and they of the East country upon them and pitched their tents against them and destroyed the increase of the earth even unto Azah, and left no sustenance in Israel, neither sheep, ox or ass, for they came with their cattle and households even as grasshoppers in multitude: so that both they and also their camels were without number. And they entered the land to destroy it. And so was Israel exceedingly impoverished by the Madianites and cried unto the Lord. And when the children of Israel cried unto the Lord because of the Madianites, the Lord sent a prophet unto them, and said unto them: Thus saith the Lord God of Israel: I fetched you from Egypt and brought you out of the house of bondage and I rid you out of the hand of the Egyptians and out of the hands of all that oppressed you, and cast them out before you, and gave you their lands. And I said unto you, I am the Lord your God, and therefore fear not the Gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But you have not obeyed my voice. And the Angel of the Lord came and sat under an Oak in Ephrah, that pertained unto Joas the father of the Eserits. And his son Gedeon pressed out wheat out of the ears in a press, for to flee from the Madianites. And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him, and said: the Lord is with thee, thou man of might. And Gedeon answered him: O' my Lord, if the Lord be with us, why is all this come upon us: yea and where be his miracles which our fathers told us of and said, the Lord brought us out of Egypt. But now the Lord hath forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Madianites. And the Lord looked upon him and said: Go hence in this thy might and deliver Israel out of the hands of the Madianites: Behold I have sent thee: And he answered him: O' Lord wherewith should I save Israel? Behold my kindred is the poorest in Manasses, and I am the least in my fathers house. But then the Lord said unto him: I will be with thee: and thou shalt smite the Madianites, as they were but one man. And he answered him, if I have found grace in thy sight, then show me a sign, that thou art the Lord that talked with me. Depart not hence until I come again unto thee and bring mine offering, and have set it before thee.
      And he said I will tarry until thou come again. And Gedeon went and made ready a kid, and sweet cakes of an Epha of flour, and put the flesh in a basket and the broth in a pot, and brought it out unto him under the Oak and presented it. And the angel of God said unto him: take the flesh and the sweet cakes and put them upon this rock, and pour out the broth. And he did so. Then the angel of the Lord put forth the end of the staff that was in his hand and touched the flesh and the cakes. And there arose up fire out of the rock and consumed the flesh and the cakes. And the angel of the Lord vanished out of his sight. And when Gedeon perceived that it was an angel, he said: Alas my Lord Jehovah, that I have seen an angel of the Lord face to face. And the Lord said unto him, peace be with thee and fear not, for thou shalt not die. Then Gedeon made an altar there unto the Lord and called it Jehovah Salom, which unto this day is yet in Ephrah that pertaineth unto the father of the Eserites. And the same night the Lord said unto him, take an ox of thy fathers and another of seven years old, and destroy the altar of Baal that belongeth unto thy father, and cut down the grove that is about it, and make an altar unto the Lord thy God upon the top of this rock and furnish it. And take the second ox and offer burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt have cut down. Then Gedeon took ten men of his servants and did as the Lord bade him. But because he durst not do it by day for fear of his fathers household and of the men of the city, he did it by night.
      When the men of the city were up early in the morning: Behold the altar of Baal was broken, and the grove that stood about it cut down. And the second ox offered upon the altar that was made. And they said one to another, who hath done this thing, and they enquired and asked. And it was told them that Gedeon the son of Joas had done it. Then the men of the city said unto Joas, bring out thy son that he may die, because he hath broken the altar of Baal, and cut down the grove that was about it. And Joas said unto all that stood by him, will ye fight for Baal, or will ye be his defenders: he that striveth for him shall die this morning. If he be a God let him strive with him that cast down his altar. And he called Gedeon Jerobaal the same time saying: let Baal strive with him because he hath broken down his altar.
      When all the Madianites, the Amalekites and they of the East, were gathered together and had gone and pitched in the valley of Jerael: the spirit of the Lord entered into Gedeon. And he blew a trumpet and called Abiezer to follow him, and sent messengers throughout all Manasses and called them up to follow him also. And he sent messengers unto Aser, Zabulon and Nephthalim, which came also to meet him.
      And Gedeon said unto God: if thou wilt save Israel by my hand as thou hast said. Behold I will put a fleece of wool in the threshing place. And if the dew be on the fleece only, and dry upon all the earth beside: then I shall be sure that thou wilt save Israel by my hand as thou saidest. And it came to pass. And he rose up early on the morrow, and he thrust the fleece together and wrung the dew thereout and filled a bowl of water. And Gedeon said unto God, be not angry with me, that I speak once more, let me prove only once again with the fleece. Let it be dry only upon the fleece, and dew upon all the ground about. And God did so that same night: so that it was dry upon the fleece only, and on all the ground about, dew.


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