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The Book of the Judges


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


The 11th Chapter

      And there was one Jephthah a Galaadite, a strong man, which was the son of an harlot: How be it Galaad begat Jephthah. But Galaads wife bare him sons, which when they were come to age, thrust out of Jephthah, and said unto him: thou shalt not inherit in our fathers house, for thou art the son of a strange woman. Then Jephthah fled from his brethren and dwelt in the land of Tob. And there gathered *Idle people to Jephthah, and went out with him. But it chanced in process of time, that the children of Ammon made war against Israel, then the elders of Galaad went and fetched Jephthah out of the land of Tob, and said unto him: come and be our captain, and let us fight with the children of Ammon. And Jephthah said unto the elders of Galaad: Did not ye hate me and expel me out of my fathers house? how happeneth it then that you come unto me now in time of your tribulation? And the elders of Galaad answered Jephthah: Therefore we turn again to thee now, that thou go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be our head over all the inhabiters of Galaad. And Jepthah said unto the elders of Galaad: If ye bring me home again, to fight with the children of Ammon, then if the Lord deliver them before me, I shall be your head. And the elders of Galaad said to Jephthah, the Lord be witness between us if we do not according to thy words. Then Jephthah went with the elders of Galaad. And the people made him head and ruler over them. And Jephthah rehearsed all his words in Mazphah.
      Then Jephthah sent messengers unto the King of the children of Ammon, saying: what aileth thee with me that thou comest upon me to fight against my land? And the King of the children of Ammon answered unto the messengers of Jephthah, because Israel took away my land, when they came out of Egypt: even from Arnon unto Jabok, and from thence unto Jordan. Now therefore restore those lands again with fair means. And Jephthah sent messengers again unto the children of Ammon, and said unto him: thus saith Jephthah: Israel took not away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon. But when Israel came out of Egypt, they walked through the wilderness, even unto the red sea, and came to Cades, and sent messengers unto the king of Edom saying: let us we pray thee go through thy land. But the King of Edom would not agree thereto. And in like manner they sent unto the King of Moab, but he would not consent. And so Israel abode still in Cades. And then they went along through the wilderness, and compassed the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came along by the east side of the land of Moab, and pitched on the other side of the river of Arnon, and came not within the coasts of the Moabites: for Amen was their utmost border. And then Israel sent messengers unto Sehon, King of the Amorites, and King of Hesbon, and said unto him: Let us pass through thy land unto our own country. But Sehon trusted not Israel, to go through his coasts: but gathered all his people together and pitched in Jazah, and fought with Israel. But the Lord God of Israel delivered Sehon and all his folk into the hands of Israel. And so Israel smote them and conquered all the land of the Amorites, the inhabiters of the said country. And they conquered all the coasts of the Amorites, from Arnon unto Jabok, and from the wilderness unto Jordan. So now seeing the Lord God of Israel hath cast out the Amorites before his people shouldest thou possess the land? Nay, but what people Camos thy god driveth out, that land possess thou. But whatsoever nations the Lord our God expelleth, that land ought we to enjoy. And thereto art thou better than Balack the son of Zephor King of Moab? did he strive with Israel or fight against thee? all the while Israel dwelt in Hesbon and her towns, and in Aroer and her towns, and in all the cities that be along by the coasts of Arnon, three hundred years? why didst thou not recover them in all that space, wherefore I have not sinned against thee. But thou doest me wrong, to war against me. The Lord therefore be judge this day, between the children of Israel, and the children of Ammon. Howbeit the King of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him.
      Then the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah. And he passed over Galaad and Manasses, and came to Mazphah that lieth in Galaad, and from thence unto the children of Ammon. And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the Lord and said: If thou shalt deliver the children of Ammon into my hands, then that thing that cometh out of the doors of my house against me, when I come home in peace, from the children of Ammon, shall be the Lords, and I will offer it up a burntoffering. And so Jephthah went unto the children of Ammon to fight with them. And the Lord delivered them into his hands. And he smote them from Aroer unto Menith, twenty cities. And so forth to the plain of the vineyards, and made an exceeding great slaughter. And thus the children of Ammon were brought under, before the children of Israel.
      Then Jephthah came to Mazphah unto his house. And see, his daughter came out against him, with timbrels and dances, which was his only child: so that beside her he had neither son nor daughter. And when he saw her, he rent his clothes and said: Alas my daughter, thou hast made me stoop, and art one of them that trouble me. For I have opened my mouth unto the Lord, and cannot go back. And she said unto him: my father, if thou have opened thy mouth unto the Lord, then do with me according to that proceeded out of thy mouth, forasmuch as the Lord hath avenged thee of thine enemies the children of Ammon. And she said unto her father, do this much for me: let me alone two months that I may go down to the mountains and bewail my virginity with my fellows. And he said: go, and so he sent her away two months. And she went with her companions and lamented her maidenhead upon the mountains. And after the two months she turned again unto her father which did with her according to his vow which he had vowed, and so she knew no man. And it became an ordinance in Israel year by year, that the daughters of Israel should go and lament the daughter of Jephthah the Galaadite, four days in a year.


*Idle: from the Hebrew; "ramiyah": deceitful, deceived or "raphah":weak feeble, dishearten.




The 12th Chapter

      And the men of Ephraim gathered themselves together, and went northward, and said unto Jephthah: Wherefore wentest thou to fight with the children of Ammon, and didst not call us to go with thee? we will therefore burn thine house upon thee, with fire. And Jephthah said unto them: I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon. And I called you. But ye delivered me not out of their hands. And when I saw that ye delivered me not, I put my life in my hands and went upon the children of Ammon. And the Lord delivered them into my hands. Wherefore then are ye come upon me to fight with me.
      And Jephthah gathered together all the men of Galaad, and fought with the Ephraites. And the men of Galaad smote the Ephraites, because they said: Ye Galaadites are but renegades of Ephraim among the Ephraites and the Manassites. Moreover the men of Galaad took the passages of Jordan from the Ephraites. And when those Ephraites that were escaped, said let us go over. Then the men of Galaad said unto them: Ye are Ephraites, and they said nay. Then the other answered: then say: Sciboleth. And they said Siboleth, and could not so pronounce, whereupon the other took them and slew them at the passages of Jordan. And there were overthrown at that time of the Ephraites forty two thousand. And when Jephthah had judged Israel six years he died, and was buried in one of the cities of Galaad. After this man judged Israel one Abezan of Bethlehem, and he had thirty sons and thirty daughters, and sent also his thirty daughters out, and took thirty other in, for his sons. And when Abezan had judged Israel seven years he died, and was buried at Bethlehem.
      And after him Elon a Zabulonite judged Israel ten years, and he died and was buried in Aialon, in the country of Zabulon.
      And after him, Abdon the son of Hellel a Pharathonite judged Israel. And he had forty sons, and thirty nephews, that rode on thirty ass colts. And when Abdon the son of Hellel the Pharathonite had judged Israel eight years, he died, and was buried in Pharthon, the land of Ephraim in the mount of the Amalekites.




The 13th Chapter

      And the children of Israel began again to commit wickedness in the sight of the Lord. And the Lord delivered them into the hands of the Philistines forty years. And there was a man in Zaraah of the kindred of the Dannites, named Manoah, whose wife was barren and bare not. And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto his wife and said unto her: Behold, thou art barren and bearest not: But thou shalt conceive and bear a son. And now beware, and drink no wine, nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for see, thou shalt conceive and bear a son. And there may no razor or shearers come on his head: for the lad shall be an abstainer unto God, even from the time of his birth. And he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hands of the Philistines.
      Then the wife went and told her husband saying: a man of God came unto me, and the fashion of him was like the fashion of an Angel of God exceeding fearful. But I asked him not whence he was, neither told he me his name. And he said unto me: behold thou shalt be with child and bear a son, and now drink no wine nor strong drink, neither eat any unclean thing: for the lad shall be an abstainer to God even from his birth to the day of his death.
      Then Manoah made intercession to the Lord, and said: I pray thee my Lord let the man of God which thou sendest come once more unto us and teach us what we shall do unto the lad when he is born. And God heard the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again unto the wife, as she sat in the fields: But Manoah her husband was not with her. Then the wife made haste and ran and showed her husband and said to him: Behold the man appeared unto me that came the other day unto me.
      And Manoah arose and went after his wife and came to the man and said unto him: art thou the man that spakest unto my wife? And he said, yee. Then Manoah said, now when thy saying is come to pass: what shall be the manner of the child, and what shall he do? And the Angel of the Lord said unto Manoah: thy wife must abstain from all that I said unto her: she may eat of nothing that cometh of the vine tree, nor drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: But must observe all that I bade her. Then said Manoah unto the Angel of the Lord, grant us to tarry until we have made ready a kid and have set it before thee. And the angel of the Lord said unto Manoah: though thou make me abide, I will not eat of thy meat. And moreover, if thou wilt prepare a burntoffering, that thou must offer unto the Lord. For Manoah knew not that it was an angel of the Lord. And Manoah said unto the angel of the Lord: what is thy name, that when thy saying is come to pass, we may do thee some worship? And the angel of the Lord said unto him: why askest thou after my name? when it is marvelous.
      And Manoah took a Kid with a meat offering and offered it upon a rock unto the Lord. And the angel did wonderfully, Manoah and his wife looking upon. For when the flame came up out of the altar, the angel of the Lord ascended up in the flame of the altar. And Manoah and his wife looked upon and fell flat on their faces unto the ground: But the angel of the Lord did no more appear unto Manoah and his wife. And then Manoah knew that it was an angel of the Lord: and said unto his wife: we shall surely die, because we have seen God. But his wife said unto him: If the Lord would kill us, he would not have received a burntoffering and a meatoffering of our hands, neither would he have showed us all these things, nor would have told us as he hath of things to come. And the wife bare a son, and called his name Samson. And the lad grew, and the Lord blessed him. And the spirit of the Lord began first to be with the house of Dan, between Zaraah and Esthaol.




The 14th Chapter 

      Samson went down to Thamnath, and saw a woman in Thamnath of the daughters of the Philistines, and came up and told his father and his mother, and said: I have seen a woman in Thamnath of the daughters of the Philistines. And now give her me to wife. Then his father and mother said unto him, is there never a woman of the daughters of thy brethren, among all my people: but that thou must go and fetch a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines? And Samson said unto his father, give me this woman for she pleaseth me well. But his father and mother knew not that it was the Lords doing, and that he sought an occasion of the Philistines, which at that time reigned over Israel.
      Then went Samson and his father and his mother down to Thamnath. And when they came to the vineyards of Thamnath: behold a young lion roared upon him. And the spirit of the Lord came upon him. And he tare him, as a man would rent a Kid, and yet had nothing in his hand. Nevertheless he told not his father and mother what he had done. And he went down and talked with the woman, which seemed well favoured in the sight of Samson.
      And within a short space after, as he went thither again to take her to wife, he turned out of the way, to see the carcase of the *Lion. And behold there was a swarm of bees in the carcase of the *Lion and honey. And he took of the honey in his hands and went eating, and came to his father and mother, and gave them also. And they did eat. But he told not them, that he had taken the honey out of the carcase of the *Lion.
      And when his father was come unto the woman, Samson made there a feast, for so used the young men to do. And when her friends saw him, they brought thirty companions to bear fellowship. And Samson said unto them: I will put forth a riddle unto you. And if you can declare it within seven days of the feast and find it out, I will give you thirty shirts and thirty changes of garments: But and if you cannot declare it me, then shall ye give me thirty shirts and thirty changes of garments. And they answered him, put forth thy riddle and let us hear it. And he said unto them: Out of the eater came meat: and out of the strong came sweetness. And they could not in three days expound the riddle. And when the seventh day was come, they said unto Samsons wife, Flatter with thine husband, that he may declare us thy riddle, or else we will burn thee and thy fathers house with fire: have ye called us to make us beggars or not? Then Samsons wife wept unto him and said, it cannot be but that thou hatest me and lovest me not: for thou hast put forth a riddle unto the children of my folk and wilt not tell me what it meaneth. And he said: Behold, I have not told it my father, nor my mother, and should I tell it thee?
      And she wept unto him seven days, while the feast lasted. And the seventh day he told her, because she lay so sore upon him. And she told it the children of her folk. And the men of the city said unto him the seventh day before the *son went down, What is sweeter than honey, and what is stronger or than a Lion. Then said he unto them: If ye had not ploughed with my calf, ye had not found out my riddle. Then the spirit of the Lord came upon him. And he went down to Askalon, and slew thirty men of them and spoiled them, and gave their garments unto them which expounded the riddle. And he was wroth and went up to his fathers house. But Samsons wife was given to one of his companions that bare him company.


*L all are capitals as recorded. *son as written sonne sun elsewhere is spelled sunne.




The 15th Chapter

      But it chanced within a while after, even in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a Kid. And when he supposed to have gone in unto his wife into the chamber, her father would not suffer him to go in: But said: I thought that thou hadst hated her, and therefore gave I her unto one of thy companions. Howbeit her younger sister is fairer than she. Take her instead of the other. Then said Samson unto them: Now I am blameless concerning the Philistines though I do them evil.
      And Samson went out and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and fastened tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the midst between two tails. And he set the firebrands on fire, and put them into the corn of the Philistines, and burnt up both the reaped corn and also the standing, with vine and olives. Then the Philistines asked, who had done that? And it was told them that Samson the son in law of the Thamnite, because he had taken his wife and given her to one of his companions. And the Philistines came and burnt her and her father with fire.
      And Samson said unto them: should ye do so? for I will surely be avenged of you, and then I will cease. And he smote them leg and thigh with a mighty plague. And then he went and dwelt in the cave of the rock Etam.
      Then the Philistines came up and pitched against Juda, and lay in Lehi. And the men of Juda said, Why are ye come against us? And they answered to bind Samson are we come, even to do him as he hath done to us. Then three thousand men of Juda went down to the cave of the rock Etam, and said to Samson: wettest thou not that the Philistines are rulers over us? Wherefore then hast thou served us thus? And he answered them, as they served me, so have I served them.
      And they said unto him, we are come to bind thee and to deliver thee into the hands of the Philistines. And Samson said unto them: sware unto me, that ye shall not hurt me yourselves. And they said, we will not hurt thee, save only bind thee and deliver thee unto their hands: But we will not kill thee. And so they bound him with two new cords and brought him up from the rock. And when he come to Lehi, the Philistines shouted against him. And the spirit of the Lord came upon him, and the cords that were upon his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire and the bands loosed from his hands. And he found a *Jaw bone of a *ratten ass, and put forth his hand and caught it, and slew a thousand men therewith.
      And Samson said: with the Jaw of an ass, have I made heaps: with the Jaw of an ass have I slain a thousand men. And when he had left speaking he cast away the Jaw out of his hand and called the place Ramath Lehi. And he was sore a thirst, and called on the Lord and said. Thou Lord hath given this great victory, through the hand of thy servant. And now I must die for thirst and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised. But God brake a great tooth that was in the Jaw, and there came water thereout. And when he had drunk his spirit came again, and he was refreshed, wherefore the name thereof was called the well of the caller on, which is in Lehi unto this day. And he judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.


*J capital J as recorded. *ratten (rat eaten or rotten)




The 16th Chapter

      Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an whore, and went in unto her. And it was told the Gazites, that Samson was come thither. And they went about and laid await for him all night in the gate of the city, but were still all the night saying: Tarry till the morning that it be day, and then let us kill him. And Samson took his rest till midnight, and arose at midnight took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two side posts, and rent them off, bars and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that lieth before Hebron.
      And after that he loved a woman, upon the river of Sorek, called Dalilah unto whom came the Lords of the Philistines, and said unto her: Flatter with him and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may have power over him, that we may bind him, to bring him under, and we will give every man eleven hundred silverlings.
      And Dalilah said to Samson. Oh, tell me where thy great strength lieth, and if thou were bound wherewith men might constrain thee. And Samson said unto her: If men bound me with seven green *withies that were never dried, I should be weak and as another man. And then the Lords of the Philistines brought her seven withies that were yet green and never dried and she bound him therewith. Notwithstanding she had men lying in wait with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, the Philistines be upon thee Samson. And he brake the cords as a string of tow breaketh, when it feeleth fire. And so his strength was not known.
      Then said Dalilah to Samson: See thou hast mocked me and told me lies. Now yet tell me I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said: If I were bound with new ropes that never were occupied, then should I be weak, and as another man. And Dalilah took new ropes and bound him therewith, and said unto him, the Philistines be upon thee Samson. And there were layers of wait in the chamber, and he brake them from off his arms, as they had been but a thread. And Dalilah said unto Samson, hitherto thou hast beguiled me and told me lies: I pray thee yet tell me wherewith men may bind thee. And he said unto her: If thou plaitedest the seven locks of my head with an hair lace and fasten them with a nail. And she said unto him, the Philistines be upon thee Samson. And awaked out of his sleep, and plucked and went away with the nail that was in the plaiting and with the hair lace. Then she said unto him: How canst thou say that thou lovest me, when thine heart is not with me: for thou hast mocked me this three times, and hast not told wherein thy great strength lieth. And as she lay upon him with her words continually vexing of him, his soul was encumbered even unto the death. And he told her all his heart, and said unto her: there never came razor nor shears upon mine head, for I have been an abstainer to God even from my mothers womb. If mine hair were cut off, my strength would go from me, and I should wax and be like all other men. And when Dalilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent for the Philistines saying, come up yet this once, for he hath showed me all his heart.
      Then the Lords of the Philistines came and brought the money in their hands. And she made him sleep upon her lap, and sent for a man, and cut off the seven locks of his head and began to vex him. But his strength was gone from him. And she said the Philistines be upon thee Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep and thought to go out as at other times before and shake himself, and knew not that the Lord was departed from him. But the Philistines took him and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters. And he was made to grind in the prison house, how be it the hair of his head began to grow again after that he was shorn.
      Then the Lords of the Philistines gathered them together, for to offer a solemn offering unto Dagon their God, and to rejoice: for they said, our God hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hands. And when the people saw him, they praised their God: for they said our God hath delivered into our hands our enemy, that destroyed our country and slew many of us. And when their hearts were merry, they said: send for Samson and let him play before us. And they fetched Samson out of the prison house, and he played before them, and they set him between the pillars. And Samson said unto the lad that led him by the hand: set me that I may touch the pillars that the house stands upon, and that I may lean to them. And the house was full of men and women. And there was all the lords of the Philistines. And there were upon the roof a three thousand men and women, that beheld how Samson played.
      And Samson called unto the Lord, and said: my Lord Jehovah think upon me, and strengthen me, at this time only O' God, that I may be avenged of the Philstines for my two eyes. And Samson caught the two middle pillars on which the house stood and on which it was borne up, the one in his right hand, and the other in his left, and said: my soul die with the Philistines, and bowed them with might. And the house fell upon the lords and upon all the people that were therein. And so the dead which he slew at his death, were more than they which he slew in his life. And then his brethren and all the house of his father; came down and took him up, and brought him and buried him between Zaraah and Esthaol, in the burying place of Manoah his father. And he judged Israel twenty years.


*withies (willow like branches)




The 17th Chapter

      There was a man in mount Ephraim, named Micah which said unto his mother: the eleven hundred silverlings that were taken from thee, about which thou cursed and saidst in mine ears: Behold the silver is with me for I took it away. Then said his mother, blessed be thou my son, in the Lord. And so he restored the eleven hundred silverlings to his mother again. And his mother said: I vowed the silver unto the Lord of mine hand for my son: to make a graven image and an image of metal. Now therefore I give it thee again. And he restored the money again unto his mother. Then his mother took two hundred silverlings and put them to a goldsmith, to make thereof a graven image and a image of metal, which remained in the house of Micah. And the man Micah had a chapel of Gods, and made an Ephod and images, and filled the hand of one of his sons which became his priest. For in those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did what thought him best.
      And there was a young man out of Bethlehem Juda, and out of the kindreds of Juda: which young man was a Levite and sojourned there. And the man departed out of the city of Bethlehem Juda, to go dwell where he could find a place. And he came to mount Ephraim, and to the house of Micah as he journeyed. And Micah said unto him, whence comest thou? and the Levite answered him: I am of Bethlehem Juda, and go to dwell where I may find a place. And Micah said unto him: dwell with me, and be unto me a father and a priest. And I will give thee ten silverlings by year and raiment of all sorts, and thy meat and drink.
      And the Levite went and began to dwell with the man, and was unto him as dear as one of his own sons. And Micah filled the hand of the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and continued in the house of Micah. Then said Micah, now I am sure that the Lord will be good unto me, seeing I have a Levite to my priest.


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