GOD'S WORD® Translation
1These are the nations the LORD left behind to test all the Israelites who had not experienced any war in Canaan. 2The LORD left them to teach Israel's descendants about war, at least those who had known nothing about it in the past. 3He left the five rulers of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon from Mount Baal Hermon to the border of Hamath. 4These nations were left to test the Israelites, to find out if they would obey the commands the LORD had given their ancestors through Moses. 5So the people of Israel lived among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 6The Israelites allowed their sons and daughters to marry these people. Israel also served their gods.
7The people of Israel did what the LORD considered evil. They forgot the LORD their God and served other gods and goddesses-the Baals and the Asherahs. 8The LORD became angry with the people of Israel. He used King Cushan Rishathaim of Aram Naharaim to defeat them. So Israel served Cushan Rishathaim for eight years.
9Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help. The LORD sent a savior to rescue them. It was Othniel, son of Caleb's younger brother Kenaz. 10When the LORD's Spirit came over him, he became the judge of Israel. He went out to war. The LORD handed King Cushan Rishathaim of Aram Naharaim over to him, and Othniel overpowered him. 11So there was finally peace in the land for 40 years. Then Othniel, son of Kenaz, died.
12Once again, the people of Israel did what the LORD considered evil. So the LORD made King Eglon of Moab stronger than Israel, because Israel did what the LORD considered evil. 13Eglon got the Ammonites and the Amalekites to help him, and they defeated the Israelites and occupied the City of Palms. 14The Israelites served King Eglon of Moab for 18 years.
15Then the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help. The LORD sent a savior to rescue them. It was Ehud, a left-handed man from the tribe of Benjamin. (Ehud was the son of Gera.) The people sent him with their tax payment to King Eglon of Moab. 16Ehud made a two-edged dagger for himself. He fastened it to his right side under his clothes. 17Then he brought the tax payment to King Eglon. (Eglon was a very fat man.) 18When Ehud had finished delivering the payment, he sent back the men who had carried it. 19However, Ehud turned around at the stone idols near Gilgal [and returned to Eglon]. He said, "Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you." The king replied, "Keep quiet!" Then all his advisers left the room. 20Ehud came up to him as he sat alone in his room on the roof. He said to the king, "I have a message from God for you." As the king rose from his throne, 21Ehud reached with his left hand, took the dagger from his right side, and plunged it into Eglon's belly. 22Even the handle went in after the blade. Eglon's fat covered the blade because Ehud didn't pull the dagger out. The blade stuck out in back. 23Ehud left the room. (He had closed and locked the doors of the room before he left.)
24After Ehud went out, Eglon's advisers came in. They were surprised that the doors were locked. "He must be using the toilet," they said. 25They waited and waited, but Eglon didn't open the doors. So they took the key and opened the door. They were shocked to see their ruler lying on the floor, dead.
26While they had been waiting, Ehud escaped. He went past the stone idols and escaped to Seirah. 27When he arrived there, he blew a ram's horn in the mountains of Ephraim [to summon the troops]. So the troops of Israel came down from the mountains with him, and he led them. 28He told them, "Follow me! The LORD will hand your enemy Moab over to you." They followed him and captured the shallow crossings of the Jordan River that led to Moab and refused to let anyone cross. 29At that time they killed about ten thousand of Moab's best fighting men. Not one of them escaped. 30The power of Moab was crushed by Israel that day. So there was finally peace in the land for 80 years.
31After Ehud came Shamgar, son of Anath. He killed 600 Philistines with a sharp stick used for herding oxen. So he, too, rescued Israel.