Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

This week, I will give a brief overview of 1-2 Samuel, but before I do, I want to remind us all that we are reading through a chronological plan. We read it this way to gain a better understanding of the order of biblical events and their historical context.

For example, Psalms follow the events they were written about – the prophetic books have been interwoven with the historical accounts they represent.

So hang in there with the reading and I will try to sort it out each week along the way.

Samuel was originally one long book, much like Luke-Acts.  Somewhere along the way it was split in two, but I am going to treat it as one continuous book and story in this blog.

The books of Samuel open during the period of the Judges. The history of Israel under the Judges was marked by political, moral, and spiritual anarchy.

We covered this a couple of weeks ago in the Book of Judges blog.

The situation was so pervasive that even the sons of Eli, the standing high priest at the time, had completely forsaken the Lord and had used their priestly office for their own gain and evil pursuits.

Just when it seemed that the nation was doomed, God intervenes.  Hannah, Samuel’s mother is barren and prays for a child.  Her statement in verses 1:27-28 sums up the story:

“I prayed for this boy, and since the Lord gave me what I asked for, I now give the boy to the Lord.  For as long as he lives he is given to the Lord.”

Samuel’s strong leadership as judge, prophet, and priest provided respite to the people from both internal and external threats.

Samuel thus functions as the link between the judgeship and the kingship.

The Books of Samuel deal with the transition from the priest Eli to the judge and prophet Samuel, then from Samuel to King Saul, and then from Saul to King David.

The Books of Samuel show God’s continued care for His people, in raising up for them a king whose job was to be their champion, representative, and example.

God’s sovereignty is demonstrated throughout the books as He provided His people the leaders and resources they needed to defeat their enemies and to live out His purpose in the land, though both people and leaders often failed Him.

When reading through the books you will notice when leaders focused their attention on the Lord and saw their leadership roles as instruments for His glory, they flourished.

When they abandoned the Lord and used their offices for their own gain, they failed.

The books of Samuel take sin seriously, describing in detail the awful consequences of sin—even forgiven sin.

Saul’s disobedience led to his estrangement from his son Jonathan and son-in-law David, and ultimately led to his death in battle.

The consequences of David’s sin with Bathsheba, however, stand as a warning to all who experience sin’s attraction.

God holds His children accountable for their actions, and even forgiven sin can have terrible consequences.

In spite of his moral failures, David is described as a man after God’s own heart. He wrote many of the Psalms we have today.

God’s special covenant with David found its ultimate fulfillment in Jesus, the Son of David.

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts taken directly from the following study bibles and commentaries: ESV, HCSB, GTB, BKC

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

The story of Ruth takes place during the period of the Judges, something we explored in last week’s blog. The Book of Ruth provides a gratifying reminder that even in the darkest times, God was at work in the hearts of His faithful remnant.

If you were there for the sermon last weekend, we spent a great deal of time walking through the story thus far (Genesis-Judges) with particular emphasis on the bleakness in Israel’s history during the time of the Judges.

As a reminder, the period of the Judges was marked by weak faith and irresponsible conduct. The degree of permissiveness in Israel was a theme repeated often in the Book of Judges and restated in the book’s last verse: “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

Against this background of national irresponsibility and weak moral character (sound familiar?) – Ruth, a Moabite, a people descended from Lot, and Boaz, a Hebrew landowner, shine as bright examples of purity, faith, and responsible living.

Ruth provides a view of people who acted responsibly with faith and highlights how God’s people can experience His sovereignty, wisdom, and covenant kindness.

The practice of levirate marriage (the requirement that a man marry the widow of his deceased brother, Deuteronomy 25:5-6) and the activity of the kinsman- redeemer provide an additional backdrop for the story.

After a closer kinsman refuses to take Ruth, Boaz redeems all the property of the deceased and marries Ruth. His willing acceptance of this responsibility showed the genuine quality of his character, as well as his love for Ruth.

Ruth in turn shows love for Naomi, her mother-in-law and provides for her.  A mother-in-law, daughter-in-law story that should serve as a model for all of us!

Ruth becomes a believer in the God of the Hebrews and they have a son, Obed, who becomes the grandfather of King David.

Although the book is relatively short, it is rich in examples of kindness, faith, and patience.

Like Ruth, we too need a Kinsman-Redeemer who will do what is necessary to remedy our helpless condition.  Jesus Christ is the ultimate Kinsman-Redeemer who voluntarily paid the price for the redemption of His people.

Until next time… keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts taken directly from the following study bibles and commentaries: ESV, HCSB, GTB, BKC

May 15 – OT Reading

Judges 19

A Levite’s Concubine Degraded

19 Now it came about in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite staying in the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, who took a concubine for himself from Bethlehem in Judah. But his concubine played the harlot against him, and she went away from him to her father’s house in Bethlehem in Judah, and was there for a period of four months. Then her husband arose and went after her to speak tenderly to her in order to bring her back, taking with him his servant and a pair of donkeys. So she brought him into her father’s house, and when the girl’s father saw him, he was glad to meet him. 4 His father-in-law, the girl’s father, detained him; and he remained with him three days. So they ate and drank and lodged there. 5 Now on the fourth day they got up early in the morning, and he prepared to go; and the girl’s father said to his son-in-law, “Sustain yourself with a piece of bread, and afterward you may go.” So both of them sat down and ate and drank together; and the girl’s father said to the man, “Please be willing to spend the night, and let your heart be merry.” 7 Then the man arose to go, but his father-in-law urged him so that he spent the night there again. 8 On the fifth day he arose to go early in the morning, and the girl’s father said, “Please sustain yourself, and wait until afternoon”; so both of them ate. 9 When the man arose to go along with his concubine and servant, his father-in-law, the girl’s father, said to him, “Behold now, the day has drawn to a close; please spend the night. Lo, the day is coming to an end; spend the night here that your heart may be merry. Then tomorrow you may arise early for your journey so that you may go home.”

10 But the man was not willing to spend the night, so he arose and departed and came to a place opposite Jebus (that is, Jerusalem). And there were with him a pair of saddled donkeys; his concubine also was with him. 11 When they were near Jebus, the day was almost gone; and the servant said to his master, “Please come, and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites and spend the night in it.” 12 However, his master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of foreigners who are not of the sons of Israel; but we will go on as far as Gibeah.” 13 He said to his servant, “Come and let us approach one of these places; and we will spend the night in Gibeah or Ramah.” 14 So they passed along and went their way, and the sun set on them near Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin. 15 They turned aside there in order to enter and lodge in Gibeah. When they entered, they sat down in the open square of the city, for no one took them into his house to spend the night.

16 Then behold, an old man was coming out of the field from his work at evening. Now the man was from the hill country of Ephraim, and he was staying in Gibeah, but the men of the place were Benjamites. 17 And he lifted up his eyes and saw the traveler in the open square of the city; and the old man said, “Where are you going, and where do you come from?” 18 He said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the remote part of the hill country of Ephraim, for I am from there, and I went to Bethlehem in Judah. But I am now going to my house, and no man will take me into his house. 19 Yet there is both straw and fodder for our donkeys, and also bread and wine for me, your maidservant, and the young man who is with your servants; there is no lack of anything.” 20 The old man said, “Peace to you. Only let me take care of all your needs; however, do not spend the night in the open square.” 21 So he took him into his house and gave the donkeys fodder, and they washed their feet and ate and drank.

22 While they were celebrating, behold, the men of the city, certain worthless fellows, surrounded the house, pounding the door; and they spoke to the owner of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring out the man who came into your house that we may have relations with him.” 23 Then the man, the owner of the house, went out to them and said to them, “No, my fellows, please do not act so wickedly; since this man has come into my house, do not commit this act of folly. 24 Here is my virgin daughter and his concubine. Please let me bring them out that you may ravish them and do to them whatever you wish. But do not commit such an act of folly against this man.” 25 But the men would not listen to him. So the man seized his concubine and brought her out to them; and they raped her and abused her all night until morning, then let her go at the approach of dawn. 26 As the day began to dawn, the woman came and fell down at the doorway of the man’s house where her master was, until full daylight.

27 When her master arose in the morning and opened the doors of the house and went out to go on his way, then behold, his concubine was lying at the doorway of the house with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said to her, “Get up and let us go,” but there was no answer. Then he placed her on the donkey; and the man arose and went to his home. 29 When he entered his house, he took a knife and laid hold of his concubine and cut her in twelve pieces, limb by limb, and sent her throughout the territory of Israel. 30 All who saw it said, “Nothing like this has ever happened or been seen from the day when the sons of Israel came up from the land of Egypt to this day. Consider it, take counsel and speak up!”

Judges 20

Resolve to Punish the Guilty

20 Then all the sons of Israel from Dan to Beersheba, including the land of Gilead, came out, and the congregation assembled as one man to the Lord at Mizpah. 2 The chiefs of all the people, even of all the tribes of Israel, took their stand in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 foot soldiers who drew the sword. 3 (Now the sons of Benjamin heard that the sons of Israel had gone up to Mizpah.) And the sons of Israel said, “Tell us, how did this wickedness take place?” 4 So the Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered and said, “I came with my concubine to spend the night at Gibeah which belongs to Benjamin. 5 But the men of Gibeah rose up against me and surrounded the house at night because of me. They intended to kill me; instead, they ravished my concubine so that she died. 6 And I took hold of my concubine and cut her in pieces and sent her throughout the land of Israel’s inheritance; for they have committed a lewd and disgraceful act in Israel. 7 Behold, all you sons of Israel, give your advice and counsel here.”

Then all the people arose as one man, saying, “Not one of us will go to his tent, nor will any of us return to his house. But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah; we will go up against it by lot. 10 And we will take 10 men out of 100 throughout the tribes of Israel, and 100 out of 1,000, and 1,000 out of 10,000 to supply food for the people, that when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, they may punish them for all the disgraceful acts that they have committed in Israel.” 11 Thus all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, united as one man.

12 Then the tribes of Israel sent men through the entire tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What is this wickedness that has taken place among you? 13 Now then, deliver up the men, the worthless fellows in Gibeah, that we may put them to death and remove this wickedness from Israel.” But the sons of Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers, the sons of Israel. 14 The sons of Benjamin gathered from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the sons of Israel. 15 From the cities on that day the sons of Benjamin were numbered, 26,000 men who draw the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah who were numbered, 700 choice men.16 Out of all these people 700 choice men were left-handed; each one could sling a stone at a hair and not miss.

17 Then the men of Israel besides Benjamin were numbered, 400,000 men who draw the sword; all these were men of war.

Civil War, Benjamin Defeated

18 Now the sons of Israel arose, went up to Bethel, and inquired of God and said, “Who shall go up first for us to battle against the sons of Benjamin?” Then the Lord said, “Judah shall go up first.”

19 So the sons of Israel arose in the morning and camped against Gibeah. 20 The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel arrayed for battle against them at Gibeah. 21 Then the sons of Benjamin came out of Gibeah and felled to the ground on that day 22,000 men of Israel. 22 But the people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves and arrayed for battle again in the place where they had arrayed themselves the first day. 23 The sons of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and inquired of the Lord, saying, “Shall we again draw near for battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin?” And the Lord said, “Go up against him.”

24 Then the sons of Israel came against the sons of Benjamin the second day. 25 Benjamin went out against them from Gibeah the second day and felled to the ground again 18,000 men of the sons of Israel; all these drew the sword. 26 Then all the sons of Israel and all the people went up and came to Bethel and wept; thus they remained there before the Lord and fasted that day until evening. And they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord.27 The sons of Israel inquired of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, 28 and Phinehas the son of Eleazar, Aaron’s son, stood before it to minister in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the sons of my brother Benjamin, or shall I cease?” And the Lord said, “Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hand.”

29 So Israel set men in ambush around Gibeah. 30 The sons of Israel went up against the sons of Benjamin on the third day and arrayed themselves against Gibeah as at other times. 31 The sons of Benjamin went out against the people and were drawn away from the city, and they began to strike and kill some of the people as at other times, on the highways, one of which goes up to Bethel and the other to Gibeah, and in the field, about thirty men of Israel. 32 The sons of Benjamin said, “They are struck down before us, as at the first.” But the sons of Israel said, “Let us flee that we may draw them away from the city to the highways.” 33 Then all the men of Israel arose from their place and arrayed themselves at Baal-tamar; and the men of Israel in ambush broke out of their place, even out of Maareh-geba. 34 When ten thousand choice men from all Israel came against Gibeah, the battle became fierce; but Benjamin did not know that disaster was close to them. 35 And the Lord struck Benjamin before Israel, so that the sons of Israel destroyed 25,100 men of Benjamin that day, all who draw the sword.

36 So the sons of Benjamin saw that they were defeated. When the men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin because they relied on the men in ambush whom they had set against Gibeah,37 the men in ambush hurried and rushed against Gibeah; the men in ambush also deployed and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. 38 Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the men in ambush was that they would make a great cloud of smoke rise from the city. 39 Then the men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and kill about thirty men of Israel, for they said, “Surely they are defeated before us, as in the first battle.” 40 But when the cloud began to rise from the city in a column of smoke, Benjamin looked behind them; and behold, the whole city was going up in smoke to heaven. 41 Then the men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were terrified; for they saw that disaster was close to them. 42 Therefore, they turned their backs before the men of Israel toward the direction of the wilderness, but the battle overtook them while those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the midst of them. 43 They surrounded Benjamin, pursued them without rest and trod them down opposite Gibeah toward the east. 44 Thus 18,000 men of Benjamin fell; all these were valiant warriors. 45 The rest turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, but they caught 5,000 of them on the highways and overtook them at Gidom and killed 2,000 of them. 46 So all of Benjamin who fell that day were 25,000 men who draw the sword; all these were valiant warriors. 47 But 600 men turned and fled toward the wilderness to the rock of Rimmon, and they remained at the rock of Rimmon four months. 48 The men of Israel then turned back against the sons of Benjamin and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city with the cattle and all that they found; they also set on fire all the cities which they found.

Judges 21

Mourning Lost Tribe

21 Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, “None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin in marriage.” 2 So the people came to Bethel and sat there before God until evening, and lifted up their voices and wept bitterly. They said, “Why, O Lord, God of Israel, has this come about in Israel, so that one tribe should be missing today in Israel?” 4 It came about the next day that the people arose early and built an altar there and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings.

5 Then the sons of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up in the assembly to the Lord?” For they had taken a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the Lord at Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.” And the sons of Israel were sorry for their brother Benjamin and said, “One tribe is cut off from Israel today.What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since we have sworn by the Lord not to give them any of our daughters in marriage?”

Provision for Their Survival

8 And they said, “What one is there of the tribes of Israel who did not come up to the Lord at Mizpah?” And behold, no one had come to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. 9 For when the people were numbered, behold, not one of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead was there. 10 And the congregation sent 12,000 of the valiant warriors there, and commanded them, saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones. 11 This is the thing that you shall do: you shall utterly destroy every man and every woman who has lain with a man.” 12 And they found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead 400 young virgins who had not known a man by lying with him; and they brought them to the camp at Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan.

13 Then the whole congregation sent word and spoke to the sons of Benjamin who were at the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them. 14 Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had kept alive from the women of Jabesh-gilead; yet they were not enough for them. 15 And the people were sorry for Benjamin because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel.

16 Then the elders of the congregation said, “What shall we do for wives for those who are left, since the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?” 17 They said, “There must be an inheritance for the survivors of Benjamin, so that a tribe will not be blotted out from Israel. 18 But we cannot give them wives of our daughters.” For the sons of Israel had sworn, saying, “Cursed is he who gives a wife to Benjamin.”

19 So they said, “Behold, there is a feast of the Lord from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north side of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south side of Lebonah.” 20 And they commanded the sons of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, 21 and watch; and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to take part in the dances, then you shall come out of the vineyards and each of you shall catch his wife from the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. 22 It shall come about, when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, that we shall say to them, ‘Give them to us voluntarily, because we did not take for each man of Benjamin a wife in battle, nor did you give them to them, else you would now be guilty.’” 23 The sons of Benjamin did so, and took wives according to their number from those who danced, whom they carried away. And they went and returned to their inheritance and rebuilt the cities and lived in them. 24 The sons of Israel departed from there at that time, every man to his tribe and family, and each one of them went out from there to his inheritance.

25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

May 10 – Weekend Passage

Who Will Lead Us?

A review of our reading…

Hebrews 11:32

32 And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,

Judges 1:1

Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the Lord, saying, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?”

Judges 21:25

25 In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)

Thoughts About What We’re Reading…

In the Book of Hebrews, Chapter 11, known by many as the “Hall of Faith” we read in verse 32:

“And what more shall I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets—”. (ESV)

Judges and 1– 2 Samuel bridge the gap from the entrance of the people of God into the Promised Land under the faithful leadership of Joshua to their expulsion from the land due to unfaithful kings in 1-2 Kings.

The book of Judges chronicles the moral and spiritual descent of Israel from the relative high point at the beginning of the book (they are in the Promised Land) through a series of downward spirals to the depths of degradation in chapters 17–21, where we read of both religious apostasy with the idolatry of Micah, civil war (Israelites fighting each other), and complete social degradation.

Since the conquest of the land is not complete, the book begins with the question of who will lead in battle (Judges 1:1) and ends with the statement, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (21:25).

Though God raised up a sequence of deliverers—the judges (hence the title of the book)—they were unable to reverse this trend and some even became part of the problem themselves.

Despite all the warnings, promises, and blessings, the Israelites (the people of God) have abandoned Him for pagan gods. They are given over to recurring cycles of oppression by foreign nations, they constantly cry to the Lord for help, and He intervenes on their behalf.

Judges tells the story of these cycles. Despite the people’s continuous rejection of God’s kingship, He is moved to compassion for them. Individual judges, described as those who “saved Israel” are provided by the Lord again and again.

By the end of the book, Israel had become as pagan and defiled as the Canaanites they had displaced. If this trend continued, it would only be a matter of time before the land would vomit them out, as it had the Canaanites before them, a warning we read about in Leviticus 18.

The book of Judges demonstrates what happens to the Lord’s people when everyone does whatever they want. The failures of both people and judges are so significant that they urge us to long for the hero who will never fail.

The need for a king who will lead God’s people into their full inheritance is an important theme. Later in 1-2 Samuel we will read of the establishment of Israel’s monarchy. But they too will eventually fail as they turn from God as described in 1-2 Kings.

Israel in Judges is in bad shape, but a new day is dawning when God will provide, from the line of David, King Jesus — the king of His choosing. AMEN!

Until next time…  keep reading!

Jim

Excerpts taken directly from: Gospel Transformation Bible, ESV Study Bible, HCSB Study Bible, Bible Knowledge Commentary

May 8 – OT Reading

Judges 1

Jerusalem Is Captured

Now it came about after the death of Joshua that the sons of Israel inquired of the Lord, saying, “Who shall go up first for us against the Canaanites, to fight against them?” 2 The Lord said, “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand.” Then Judah said to Simeon his brother, “Come up with me into the territory allotted me, that we may fight against the Canaanites; and I in turn will go with you into the territory allotted you.” So Simeon went with him. 4 Judah went up, and the Lord gave the Canaanites and the Perizzites into their hands, and they defeated ten thousand men at Bezek. 5 They found Adoni-bezek in Bezek and fought against him, and they defeated the Canaanites and the Perizzites. 6 But Adoni-bezek fled; and they pursued him and caught him and cut off his thumbs and big toes. 7 Adoni-bezek said, “Seventy kings with their thumbs and their big toes cut off used to gather up scraps under my table; as I have done, so God has repaid me.” So they brought him to Jerusalem and he died there.

8 Then the sons of Judah fought against Jerusalem and captured it and struck it with the edge of the sword and set the city on fire. 9 Afterward the sons of Judah went down to fight against the Canaanites living in the hill country and in the Negev and in the lowland. 10 So Judah went against the Canaanites who lived in Hebron (now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba); and they struck Sheshai and Ahiman and Talmai.

Capture of Other Cities

11 Then from there he went against the inhabitants of Debir (now the name of Debir formerly was Kiriath-sepher). 12 And Caleb said, “The one who attacks Kiriath-sepher and captures it, I will even give him my daughter Achsah for a wife.” 13 Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother, captured it; so he gave him his daughter Achsah for a wife. 14 Then it came about when she came to him, that she persuaded him to ask her father for a field. Then she alighted from her donkey, and Caleb said to her, “What do you want?” 15 She said to him, “Give me a blessing, since you have given me the land of the Negev, give me also springs of water.” So Caleb gave her the upper springs and the lower springs.

16 The descendants of the Kenite, Moses’ father-in-law, went up from the city of palms with the sons of Judah, to the wilderness of Judah which is in the south of Arad; and they went and lived with the people. 17 Then Judah went with Simeon his brother, and they struck the Canaanites living in Zephath, and utterly destroyed it. So the name of the city was called Hormah. 18 And Judah took Gaza with its territory and Ashkelon with its territory and Ekron with its territory.19 Now the Lord was with Judah, and they took possession of the hill country; but they could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had iron chariots. 20 Then they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had promised; and he drove out from there the three sons of Anak.21 But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day.

22 Likewise the house of Joseph went up against Bethel, and the Lord was with them. 23 The house of Joseph spied out Bethel (now the name of the city was formerly Luz). 24 The spies saw a man coming out of the city and they said to him, “Please show us the entrance to the city and we will treat you kindly.” 25 So he showed them the entrance to the city, and they struck the city with the edge of the sword, but they let the man and all his family go free. 26 The man went into the land of the Hittites and built a city and named it Luz which is its name to this day.

Places Not Conquered

27 But Manasseh did not take possession of Beth-shean and its villages, or Taanach and its villages, or the inhabitants of Dor and its villages, or the inhabitants of Ibleam and its villages, or the inhabitants of Megiddo and its villages; so the Canaanites persisted in living in that land.28 It came about when Israel became strong, that they put the Canaanites to forced labor, but they did not drive them out completely.

29 Ephraim did not drive out the Canaanites who were living in Gezer; so the Canaanites lived in Gezer among them.

30 Zebulun did not drive out the inhabitants of Kitron, or the inhabitants of Nahalol; so the Canaanites lived among them and became subject to forced labor.

31 Asher did not drive out the inhabitants of Acco, or the inhabitants of Sidon, or of Ahlab, or of Achzib, or of Helbah, or of Aphik, or of Rehob. 32 So the Asherites lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; for they did not drive them out.

33 Naphtali did not drive out the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh, or the inhabitants of Beth-anath, but lived among the Canaanites, the inhabitants of the land; and the inhabitants of Beth-shemesh and Beth-anath became forced labor for them.

34 Then the Amorites forced the sons of Dan into the hill country, for they did not allow them to come down to the valley; 35 yet the Amorites persisted in living in Mount Heres, in Aijalon and in Shaalbim; but when the power of the house of Joseph grew strong, they became forced labor. 36 The border of the Amorites ran from the ascent of Akrabbim, from Sela and upward.

Judges 2

Israel Rebuked

Now the angel of the Lord came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, ‘I will never break My covenant with you, 2 and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? 3 Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.’” When the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept. 5 So they named that place Bochim; and there they sacrificed to the Lord.

Joshua Dies

6 When Joshua had dismissed the people, the sons of Israel went each to his inheritance to possess the land. 7 The people served the Lord all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders who survived Joshua, who had seen all the great work of the Lord which He had done for Israel. 8 Then Joshua the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died at the age of one hundred and ten. 9 And they buried him in the territory of his inheritance in Timnath-heres, in the hill country of Ephraim, north of Mount Gaash. 10 All that generation also were gathered to their fathers; and there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord, nor yet the work which He had done for Israel.

Israel Serves Baals

11 Then the sons of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals, 12 and they forsook the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt, and followed other gods from among the gods of the peoples who were around them, and bowed themselves down to them; thus they provoked the Lord to anger. 13 So they forsook the Lord and served Baal and the Ashtaroth. 14 The anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.15 Wherever they went, the hand of the Lord was against them for evil, as the Lord had spoken and as the Lord had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.

16 Then the Lord raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them. 17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the Lord; they did not do as their fathers.18 When the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge and delivered them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge; for the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who oppressed and afflicted them. 19 But it came about when the judge died, that they would turn back and act more corruptly than their fathers, in following other gods to serve them and bow down to them; they did not abandon their practices or their stubborn ways. 20 So the anger of the Lord burned against Israel, and He said, “Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to My voice, 21 I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died, 22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the Lord to walk in it as their fathers did, or not.” 23 So the Lord allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.

Judges 3

Idolatry Leads to Servitude

Now these are the nations which the Lord left, to test Israel by them (that is, all who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan; 2 only in order that the generations of the sons of Israel might be taught war, those who had not experienced it formerly). These nations are: the five lords of the Philistines and all the Canaanites and the Sidonians and the Hivites who lived in Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal-hermon as far as Lebo-hamath. 4 They were for testing Israel, to find out if they would obey the commandments of the Lord, which He had commanded their fathers through Moses. The sons of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites; and they took their daughters for themselves as wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

7 The sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and forgot the Lord their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth. 8 Then the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years.

The First Judge Delivers Israel

9 When the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them, Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother. 10 The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he judged Israel. When he went out to war, the Lord gave Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, so that he prevailed over Cushan-rishathaim.11 Then the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

12 Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord. 13 And he gathered to himself the sons of Ammon and Amalek; and he went and defeated Israel, and they possessed the city of the palm trees. 14 The sons of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

Ehud Delivers from Moab

15 But when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab. 16 Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak. 17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. 18 It came about when he had finished presenting the tribute, that he sent away the people who had carried the tribute. 19 But he himself turned back from the idols which were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he said, “Keep silence.” And all who attended him left him. 20 Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat. 21 Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly. 22 The handle also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly; and the refuse came out. 23 Then Ehud went out into the vestibule and shut the doors of the roof chamber behind him, and locked them.

24 When he had gone out, his servants came and looked, and behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked; and they said, “He is only relieving himself in the cool room.” 25 They waited until they became anxious; but behold, he did not open the doors of the roof chamber. Therefore they took the key and opened them, and behold, their master had fallen to the floor dead.

26 Now Ehud escaped while they were delaying, and he passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah. 27 It came about when he had arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was in front of them. 28 He said to them, “Pursue them, for the Lord has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands.” So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan opposite Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross. 29 They struck down at that time about ten thousand Moabites, all robust and valiant men; and no one escaped. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land was undisturbed for eighty years.

Shamgar Delivers from Philistines

31 After him came Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad; and he also saved Israel.

Judges 4

Deborah and Barak Deliver from Canaanites

Then the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord, after Ehud died. And the Lord sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan, who reigned in Hazor; and the commander of his army was Sisera, who lived in Harosheth-hagoyim. 3 The sons of Israel cried to the Lord; for he had nine hundred iron chariots, and he oppressed the sons of Israel severely for twenty years.

4 Now Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth, was judging Israel at that time. 5 She used to sit under the palm tree of Deborah between Ramah and Bethel in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel came up to her for judgment. 6 Now she sent and summoned Barak the son of Abinoam from Kedesh-naphtali, and said to him, “Behold, the Lord, the God of Israel, has commanded, ‘Go and march to Mount Tabor, and take with you ten thousand men from the sons of Naphtali and from the sons of Zebulun. 7 I will draw out to you Sisera, the commander of Jabin’s army, with his chariots and his many troops to the river Kishon, and I will give him into your hand.’” 8 Then Barak said to her, “If you will go with me, then I will go; but if you will not go with me, I will not go.” 9 She said, “I will surely go with you; nevertheless, the honor shall not be yours on the journey that you are about to take, for the Lord will sell Sisera into the hands of a woman.” Then Deborah arose and went with Barak to Kedesh. 10 Barak called Zebulun and Naphtali together to Kedesh, and ten thousand men went up with him; Deborah also went up with him.

11 Now Heber the Kenite had separated himself from the Kenites, from the sons of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, and had pitched his tent as far away as the oak in Zaanannim, which is near Kedesh.

12 Then they told Sisera that Barak the son of Abinoam had gone up to Mount Tabor. 13 Sisera called together all his chariots, nine hundred iron chariots, and all the people who were with him, from Harosheth-hagoyim to the river Kishon. 14 Deborah said to Barak, “Arise! For this is the day in which the Lord has given Sisera into your hands; behold, the Lord has gone out before you.” So Barak went down from Mount Tabor with ten thousand men following him.15 The Lord routed Sisera and all his chariots and all his army with the edge of the sword before Barak; and Sisera alighted from his chariot and fled away on foot. 16 But Barak pursued the chariots and the army as far as Harosheth-hagoyim, and all the army of Sisera fell by the edge of the sword; not even one was left.

17 Now Sisera fled away on foot to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite, for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. 18 Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said to him, “Turn aside, my master, turn aside to me! Do not be afraid.” And he turned aside to her into the tent, and she covered him with a rug. 19 He said to her, “Please give me a little water to drink, for I am thirsty.” So she opened a bottle of milk and gave him a drink; then she covered him. 20 He said to her, “Stand in the doorway of the tent, and it shall be if anyone comes and inquires of you, and says, ‘Is there anyone here?’ that you shall say, ‘No.’” 21 But Jael, Heber’s wife, took a tent peg and seized a hammer in her hand, and went secretly to him and drove the peg into his temple, and it went through into the ground; for he was sound asleep and exhausted. So he died. 22 And behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him and said to him, “Come, and I will show you the man whom you are seeking.” And he entered with her, and behold Sisera was lying dead with the tent peg in his temple.

23 So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the sons of Israel. 24 The hand of the sons of Israel pressed heavier and heavier upon Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin the king of Canaan.

 

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB © The Lockman Foundation (www.lockman.org)