Ark of the Covenant - Bible History Online
Bible History Online
Picture Study Bible with Maps and Background Information

Judges 3

1 - Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to test Israel by them, even as many as had not known all the wars of Canaan;

2 - only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at least those who knew nothing of it before:

3 - the five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who lived on Mount Lebanon, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entrance of Hamath.

4 - They were left to test Israel by them, to know whether they would listen to The LORD's commandments, which he commanded their fathers by Moses.

5 - The children of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

6 - They took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons and served their gods.

7 - The children of Israel did that which was evil in The LORD's sight, and forgot the LORD their God, and served the Baals and the Asheroth.

8 - Therefore The LORD's anger burned against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Cushan Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the children of Israel served Cushan Rishathaim eight years.

9 - When the children of Israel cried to The LORD, the LORD raised up a savior to the children of Israel, who saved them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother.

10 - The LORD's Spirit came on him, and he judged Israel; and he went out to war, and the LORD delivered Cushan Rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand. His hand prevailed against Cushan Rishathaim.

11 - The land had rest forty years, then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

12 - The children of Israel again did that which was evil in The LORD's sight, and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done that which was evil in The LORD's sight.

13 - He gathered the children of Ammon and Amalek to himself; and he went and struck Israel, and they possessed the city of palm trees.

14 - The children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

15 - But when the children of Israel cried to The LORD, the LORD raised up a savior for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. The children 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 wore it under his clothing on his right thigh.

17 - He offered the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man.

18 - When he had finished offering the tribute, he sent away the people who carried the tribute.

19 - But he himself turned back from the stone idols that were by Gilgal, and said, "I have a secret message for you, O king."The king said, "Keep silence!" All who stood by him left him.

20 - Ehud came to him; and he was sitting by himself alone in the cool upper room. Ehud said, "I have a message from God to you." He arose out of his seat.

21 - Ehud put out his left hand, and took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his body:

22 - and the handle also went in after the blade; and the fat closed on the blade, for he didn't draw the sword out of his body; and it came out behind.

23 - Then Ehud went out onto the porch, and shut the doors of the upper room on him, and locked them.

24 - After he had gone, his servants came and saw that the doors of the upper room were locked. They said, "Surely he is covering his feet in the upper room."

25 - They waited until they were ashamed; and behold, he didn't open the doors of the upper room. Therefore they took the key and opened them, and behold, their lord had fallen down dead on the floor.

26 - Ehud escaped while they waited, passed beyond the stone idols, and escaped to Seirah.

27 - When he had come, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the children of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he led them.

28 - He said to them, "Follow me; for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand." They followed him, and took the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites, and didn't allow any man to pass over.

29 - They struck at that time about ten thousand men of Moab, every strong man, and every man of valor. No man escaped.

30 - So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. Then the land had rest eighty years.

31 - After him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who struck six hundred men of the Philistines with an ox goad. He also saved Israel.


Select a Chapter
Judges 1 Judges 2 Judges 3 Judges 4 Judges 5
Judges 6 Judges 7 Judges 8 Judges 9 Judges 10
Judges 11 Judges 12 Judges 13 Judges 14 Judges 15
Judges 16 Judges 17 Judges 18 Judges 19 Judges 20
Judges 21


Select a Book of the Bible
Genesis      Exodus      Leviticus      Numbers      Deuteronomy     
Joshua      Judges      Ruth      1 Samuel      2 Samuel     
1 Kings      2 Kings      1 Chronicles      2 Chronicles      Ezra     
Nehemiah      Esther      Job      Psalms      Proverbs     
Ecclesiastes      Song of Solomon      Isaiah      Jeremiah      Lamentations     
Ezekiel      Daniel      Hosea      Joel      Amos     
Obadiah      Jonah      Micah      Nahum      Habakkuk     
Zephaniah      Haggai      Zechariah      Malachi      Matthew     
Mark      Luke      John      Acts      Romans     
1 Corinthians      2 Corinthians      Galatians      Ephesians      Philippians     
Colossians      1 Thessalonians      2 Thessalonians      1 Timothy      2 Timothy     
Titus      Philemon      Hebrews      James      1 Peter     
2 Peter      1 John      2 John      3 John      Jude     
Revelation     
Judges Images and Notes

The Book of Judges

Judges 4:1 - And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD
Judges 6:6 - And Israel was greatly impoverished because of the Midianites; and the children of Israel cried unto the LORD.
Judges 6:7 - And it came to pass, when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD because of the Midianites,
Judges 6:8 - That the LORD sent a prophet unto the children of Israel.

ARCHAEOLOGY

Philistine Captives Temple of Ramses III

Wall Relief with Philistines

The ancient Egyptian temples reveal what the Philistines looked like in the ancient world. In the sculptured scenes within the funerary temple of Ramses III at Medinet Habu, near Thebes in Upper Egypt, is an incredible bas relief portraying Philistine captives. Pharaoh had hired these warriors as mercenaries. Rameses III who reigned from 1198-1167 BC saw that the Canaanite area was being invaded and with the help of the Philistines he established peace, according to his own record. Later the Philistines rose to a powerful position in the region with five powerful cities, they flourished in the time of Samson and the judges, their supremacy might have been due to their formal acknowledgment of pharaohs authority. Within a couple centuries they disappeared from history.

The Old Testament - A Brief Overview

Bible Survery - Judges
Hebrew Name - Shophtim "Judges or Deliverers"
Greek Name - Krites (Greek form of the Hebrew)
Author - Samuel (According to Tradition)
Date - From 1425 to 1120 BC Approximately
Theme - 7 cycles of idolatry, oppression, repentance, and deliverance during the first 300 years in the land of Canaan
Types and Shadows - In Judges Jesus is the great judge and deliverer of His people

Summary of The Book of Judges

In the book of Judges we can see the first 300 years of the history of Israel, from the time of the death of Joshua to the time of Samuel the last of the Judges. All of the events mentioned in the book of Judges are not meant to be given in a strict chronological order and it is impossible to determine exact dates. Everything that took place happened really on a local level in the land of Israel and not necessarily on a national level. The first two chapters deal with the death of Joshua and after his death and the generation surrounding him, "there arose another generation after them, who did not know the Lord or the work which he had done for Israel" (Judges 2:10).

This generation of Israelites, and every generation after that during this time period fell into idolatry, they forgot the commands of God and there is a severe decline morally and spiritually. As each generation unfolded idolatry would prevail, a foreign invasion would take place and oppress the people of Israel in that local area, they would cry out to God for help, and God would send a deliverer. This cycle happened seven times in the book of Judges and speak clearly about the cycle of sin and its consequences, as well as God's love and willingness to send help when his people cry out to him.

Quick Reference Map
The Judges and the 12 Tribes of Israel
Map of the Judges and the Twelve Tribes of Israel (Click to Enlarge)


The book of Judges records six such major invasions:

Outline of the Book of Judges

The first was the Mesopotamian invasion from the northeast (Judges 3:8-11) from which Othniel delivered his people.

The second was by the Moabites and came from the southeast (Judges 3:12-20). Israel was delivered from the Moabites by Ehud, the left handed assassin of the Moabite king, Eglon.

The third invasion came under the Canaanite leaders Jabin and Sisera (Judges 4, 5). Israel was delivered from the Canaanites by Deborah, the only woman judge of which there is any record. It is interesting to note that Sisera himself was killed by a woman, Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite.

The Midianite invasion from the southeast (Judges 6-9) lasted seven years and was ended under the bold leadership of Gideon.

The foolish vow of Jephthah, which cost him the life of his daughter, came after he delivered Israel from the fifth invasion, that by the Ammonites from the east (Judges 10:6-11:40).

The sixth invasion was by the Philistines, from the southwest, and was apparently something of a recurrent nature rather than one particular campaign. During a period of at least 200 years, Israel was delivered from the Philistines by Shamgar, Samson, Samuel, Saul, and David.

The major social problem stemmed from the recurrent failure of the Israelites to drive the Canaanites out of the land, a direct violation of God's commandment. The Israelites then intermarried with the Canaanites, adopting many of their customs. This assimilation of Canaanite culture promoted the growth of idolatry which constituted the religious problem of the people.

The three most prominent deities of Canaanite worship were Baal, Asherah, and Dagon.

Baal was usually represented by a stone pillar and was a god of fertility, usually worshipped in the groves. At various times Baal-worship included fornication (Jeremiah 7:9 ), self-mutilation (1 Kings 18:28), and human sacrifice (Jeremiah 19:5). Baal is the deity most often mentioned in the Old Testament as being a snare for the people of God.

The symbol of Asherah was a wooden post set up in the "high places" of idolatrous worship. The Phoenician goddess of procreation and love, she was the chief female deity and is often mentioned in connection with Baal.

Dagon was a Philistine deity having the body of a fish with human hands and a human face. It was a temple of Dagon which Samson pulled down in his final act of strength.

There is seen in the book of Judges a consistent pattern—Israel is oppressed by a foreign power; the people cry to God and he raises up a judge to deliver them from their predicament; after peace is established the people become complacent and relapse into idolatry.

The judges, although chosen by God, to lead His people, were not always men of ideal character, yet they fulfilled God's purposes in delivering Israel. They served in a multiple role as judicial, military, and spiritual leaders. The period of the judges may be said to extend through the life of the last judge, Samuel, whose death is recorded
in 1 Samuel 25.

Quick Reference Maps - Judges

The Twelve Tribes and the Judges

Hazor

Jezreel

Mizpeh

Zorah

The Danites

Gibeah

Jabesh Gilead

 

The First Day. Light.

Judges Resources

The Judges

More About the Book of Judges
Judges in the Picture Study Bible
Timeline of the Ancient World
Back to the Old Testament
Back to Bible History Online