The remaining nations. The first judge is Othniel. The second judge is Ehud. The third judge is Shamgar.
VERSE 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;
to test Israel by them. The first reason the LORD God left these nations in-place was to test his own people.
VERSE 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:
to teach them war. A second reason the LORD God left these nations in-place was to teach his people warfare.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 5. The children of Israel lived among the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.
lived among the Canaanites. This is major mistake #1 in their downfall. They were called to exterminate these people. But instead, they live among them.
VERSE 6. They took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their own daughters to their sons and served their gods.
took their daughters to be their wives. This is major mistake #2 in their downfall. They were called to exterminate these people. But instead, they marry their women.
Interestingly, the Israelite women do not marry the men of these nations. Why? We have two theories:
Theory 1. The women are more faithful to the LORD God than the men.
Theory 2. The Israelite men have fell into misogyny and treat women as property to be controlled.
In our day, many Christian men have fallen into misogyny. They treat women as property to be controlled.
and served their gods. This is major mistake #3 in their downfall. They were called to serve the LORD God. But instead, they serve other gods.
VERSE 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.
did that which was evil. As a people, they are completely corrupt.
VERSE 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.
Cushan Rishathaim. This name means “Cushan of Double Wickedness.”
eight years. This is not a trivial length of time.
VERSE 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.
the children of Israel cried to the LORD. After eight years, they come to their senses.
Othniel the son of Kenaz. He is Caleb’s nephew.
VERSE 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.
he judged Israel. We think of judges as presiding over a courtroom. However, in those days, judges were also administrators and military leaders.
he went out to war. Othniel leads the nation into battle.
The land had rest forty years. Othniel secures peace. It lasts for the rest of his life. When he dies, peace dies with him.
VERSE 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.
again did that which was evil. As soon as Othniel dies, they become completely corrupt. Again.
Eglon the king of Moab. The Moabites descended from Lot mating with his older daughters.
VERSE 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.
the city of palm trees. That is, Jericho.
Apparently, some Israelites reoccupied Jericho.
eighteen years. This is not a trivial length of time.
VERSE 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.
when the children of Israel cried to the LORD. After 18 years, they come to their senses.
a left-handed man. For all of time, Ehud will be remembered for being left-handed.
VERSE 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.
a cubit. A cubit is the length from the tip of the middle finger to the elbow on a man’s arm, or about 18 inches or 46 centimeters.
Eglon was a very fat man. For all of time, Eglon will be remembered for being morbidly obese.
VERSE 18. When Ehud had finished offering the tribute, he sent away the people who carried the tribute.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 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.
VERSE 21. Ehud put out his left hand, and took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into his body.
VERSE 22. 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.
VERSE 23. Then Ehud went out onto the porch, and shut the doors of the upper room on him, and locked them.
VERSE 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.”
covering his feet. That is, “relieving himself.”
VERSE 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.
VERSE 26. Ehud escaped while they waited, passed beyond the stone idols, and escaped to Seirah.
VERSE 27. When he had come, he blew a shofar in the hill country of Ephraim; and the children of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he led them.
he blew a shofar. By this, Ehud summons the nation for battle.
VERSE 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.
Follow me. As judge, Ehud leads the army into battle.
VERSE 29. They struck at that time about ten thousand men of Moab, every strong man and every man of valor. No man escaped.
VERSE 30. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. Then the land had rest eighty years.
the land had rest eighty years. Ehud secures peace. It lasts for the rest of his life. When he dies, peace dies with him.
VERSE 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.
an ox goad. This was a sharp metal-tipped stick about 8 or 10 feet long.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.