The Book of Judges
by William C. Michael
Study the book of Judges in the Classical Liberal Arts Academy’s Sacred Scripture II course.
This Book is called JUDGES, because it contains the history of what passed under the government of the judges, who ruled Israel before they had kings. The writer of it, according to the more general opinion, was the prophet Samuel.
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Table of Contents- Judges Chapter 1
- Judges Chapter 2
- Judges Chapter 3
- Judges Chapter 4
- Judges Chapter 5
- Judges Chapter 6
- Judges Chapter 7
- Judges Chapter 8
- Judges Chapter 9
- Judges Chapter 10
- Judges Chapter 11
- Judges Chapter 12
- Judges Chapter 13
- Judges Chapter 14
- Judges Chapter 15
- Judges Chapter 16
- Judges Chapter 17
- Judges Chapter 18
- Judges Chapter 19
- Judges Chapter 20- Judges Chapter 21
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Judges Chapter 1
The expedition and victory of Juda against the Chanaanites: who are tolerated in many places.
1:1. After the death of Josue, the children of Israel consulted the Lord, saying: Who shall go up before us against the Chanaanite, and shall be the leader of the war?
1:2. And the Lord said: Juda shall go up: behold I have delivered the land into his hands.
1:3. And Juda said to Simeon, his brother: Come up with me into my lot, and fight against the Chanaanite, that I also may go along with thee into thy lot. And Simeon went with him.
1:4. And Juda went up, and the Lord delivered the Chanaanite, and the Pherezite into their hands: and they slew of them in Bezec ten thousand men.
1:5. And they found Adonibezec in Bezec, and fought against him, and they defeated the Chanaanite, and the Pherezite.
1:6. And Adonibezec fled: and they pursued after him and took him, and cut off his fingers and toes.
1:7. And Adonibezec said: Seventy kings, having their fingers and toes cut off, gathered up the leavings of the meat under my table: as I have done, so hath God requited me. And they brought him to Jerusalem, and he died there.
1:8. And the children of Juda besieging Jerusalem, took it, and put it to the sword, and set the whole city on fire.
1:9. And afterwards they went down and fought against the Chanaanite, who dwelt in the mountains, and in the south, and in the plains.
1:10. And Juda going forward against the Chanaanite, that dwelt in Hebron, (the name whereof was in former times Cariath-Arbe) slew Sesai, and Ahiman, and Tholmai:
1:11. And departing from thence, he went to the inhabitants of Dabir, the ancient name of which was Cariath-Sepher, that is, the city of letters.
1:12. And Caleb said: He that shall take Cariath-Sepher, and lay it waste, to him will I give my daughter Axa to wife.
1:13. And Othoniel, the son of Cenez, the younger brother of Caleb, having taken it, he gave him Axa his daughter to wife.
1:14. And as she was going on her way, her husband admonished her to ask a field of her father. And as she sighed sitting on her ass, Caleb said to her: What aileth thee?
1:15. But she answered: Give me a blessing, for thou hast given me a dry land: give me also a watery land So Caleb gave her the upper and the nether watery ground.
1:16. And the children of the Cinite, the kinsman of Moses, went up from the city of palms, with the children of Juda, into the wilderness of his lot, which is at the south side of Arad, and they dwelt with him.
1:17. And Juda went with Simeon, his brother, and they together defeated the Chanaanites that dwelt in Sephaath, and slew them. And the name of the city was called Horma, that is, Anathema.
1:18. And Juda took Gaza, with its confines, and Ascalon, and Accaron, with their confines.
1:19. And the Lord was with Juda, and he possessed the hill country: but was not able to destroy the inhabitants of the valley, because they had many chariots armed with scythes.
1:20. And they gave Hebron to Caleb, as Moses had said, who destroyed out of it the three sons of Enac.
1:21. But the sons of Benjamin did not destroy the Jebusites that inhabited Jerusalem: and the Jebusite hath dwelt with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem until this present day.
1:22. The house of Joseph also went up against Bethel, and the Lord was with them.
1:23. For when they were besieging the city, which before was called Luza,
1:24. They saw a man coming out of the city, and they said to him: Shew us the entrance into the city, and we will shew thee mercy.
1:25. And when he had shewed them, they smote the city with the edge of the sword: but that man, and all his kindred, they let go:
1:26. Who being sent away, went into the land of Hetthim, and built there a city, and called it Luza: which is so called until this day.
1:27. Manasses also did not destroy Bethsan, and Thanac, with their villages; nor the inhabitants of Dor, and Jeblaam, and Mageddo, with their villages. And the Chanaanite began to dwell with them.
1:28. But after Israel was grown strong, he made them tributaries, and would not destroy them.
1:29. Ephraim also did not slay the Chanaanite that dwelt in Gazer, but dwelt with him.
1:30. Zabulon destroyed not the inhabitants of Cetron, and Naalol: but the Chanaanite dwelt among them, and became their tributary.
1:31. Aser also destroyed not the inhabitants of Accho, and of Sidon, of Ahalab, and of Achazib, and of Helba, and of Aphec, and of Rohob:
1:32. And he dwelt in the midst of the Chanaanites, the inhabitants of that land, and did not slay them.
1:33. Nephthali also destroyed not the inhabitants of Bethsames, and of Bethanath: and he dwelt in the midst of the Chanaanites, the inhabitants of the land, and the Bethsamites and Bethanites were tributaries to him.
1:34. And the Amorrhite straitened the children of Dan in the mountain, and gave them not a place to go down to the plain:
1:35. And he dwelt in the mountain Hares, that is, of potsherds, in Aialon and Salebim. And the hand of the house of Joseph was heavy upon him, and he became tributary to him.
He dwelt… That is, the Amorrhite.
1:36. And the border of the Amorrhite was from the ascent of the scorpion, the rock, and the higher places.
Judges Chapter 2
An angel reproveth Israel. They weep for their sins. After the death of Josue, they often fall, and repenting are delivered from their afflictions, but still fall worse and worse.
2:1. And an angel of the Lord went up from Galgal to the place of weepers, and said: I made you go out of Egypt, and have brought you into the land for which I swore to your fathers: and I promised that I would not make void my covenant with you for ever:
2:2. On condition that you should not make a league with the inhabitants of this land, but should throw down their altars: and you would not hear my voice: why have you done this?
2:3. Wherefore I would not destroy them from before your face; that you may have enemies, and their gods may be your ruin.
2:4. And when the angel of the Lord spoke these words to all the children of Israel: they lifted up their voice, and wept.
2:5. And the name of that place was called, The place of weepers, or of tears: and there they offered sacrifices to the Lord.
2:6. And Josue sent away the people, and the children of Israel went every one to his own possession to hold it:
2:7. And they served the Lord all his days, and the days of the ancients, that lived a long time after him, and who knew all the works of the Lord, which he had done for Israel.
2:8. And Josue, the son of Nun, the servant of the Lord, died, being a hundred and ten years old;
2:9. And they buried him in the borders of his possession in Thamnathsare, in Mount Ephraim, on the north side of Mount Gaas.
2:10. And all that generation was gathered to their fathers: and there arose others that knew not the Lord and the works which he had done for Israel.
2:11. And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they served Baalim,
2:12. And they left the Lord, the God of their fathers, who had brought them out of the land of Egypt: and they followed strange gods, and the gods of the people that dwelt round about them, and they adored them: and they provoked the Lord to anger,
2:13. Forsaking him, and serving Baal and Astaroth
2:14. And the Lord being angry against Israel, delivered them into the hands of plunderers: who took them and sold them to their enemies, that dwelt round about: neither could they stand against their enemies:
2:15. But whithersoever they meant to go, the hand of the Lord was upon them, as he had said, and as he had sworn to them: and they were greatly distressed.
2:16. And the Lord raised up judges, to deliver them from the hands of those that oppressed them: but they would not hearken to them,
2:17. Committing fornication with strange gods, and adoring them. They quickly forsook the way, in which their fathers had walked: and hearing the commandments of the Lord, they did all things contrary.
2:18. And when the Lord raised them up judges, in their days, he was moved to mercy, and heard the groanings of the afflicted, and delivered them from the slaughter of the oppressors.
2:19. But after the judge was dead, they returned, and did much worse things than their fathers had done, following strange gods, serving them, and adoring them. They left not their own inventions, and the stubborn way, by which they were accustomed to walk.
2:20. And the wrath of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he said: Behold this nation hath made void my covenant, which I had made with their fathers, and hath despised to hearken to my voice:
2:21. I also will not destroy the nations which Josue left when he died:
2:22. That through them I may try Israel, whether they will keep the way of the Lord, and walk in it, as their fathers kept it, or not.
2:23. The Lord therefore left all these nations, and would not quickly destroy them, neither did he deliver them into the hands of Josue.
Judges Chapter 3
The people falling into idolatry are oppressed by their enemies; but repenting are delivered by Othoniel, Aod, and Samgar.
3:1. These are the nations which the Lord left, that by them he might instruct Israel, and all that had not known the wars of the Chanaanites:
3:2. That afterwards their children might learn to fight with their enemies, and to be trained up to war:
3:3. The five princes of the Philistines, and all the Chanaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hevites that dwelt in Mount Libanus, from Mount Baal Hermon to the entering into Emath.
3:4. And he left them, that he might try Israel by them, whether they would hear the commandments of the Lord, which he had commanded their fathers, by the hand of Moses, or not.
3:5. So the children of Israel dwelt in the midst of the Chanaanite, and the Hethite, and the Amorrhite, and the Pherezite, and the Hevite, and the Jebusite:
3:6. And they took their daughters to wives, and they gave their own daughters to their sons, and they served their gods.
3:7. And they did evil in the sight of the Lord, and they forgot their God, and served Baalim and Astaroth.
3:8. And the Lord being angry with Israel, delivered them into the hands of Chusan Rasathaim, king of Mesopotamia, and they served him eight years.
3:9. And they cried to the Lord, who raised them up a saviour, and delivered them; to wit, Othoniel, the son of Cenez, the younger brother of Caleb:
3:10. And the spirit of the Lord was in him, and he judged Israel. And he went out to fight, and the Lord delivered Chusan Rasathaim, king of Syria, and he overthrew him:
3:11. And the land rested forty years, and Othoniel, the son of Cenez, died.
3:12. And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: who strengthened against them Eglon, king of Moab: because they did evil in his sight.
3:13. And he joined to him the children of Ammon, and Amalec: and he went and overthrew Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees.
3:14. And the children of Israel served Eglon, king of Moab, eighteen years.
3:15. And afterwards they cried to the Lord, who raised them up a saviour, called Aod, the son of Cera, the son of Jemini, who used the left hand as well as the right. And the children of Israel sent presents to Eglon, king of Moab, by him.
3:16. And he made himself a two-edged sword, with a haft in the midst of the length of the palm of the hand, and was girded therewith, under his garment, on the right thigh.
3:17. And he presented the gifts to Eglon, king of Moab Now Eglon was exceeding fat.
3:18. And when he had presented the gifts unto him he followed his companions that came along with him.
3:19. Then returning from Galgal, where the idols were, he said to the king: I have a secret message to thee, O king. And he commanded silence: and all being gone out that were about him,
3:20. Aod went in to him: now he was sitting in a summer parlour alone, and he said: I have a word from God to thee. And he forthwith rose up from his throne.
3:21. And Aod put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly,
3:22. With such force that the haft went in after the blade into the wound, and was closed up with the abundance of fat. So that he did not draw out the dagger, but left it in the body as he had struck it in: and forthwith, by the secret parts of nature, the excrements of the belly came out.
3:23. And Aod carefully shutting the doors of the parlour, and locking them,
3:24. Went out by a postern door. And the king’s servants going in, saw the doors of the parlour shut, and they said: Perhaps he is easing nature in his summer parlour.
3:25. And waiting a long time, till they were ashamed, and seeing that no man opened the door, they took a key: and opening, they found their lord lying dead on the ground.
3:26. But Aod, while they were in confusion, escaped, and passed by the place of the idols from whence he had returned. And he came to Seirath:
3:27. And forthwith he sounded the trumpet in Mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel went down with him, he himself going in the front.
3:28. And he said to them: Follow me: for the Lord hath delivered our enemies, the Moabites, into our hands. And they went down after him, and seized upon the fords of the Jordan, which are in the way to Moab: and they suffered no man to pass over:
3:29. But they slew of the Moabites at that time, about ten thousand, all strong and valiant men: none of them could escape.
3:30. And Moab was humbled that day under the hand of Israel: and the land rested eighty years.
3:31. After him was Samgar, the son of Anath, who slew of the Philistines six hundred men with a ploughshare: and he also defended Israel.
Judges Chapter 4
Debbora and Barac deliver Israel from Jabin and Sisara, Jahal killeth Sisara.
4:1. And the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord after the death of Aod:
4:2. And the Lord delivered them up into the hands of Jabin, king of Chanaan, who reigned in Asor: and he had a general of his army named Sisara, and he dwelt in Haroseth of the Gentiles.
4:3. And the children of Israel cried to the Lord: for he had nine hundred chariots set with scythes and for twenty years had grievously oppressed them.
4:4. And there was at that time Debbora, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, who judged the people.
4:5. And she sat under a palm tree, which was called by her name, between Rama and Bethel, in Mount Ephraim: and the children of Israel came up to her for all judgment.
4:6. And she sent and called Barac, the Son of Abinoem, out of Cedes, in Nephthali: and she said to him: The Lord God of Israel hath commanded thee: Go, and lead an army to Mount Thabor, and thou shalt take with thee ten thousand fighting men of the children of Nephthali, and of the children of Zabulon:
4:7. And I will bring unto thee in the place of the torrent Cison, Sisara, the general of Jabin’s army, and his chariots, and all his multitude, and will deliver them into thy hand.
4:8. And Barac said to her: If thou wilt come with me, I will go: if thou wilt not come with me, I will not go.
4:9. She said to him: I will go, indeed, with thee, but at this time the victory shall not be attributed to thee, because Sisara shall be delivered into the hand of a woman. Debbora therefore arose, and went with Barac to Cedes.
4:10. And he called unto him Zabulon and Nephthali, and went up with ten thousand fighting men, having Debbora in his company.
4:11. Now Haber, the Cinite, had some time before departed from the rest of the Cinites, his brethren, the sons of Hobab, the kinsman of Moses: and had pitched his tents unto the valley, which is called Sennim, and was near Cedes.
4:12. And it was told Sisara, that Barac, the son of Abinoem, was gone up to Mount Thabor:
4:13. And he gathered together his nine hundred chariots armed with scythes, and all his army, from Haroseth of the Gentiles, to the torrent Cison.
4:14. And Debbora said to Barac: Arise, for this is the day wherein the Lord hath delivered Sisara into thy hands: behold, he is thy leader. And Barac went down from Mount Thabor, and ten thousand fighting men with him.
4:15. And the Lord struck a terror into Sisara, and all his chariots, and all his multitude, with the edge of the sword, at the sight of Barac; insomuch, that Sisara leaping down from off his chariot, fled away on foot,
4:16. And Barac pursued after the fleeing chariots, and the army, unto Haroseth of the Gentiles; and all the multitude of the enemies was utterly destroyed.
4:17. But Sisara fleeing, came to the tent of Jahel, the wife of Haber, the Cinite, for there was peace between Jabin, the king of Asor, and the house of Haber, the Cinite.
4:18. And Jahel went forth to meet Sisara, and said to him: Come in to me, my lord; come in, fear not. He went into her tent, and being covered by her with a cloak,
4:19. Said to her: Give me, I beseech thee, a little water, for I am very thirsty. She opened a bottle of milk, and gave him to drink, and covered him.
4:20. And Sisara said to her: Stand before the door of the tent, and when any shall come and inquire of thee, saying: Is there any man here? thou shalt say: There is none.
4:21. So Jahel, Haber’s wife, took a nail of the tent, and taking also a hammer: and going in softly, and with silence, she put the nail upon the temples of his head, and striking it with the hammer, drove it through his brain fast into the ground: and so passing from deep sleep to death, he fainted away and died.
4:22. And behold, Barac came pursuing after Sisara: and Jahel went out to meet him, and said to him: Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, he saw Sisara lying dead, and the nail fastened in his temples.
4:23. So God that day humbled Jabin, the king of Chanaan, before the children of Israel:
4:24. Who grew daily stronger, and with a mighty hand overpowered Jabin, king of Chanaan, till they quite destroyed him.
Judges Chapter 5
The canticle of Debbora and Barac after their victory.
5:1. In that day Debbora and Barac, son of Abinoem, sung, and said:
5:2. O you of Israel, that have willingly offered your lives to danger, bless the Lord.
5:3. Hear, O ye kings, give ear, O ye princes: It is I, it is I, that will sing to the Lord, I will sing to the Lord, the God of Israel.
5:4. O Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir, and passedst by the regions of Edom, the earth trembled, and the heavens and clouds dropped water.
5:5. The mountains melted before the face of the Lord, and Sinai before the face of the Lord the God of Israel.
5:6. In the days of Samgar, the son of Anath, in the days of Jahel, the paths rested: and they that went by them, walked through bye-ways.
5:7. The valiant men ceased, and rested in Israel: until Debbora arose, a mother arose in Israel.
5:8. The Lord chose new wars, and he himself overthrew the gates of the enemies: a shield and spear was not seen among forty thousand of Israel.