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.
3:23. Aod carefully shutting the doors of the parlor, and locking them,
3:24. Went out by a postern door. The king's servants going in, saw the doors of the parlor shut, and they said: Perhaps he is easing nature in his summer parlor.
3:25. 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. 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. He said to them: Follow me: for the Lord has 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. 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
Deborah and Barak deliver Israel from Jabin and Sisara, Jahal kills Sisara.
4:1. 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 Canaan, who reigned in Asor: and he had a general of his army named Sisara, and he dwelt in Haroseth of the Gentiles.
4:3. 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. There was at that time Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, who judged the people.
4:5. 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. She sent and called Barak, the Son of Abinoem, out of Cedes, in Naphtali: and she said to him: The Lord God of Israel has commanded you: Go, and lead an army to Mount Tabor, and you shall take with you ten thousand fighting men of the children of Naphtali, and of the children of Zebulon:
4:7. I will bring unto you 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 your hand.
4:8. Barak said to her: If you will come with me, I will go: if you will not come with me, I will not go.
4:9. She said to him: I will go, indeed, with you, but at this time the victory shall not be attributed to you, because Sisara shall be delivered into the hand of a woman. Deborah therefore arose, and went with Barak to Cedes.
4:10. He called unto him Zebulon and Naphtali, and went up with ten thousand fighting men, having Deborah 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. It was told Sisara, that Barak, the son of Abinoem, was gone up to Mount Tabor:
4:13. 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. Deborah said to Barak: Arise, for this is the day wherein the Lord has delivered Sisara into your hands: behold, he is your leader. And Barak went down from Mount Tabor, and ten thousand fighting men with him.
4:15. 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 Barak; insomuch, that Sisara leaping down from off his chariot, fled away on foot,
4:16. 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. 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 you, a little water, for I am very thirsty. She opened a bottle of milk, and gave him to drink, and covered him.
4:20. Sisara said to her: Stand before the door of the tent, and when any shall come and inquire of you, saying: Is there any man here? you shall 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. Behold, Barak came pursuing after Sisara: and Jahel went out to meet him, and said to him: Come, and I will show you the man whom you seek. 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 Canaan, before the children of Israel:
4:24. Who grew daily stronger, and with a mighty hand overpowered Jabin, king of Canaan, till they quite destroyed him.
Judges Chapter 5
The canticle of Deborah and Barak after their victory.
5:1. In that day Deborah and Barak, 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 kings, give ear, O 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 you went out of Seir, and passed 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.
The paths rested. . .The ways to the sanctuary of God were unfrequented: and men walked in the by-ways of error and sin.
5:7. The valiant men ceased, and rested in Israel: until Deborah 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.
5:9. My heart loves the princes of Israel: O you, that of your own good will offered yourselves to danger, bless the Lord.
5:10. Speak, you that ride upon fair asses, and you that sit in judgment, and walk in the way.
5:11. Where the chariots were dashed together, and the army of the enemies was choked, there let the justices of the Lord be rehearsed, and his clemency towards the brave men of Israel: then the people of the Lord went down to the gates, and obtained the sovereignty.
5:12. Arise, arise, O Deborah, arise, arise, and utter a canticle. Arise, Barak, and take hold of your captives, O son of Abinoem.
5:13. The remnants of the people are saved, the Lord has fought among the valiant ones.
5:14. Out of Ephraim he destroyed them into Amalec, and after him out of Benjamin into your people, O Amalec: Out of Machir there came down princes, and out of Zebulon they that led the army to fight.
Out of Ephraim, etc. . .The enemies straggling in their flight were destroyed, as they were running through the land of Ephraim, and of Benjamin, which lies after, that is beyond Ephraim: and so on to the very confines of Amalec. Or, it alludes to former victories of the people of God, particularly that which was freshest in memory, when the men of Ephraim and Benjamin, with Aod at their head, overthrew their enemies the Moabites with the Amalecites their allies. See chap. 3.--Ibid. Machir. . .The tribe of Manasseh, whose eldest son was Machir.
5:15. The captains of Issachar were with Deborah, and followed the steps of Barak, who exposed himself to danger, as one going headlong, and into a pit. Reuben being divided against himself, there was found a strife of courageous men.
Divided against himself, etc. . .By this it seems that the valiant men of the tribe of Reuben were divided in their sentiments, with relation to this war; which division kept them at home within their own borders, to hear the bleating of their flocks.
5:16. Why dwell you between two borders, that you may hear the bleatings of the flocks? Reuben being divided against himself, there was found a strife of courageous men.
5:17. Galaad rested beyond the Jordan, and Dan applied himself to ships: Asher dwelt on the sea shore, and abode in the havens.
5:18. But Zebulon and Naphtali offered their lives to death in the region of Merome.
5:19. The kings came and fought, the kings of Canaan fought in Thanac, by the waters of Mageddo and yet they took no spoils.
5:20. There was war made against them from heaven: the stars, remaining in their order and courses, fought against Sisara.
5:21. The torrent of Cison dragged their carcasses, the torrent of Cadumim, the torrent of Cison: tread you, my soul, upon the strong ones.
5:22. The hoofs of the horses were broken while the stoutest of the enemies fled amain, and fell headlong down.
5:23. Curse the land of Meroz, said the angel of the Lord: curse its inhabitants, because they came not to the help of the Lord, to help his most valiant men.
Meroz. . .Where this land of Meroz was, which is here laid under a curse, we cannot find: nor is there mention of it anywhere else in holy writ. In the spiritual sense, they are cursed who refuse to assist the people of God in their warfare against their spiritual enemies.
5:24. Blessed among women be Jahel, the wife of Haber the Cinite, and blessed be she in her tent.
5:25. He asked her water, and she gave him milk, and offered him butter in a dish fit for princes.
5:26. She put her left hand to the nail, and her right hand to the workman's hammer, and she struck Sisara, seeking in his head a place for the wound, and strongly piercing through his temples.
5:27. Between her feet he fell: he fainted, and he died: he rolled before her feet, and there he lay lifeless and wretched.
5:28. His mother looked out at a window, and howled: and she spoke from the dining room: Why is his chariot so long in coming back? Why are the feet of his horses so slow?
5:29. One that was wiser than the rest of his wives, returned this answer to her mother-in-law:
5:30. Perhaps he is now dividing the spoils, and the fairest of the women is chosen out for him: garments of diverse colors are given to Sisara for his prey, and furniture of different kinds is heaped together to adorn necks.
5:31. So let all your enemies perish, O Lord: but let them that love you shine, as the sun shines in its rising.
5:32. The land rested for forty years.
Judges Chapter 6
The people for their sins, are oppressed by the Madianites. Gideon is called to deliver them.
6:1. The children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the Lord: and he delivered them into the hand of Midian seven years,
6:2. They were grievously oppressed by them. And they made themselves dens and caves in the mountains, and strong holds to resist.
6:3. When Israel had sown, Midian and Amalec, and the rest of the eastern nations, came up:
6:4. and pitching their tents among them, wasted all things as they were in the blade, even to the entrance of Gaza: and they left nothing at all in Israel for sustenance of life, nor sheep, nor oxen, nor asses.
6:5. For they and all their flocks came with their tents, and like locusts filled all places, an innumerable multitude of men, and of camels, wasting whatsoever they touched.
6:6. Israel was humbled exceedingly in the sight of Midian.
6:7. He cried to the Lord, desiring help against the Midianites.
6:8. He sent unto them a prophet, and he spoke: Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: I made you to come up out of Egypt, and brought you out of the house of bondage,
6:9. and delivered you out of the hands of the Egyptians, and of all the enemies that afflicted you: and I cast them out at your coming in, and gave you their land.
6:10. I said: I am the Lord your God, fear not the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell. And you would not hear my voice.
6:11. An angel of the Lord came, and sat under an oak that was in Ephra, and belonged to Joas, the father of the family of Ezri. When Gideon, his son, was threshing and cleansing wheat by the winepress, to flee from Midian,
6:12. The angel of the Lord appeared to him, and said: The Lord is with you, O most valiant of men.
6:13. Gideon said to him: I beseech you, my lord, if the Lord be with us, why have these evils fallen upon us? Where are his miracles, which our fathers have told us of, saying: The Lord brought us out of Egypt but now the Lord has forsaken us, and delivered us into the hand of Midian.
6:14. The Lord looked upon him, and said: Go, in this your strength, and you shall deliver Israel out of the hand of Midian: know that I have sent you.
6:15. He answered, and said: I beseech you, my lord wherewith shall I deliver Israel? Behold, my family is the meanest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my father's house.
The meanest in Manasseh, etc. . .Mark how the Lord chooses the humble (who are mean and little in their own eyes) for the greatest enterprises.
6:16. The Lord said to him: I will be with you: and you shall cut off Midian as one man.
6:17. He said: If I have found grace before you, give me a sign that it is you that speaks to me:
6:18. and depart not hence, till I return to you, and bring a sacrifice, and offer it to you. And he answered: I will wait your coming.
6:19. So Gideon went in, and boiled a kid, and made unleavened loaves of a measure of flour: and putting the flesh in a basket, and the broth of the flesh into a pot, he carried all under the oak, and presented to him.
6:20. The angel of the Lord said to him: Take the flesh and the unleavened loaves, and lay them upon that rock, and pour out the broth on it. When he had done so,
6:21. The angel of the Lord put forth the tip of the rod, which he held in his hand, and touched the flesh and the unleavened loaves: and there arose a fire from the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened loaves: and the angel of the Lord vanished out of his sight.
6:22. Gideon seeing that it was the angel of the Lord, said: Alas, my Lord God: for I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face.
6:23. The Lord said to him: Peace be with you: do not fear, you shall not die.
6:24. Gideon built there an altar to the Lord, and called it the Lord's peace, until this present day. And when he was yet in Ephra, which is of the family of Ezri,
6:25. That night the Lord said to him: Take a bullock of your father's, and another bullock of seven years, and you shall destroy the altar of Baal, which is your father's: and cut down the grove that is about the altar:
6:26. You shall build an altar to the Lord your God, in the top of this rock, whereupon you did lay the sacrifice before: and you shall take the second bullock, and shall offer a holocaust upon a pile of the wood, which you shall cut down out of the grove.
6:27. Then Gideon, taking ten men of his servants, did as the Lord had commanded him. But fearing his father's house, and the men of that city, he would not do it by day, but did all by night.
6:28. When the men of that town were risen in the morning, they saw the altar of Baal destroyed, and the grove cut down, and the second bullock laid upon the altar, which then was built.
6:29. They said one to another: Who has done this? And when they inquired for the author of the fact, it was said: Gideon, the son of Joas, did all this.
6:30. They said to Joas: Bring out your son hither, that he may die: because he has destroyed the altar of Baal, and has cut down his grove.
6:31. He answered them: Are you the avengers of Baal, that you fight for him? He that is his adversary, let him die before the light appears tomorrow: if he is a god, let him revenge himself on him who has cast down his altar.
6:32. From that day Gideon was called Jerobaal, because Joas had said: Let Baal revenge himself on him who has cast down his altar.
6:33. Now all Midian, and Amalec, and the eastern people, were gathered together, and passing over the Jordan, camped in the valley of Jezrael.
6:34. But the spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon, and he sounded the trumpet, and called together the house of Abiezer, to follow him.
6:35. He sent messengers into all Manasseh, and they also followed him : and other messengers into Asher and Zebulon, and Naphtali, and they came to meet him.
6:36. Gideon said to God: If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said,
6:37. I will put this fleece of wool on the floor: if there be dew in the fleece only, and it be dry on all the ground beside, I shall know that by my hand, as you have said, you will deliver Israel.
6:38. It was so. And rising before day, wringing the fleece, he filled a vessel with the dew.
6:39. He said again to God: Let not your wrath be kindled against me, if I try once more, seeking a sign in the fleece. I pray that the fleece only may be dry, and all the ground wet with dew.
6:40. God did that night as he had requested: and it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground.
Judges Chapter 7
Gideon, with three hundred men, by stratagem defeats the Madianites.
7:1. Then Jerobaal, who is the same as Gideon, rising up early, and all the people with him, came to the fountain that is called Harad. Now the camp of Midian was in the valley, on the north side of the high hill.
7:2. The Lord said to Gideon: The people that are with you are many, and Midian shall not be delivered into their hands: lest Israel should glory against me, and say: I was delivered by my own strength.
Lest Israel, etc. . .By this we see that God will not choose for his instruments in great achievements, which depend purely on his grace, such as, through pride and self conceit, will take the glory to themselves.
7:3. Speak to the people, and proclaim in the hearing of all: Whosoever is fearful and timorous, let him return. So two and twenty thousand men went away from Mount Galaad and returned home, and only ten thousand remained.
7:4. The Lord said to Gideon: The people are still too many; bring them to the waters, and there I will try them: and of whom I shall say to you, This shall go with you, let him go: whom I shall forbid to go, let him return.
7:5. When the people were come down to the waters, the Lord said to Gideon: They that shall lap the water with their tongues, as dogs are wont to lap, you shall set apart by themselves: but they that shall drink bowing down their knees, shall be on the other side.
7:6. The number of them that had lapped water; casting it with the hand to their mouth, was three hundred men: and all the rest of the multitude had drunk kneeling.
7:7. The Lord said to Gideon: By the three hundred men, that lapped water, I will save you, and deliver Midian into your hand: but let all the rest of the people return to their place.
That lapped water. . .These were preferred that took the water up in their hands, and so lapped it, before them who laid themselves quite down to the waters to drink: which argued a more eager and sensual disposition.
7:8. So taking victuals and trumpets according to their number, he ordered all the rest of the multitude to depart to their tents: and he with the three hundred gave himself to the battle. Now the camp of Madia was beneath him in the valley.
7:9. The same night the Lord said to him: Arise, and go down into the camp: because I have delivered them into your hand.
7:10. But if you be afraid to go alone, let Phara, your servant, go down with you.
7:11. When you shall hear what they are saying, then shall your hands be strengthened, and you shall go down more secure to the enemies' camp. And he went down with Phara his servant, into part of the camp, where was the watch of men in arms.
7:12. But Midian and Amalec, and all the eastern people, lay scattered in the valley, as a multitude of locusts: their camels also were innumerable, as the sand that lies on the sea shore.
7:13. When Gideon was come, one told his neighbor a dream: and in this manner related what he had seen: I dreamt a dream, and it seemed to me as if a hearth cake of barley bread rolled and came down into the camp of Midian: and when it was come to a tent, it struck it, and beat it down flat to the ground.
7:14. He to whom he spoke, answered: This is nothing else but the sword of Gideon, the son of Joas, a man of Israel. For the Lord has delivered Midian, and all their camp into his hand.
7:15. When Gideon had heard the dream, and its interpretation, he adored: and returned to the camp of Israel, and said: Arise, for the Lord has delivered the camp of Midian into our hands.
7:16. He divided the three hundred men into three parts, and gave them trumpets in their hands, and empty pitchers, and lamps within the pitchers.
7:17. He said to them: What you shall see me do, do you the same: I will go into one part of the camp, and do you as I shall do.
7:18. When the trumpet shall sound in my hand, do you also blow the trumpets on every side of the camp, and shout together to the Lord and to Gideon.
7:19. Gideon, and the three hundred men that were with him, went into part of the camp, at the beginning of the midnight watch, and the watchmen being alarmed, they began to sound their trumpets, and to clap the pitchers one against another.
7:20. When they sounded their trumpets in three places round about the camp, and had broken their pitchers, they held their lamps in their left hands, and with their right hands the trumpets which they blew, and they cried out: The sword of the Lord and of Gideon:
7:21. Standing every man in his place round about the enemies' camp. So all the camp was troubled, and crying out and howling, they fled away:
7:22. The three hundred men nevertheless persisted sounding the trumpets. And the Lord sent the sword into all the camp, and they killed one another,
7:23. Fleeing as far as Bethsetta, and the border of Abelmahula, in Tebbath. But the men of Israel, shouting from Naphtali, and Asher, and from all Manasseh, pursued after Midian.
7:24. Gideon sent messengers into all Mount Ephraim, saying: Come down to meet Midian, and take the waters before them to Bethbera and the Jordan. And all Ephraim shouted, and took the waters before them and the Jordan as far as Bethbera.
7:25. Having taken two men of Midian, Oreb and Zeb: Oreb they slew in the rock of Oreb, and Zeb in the winepress of Zeb. And they pursued Midian, carrying the heads of Oreb and Zeb to Gideon, beyond the waters of the Jordan.
Two men. . .That is, two of their chiefs.
Judges Chapter 8
Gideon appeases the Ephraimites. Takes Zebee and Salmana. Destroys Succoth and Phanuel. Refuses to be king. Makes an ephod of the gold of the prey, and dies in a good old age. The people return to idolatry.
8:1. The men of Ephraim said to him: What is this that you meant to do, that you would not call us, when you went to fight against Midian? And they chided him sharply, and almost offered violence.
8:2. He answered them: What could I have done like to that which you have done? Is not one bunch of grapes of Ephraim better than the vintages of Abiezer?
What could I, etc. . .A meek and humble answer appeased them; who otherwise might have come to extremities. So great is the power of humility both with God and man.
8:3. The Lord has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeb: what could I have done like to what you have done? And when he had said this, their spirit was appeased, with which they swelled against him.
8:4. When Gideon was come to the Jordan, he passed over it with the three hundred men that were with him: who were so weary that they could not pursue after them that fled.
8:5. He said to the men of Succoth: Give, I beseech you, bread to the people that is with me, for they are faint: that we may pursue Zebee, and Salmana, the kings of Midian.
8:6. The princes of Succoth answered: Peradventure the palms of the hands of Zebee and Salmana are in your hand, and therefore you demand that we should give bread to your army.
8:7. He said to them: When the Lord therefore shall have delivered Zebee and Salmana into my hands, I will thresh your flesh with the thorns and briers of the desert.
8:8. Going up from thence, he came to Phanuel: and he spoke the like things to the men of that place. And they also answered him, as the men of Succoth had answered.
8:9. He said, therefore, to them also: When I shall return a conqueror in peace, I will destroy this tower.
8:10. But Zebee and Salmana were resting with all their army. For fifteen thousand men were left of all the troops of the eastern people, and one hundred and twenty thousand warriors that drew the sword were slain.
8:11. Gideon went up by the way of them that dwelt in tents, on the east of Nobe and Jegbaa, and smote the camp of the enemies, who were secure, and suspected no hurt.
8:12. Zebee and Salmana fled, and Gideon pursued and took them, all their host being put in confusion.
8:13. Returning from the battle before the sun rising,
8:14. He took a boy of the men of Succoth: and he asked him the names of the princes and ancients of Succoth, and he described unto him seventy-seven men.
8:15. He came to Succoth, and said to them: Behold Zebee, and Salmana, concerning whom you upbraided me, saying: Peradventure the hands of Zebee and Salmana are in your hands, and therefore you demand that we should give bread to the men that are weary and faint.
8:16. So he took the ancients of the city, and thorns and briers of the desert, and tore them with the same, and cut in pieces the men of Succoth.
8:17. He demolished the tower of Phanuel, and slew the men of the city.
8:18. He said to Zebee and Salmana: What manner of men were they, whom you slew in Tabor? They answered: They were like you, and one of them as the son of a king.
8:19. He answered them: They were my brethren, the sons of my mother. As the Lord lives, if you had saved them, I would not kill you.
8:20. He said to Jether, his eldest son: Arise, and slay them. But he drew not his sword: for he was afraid, being but yet a boy.
8:21. Zebee and Salmana said: Do you rise and run upon us: because the strength of a man is according to his age: Gideon rose up, and slew Zebee and Salmana: and he took the ornaments and bosses, with which the necks of the camels of kings are wont to be adorned.
8:22. All the men of Israel said to Gideon: Rule you over us, and your son, and your son's son: because you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.
8:23. He said to them: I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you, but the Lord shall rule over you.
8:24. He said to them: I desire one request of you: Give me the earlets of your spoils. For the Ismaelites were accustomed to wear golden earlets.
8:25. They answered: We will give them most willingly. Spreading a mantle on the ground, they cast upon it the earlets of the spoils.
8:26. The weight of the earlets that he requested, was a thousand seven hundred sicles of gold, besides the ornaments, and jewels, and purple raiment, which the kings of Midian were wont to use, and besides the golden chains that were about the camels necks.
8:27. Gideon made an ephod of it, and put it in his city Ephra.
*** It became a ruin to Gideon, and to all his house.
An ephod. . .A priestly garment which Gideon made with a good design; but the Israelites, after his death, abused it by making it an instrument of their idolatrous worship.
8:28. But Midian was humbled before the children of Israel, neither could they any more lift up their heads: but the land rested for forty years, while Gideon presided.
8:29. So Jerobaal, the son of Joas, went and dwelt in his own house:
8:30. and he had seventy sons, who came out of his thigh, for he had many wives.
8:31. His concubine, that he had in Shechem, bore him a son, whose name was Abimelech.
8:32. Gideon, the son of Joas died in a good old age, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father, in Ephra, of the family of Ezri.
8:33. But after Gideon was dead, the children of Israel turned again
*** with Baalim. They made a covenant with Baal, that he should be their god:
8:34. They remembered not the Lord their God, who delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies round about:
8:35. Neither did they show mercy to the house of Jerobaal Gideon, according to all the good things he had done to Israel.
Judges Chapter 9
Abimelech kills his brethren. Joatham's parable. Gaal conspires with the Shechemites against Abimelech, but is overcome. Abimelech destroys Shechem: but is killed at Thebes.
9:1. Abimelech, the son of Jerobaal, went to Shechem, to his mother's brethren, and spoke to them, and to all the kindred of his mother's father, saying:
9:2. Speak to all the men of Shechem: which is better for you: that seventy men, all the sons of Jerobaal, should rule over you, or that one man should rule over you? And withal, consider that I am your bone, and your flesh.
9:3. His mother's brethren spoke of him to all the men of Shechem, all these words, and they inclined their hearts after Abimelech, saying: He is our brother:
9:4. and they gave him seventy weight of silver out of the temple of Baalberith: wherewith he hired to himself men that were needy, and vagabonds, and they followed him.
Baalberith. . .That is, Baal of the covenant, so called from the covenant they had made with Baal, chap. 8.33.
9:5. He came to his father's house in Ephra, and slew his brethren, the sons of Jerobaal, seventy men, upon one stone: and there remained only Joatham, the youngest son of Jerobaal, who was hidden.
9:6. All the men of Shechem were gathered together, and all the families of the city of Mello: and they went and made Abimelech king, by the oak that stood in Shechem.
9:7. This being told to Joatham, he went, and stood on the top of Mount Garizim: and lifting up his voice, he cried, and said: Hear me, men of Shechem, so may God hear you.
9:8. The trees went to anoint a king over them: and they said to the olive tree: Reign over us.
9:9. It answered: Can I leave my fatness, which both gods and men make use of, to come to be promoted among the trees?
Both gods and men make use of. . .The olive tree is introduced, speaking in this manner, because oil was used both in the worship of the true God, and in that of the false gods, whom the Shechemites served.
9:10. The trees said to the fig tree: Come you and reign over us.
9:11. It answered them: Can I leave my sweetness, and my delicious fruits, and go to be promoted among the other trees?
9:12. The trees said to the vine: Come you and reign over us.
9:13. It answered them: Can I forsake my wine, that cheers God and men, and be promoted among the other trees?
9:14. All the trees said to the bramble: Come you and reign over us.
9:15. It answered them: If, indeed, you mean to make me king, come and rest under my shadow: but if you mean it not, let fire come out from the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.
9:16. Now, therefore, if you have done well, and without sin, in appointing Abimelech king over you, and have dealt well with Jerobaal, and with his house, and have made a suitable return for the benefits of him who fought for you,
9:17. Exposed his life to dangers, to deliver you from the hand of Midian,
9:18. You are now risen up against my father's house, and have killed his sons, seventy men, upon one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his handmaid, king over the inhabitants of Shechem, because he is your brother:
9:19. If therefore you have dealt well, and without fault, with Jerobaal and his house, rejoice this day in Abimelech, and may he rejoice in you.
9:20. But if unjustly: let fire come out from him, and consume the inhabitants of Shechem, and the town of Mello: and let fire come out from the men of Shechem and from the town of Mello, and devour Abimelech.
9:21. When he had said thus, he fled, and went into Bera: and dwelt there for fear of Abimelech, his brother.
9:22. So Abimelech reigned over Israel three years.
9:23. The Lord sent a very evil spirit between Abimelech and the inhabitants of Shechem; who began to detest him,
9:24. and to lay the crime of the murder of the seventy sons of Jerobaal, and the shedding of their blood, upon Abimelech, their brother, and upon the rest of the princes of the Shechemites, who aided him.
9:25. They set an ambush against him on the top of the mountains: and while they waited for his coming, they committed robberies, taking spoils of all that passed by: and it was told Abimelech.
9:26. Gaal, the son of Obed, came with his brethren, and went over to Shechem. The inhabitants of Shechem, taking courage at his coming,
9:27. went out into the fields, wasting the vineyards, and treading down the grapes: and singing and dancing, they went into the temple of their god, and in their banquets and cups they cursed Abimelech.
9:28. Gaal, the son of Obed, cried: Who is Abimelech, and what is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is he not the son of Jerobaal, and has made Zebul, his servant, ruler over the men of Emor, the father of Shechem? Why then shall we serve him?
9:29. Would to God that some man would put this people under my hand, that I might remove Abimelech out of the way. It was said to Abimelech: Gather together the multitude of an army, and come.
9:30. For Zebul, the ruler of the city, hearing the words of Gaal, the son of Obed, was very angry,
9:31. and sent messengers privately to Abimelech, saying: Behold, Gaal, the son of Obed, is come into Shechem with his brethren, and endeavors to set the city against you.
9:32. Arise, therefore, in the night, with the people that is with you, and lie hid in the field:
9:33. and betimes in the morning, at sun rising, set upon the city, and when he shall come out against you, with his people, do to him what you shall be able.
9:34. Abimelech, therefore, arose with all his army, by night, and laid ambushes near Shechem in four places.
9:35. Gaal, the son of Obed, went out, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city. And Abimelech rose up, and all his army with him, from the places of the ambushes.
9:36. When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul: Behold, a multitude comes down from the mountains. And he answered him: You see the shadows of the mountains as if they were the heads of men, and this is your mistake.
9:37. Again Gaal said: Behold, there comes people down from the midst of the land, and one troop comes by the way that looks towards the oak.
9:38. Zebul said to him: Where is now your mouth, wherewith you said: Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him? Is this not the people which you despised? Go out, and fight against him.
9:39. So Gaal went out, in the sight of the people of Shechem, and fought against Abimelech,
9:40. Who chased and put him to flight, and drove him to the city: and many were slain of his people, even to the gate of the city:
9:41. and Abimelech sat down in Ruma: but Zebul drove Gaal, and his companions, out of the city, and would not suffer them to abide in it.
9:42. So the day following the people went out into the field. And it was told to Abimelech,
9:43. He took his army, and divided it into three companies, and laid ambushes in the fields. And seeing that the people came out of the city, he arose, and set upon them,
9:44. With his own company, assaulting and besieging the city: while the two other companies chased the enemies that were scattered about the field.
9:45. Abimelech assaulted the city all that day: and took it, and killed its inhabitants, and demolished it, so that he sowed salt in it.
Sowed salt. . .To make the ground barren, and fit for nothing.
9:46. When they who dwelt in the tower of Shechem, had heard this, they went into the temple of their god Berith, where they had made a covenant with him, and from thence the place had taken its name, and it was exceeding strong.
9:47. Abimelech also hearing that the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together,
9:48. Went up into mount Selmon, he and all his people with him: and taking an axe, he cut down the bough of a tree, and laying it on his shoulder, and carrying it, he said to his companions: What you see me do, do you out of hand.
9:49. So they cut down boughs from the trees, every man as fast as he could, and followed their leader. And surrounding the fort, they set it on fire: and so it came to pass, that with the smoke and with the fire a thousand persons were killed, men and women together, of the inhabitants of the town of Shechem.
9:50. Then Abimelech, departing from thence, came to the town of Thebes, which he surrounded and besieged with his army.
9:51. There was in the midst of the city a high tower, to which both the men and the women were fled together, and all the princes of the city, and having shut and strongly barred the gate, they stood upon the battlements of the tower to defend themselves.
9:52. Abimelech, coming near the tower, fought stoutly: and, approaching to the gate, endeavored to set fire to it:
9:53. Behold, a certain woman casting a piece of a millstone from above, dashed it against the head of Abimelech, and broke his skull.
9:54. He called hastily to his armorbearer, and said to him: Draw your sword, and kill me: lest it should be said that I was slain by a woman. He did as he was commanded, and slew him.
9:55. When he was dead, all the men of Israel that were with him returned to their homes.
9:56. God repaid the evil that Abimelech had done against his father, killing his seventy brethren.
9:57. The Shechemites also were rewarded for what they had done, and the curse of Joatham, the son of Jerobaal, came upon them.
Judges Chapter 10
Thola rules Israel twenty-three years; and Jair twenty-two. The people fall again into idolatry, and are afflicted again by the Philistines and Ammonites. They cry to God for help, who upon their repentance has compassion on them.
10:1. After Abimelech, there arose a ruler in Israel, Thola, son of Phua, the uncle of Abimelech, a man of Issachar, who dwelt in Samir of mount Ephraim:
Uncle of Abimelech. . .i. e., half brother to Gideon, as being born of the same mother, but by a different father, and of a different tribe.
10:2. He judged Israel three and twenty years, and he died, and was buried in Samir.
10:3. To him succeeded Jair, the Galaadite, who judged Israel for two and twenty years,
10:4. Having thirty sons, that rode on thirty ass colts, and were princes of thirty cities, which from his name were called Havoth Jair, that is, the towns of Jair, until this present day, in the land of Galaad.
Havoth Jair. . .This name was now confirmed to these towns, which they had formerly received from another Jair. Num. 32.41.
10:5. Jair died, and was buried in the place which is called Camon.
10:6. But the children of Israel, adding new sins to their old ones, did evil in the sight of the Lord, and served idols, Baalim and Astaroth, and the gods of Syria, and of Sidon, and of Moab, and of the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines: and they left the Lord, and did not serve him.
10:7. The Lord being angry with them, delivered them into the hands of the Philistines, and of the children of Ammon.
10:8. They were afflicted, and grievously oppressed for eighteen years, all they that dwelt beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorrhite, who is in Galaad:
10:9. Insomuch that the children of Ammon, passing over the Jordan, wasted Judah, and Benjamin, and Ephraim: and Israel was distressed exceedingly.
10:10. They cried to the Lord, and said, We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken the Lord our God, and have served Baalim.
10:11. The Lord said to them: Did not the Egyptians, and the Amorrhites, and the children of Ammon, and the Philistines,
10:12. The Sidonians also, and Amalek, and Canaan, oppress you, and you cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hand?
10:13. Yet you have forsaken me, and have worshipped strange gods: therefore I will deliver you no more:
10:14. Go, and call upon the gods which you have chosen: let them deliver you in the time of distress.
10:15. The children of Israel said to the Lord: We have sinned, do you unto us whatever pleases you: only deliver us this time.
10:16. Saying these things, they cast away out of their coasts all the idols of strange gods, and served the Lord their God: and he was touched with their miseries.
10:17. The children of Ammon shouting together, pitched their tents in Galaad: against whom the children of Israel assembled themselves together, and camped in Maspha.
10:18. The princes of Galaad said one to another: Whoever of us shall first begin to fight against the children of Ammon, he shall be the leader of the people of Galaad.
Judges Chapter 11
Jephthah is made ruler of the people of Gilead: he first pleads their cause against the Ammonites; then making a vow obtains a signal victory; he performs his vow.
11:1. There was at that time Jephthah, the Gileadite, a most valiant man, and a warrior, the son of a woman that was a harlot, and his father was Gilead.
11:2. Now Gilead had a wife of whom he had sons: who, after they were grown up, thrust out Jephthah, saying: You cannot inherit in the house of our father, because you are born of another mother.
11:3. Then he fled and avoided them, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered to him needy men and robbers, and they followed him as their prince.
11:4. In those days the children of Ammon made war against Israel.
11:5. As they pressed hard upon them, the ancients of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah out of the land of Tob to help them:
11:6. They said to him: Come you, and be our prince, and fight against the children of Ammon.
11:7. He answered them: Are not you the men that hated me, and cast me out of my father's house, and now you have come to me, constrained by necessity?
11:8. The princes of Gilead said to Jephthah: For this cause we have now come to you, that you may go with us, and fight against the children of Ammon, and be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.
11:9. Jephthah also said to them: If you come to me sincerely, that I should fight for you against the children of Ammon, and the Lord shall deliver them into my hand, shall I be your prince?
11:10. They answered him: The Lord, who hears these things, He Himself is mediator and witness that we will do as we have promised.
11:11. Jephthah therefore went with the princes of Gilead, and all the people made him their prince. Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord in Maspha.
11:12. He sent messengers to the king of the children of Ammon, to say in his name: What have you to do with me, that you have come against me, to waste my land?
11:13. He answered them: Because Israel took away my land, when he came up out of Egypt, from the confines of the Arnon unto the Jaboc and the Jordan: now, therefore, restore the same peaceably to me.
11:14. Jephthah again sent word by them, and commanded them to say to the king of Ammon:
11:15. Thus says Jephthah: Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the children of Ammon:
11:16. But when they came up out of Egypt, he walked through the desert to the Red Sea, and came into Cades.
11:17. He sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying: Allow me to pass through your land. But he would not condescend to his request. He sent also to the king of Moab, who, likewise, refused to give him passage. He abode, therefore, in Cades,
11:18. and went round the land of Edom at the side, and the land of Moab: and came over against the east coast of the land of Moab, and camped on the other side of the Arnon: and he would not enter the bounds of Moab.
11:19. So Israel sent messengers to Sehon, king of the Amorrhites, who dwelt in Hesebon, and they said to him: Allow me to pass through your land to the river.
11:20. But he, also despising the words of Israel, suffered him not to pass through his borders: but gathering an infinite multitude, went out against him to Jasa, and made strong opposition.
11:21. The Lord delivered him, with all his army, into the hands of Israel, and he slew him, and possessed all the land of the Amorrhite, the inhabitant of that country,
11:22. and all its coasts from the Arnon to the Jaboc, and from the wilderness to the Jordan.
11:23. So the Lord, the God of Israel, destroyed the Amorrhite, his people of Israel fighting against him, and will you now possess his land?
11:24. Are not those things which your god Chamos possesses, due to you by right? But what the Lord our God has obtained by conquest, shall be our possession:
Chamos. . .The idol of the Moabites and Ammonites. He argues from their opinion, who thought they had a just title to the countries which they imagined they had conquered by the help of their gods: how much more then had Israel in indisputable title to the countries which God, by visible miracles, had conquered for them.
11:25. Unless, perhaps, you are better than Balak, the son of Sephor, king of Moab: or can show that he strove against Israel, and fought against him,
11:26. Whereas he has dwelt in Hesebon and its villages, and in Aroer and its villages, and in all the cities near the Jordan, for three hundred years. Why have you for so long a time attempted nothing about this claim?
11:27. Therefore I do not trespass against you, but you wrong me by declaring an unjust war against me. The Lord be judge, and decide this day, between Israel and the children of Ammon.
11:28. The king of the children of Ammon would not hearken to the words of Jephthah, which he sent him by the messengers.
11:29. Therefore the spirit of the Lord came upon Jephthah, and going round Gilead, and Manasseh, and Maspha of Galaad, and passing over from thence to the children of Ammon,
11:30. He made a vow to the Lord, saying: If you will deliver the children of Ammon into my hands,
11:31. Whoever shall first come forth out of the doors of my house, and shall meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, the same will I offer a holocaust to the Lord.
11:32. Jephthah passed over to the children of Ammon to fight against them: and the Lord delivered them into his hands.
11:33. He smote them from Aroer till you come to Mennith, twenty cities, and as far as Abel, which is set with vineyards, with a very great slaughter: and the children of Ammon were humbled by the children of Israel.
11:34. When Jephthah returned into Maspha, to his house, his only daughter met him with timbrels and with dances: for he had no other children.
11:35. When he saw her, he rent his garments, and said: Alas! My daughter, you have deceived me, and you yourself are deceived: for I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I can do no other thing.
11:36. She answered him: My father, if you have opened your mouth to the Lord, do unto me whatever you have promised, since the victory has been granted to you, and revenge of your enemies.
11:37. She said to her father: Grant me only this, which I desire: Let me go, that I may go about the mountains for two months, and may bewail my virginity with my companions.
Bewail my virginity. . .The bearing of children was much coveted under the Old Testament, when women might hope that from some child of theirs, the Savior of the world might one day spring. But under the New Testament virginity is preferred. 1 Cor. 7.35.
11:38. He answered her: Go. He sent her away for two months. When she had gone with her comrades and companions, she mourned her virginity in the mountains.
11:39. The two months being expired, she returned to her father, and he did to her as he had vowed, and she knew no man. From thence came a fashion in Israel, and a custom has been kept:
11:40. That, from year to year, the daughters of Israel assemble together, and lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite, for four days.
Judges Chapter 12
The Ephraimites quarrel with Jephthah: forty-two thousand of them are slain: Abeson, Ahialon, and Abdon, are judges.
12:1. But behold there arose a sedition in Ephraim. And passing towards the north, they said to Jephthah: When you went to fight against the children of Ammon, why would you not call us, that we might go with you? Therefore we will burn your house.
12:2. He answered them: I and my people were at great strife with the children of Ammon: and I called you to assist me, and you would not do it.
12:3. When I saw this, I put my life in my own hands, and passed over against the children of Ammon and the Lord delivered them into my hands. What have I deserved, that you should rise up to fight against me?
12:4. Then calling to him all the men of Gilead, he fought against Ephraim: and the men of Gilead defeated Ephraim, because he had said: Gilead is a fugitive of Ephraim, and dwells in the midst of Ephraim and Manasseh.
12:5. The Gileadites secured the fords of the Jordan, by which Ephraim was to return. And when anyone of the number of Ephraim came thither in the flight, and said: I beseech you let me pass: the Gileadites said to him: Art you not an Ephraimite? If he said: I am not:
12:6. They asked him: Say then, Scibboleth, which is interpreted, An ear of corn. But he answered, Sibboleth, not being able to express an ear of corn by the same letter. Then presently they took him and killed him in the very passage of the Jordan. And there fell at that time of Ephraim, two and forty thousand.
12:7. Jephthah, the Gileadite, judged Israel six years: and he died, and was buried in his city of Gilead.
12:8. After him Abesan of Bethlehem judged Israel:
12:9. He had thirty sons, and as many daughters, whom he sent abroad, and gave to husbands, and took wives for his sons, of the same number, bringing them into his house. And he judged Israel seven years:
12:10. and he died, and was buried in Bethlehem.
12:11. To him succeeded Ahialon, a Zabulonite: and he judged Israel ten years:
12:12. and he died, and was buried in Zebulon.
12:13. After him, Abdon, the son of Illel, a Pharathonite, judged Israel:
12:14. and he had forty sons, and of them thirty grandsons, mounted upon seventy ass colts, and he judged Israel eight years:
12:15. and he died, and was buried in Pharathon, in the land of Ephraim, in the mount of Amalech.
Judges Chapter 13
The people fall again into idolatry and are afflicted by the Philistines. An angel foretells the birth of Samson.
13:1. The children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the Lord: and He delivered them into the hands of the Philistines forty years.
13:2. Now there was a certain man of Saraa, and of the race of Dan, whose name was Manoah, and his wife was barren.
13:3. An angel of the Lord appeared to her, and said: You are barren and without children: but you shall conceive and bear a son.
13:4. Now therefore beware, and drink neither wine nor strong drink, and eat not any unclean thing.
13:5. Because you shall conceive, and bear a son, and no razor shall touch his head: for he shall be a Nazarite of God, from his infancy, and from his mother's womb, and he shall begin to deliver Israel from the hands of the Philistines.
13:6. When she was come to her husband, she said to him: A man of God came to me, having the countenance of an angel, very awful. When I asked him whence he came, and by what name he was called, he would not tell me:
13:7. But he answered thus: Behold you shall conceive and bear a son: beware you drink no wine, nor strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: for the child shall be a Nazarite of God from his infancy, from his mother's womb until the day of his death.
13:8. Then Manoah prayed to the Lord, and said: I beseech you, O Lord, that the man of God, whom you did send, may come again, and teach us what we ought to do concerning the child, that shall be born.
13:9. The Lord heard the prayer of Manoah, and the angel of the Lord appeared again to his wife, as she was sitting in the field. But Manoah her husband was not with her. When she saw the angel,
13:10. She made haste, and ran to her husband: and told him, saying: Behold the man has appeared to me, whom I saw before.
13:11. He rose up, and followed his wife: and coming to the man, said to him: Are you he that spoke to the woman? And he answered: I am.
13:12. Manoah said to him: When your word shall come to pass, what will you that the child should do? Or from what shall he keep himself?
13:13. The angel of the Lord said to Manoah: From all the things I have spoken of to your wife, let her refrain herself:
Let her refrain, etc. . .By the Latin text it is not clear whether this abstinence was prescribed to the mother, or to the child; but the Hebrew (in which the verbs relating thereto are of the feminine gender) determines it to the mother. But then the child also was to refrain from the like things, because he was to be from his infancy a Nazarite of God, ver. 5, that is, one set aside, in a particular manner, and consecrated to God: now the Nazarites by the law were to abstain from all these things.
13:14. Let her eat nothing that comes of the vine, neither let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing: and whatsoever I have commanded her, let her fulfill and observe.
13:15. Manoah said to the angel of the Lord: I beseech you to consent to my request, and let us dress a kid for you.
13:16. The angel answered him: If you press me I will not eat of your bread: but if you will offer a holocaust, offer it to the Lord. Manoah did not know it was the angel of the Lord.
13:17. He said to him: What is your name, that, if your word shall come to pass, we may honor you?
13:18. He answered him: Why do you ask my name, which is a secret?
13:19. Then Manoah took a kid of the flocks, and the libations, and put them upon a rock, offering to the Lord, who does wonderful things: and he and his wife looked on.
13:20. When the flame from the altar went up towards heaven, the angel of the Lord ascended also in the same. When Manoah and his wife saw this, they fell flat on the ground;
13:21. The angel of the Lord appeared to them no more. Immediately Manoah understood that it was an angel of the Lord,
13:22. He said to his wife: We shall certainly die, because we have seen God.
13:23. His wife answered him: If the Lord had a mind to kill us, he would not have received a holocaust and libations at our hands; neither would he have showed us all these things, nor have told us the things that are to come.
13:24. She bore a son, and called his name Samson. The child grew, and the Lord blessed him.
13:25. The Spirit of the Lord began to be with him in the camp of Dan, between Saraa and Esthaol.
Judges Chapter 14
Samson desires a wife of the Philistines. He kills a lion: in whose mouth he afterwards finds honey. His marriage feast, and riddle, which is discovered by his wife. He kills, and strips thirty Philistines. His wife takes another man.
14:1. Then Samson went down to Thamnatha, and seeing there a woman of the daughters of the Philistines,
14:2. He came up, and told his father and his mother, saying: I saw a woman in Thamnatha of the daughters of the Philistines: I beseech you, take her for me to wife.
14:3. His father and mother said to him: Is there no woman among the daughters of your brethren, or among all my people, that you will take a wife of the Philistines, who are uncircumcised? And Samson said to his father: Take this woman for me; for she has pleased my eyes.
14:4. Now his parents did not know that the thing was done by the Lord, and that he sought an occasion against the Philistines: for at that time the Philistines had dominion over Israel.
14:5. Then Samson went down with his father and mother to Thamnatha. When they had come to the vineyards of the town, behold a young lion met him, raging and roaring.
14:6. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, and he tore the lion as he would have torn a kid in pieces, having nothing at all in his hand: and he would not tell this to his father and mother.
14:7. He went down, and spoke to the woman that had pleased his eyes.
14:8. After some days, returning to take her, he went aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold there was a swarm of bees in the mouth of the lion, and a honey-comb.
14:9. When he had taken it in his hands, he went on eating: and coming to his father and mother, he gave them of it, and they ate: but he would not tell them that he had taken the honey from the body of the lion.
14:10. So his father went down to the woman, and made a feast for his son Samson: for so the young men used to do.
14:11. When the citizens of that place saw him, they brought him thirty companions to be with him.
14:12. Samson said to them: I will propose to you a riddle, which if you declare unto me within the seven days of the feast, I will give you thirty shirts, and as many coats:
14:13. But if you shall not be able to declare it, you shall give me thirty shirts and the same number of coats. They answered him: Put forth the riddle, that we may hear it.
14:14. He said to them: Out of the eater came forth meat, and out of the strong came forth sweetness. And they could not for three days expound the riddle.
14:15. When the seventh day came, they said to the wife of Samson: Sooth your husband, and persuade him to tell you what the riddle means. But if you will not do it, we will burn you, and your father's house. Have you called us to the wedding on purpose to strip us?
14:16. So she wept before Samson and complained, saying: You hate me, and do not love me: therefore you will not expound to me the riddle, which you have proposed to the sons of my people. But he answered: I would not tell it to my father and mother: and how can I tell it to you?
14:17. So she wept before him the seven days of the feast: and, at length, on the seventh day, as she was troublesome to him, he expounded it. And she immediately told her countrymen.
14:18. They, on the seventh day before the sun went down, said to him: What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion? And he said to them: If you had not ploughed with my heifer, you had not found out my riddle.
14:19. The Spirit of the Lord came upon him, and he went down to Ascalon, and slew there thirty men whose garments he took away, and gave to them that had declared the riddle. And being exceeding angry, he went up to his father's house:
14:20. But his wife took one of his friends and bridal companions for her husband.
Judges Chapter 15
Samson is denied his wife. He burns the corn of the Philistines, and kills many of them.
15:1. A while after, when the days of the wheat harvest were at hand, Samson came, meaning to visit his wife, and he brought her a kid of the flock. When he would have gone into her chamber, as usual, her father would not suffer him, saying:
15:2. I thought you had hated her, and therefore I gave her to your friend: but she has a sister, who is younger and fairer than she, take her to wife instead of her.
15:3. Samson answered him: From this day I shall be blameless in what I do against the Philistines: for I will do you evils.
15:4. He went and caught three hundred foxes, and coupled them tail to tail, and fastened torches between the tails:
Foxes. . .Being judge of the people he might have many to assist him to catch with nets or otherwise a number of these animals; of which there were great numbers in that country.
15:5. Setting them on fire he let the foxes go, that they might run about hither and thither. They presently went into the standing corn of the Philistines. Which being set on fire, both the corn that was already carried together, and that which was yet standing, was all burnt, insomuch that the flame consumed also the vineyards and the oliveyards.
15:6. Then the Philistines said: Who has done this thing? It was answered: Samson, the son-in-law of the Thamnathite, because he took away his wife, and gave her to another, has done these things. The Philistines went up and burnt both the woman and her father.
15:7. But Samson said to them: Although you have done this, yet will I be revenged of you, and then I will be quiet.
15:8. He made a great slaughter of them, so that in astonishment they laid the calf of the leg upon the thigh. Going down he dwelt in a cavern of the rock Etam.
15:9. Then the Philistines going up into the land of Judah, camped in the place which afterwards was called Lechi, that is, the Jawbone, where their army was spread abroad.
15:10. The men of the tribe of Judah said to them: Why are you come up against us? They answered: We are come to bind Samson, and to pay him for what he has done against us.
15:11. Wherefore three thousand men of Judah went down to the cave of the rock Etam, and said to Samson: Do you not know that the Philistines rule over us? Why would you act thus? He said to them: As they did to me, so have I done to them.
15:12. They said to him: We have come to bind you and deliver you into the hands of the Philistines. Samson said to them: Swear to me, and promise me that you will not kill me.
15:13. They said: We will not kill you: but we will deliver you up bound. They bound him with two new cords, and brought him from the rock Etam.
15:14. Now when he was come to the place of the Jawbone, and the Philistines shouting went to meet him, the Spirit of the Lord came strongly upon him: and as flax is wont to be consumed at the approach of fire, so the bands with which he was bound were broken and loosed.
15:15. Finding a jawbone, even the jawbone of a donkey, which lay there, catching it up, he slew therewith a thousand men.
15:16. He said: With the jawbone of an donkey, with the jaw of the colt of donkeys, I have destroyed them, and have slain a thousand men.
15:17. When he had ended these words, singing, he threw the jawbone out of his hand, and called the name of that place Ramathlechi, which is interpreted the lifting up of the jawbone.
15:18. Being very thirsty, he cried to the Lord, and said: You have given this very great deliverance and victory into the hand of your servant: and behold I die for thirst, and shall fall into the hands of the uncircumcised.
15:19. Then the Lord opened a great tooth in the jaw of the donkey and waters issued out of it. When he had drunk them, he refreshed his spirit, and recovered his strength. Therefore the name of that place was called The Spring of him that invoked from the jawbone, until this present day.
15:20. He judged Israel, in the days of the Philistines, twenty years.
Judges Chapter 16
Samson is deluded by Delilah: and falls into the hands of the Philistines. His death.
16:1. He went also into Gaza, and saw there a woman, a harlot, and went in unto her.
16:2. When the Philistines had heard this, and it was noised about among them, that Samson was come into the city, they surrounded him, setting guards at the gate of the city, and watching there all the night in silence, that in the morning they might kill him as he went out.
16:3. But Samson slept until midnight, and then rising, he took both the doors of the gate, with its posts and the bolt, and laying them on his shoulders, carried them up to the top of the hill, which looks towards Hebron.
16:4. After this he loved a woman, who dwelt in the valley of Sorec, and she was called Delilah.
16:5. The princes of the Philistines came to her, and said: Deceive him, and learn of him wherein his great strength lies, and how we may be able to overcome him, to bind and afflict him: which if you shall do, each one of us will give you eleven hundred pieces of silver.
16:6. Delilah said to Samson: Tell me, I beseech you, wherein your greatest strength lies, and what it is, wherewith if you were bound, you could not break loose.
16:7. Samson answered her: If I shall be bound with seven cords, made of sinews not yet dry, but still moist, I shall be weak like other men.
16:8. The princes of the Philistines brought unto her seven cords, such as he spoke of, with which she bound him;
16:9. Men lying privately in wait with her, and in the chamber, expecting the event of the thing, and she cried out to him: The Philistines are upon you, Samson. He broke the bands, as a man would break a thread of tow twined with spittle, when it smells the fire: so it was not known wherein his strength lay.
16:10. Delilah said to him: Behold, you have mocked me and told me a false thing: but now at least tell me with what you may be bound.
16:11. He answered her: If I shall be bound with new ropes, that were never in work, I shall be weak and like other men.
16:12. Delilah bound him again with these, and cried out: The Philistines are upon you, Samson, there being an ambush prepared for him in the chamber. But he broke the bands like threads of webs.
16:13. Delilah said to him again: How long do you deceive me, and tell me lies? Show me with what you may be bound. Samson answered her: If you platte the seven locks of my head with a lace, and tying them round about a nail, fasten it in the ground, I shall be weak.
16:14. When Delilah had done this, she said to him: The Philistines are upon you, Samson. Awaking out of his sleep, he drew out the nail with the hairs and the lace.
16:15. Delilah said to him: How do you say you love me, when your mind is not with me? You have told me lies these three times, and would not tell me wherein your greatest strength lies.
16:16. When she pressed him much, and continually hung upon him for many days, giving him no time to rest, his soul fainted away, and was wearied even unto death.
16:17. Then opening the truth of the thing, he said to her: The razor has never come upon my head, for I am a Nazarite, that is to say, consecrated to God from my mother's womb: If my head be shaven, my strength shall depart from me, and I shall become weak, and shall be like other men.
16:18. Then seeing that he had revealed his whole mind to her, she sent to the princes of the Philistines, saying: Come up this once more, for now he has opened his heart to me. They went up, taking with them the money which they had promised.
16:19. But she made him sleep upon her knees, and lay his head in her bosom. She called a barber and shaved his seven locks, and began to drive him away, and thrust him from her: for immediately his strength departed from him.
16:20. She said: The Philistines are upon you, Samson. Awaking from sleep, he said in his mind: I will go out as I did before, and shake myself, not knowing that the Lord was departed from him.
16:21. Then the Philistines seized upon him, and immediately pulled out his eyes, and led him bound in chains to Gaza, and shutting him up in prison made him grind.
16:22. Now his hair began to grow again,
16:23. The princes of the Philistines assembled together, to offer great sacrifices to Dagon their god, and to make merry, saying: Our god has delivered our enemy Samson into our hands.
16:24. The people also seeing this, praised their god, and said the same: Our god has delivered our adversary into our hands, him that destroyed our country, and killed very many.
16:25. Rejoicing in their feasts, when they had now taken their good cheer, they commanded that Samson should be called, and should play before them. Being brought out of prison, he played before them; and they made him stand between two pillars.
16:26. He said to the lad that guided his steps: Suffer me to touch the pillars which support the whole house, and let me lean upon them, and rest a little.
16:27. Now the house was full of men and women, and all the princes of the Philistines were there. Moreover about three thousand persons of both genders, from the roof and the higher part of the house, were beholding Samson's play.
16:28. But he called upon the Lord, saying: O Lord God remember me, and restore to me now my former strength, O my God, that I may revenge myself on my enemies, and for the loss of my two eyes I may take one revenge.
Revenge myself. . .This desire of revenge was out of zeal for justice against the enemies of God and his people; and not out of private rancor and malice of heart.
16:29. Laying hold on both the pillars on which the house rested, and holding the one with his right hand, and the other with his left,
16:30. He said: Let me die with the Philistines. When he had strongly shook the pillars, the house fell upon all the princes, and the rest of the multitude, that was there: and he killed many more at his death, than he had killed before in his life.
16:31. His brethren and all his kindred, going down took his body, and buried it between Saraa and Esthaol, in the burying place of his father Manoah: and he judged Israel twenty years.
Judges Chapter 17
The history of the idol of Michas, and the young Levite.
17:1. There was at that time a man of mount Ephraim, whose name was Michas.
17:2. Who said to his mother: The eleven hundred pieces of silver, which you had put aside for yourself, and concerning which you did swear in my hearing, behold I have, and they are with me. And she said to him. Blessed be my son by the Lord.
17:3. So he restored them to his mother, who said to him: I have consecrated and vowed this silver to the Lord, that my son may receive it at my hand, and make a graven and a molten god; so now I deliver it to you.
17:4. He restored them to his mother: and she took two hundred pieces of silver and gave them to the silversmith, to make of them a graven and a molten god, which was in the house of Micah.
17:5. He separated also therein a little temple for the god, and made an ephod, and theraphim, that is to say, a priestly garment, and idols: and he filled the hand of one of his sons, and he became his priest.
Filled the hand. . .That is, appointed and consecrated him to the priestly office.
17:6. In those days there was no king in Israel, but everyone did that which seemed right to himself.
17:7. There was also another young man of Bethlehem Judah, of its kindred: and he was a Levite, and dwelt there.
17:8. Now he went out from the city of Bethlehem, and desired to sojourn wherever he should find it convenient for him. And when he was come to mount Ephraim, as he was on his journey, and had turned aside a little into the house of Micah,
17:9. He was asked by him whence he came. And he answered: I am a Levite of Bethlehem Judah, and I am going to dwell where I can, and where I shall find a place to my advantage.
17:10. Micah said: Stay with me, and be unto me a father and a priest, and I will give you every year ten pieces of silver, and a double suit of apparel, and your victuals.
17:11. He was content, and abode with the man, and was unto him as one of his sons.
17:12. Micah filled his hand, and had the young man with him for his priest, saying:
17:13. Now I know God will do me good, since I have a priest of the race of the Levites.
Judges Chapter 18
The expedition of the men of Dan against Lais: in their way they rob Micah of his priest and his gods.
18:1. In those days there was no king in Israel, and the tribe of Dan sought them an inheritance to dwell in: for unto that day they had not received their lot among the other tribes.
Not received, etc. . .They had their portions assigned them, Jos. 19.40. But, through their own sloth, possessed as yet but a small part of it. See Judges 1.34.
18:2. So the children of Dan sent five most valiant men, of their stock and family, from Saraa and Esthaol, to spy out the land, and to view it diligently: and they said to them: Go, and view the land. They went on their way, and when they came to mount Ephraim, they went into the house of Micah, and rested there:
18:3. and knowing the voice of the young man the Levite, and lodging with him, they said to him: Who brought you here? What do you do here? Why would you come here?
18:4. He answered them: Micah has done such and such things for me, and has hired me to be his priest.
18:5. Then they desired him to consult the Lord, that they might know whether their journey should be prosperous, and the thing should have effect.
18:6. He answered them: Go in peace: the Lord looks on your way, and the journey that you go.
18:7. So the five men going on came to Lais: and they saw how the people dwelt therein without any fear, according to the custom of the Sidonians, secure and easy, having no man at all to oppose them, being very rich, and living separated, at a distance from Sidon and from all men.
18:8. They returned to their brethren in Saraa and Esthaol, who asked them what they had done: to whom they answered:
18:9. Arise, and let us go up to them: for we have seen the land which is exceeding rich and fruitful: neglect not, lose no time: let us go and possess it, there will be no difficulty.
18:10. We shall come to a people that is secure, into a spacious country, and the Lord will deliver the place to us, in which there is no want of anything that grows on the earth.
18:11. There went therefore of the kindred of Dan, to wit, from Saraa and Esthaol, six hundred men, furnished with arms for war.
18:12. Going up they lodged in Cariathiarim of Judah: which place from that time is called the camp of Dan, and is behind Cariathiarim.
18:13. From thence they passed into mount Ephraim. And when they were come to the house of Michas,
18:14. The five men, that before had been sent to view the land of Lais, said to the rest of their brethren: You know that in these houses there is an ephod and theraphim, and a graven and a molten god: see what you are pleased to do.
18:15. When they had turned a little aside, they went into the house of the young man the Levite, who was in the house of Micah: and they saluted him with words of peace.
18:16. The six hundred men stood before the door, appointed with their arms.
18:17. But they that were gone into the house of the young man, went about to take away the graven god, and the ephod, and the theraphim, and the molten god, and the priest stood before the door, the six hundred valiant men waiting not far off.
18:18. So they that were gone in took away the graven thing, the ephod, and the idols, and the molten god, and the priest said to them: What are you doing?
18:19. They said to him: Hold your peace, and put your finger on your mouth, and come with us, that we may have you for a father, and a priest. Whether is better for you, to be a priest in the house of one man, or in a tribe and family in Israel?
18:20. When he heard this, he agreed to their words, and took the ephod, and the idols, and the graven god, and departed with them.
18:21. When they were going forward, and had put before them the children and the cattle, and all that was valuable,
18:22. and were now at a distance from the house of Micah, the men that dwelt in the houses of Micah gathering together followed them,
18:23. and began to shout out after them. They looked back, and said to Micah: What ails you? Why do you cry?
18:24. He answered: You have taken away my gods which I have made me, and the priest, and all that I have, and do you say: What ails you?
18:25. The children of Dan said to him: See you say no more to us, lest men enraged come upon you, and you perish with all your house.
18:26. So they went on the journey they had begun. But Micah seeing that they were stronger than he, returned to his house.
18:27. The six hundred men took the priest, and the things we spoke of before, and came to Lais, to a people that was quiet and secure, and smote them with the edge of the sword: and the city they burnt with fire,
18:28. There being no man at all who brought them any succor, because they dwelt far from Sidon, and had no society or business with any man. And the city was in the land of Rohob: and they rebuilt it, and dwelt therein,
18:29. Calling the name of the city Dan, after the name of their father, who was the son of Israel, which before was called Lais.
18:30. They set up to themselves the graven idol, and Jonathan the son of Gersam, the son of Moses, he and his sons were priests in the tribe of Dan, until the day of their captivity.
18:31. The idol of Micah remained with them all the time that the house of God was in Silo. In those days there was no king in Israel.
Judges Chapter 19
A Levite bringing home his wife, is lodged by an old man at Gabaa in the tribe of Benjamin. His wife is there abused by wicked men, and in the morning found dead. Her husband cuts her body in pieces, and sends to every tribe of Israel, requiring them to revenge the wicked fact.
19:1. There was a certain Levite, who dwelt on the side of mount Ephraim, who took a wife of Bethlehem Judah:
19:2. and she left him, and returned to her father's house in Bethlehem, and abode with him four months.
19:3. Her husband followed her, willing to be reconciled with her, and to speak kindly to her, and to bring her back with him, having with him a servant and two donkeys: and she received him, and brought him into her father's house. When his father-in-law had heard this, and had seen him, he met him with joy,
19:4. and embraced the man. The son-in-law tarried in the house of his father-in-law three days, eating with him and drinking familiarly.
19:5. But on the fourth day, arising early in the morning, he desired to depart. But his father-in-law kept him, and said to him: Taste first a little bread, and strengthen your stomach, and so you shall depart.
19:6. They sat down together, and ate and drank. The father of the young woman said to his son-in-law: I beseech you to stay here today, and let us make merry together.
19:7. But he rising up, began to be for departing. Nevertheless his father-in-law earnestly pressed him, and made him stay with him.
19:8. But when morning had come, the Levite prepared to go on his journey. His father-in-law said to him again: I beseech you to take a little meat, and strengthening yourself, until the day be farther advanced, afterwards you may depart. They ate together.
19:9. The young man arose to set forward with his wife and servant. His father-in-law spoke to him again: Consider that the day is declining, and draws toward evening: tarry with me today also, and spend the day in mirth, and tomorrow you shall depart, that you may go into your house.
19:10. His son-in-law would not consent to his words: but forthwith went forward, and came over against Jebus, which by another name is called Jerusalem, leading with him two donkeys loaden, and his concubine.
Concubine. She was his lawful wife, but even lawful wives are frequently in scripture called concubines. See above, chap. 8. ver. 31.-ver. 16. Jemini. . .That is, Benjamin.
19:11. Now they were come near Jebus, and the day was far spent: and the servant said to his master: Come, I beseech you, let us turn into the city of the Jebusites, and lodge there.
19:12. His master answered him: I will not go into the town of another nation, who are not of the children of Israel, but I will pass over to Gabaa:
19:13. and when I shall come thither, we will lodge there, or at least in the city of Rama.
19:14. So they passed by Jebus, and went on their journey, and the sun went down upon them when they were by Gabaa, which is in the tribe of Benjamin:
19:15. They turned into it to lodge there. When they had come in, they sat in the street of the city, for no man would receive them to lodge.
19:16. Behold they saw an old man, returning out of the field and from his work in the evening, and he also was of mount Ephraim, and dwelt as a stranger in Gabaa; but the men of that country were the children of Jemini.
19:17. The old man lifting up his eyes, saw the man sitting with his bundles in the street of the city, and said to him: From where do you come? Where are you going?
19:18. He answered him: We came out from Bethlehem Judah, and we are going to our home, which is on the side of mount Ephraim, from whence we went to Bethlehem: and now we go to the house of God, and none will receive us under his roof:
19:19. We have straw and hay for provender of the donkeyss, and bread and wine for the use of myself and of your handmaid, and of the servant that is with me: we want nothing but lodging.
19:20. The old man answered him: Peace be with you: I will furnish all things that are necessary: only I beseech you, do not stay in the street.
19:21. He brought him into his house, and gave provender to his donkeys: and after they had washed their feet, he entertained them with a feast.
19:22. While they were making merry, and refreshing their bodies with meat and drink, after the labor of the journey, the men of that city, sons of Belial (that is, without yoke), came and beset the old man's house, and began to knock at the door, calling to the master of the house, and saying: Bring forth the man that came into your house, that we may abuse him:
19:23. and the old man went out to them, and said: Do not so, my brethren, do not so wickedly: because this man is come into my lodging, and cease I pray you from this folly.
19:24. I have a maiden daughter, and this man has a concubine, I will bring them out to you, and you may humble them: only, I beseech you, commit not this crime against nature on the man.
19:25. They would not be satisfied with his words; which the man seeing, brought out his concubine to them, and abandoned her to their wickedness: and when they had abused her all the night, they let her go in the morning.
19:26. But the woman, at the dawning of the day, came to the door of the house, where her lord lodged, and there fell down.
19:27. In the morning the man arose, and opened the door, that he might end the journey he had begun: and behold his concubine lay before the door with her hands spread on the threshold.
19:28. He thinking she was taking her rest, said to her: Arise, and let us be going. But as she made no answer, perceiving she was dead, he took her up, and laid her upon his donkey, and returned to his house.
19:29. When he was come home, he took a sword, and divided the dead body of his wife with her bones into twelve parts, and sent the pieces into all the borders of Israel.
19:30. When everyone had seen this, they all cried out: There was never such a thing done in Israel, from the day that our fathers came up out of Egypt, until this day: give sentence, and decree in common what ought to be done.
Judges Chapter 20
The Israelites warring against Benjamin are twice defeated; but in the third battle the Benjamites are all slain, saving six hundred men.
20:1. Then all the children of Israel went out, and gathered together as one man, from Dan to Bersabee, with the land of Galaad, to the Lord in Maspha:
20:2. and all the chiefs of the people, and all the tribes of Israel, met together in the assembly of the people of God, four hundred thousand footmen fit for war.
20:3. (Nor were the children of Benjamin ignorant that the children of Israel were come up to Maspha.) The Levite, the husband of the woman that was killed being asked, how so great a wickedness had been committed,
20:4. Answered: I came into Gabaa, of Benjamin, with my wife, and there I lodged:
20:5. and behold the men of that city, in the night beset the house wherein I was, intending to kill me, and abused my wife with an incredible fury
***, so that at last she died.
20:6. I took her and cut her in pieces, and sent the parts into all the borders of your possession: because there never was so heinous a crime, and so great an abomination committed in Israel.
20:7. You are all here, O children of Israel, determine what you ought to do.
20:8. All the people standing, answered as by the voice of one man: We will not return to our tents, neither shall any one of us go into his own house:
20:9. But this we will do in common against Gabaa:
20:10. We will take ten men of a hundred out of all the tribes of Israel, and a hundred out of a thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to bring victuals for the army, that we may fight against Gabaa of Benjamin, and render to it for its wickedness, what it deserves.
20:11. All Israel were gathered together against the city, as one man, with one mind, and one counsel:
20:12. and they sent messengers to all the tribe of Benjamin, to say to them: Why has so great an abomination been found among you?
20:13. Deliver up the men of Gabaa, that have committed this heinous crime, that they may die, and the evil may be taken away out of Israel. But they would not hearken to the proposition of their brethren the children of Israel:
20:14. But out of all the cities which were of their lot, they gathered themselves together into Gabaa, to aid them, and to fight against the whole people of Israel.
20:15. There were found of Benjamin five and twenty thousand men that drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gabaa,
20:16. Who were seven hundred most valiant men, fighting with the left hand as well as with the right: and slinging stones so sure that they could hit even a hair, and not miss by the stone's going on either side.
20:17. Of the men of Israel also, beside the children of Benjamin, were found four hundred thousand that drew swords and were prepared to fight.
20:18. They arose and came to the house of God, that is, to Silo: and they consulted God, and said: Who shall be in our army the first to go to the battle against the children of Benjamin? And the Lord answered them: Let Judah be your leader.
20:19. Forthwith the children of Israel rising in the morning, camped by Gabaa:
20:20. and going out from thence to fight against Benjamin, began to assault the city.
20:21. The children of Benjamin coming out of Gabaa slew of the children of Israel that day two and twenty thousand men.
20:22. Again Israel, trusting in their strength and their number, set their army in array in the same place, where they had fought before:
Trusting in their strength. . .The Lord suffered them to be overthrown and many of them to be slain, though their cause was just; partly in punishment of the idolatry which they exercised or tolerated in the tribe of Dan, and elsewhere; and partly because they trusted in their own strength; and therefore, though he bid them fight, he would not give them the victory, until they were thoroughly humbled and had learned to trust in him alone.
20:23. Yet so that they first went up and wept before the Lord until night: and consulted him and said: Shall I go out any more to fight against the children of Benjamin my brethren or not? And he answered them: Go up against them, and join battle.
20:24. When the children of Israel went out the next day to fight against the children of Benjamin,
20:25. The children of Benjamin sallied forth out of the gates of Gabaa: and meeting them, made so great a slaughter of them, as to kill eighteen thousand men that drew the sword.
20:26. Wherefore all the children of Israel came to the house of God, and sat and wept before the Lord: and they fasted that day till the evening, and offered to him holocausts, and victims of peace offerings,
20:27. and inquired of him concerning their state. At that time the ark of the covenant of the Lord was there,
20:28. and Phinees, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, was over the house. So they consulted the Lord, and said: Shall we go out any more to fight against the children of Benjamin, our brethren, or shall we cease? And the Lord said to them: Go up, for tomorrow I will deliver them into your hands.
20:29. The children of Israel set ambushes round about the city of Gabaa:
20:30. and they drew up their army against Benjamin the third time, as they had done the first and second.
20:31. The children of Benjamin boldly issued out of the city, and seeing their enemies flee, pursued them a long way, so as to wound and kill some of them, as they had done the first and second day, while they fled by two highways, whereof one goes up to Bethel and the other to Gabaa, and they slew about thirty men:
20:32. For they thought to cut them off as they did before. But they artfully feigning a flight, designed to draw them away from the city, and by their seeming to flee, to bring them to the highways aforesaid.
20:33. Then all the children of Israel rising up out of the places where they were, set their army in battle array, in the place which is called Baalthamar. The ambushes also, which were about the city, began by little and little to come forth,
20:34. and to march from the west side of the city. And other ten thousand men chosen out of all Israel, attacked the inhabitants of the city. And the battle grew hot against the children of Benjamin: and they understood not that present death threatened them on every side.
20:35. The Lord defeated them before the children of Israel, and they slew of them in that day five and twenty thousand, and one hundred, all fighting men, and that drew the sword.
20:36. But the children of Benjamin, when they saw themselves to be too weak, began to flee. Which the children of Israel seeing, gave them place to flee, that they might come to the ambushes that were prepared, which they had set near the city.
20:37. They that were in ambush arose on a sudden out of their coverts, and while Benjamin turned their backs to the slayers, went into the city, and smote it with the edge of the sword.
20:38. Now the children of Israel had given a sign to them, whom they had laid in ambushes, that after they had taken the city, they should make a fire: that by the smoke rising on high, they might show that the city was taken.
20:39. When the children of Israel saw this in the battle, (for the children of Benjamin thought they fled, and pursued them vigorously, killing thirty men of their army)
20:40. and perceived, as it were, a pillar of smoke rise up from the city; and Benjamin looking back, saw that the city was taken, and that the flames ascended on high:
20:41. They that before had made as if they fled, turning their faces, stood bravely against them. Which the children of Benjamin seeing, turned their backs,
20:42. and began to go towards the way of the desert, the enemy pursuing them there also. They that fired the city came also out to meet them.
20:43. So it was, that they were slain on both sides by the enemies, and there was no rest of their men dying. They fell and were beaten down on the east side of the city of Gabaa.
20:44. They that were slain in the same place, were eighteen thousand men, all most valiant soldiers.
20:45. When they that remained of Benjamin saw this, they fled into the wilderness, and made towards the rock that is called Remmon. In that flight also, as they were straggling, and going different ways; they slew of them five thousand men. And as they went farther, they still pursued them, and slew also other two thousand.
20:46. So it came to pass, that all that were slain of Benjamin, in diverse places, were five and twenty thousand fighting men, most valiant for war.
20:47. There remained of all the number of Benjamin only six hundred men that were able to escape, and flee to the wilderness: and they abode in the rock Remmon four months.
20:48. But the children of Israel returning, put all the remains of the city to the sword, both men and beasts, and all the cities and villages of Benjamin were consumed with devouring flames.
Judges Chapter 21
The tribe of Benjamin is saved from being utterly extinct, by providing wives for the six hundred that remained.
21:1. Now the children of Israel had also sworn in Maspha, saying: None of us shall give of his daughters to the children of Benjamin to wife.
21:2. They all came to the house of God in Silo, and sitting before him till the evening, lifted up their voices, and began to lament and weep, saying:
21:3. O Lord God of Israel, why is so great an evil come to pass in your people, that this day one tribe should be taken away from among us?
21:4. Rising early the next day, they built an altar: and offered there holocausts, and victims of peace, and they said:
21:5. Who is there among all the tribes of Israel that came not up with the army of the Lord? For they had bound themselves with a great oath, when they were in Maspha, that whoever were wanting should be slain.
21:6. The children of Israel being moved with repentance for their brother Benjamin, began to say: One tribe is taken away from Israel.
21:7. Whence shall they take wives? For we have all in general sworn, not to give our daughters to them.
21:8. Therefore they said: Who is there of all the tribes of Israel, that came not up to the Lord to Maspha? And, behold, the inhabitants of Jabes Galaad were found not to have been in that army.
21:9. (At that time also when they were in Silo, no one of them was found there,)
21:10. So they sent ten thousand of the most valiant men, and commanded them, saying: Go and put the inhabitants of Jabes Galaad to the sword, with their wives and their children.
21:11. This is what you shall observe: Every male, and all women that have known men, you shall kill, but the virgins you shall save.
21:12. There were found of Jabes Galaad four hundred virgins, that had not known the bed of a man, and they brought them to the camp in Silo, into the land of Canaan.
21:13. They sent messengers to the children of Benjamin, that were in the rock Remmon, and commanded them to receive them in peace.
21:14. The children of Benjamin came at that time, and wives were given them of Jabes Galaad: but they found no others, whom they might give in like manner.
21:15. All Israel was very sorry, and repented for the destroying of one tribe out of Israel.
21:16. The ancients said: What shall we do with the rest, that have not received wives? For all the women in Benjamin are dead.
21:17. We must use all care, and provide with great diligence, that one tribe be not destroyed out of Israel.
21:18. For as to our own daughters we cannot give them, being bound with an oath and a curse, whereby we said: Cursed be he that shall give Benjamin any of his daughters to wife.
21:19. So they took counsel, and said: Behold, there is a yearly solemnity of the Lord in Silo, which is situate on the north of the city of Bethel, and on the east side of the way, that goes from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of the town of Lebona.
21:20. They commanded the children of Benjamin and said: Go, and lie hid in the vineyards,
21:21. When you shall see the daughters of Silo come out, as the custom is, to dance, come on a sudden out of the vineyards, and catch you every man his wife among them, and go into the land of Benjamin.
21:22. When their fathers and their brethren shall come, and shall begin to complain against you, and to chide, we will say to them: Have pity on them: for they took them not away as by the right of war or conquest, but when they asked to have them, you gave them not, and the fault was committed on your part.
21:23. The children of Benjamin did as they had been commanded: and, according to their number, they carried off for themselves every man his wife of them that were dancing: and they went into their possession, and built up their cities, and dwelt in them.
21:24. The children of Israel also returned by their tribes, and families, to their dwellings. In those days there was no king in Israel: but everyone did that which seemed right to himself.
Illustrated Bible Dictionary
---excerpt from the Illustrated Bible Dictionary
Book of Judges - Is so called because it contains the history of the deliverance and government of Israel by the men who bore the title of the "judges." The book of Ruth originally formed part of this book, but about A.D. 450 it was separated from it and placed in the Hebrew scriptures immediately after the Song of Solomon. The book contains,
(1.) An introduction (Judges 1 - 3:6), connecting it with the previous narrative in Joshua, as a "link in the chain of books."
(2.) The history of the thirteen judges (Judges 3:7 - 16:31) see table:
Thirteen Judges Years
FIRST PERIOD (Judges 3:7 - 5)
Servitude under Chushan-rishathaim of Mesopotamia
OTHNIEL delivers Israel-rest
Servitude under Eglon of Moab: Ammon, Amalek
SHAMGAR Servitude under Jabin of Hazor in Canaan DEBORAH BARAK 8 40 18 80 Unknown 20 40
First period total of years 206
SECOND PERIOD (Judges 6 - 10:5)
Servitude under Midian, Amalek, and children of the east
GIDEON, ABIMELECH, Gideon's son, reigns as king over Israel
JAIR 7 40 3 23 22
Second period total of years 95
THIRD PERIOD (Judges 10:6)
Servitude under Ammonites with the Philistines
JEPHTHAH IBZAN ELON ABDON 18 6 7 10 8
Third period total of years 49
FOURTH PERIOD (Judges 13 - 16)
Servitude under Philistines
SAMSON 40 20 Fourth period total of years 60
Total of four periods 410
Samson's exploits probably synchronize with the period immediately preceding the national repentance and reformation under Samuel (1 Samuel 7:2). After Samson came Eli, who was both high priest and judge. He directed the civil and religious affairs of the people for forty years, at the close of which the Philistines again invaded the land and oppressed it for twenty years. Samuel was raised up to deliver the people from this oppression, and he judged Israel for some twelve years, when the direction of affairs fell into the hands of Saul, who was anointed king. If Eli and Samuel are included, there were then fifteen judges. But the chronology of this whole period is uncertain.
(3.) The historic section of the book is followed by an appendix (Judges 17 - 21), which has no formal connection with that which goes before. It records
(a) the conquest (Judges 17:1, Judges 18) of Laish by a portion of the tribe of Dan; and
(b) the almost total extinction of the tribe of Benjamin by the other tribes, in consequence of their assisting the men of Gibeah (Judges 19 - 21). This section properly belongs to the period only a few years after the death of Joshua. It shows the religious and moral degeneracy of the people. The author of this book was most probably Samuel. The internal evidence both of the first sixteen chapters and of the appendix warrants this conclusion. It was probably composed during Saul's reign, or at the very beginning of David's. The words in Judges 18:30, Judges 18:31, imply that it was written after the taking of the ark by the Philistines, and after it was set up at Nob (1 Samuel 21:1). In David's reign the ark was at Gibeon (1 Chronicles 16:39)