Reading 77/341, 1 Samuel 5-8

[A] Yesterday, the Israelites learned that they could not just use the ark of the Lord as a sort of weapon. Today, the Philistines learn that even if the Lord will not allow his own people to use him, he will so much the less allow himself to be a prize of war.
[B] The second part of the reading is rather ironic. The people want a king because they do not want Samuel's sons to succeed him, as if they do not realize that that will happen when the king has his sons succeed him. They order Samuel around in a way that they will never be able to order a king around. Yet they still want a king, so that they can be like every other nation. As if all we have read so far does not matter, as if God had no other plans for them than to be like every other nation.

...1 Samuel...

The Philistines had taken the ark of God, and they brought it from Ebenezer to Ashdod. The Philistines took the ark of God and brought it into the house of Dagon and set it beside Dagon. When the people of Ashdod arose early on the next day, behold, Dagon had fallen with his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord. They took Dagon and set him in his place again. When they arose early on the next morning, behold, Dagon was fallen with his face to the ground before the ark of the Lord, and the head of Dagon and both of his hands lay cut off on the threshold; only the trunk of Dagon was left to him. Therefore neither the priests of Dagon nor any who come into Dagon's house tread on the threshold of Dagon in Ashdod, to this day. But the hand of the Lord was heavy on the people of Ashdod, and he destroyed them, and afflicted them with tumors, Ashdod and its territory. When the men of Ashdod saw that it was so, they said, “The ark of the God of Israel shall not abide with us; for his hand is hard against us, and against Dagon our god. They sent therefore and gathered all the lords of the Philistines together, and said, “What shall we do with the ark of the God of Israel?” They answered, “Let the ark of the God of Israel be carried over to Gath.” They carried the ark of the God of Israel there. But then, after they had carried it over, the hand of the Lord was against the city, causing a very great confusion, and he struck the men of the city, both young and old, and tumors broke out on them. So they sent the ark of God to Ekron. It happened, as the ark of God came to Ekron, that the Ekronites cried out, saying, “They have brought the ark of the God of Israel to us, to kill us and our people.” They sent therefore and gathered together all the lords of the Philistines, and they said, “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to its own place, lest it kill us and our people.” For there was a deadly confusion throughout the whole city; the hand of God was very heavy there. The men who did not die were struck with the tumors, and the cry of the city went up to heaven. The ark of the Lord was in the country of the Philistines seven months.

The Philistines called for the priests and the diviners, saying, “What shall we do with the ark of the Lord? Tell us with what we shall send it to its place.” They said, “If you send away the ark of the God of Israel, do not send it empty, but by all means return him a guilt offering, then you shall be healed, and it shall be known to you why his hand does not turn away from you.” Then they said, “What shall be the guilt offering which we shall return to him?” They said, “Five golden tumors, and five golden mice, according to the number of the lords of the Philistines; for one disease was on you all, and on your lords. Therefore you shall make images of your tumors, and images of your mice that ravage the land, and you shall give glory to the God of Israel, perhaps he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods, and from off your land. Why then do you harden your hearts, as the Egyptians and Pharaoh hardened their hearts? When he had worked wonderfully among them, did they not let the people go, and they departed? Now therefore take and prepare yourselves a new cart, and two milk cows, on which there has come no yoke, and tie the cows to the cart, and bring their calves home from them, and take the ark of the Lord, and lay it on the cart, and put the figures of gold, which you return to him for a guilt offering, in a coffer by the side of it, and send it away, that it may go. Behold; if it goes up by the way of its own border to Beth-shemesh, then he has done us this great evil, but if not, then we shall know that it is not his hand that struck us; it was by chance that it happened to us.” The men did so, and took two milk cows, and tied them to the cart, and shut up their calves at home, and they put the ark of the Lord on the cart, and the coffer with the mice of gold and the images of their tumors. The cows went straight on the way to Beth-shemesh; they went along the highway, lowing as they went, and did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left, and the lords of the Philistines went after them to the border of Beth-shemesh.

The people of Beth-shemesh were reaping their wheat harvest in the valley, and they lifted up their eyes, and saw the ark, and rejoiced to see it. The cart came into the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh, and stood there, where there was a great stone, and they split the wood of the cart, and offered up the cows for a burnt offering to the Lord. The Levites took down the ark of the Lord, and the coffer that was with it, in which the figures of gold were, and put them on the great stone, and the men of Beth-shemesh offered burnt offerings and sacrificed sacrifices on that day to the Lord. When the five lords of the Philistines had seen it, they returned to Ekron the same day. These are the golden tumors which the Philistines returned for a guilt offering to the Lord: for Ashdod one, for Gaza one, for Ashkelon one, for Gath one, for Ekron one, and the golden mice, according to the number of all the cities of the Philistines belonging to the five lords, both fortified cities and unwalled villages, to the great stone, on which they set down the ark of the Lord. The stone remains to this day in the field of Joshua of Beth-shemesh. He struck some of the men of Beth-shemesh, because they had looked upon the ark of the Lord, he struck of the people seventy men, and the people mourned, because the Lord had struck the people with a great slaughter. The men of Beth-shemesh said, “Who is able to stand before the Lord, this holy God? And to whom shall he go up from us?” They sent messengers to the inhabitants of Kiriath-jearim, saying, “The Philistines have brought back the ark of the Lord; come down and take it up to you.” The men of Kiriath-jearim came, and brought up the ark of the Lord, and brought it into the house of Abinadab on the hill, and sanctified his son Eleazar to keep the ark of the Lord. It happened, from the day that the ark dwelt in Kiriath-jearim, a long time passed, for it was twenty years, and all the house of Israel lamented after the Lord.

Samuel spoke to all the house of Israel, saying, “If you would return to the Lord with all your heart, then put away the foreign gods and the Ashtaroth from among you, and direct your hearts to the Lord, and serve him only, and he will deliver you out of the hand of the Philistines.” Then the children of Israel put away the Baals and the Ashtaroth, and served the Lord only. Samuel said, “Gather all Israel to Mizpah, and I will pray for you to the Lord.” They gathered together at Mizpah, and drew water, and poured it out before the Lord, and fasted on that day, and said there, “We have sinned against the Lord.” Samuel judged the children of Israel in Mizpah. When the Philistines heard that the children of Israel were gathered together at Mizpah, the lords of the Philistines went up against Israel. When the children of Israel heard it, they were afraid of the Philistines. The children of Israel said to Samuel, "Do not cease to cry to the Lord our God for us, that he will save us out of the hand of the Philistines.” Samuel took a suckling lamb, and offered it for a whole burnt offering to the Lord, and Samuel cried to the Lord for Israel, and the Lord answered him. As Samuel was offering up the burnt offering, the Philistines drew near to battle against Israel, but the Lord thundered with a great thunder on that day against the Philistines, and confused them, and they were struck down before Israel. The men of Israel went out of Mizpah, and pursued the Philistines, and struck them, until they came below Beth-kar. Then Samuel took a stone, and set it between Mizpah and Shen, and called the name of it Ebenezer, saying, “Until now the Lord has helped us.” So the Philistines were subdued, and they came no longer within the border of Israel, and the hand of the Lord was against the Philistines all the days of Samuel. The cities which the Philistines had taken from Israel were restored to Israel, from Ekron to Gath, and the territories of it Israel delivered out of the hand of the Philistines. And there was peace between Israel and the Amorites. Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life. He went from year to year in circuit to Bethel and Gilgal, and Mizpah, and he judged Israel in all those places. He would return to Ramah, for his house was there, and there also he judged Israel, and he built there an altar to the Lord.

It happened, when Samuel was old, that he made his sons judges over Israel. Now the name of his firstborn was Joel, and the name of his second, Abijah. They were judges in Beersheba. His sons did not walk in his ways, but turned aside after profit, and took bribes, and perverted justice. Then all the elders of Israel gathered themselves together, and came to Samuel at Ramah, and they said to him, “Behold, you are old, and your sons do not walk in your ways, now make for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” But the thing displeased Samuel, when they said, “Give us a king to judge us.” Samuel prayed to the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to the voice of the people in all that they tell you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me as king over them. According to all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up out of Egypt to this day, in that they have forsaken me, and served other gods, so they also do to you. Now therefore listen to their voice. However, you shall protest solemnly to them, and shall show them the manner of the king who shall reign over them.” Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who asked of him a king. He said, “This will be the manner of the king who shall reign over you: he will take your sons, and appoint them to his chariots, and to be his horsemen, and to run before his chariots, and he will appoint them as captains of thousands, and captains of fifties, and to plow his ground, and to reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and the instruments of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers, and to be cooks, and to be bakers. He will take your fields, and your vineyards, and your olive groves, the best of them, and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your seed, and of your vineyards, and give it to his officers, and to his servants. He will take your male servants, and your female servants, and your best young men, and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. You shall cry out in that day because of your king whom you shall have chosen for yourselves, and the Lord will not answer you on that day.” But the people refused to listen to the voice of Samuel, and they said, “No, but we will have a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us, and go out before us, and fight our battles.” Samuel heard all the words of the people, and he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. The Lord said to Samuel, “Listen to their voice, and make them a king.” Samuel said to the men of Israel, “Go every man to his city.”

Reading 76/341, 1 Samuel 1-4

Today we begin the book of Samuel. This book is about Samuel, the last judge of Israel.

1 Samuel...

There was a certain man of Ramathaim-zophim, of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephraimite. He had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of other Peninnah, and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children. Every year, this man went up from his city to worship and to sacrifice to the Lord of Hosts in Shiloh. The two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, priests to the Lord, were there. When the day came that Elkanah sacrificed, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions, but to Hannah he gave a double portion, for he loved Hannah though the Lord had shut up her womb. Her rival seriously provoked her, to make her fret, because the Lord had shut up her womb. Thus she did, year by year, when she went up to the house of the Lord, she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat. Elkanah her husband said to her, “Hannah, why do you weep? And why do not you eat? And why is your heart grieved? Am I not more to you than ten sons?”

Hannah got up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest was sitting on his seat by the doorpost of the temple of the Lord. She was in bitterness of soul, and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly. She vowed a vow, and said, “O Lord of Hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your handmaid, and remember me, and not forget your handmaid, but will give to your handmaid a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come on his head.” It happened, as she continued praying before the Lord, that Eli noticed her mouth. Now Hannah spoke in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard, therefore Eli thought she was drunk. Eli said to her, “How long will you make this drunken show? Put your wine away from you.” Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit, I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I poured out my soul before the Lord. Do not think your handmaid a wicked woman, for all along out of the abundance of my complaint and my provocation have I spoken.” Then Eli answered, “Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant your petition that you have asked of him.” She said, “Let your handmaid find favor in your sight.” So the woman went her way, and ate, and her face was no longer sad. They rose up in the morning early, and worshiped before the Lord, and returned, and came to their house in Ramah, and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife, and the Lord remembered her. It happened in due time, that Hannah conceived, and bore a son, and she named him Samuel [Hearing God], saying, “Because I have asked for him from the Lord.”

The man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer to the Lord the yearly sacrifice and to pay his vow. But Hannah did not go up, for she said to her husband, “When the child is weaned, I will bring him, that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide forever.” Elkanah her husband said to her, “Do what seems best to you; wait until you have weaned him; only, may the Lord establish his word.” So the woman waited and nursed her son, until she weaned him. When she had weaned him, she took him up with her, along with a three-year-old bull, and one ephah of meal, and a bottle of wine, and brought him to the house of the Lord at Shiloh. The child was young. They killed the bull, and brought the child to Eli. She said, “O, my lord, as your soul lives, my lord, I am the woman who stood by you here, praying to the Lord. For this child I prayed, and the Lord has given me my petition which I asked of him. Therefore I have given him to the Lord. As long as he lives, he is given to the Lord.” He worshiped the Lord there.

Hannah prayed, and said, “My heart exults in the Lord! My horn is exalted in the Lord. My mouth derides my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. There is no one as holy as the Lord, for there is no one besides you, nor is there any rock like our God. No longer talk so exceedingly proud. Do not let arrogance come out of your mouth, for the Lord is a God of knowledge. By him actions are weighed. The bows of the mighty men are broken. Those who stumbled are girded with strength. Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread. Those who were hungry have ceased to hunger. Yes, the barren has borne seven. She who has many children languishes. The Lord kills, and makes alive. He brings down to Sheol, and brings up. The Lord makes poor, and makes rich. He brings low, he also lifts up. He raises up the poor out of the dust. He lifts up the needy from the dunghill, to make them sit with princes, and inherit the throne of glory. For the pillars of the earth are the Lord's; he has set the world on them. He will keep the feet of his holy ones, but the wicked shall be put to silence in darkness; for no man shall prevail by strength. Those who strive with the Lord shall be broken to pieces. He will thunder against them in heaven. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. He will give strength to his king, and exalt the horn of his anointed.” Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. The child ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest.

Now the sons of Eli were worthless men; they did not know the Lord. The custom of the priests with the people was that when any man offered sacrifice, the priest's servant came, while the flesh was boiling, with a three-pronged fork in his hand, and he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot. Whatever that the fork brought up the priest took. So they did in Shiloh to all the Israelites who came there. Indeed, before they burned the fat, the priest's servant came, and said to the man who sacrificed, “Give flesh to roast for the priest, for he will not have boiled meat from you, but raw.” If the man said to him, “They will surely burn the fat first, and then take as much as your soul desires”, he would say, “No, but you shall give it me now, and if not, I will take it by force.” The sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for the men despised the offering of the Lord. But Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod. Moreover his mother made him a little robe, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice. Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, “May the Lord give you seed of this woman for the petition which was asked of the Lord.” They went to their own home. The Lord visited Hannah, and she conceived, and bore three sons and two daughters. The child Samuel grew before the Lord.

Now Eli was very old, and he heard all that his sons did to all Israel, and how they lay with the women who served at the entrance of the tent of meeting. He said to them, “Why do you do such things? For I hear of your evil dealings from all these people. No, my sons; it is not a good report that I hear. You make the Lord's people disobey. If one man sin against another, God shall mediate for him, but if a man sins against the Lord, who shall intercede for him?” Nevertheless, they did not listen to the voice of their father, because the Lord was minded to kill them. The child Samuel grew in stature and in favor both with the Lord, and also with men. There came a man of God to Eli, who said to him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Did I not reveal myself to the house of your father, when they were in Egypt, in bondage to Pharaoh's house? Did I not choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to go up to my altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? Did I not give to the house of your father all the offerings of the children of Israel made by fire? Why then do you scorn my sacrifices and my offerings, which I have commanded in my dwelling, and honor your sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the best of all the offerings of Israel my people?’ Therefore the Lord, the God of Israel, says, ‘I said indeed that your house, and the house of your father, should walk before me forever’, but now the Lord says, ‘Far be it from me; for those who honor me I will honor, and those who despise me shall be lightly esteemed. Behold, the days come, that I will cut off your arm, and the arm of your father's house, that there shall not be an old man in your house. Then in distress you will look with envious eye on all the prosperity that shall be bestowed on Israel, and there shall not be an old man in your house forever. The only one of you whom I shall not cut off from my altar shall be spared to consume your eyes with tears, and to grieve your heart, and all the increase of your house shall die as men. This shall be the sign to you, that shall come on your two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas: in one day they shall both die. I will raise up a faithful priest, who shall do according to what is in my heart and in my mind, and I will build him a sure house, and he shall walk before my anointed forever. It shall happen, that everyone who is left in your house shall come and bow down to him for a piece of silver and a loaf of bread, and shall say, “Please put me into one of the priests' offices, that I may eat a morsel of bread.”’”

The child Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. The word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. It happened at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place (his eyes had begun to grow dim, so that he could not see), and the lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel had laid down to sleep, in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, that the Lord called, “Samuel”, and he said, “Here I am.” He ran to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.” He said, “I did not call; lie down again.” He went and lay down. The Lord called yet again, “Samuel.” Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” He answered, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him. The Lord called “Samuel” again a third time. He arose and went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; for you called me.” Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child. Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and it shall be, if he calls you, that you shall say, “Speak, Lord; for your servant hears.” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. The Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, “Samuel, Samuel.” Then Samuel said, “Speak; for your servant hears.” The Lord said to Samuel, “Behold, I will do a thing in Israel at which both the ears of everyone who hears it shall tingle. On that day I will perform against Eli all that I have spoken concerning his house, from the beginning to the end. For I have told him that I will judge his house forever, for the iniquity which he knew, because his sons were blaspheming God, and he did not restrain them. Therefore I have sworn to the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli's house shall not be expiated with sacrifice nor offering forever.” Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. Samuel feared to tell Eli the vision. Then Eli called Samuel, and said, “Samuel, my son.” He said, “Here I am.” He said, “What is the thing that the Lord has spoken to you? Please do not hide it from me. God do so to you, and more also, if you hide anything from me of all the things that he spoke to you.” Samuel told him everything, and hid nothing from him. He said, “It is the Lord, let him do what seems good to him.” S

Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and let none of his words fall to the ground. All Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord appeared again in Shiloh; for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord. The word of Samuel came to all Israel. Now Israel went out against the Philistines to battle, and encamped beside Ebenezer, and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. The Philistines put themselves in array against Israel, and when they joined battle, Israel was struck before the Philistines, and they killed of the army in the field about four thousand men. When the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, “Why has the Lord struck us today before the Philistines? Let us get the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of Shiloh to us, that it may come among us, and save us out of the hand of our enemies.” So the people sent to Shiloh, and they brought from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of Hosts, who sits above the cherubim, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God. When the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted with a great shout, so that the earth resounded. When the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, “What does the noise of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean? They understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. The Philistines were afraid, for they said, “A god has come into the camp.” They said, “Woe to us! For nothing like this has happened before. Woe to us! Who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods that struck the Egyptians with all manner of diseases in the desert. Be strong, and behave yourselves like men, O you Philistines, lest you be servants to the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Act like men, and fight.” The Philistines fought, and Israel was struck, and they fled, every man to his tent, and there was a very great slaughter, for there fell of Israel thirty thousand footmen. The ark of God was taken, and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.

A man of Benjamin ran out of the army, and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn, and with dirt on his head. When he came, behold, Eli was sitting on his seat by the road watching, for his heart trembled for the ark of God. When the man came into the city, and told the news, all the city cried out. When Eli heard the noise of the crying, he said, “What does the noise of this tumult mean?” The man hurried, and came and told Eli. Now Eli was ninety-eight years old, and his eyes were set, so that he could not see. The man said to Eli, “I am he who came out of the army, and I fled today out of the army.” He said, “How went the matter, my son?” He who brought the news answered, Israel has fled before the Philistines, and there has also been a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken.” It happened, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell off his seat backward by the side of the gate, and his neck broke, and he died, for he was an old man and heavy. He had judged Israel forty years. His daughter-in-law, Phinehas' wife, was with child, near to delivery, and when she heard the news that the ark of God was taken, and that her father-in-law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and brought forth; for her labor came on her. About the time of her death the women who stood by her said to her, “Be not afraid; for you have brought forth a son.” But she did not answer, nor did she regard it. She named the child Ichabod [Not Glorious], saying, “The glory has departed from Israel”, because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father-in-law and her husband. She said, “The glory has departed from Israel, for the ark of God is taken.”

Reading 75/341, Ruth

[A] Today we have the entire book of Ruth. This short story is a delight after the violence of Judges.
[B] Remember the law of gleaning from the Pentateuch. When harvesting, a farmer had to leave behind the scraps to be gathered by the immigrant, the orphan, and the widow. This was nearly impossible work.

Ruth

It happened in the days when the judges judged, that there was a famine in the land. A certain man of Bethlehem in Judah went to sojourn in the country of Moab: he, and his wife, and his two sons. The name of the man was Elimelech, and the name of his wife Naomi, and the name of his two sons Mahlon and Chilion, Ephrathites of Bethlehem in Judah. They came into the country of Moab, and continued there. Elimelech, Naomi's husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They took wives from the women of Moab. The name of the one was Orpah, and the name of the other Ruth, and they lived there about ten years. Mahlon and Chilion both died both, and the woman was left without her two children and her husband. Then she arose with her daughters-in-law, so that she might return from the country of Moab, for she had heard in the fields of Moab how the Lord had visited his people in giving them bread. She went forth out of the place where she was, and her two daughters-in-law with her, and they went on the way to return to the land of Judah. Naomi said to her two daughters-in-law, “Go, return, each of you, to her mother's house. The Lord deal kindly with you, as you have dealt with the dead, and with me. The Lord grant you that you may find rest, each of you in the house of her husband.” Then she kissed them, and they lifted up their voice, and wept. They said to her, “No. We will return with you to your people.” Naomi said, “Turn back, my daughters. Why would you go with me? Have I yet sons in my womb, that they may be your husbands? Turn bacl, my daughters. Go your way, for I am too old to have a husband. Even if I should say, ‘I have hope’, even if I should have a husband tonight, and should also bear sons, would you wait until they were grown? Would you refrain from having husbands? No, my daughters, for it grieves me much for your sakes, for the hand of the Lord has gone forth against me.” They lifted up their voice, and wept again, and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her.

She said, “Behold, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people, and to her god. Return with your sister-in-law.” Ruth said, “Do not entreat me to leave you, and to return from following after you, for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge: your people shall be my people, and your God my God; where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. The Lord do thus to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.” When she saw that she was steadfastly minded to go with her, she left off speaking to her. So the two of them went until they came to Bethlehem. It happened, when they had come to Bethlehem, that all the city was stirred up about them. The women said, “Is this Naomi?” She said to them, “Do not call me Naomi [pleasant]. Call me Mara [bitter], for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty. Why do you call me Naomi, seeing the Lord has testified against me, and the Almighty has afflicted me?” So Naomi returned, and Ruth the Moabite, her daughter-in-law, with her, who returned out of the country of Moab, and they came to Bethlehem in the beginning of barley harvest.

Naomi had a kinsman of her husband's, a mighty man of wealth, of the family of Elimelech, and his name was Boaz. Ruth the Moabite said to Naomi, “Let me now go to the field, and glean among the ears of grain after him in whose sight I shall find favor.” She said to her, “Go, my daughter.” She went, and came and gleaned in the field after the reapers, and she happened to come to the portion of the field belonging to Boaz, who was of the family of Elimelech. Behold, Boaz came from Bethlehem, and said to the reapers, “The Lord be with you.” They answered him, “The Lord bless you.” Then Boaz said to his servant who was set over the reapers, “Whose young lady is this?” The servant who was set over the reapers answered, “It is the Moabite lady who came back with Naomi out of the country of Moab. She said, “Please let me glean and gather after the reapers among the sheaves.” So she came, and has continued from the morning until now, except for a short break.

Then Boaz said to Ruth, “Do you not hear, my daughter? Do not go to glean in another field, nor pass from hence, but abide here near my young women. Let your eyes be on the field that they reap, and go after them. Have I not charged the young men not to touch you? And when you are thirsty, go to the vessels, and drink of what the young men have drawn.” Then she fell on her face, and bowed herself to the ground, and said to him, “Why have I found favor in your sight, that you should take notice of me, seeing I am an immigrant?” Boaz answered her, “It has fully been told to me all that you have done for your mother-in-law since the death of your husband, and how you have left your father and your mother, and the land of your birth, and have come to a people that you did not know previously. The Lord repay your work, and a full reward be given you by the Lord, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Then she said, “Let me find favor in your sight, my lord, because you have comforted me, and because you have spoken kindly to your handmaid, though I am not one of your handmaidens.” At meal time Boaz said to her, “Come here, and eat of the bread, and dip your morsel in the vinegar.” She sat beside the reapers, and they passed her parched grain, and she ate, and was satisfied, and had some left over. When she was risen up to glean, Boaz commanded his young men, saying, “Let her glean among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. Also pull out some for her from the bundles, and leave it, and let her glean, and do not rebuke her.” So she gleaned in the field until evening, and she beat out what she had gleaned, and it was about an ephah of barley.

She took it up, and went into the city, and her mother-in-law saw what she had gleaned, and she brought out and gave to her what she had left over after she was satisfied. Her mother-in-law said to her, “Where have you gleaned today? Where have you worked? Blessed be he who took notice of you.” She showed her mother-in-law with whom she had worked, and said, “The man's name with whom I worked today is Boaz.” Naomi said to her daughter-in-law, “Blessed be he of the Lord, who has not left off his kindness to the living and to the dead.” Naomi said to her, “The man is a close relative to us, one of our near kinsmen.” Ruth the Moabite said, “Yes, and he said to me, ‘You shall keep fast by my young men, until they have ended all my harvest.’” Naomi said to Ruth her daughter-in-law, “It is good, my daughter, that you go out with his maidens, and that they not find you in any other field.” So she kept fast by the maidens of Boaz, to glean to the end of barley harvest and of wheat harvest, and she lived with her mother-in-law.

Naomi her mother-in-law said to her, “My daughter, shall I not seek rest for you, that it may be well with you? Is not Boaz our kinsman, with whose maidens you were? Behold, he winnows barley tonight on the threshing floor. Wash yourself therefore, and anoint yourself, and put on your cloak, and go down to the threshing floor, but do not make yourself known to the man, until he shall have done eating and drinking. It shall be, when he lies down, that you shall observe the place where he lies. Then go in and uncover his feet, and lay down, and he will tell you what you shall do.” She said to her, “All that you say I will do.” She went down to the threshing floor, and did according to all that her mother-in-law told her. When Boaz had eaten and drunk, and his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain, and she came softly, and uncovered his feet, and laid herself down. It happened at midnight, that the man was startled, and turned over, and behold, a woman lay at his feet. He said, “Who are you?” She answered, “I am Ruth your handmaid, spread therefore your skirt over your handmaid, for you are a near kinsman.” He said, “Blessed are you by the Lord, my daughter, you have shown more kindness in the latter end than at the beginning, inasmuch as you did not follow young men, whether poor or rich. Now, my daughter, do not be afraid; I will do to you all that you say; for all the city of my people knows that you are a worthy woman. Now it is true that I am a near kinsman, but there is a kinsman nearer than I. Stay this night, and it shall be in the morning, that if he will perform for you the part of a kinsman, let him do the kinsman's part, but if he will not do the part of a kinsman for you, then I will do the part of a kinsman for you, as the Lord lives. Lie down until the morning.” She lay at his feet until the morning. She rose up before one could recognize another. For he said, “Let it not be known that the woman came to the threshing floor.” He said, “Bring the mantle that is on you, and hold it”, and she held it, and he measured six measures of barley, and laid it on her, and he went into the city. When she came to her mother-in-law, she said, “How was it, my daughter?” She told her all that the man had done to her. She said, “He gave me these six measures of barley, for he said, ‘Do not go emptyhanded to your mother-in-law.’” Then said she, “Sit still, my daughter, until you know how the matter will fall; for the man will not rest, until he has finished the thing this day.”

Now Boaz went up to the gate, and sat himself down there, and behold, the near kinsman of whom Boaz spoke came by, to whom he said, “Friend, turn aside; sit down here.” He turned aside, and sat down. He took ten men of the elders of the city, and said, “Sit down here.” They sat down. He said to the near kinsman, “Naomi, who has come back out of the country of Moab, is selling the parcel of land, which was our brother Elimelech's, I thought to disclose it to you, saying, ‘Buy it before those who sit here, and before the elders of my people.’ If you will redeem it, redeem it, but if you will not redeem it, then tell me, that I may know, for there is no one to redeem it besides you, and I am after you.” He said, “I will redeem it.” Then Boaz said, “On the day you buy the field of the hand of Naomi, you must buy it also from Ruth the Moabite, the wife of the dead, to raise up the name of the dead on his inheritance.” The near kinsman said, “I cannot redeem it for myself, lest I mar my own inheritance. Take my right of redemption on you, for I cannot redeem it.” Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming and exchanging, to confirm all things, a man took off his sandal, and gave it to his neighbor, and this was the attestation in Israel. So when the near kinsman said to Boaz, “Buy it for yourself”, he took off his shoe. Boaz said to the elders, and to all the people, “You are witnesses this day, that I have bought all that was Elimelech's, and all that was Chilion's and Mahlon's, of the hand of Naomi. Moreover Ruth the Moabite, the wife of Mahlon, I have purchased to be my wife, to raise up the name of the dead on his inheritance, that the name of the dead not be cut off from among his brothers, and from the gate of his place, you are witnesses this day.” All the people who were in the gate, and the elders, said, “We are witnesses. The Lord make the woman who has come into your house like Rachel and like Leah, the two who built the house of Israel. Do worthily in Ephrathah, and be famous in Bethlehem, and let your house be like the house of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah, of the seed which the Lord shall give you by this young woman.”

So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife, and he went in to her, and the Lord gave her conception, and she bore a son. The women said to Naomi, “Blessed be the Lord, who has not left you this day without a near kinsman, and let his name be famous in Israel. He shall be to you a restorer of life, and sustain you in your old age, for your daughter-in-law, who loves you, who is better to you than seven sons, has borne him.” Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse to it. The women her neighbors gave it a name, saying, “There is a son born to Naomi”, and they named him Obed. He is the father of Jesse, the father of David. Now this is the history of the generations of Perez: Perez became the father of Hezron, and Hezron became the father of Ram, and Ram became the father of Amminadab, and Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, and Nahshon became the father of Salmon, and Salmon became the father of Boaz, and Boaz became the father of Obed, and Obed became the father of Jesse, and Jesse became the father of David.

Reading 74/341, Judges 20-21

Today we finish Judges. In the end, the Israelites have proven that they are just as bad as any other people.

...Judges

Then all the children of Israel went out, and the congregation was assembled as one man to the Lord at Mizpah, from Dan to Beersheba, along with the land of Gilead. The chiefs of all the people, of all the tribes of Israel, presented themselves in the assembly of the people of God, 400,000 footmen who drew sword. Now the children of Benjamin heard that the children of Israel had gone up to Mizpah. The children of Israel said, “Tell us, how was this wickedness brought to pass?” The Levite, the husband of the woman who was murdered, answered, “I came into Gibeah that belongs to Benjamin, I and my concubine, to lodge. The men of Gibeah rose against me, and beset the house round about me by night. They would have killed me, and they did rape my concubine, and she is dead. I took my concubine, and cut her in pieces, and sent her throughout all the country of the inheritance of Israel, for they have committed abomination and outrage in Israel. Behold, you children of Israel, all of you, give here your advice and counsel.” All the people arose as one man, saying, “We will not any of us go to his tent, nor will any of us turn to his house. But now this is the thing which we will do to Gibeah: we will go up against it by lot, and we will take ten men of one hundred throughout all the tribes of Israel, and one hundred of one thousand, and a thousand out of ten thousand, to get food for the people, that they may do, when they come to Gibeah of Benjamin, according to all the outrage that they have worked in Israel.” So all the men of Israel were gathered against the city, knit together as one man.

The tribes of Israel sent men through all the tribe of Benjamin, saying, “What wickedness is this that has happened among you? Now therefore deliver up the men, the base fellows, who are in Gibeah, that we may put them to death, and put away evil from Israel.” But Benjamin would not listen to the voice of their brothers the children of Israel. The children of Benjamin gathered themselves together from the cities to Gibeah, to go out to battle against the children of Israel. The children of Benjamin were numbered on that day out of the cities 26,000 men who drew the sword, besides the inhabitants of Gibeah, who were numbered seven hundred chosen men. Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen left-handed men, each of whom could sling stones at a hair-width, and not miss. The men of Israel, besides Benjamin, were numbered four hundred thousand men who drew the sword, all these were men of war. The children of Israel arose, and went up to Bethel, and asked counsel of God, and they said, “Who shall go up for us first to battle against the children of Benjamin?” The Lord said, “Judah first.” The children of Israel rose up in the morning, and encamped against Gibeah. The men of Israel went out to battle against Benjamin, and the men of Israel set the battle in array against them at Gibeah. The children of Benjamin came forth out of Gibeah, and destroyed down to the ground of the Israelites on that day 22,000 men. The people, the men of Israel, encouraged themselves, and set the battle again in array in the place where they set themselves in array the first day. The children of Israel went up and wept before the Lord until evening, and they asked of the Lord, saying, “Shall I again draw near to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother?” The Lord said, “Go up against him.” The children of Israel came near against the children of Benjamin the second day. Benjamin went forth against them out of Gibeah the second day, and destroyed down to the ground of the children of Israel again 18,000 men; all these drew the sword.

Then all the children of Israel, and all the people, went up, and came to Bethel, and wept, and sat there before the Lord, and fasted that day until evening, and they offered burnt offerings and peace offerings before the Lord. The children of Israel asked of the Lord (for the ark of the covenant of God was there in those days, and Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron, stood before it in those days), saying, “Shall I yet again go out to battle against the children of Benjamin my brother, or shall I cease?” The Lord said, “Go up; for tomorrow I will deliver him into your hand.” Israel set ambushes all around Gibeah. The children of Israel went up against the children of Benjamin on the third day, and set themselves in array against Gibeah, as at other times. The children of Benjamin went out against the people, and were drawn away from the city, and they began to strike and kill of the people, as at other times, in the highways, of which one goes up to Bethel, and the other to Gibeah, in the field, about thirty men of Israel. The children of Benjamin said, “They are struck down before us, as at first.” But the children of Israel said, “Let us flee, and draw them away from the city to the highways.” All the men of Israel rose up out of their place, and set themselves in array at Baal-tamar, and the ambushers of Israel broke forth out of their place, out of Maareh-geba. There came over against Gibeah 10,000 chosen men out of all Israel, and the battle was serious, but they did not know that evil was close on them. The Lord struck Benjamin before Israel, and the children of Israel destroyed of Benjamin that day 25,100 men, all these drew the sword.

So the children of Benjamin saw that they were struck, for the men of Israel gave ground to Benjamin, because they trusted the ambushers whom they had set against Gibeah. The ambushers hurried, and rushed on Gibeah, and the ambushers drew themselves along, and struck all the city with the edge of the sword. Now the appointed sign between the men of Israel and the ambushers was that they should make a great cloud of smoke rise up out of the city. The men of Israel turned in the battle, and Benjamin began to strike and kill of the men of Israel about thirty persons; for they said, “Surely they are struck down before us, as in the first battle.” But when the cloud began to arise up out of the city in a pillar of smoke, the Benjamites looked behind them, and behold, the whole of the city went up in smoke to the sky. The men of Israel turned, and the men of Benjamin were dismayed; for they saw that evil had come on them. Therefore they turned their backs before the men of Israel to the way of the desert, but the battle followed hard after them, and those who came out of the cities destroyed them in the midst of it. They enclosed the Benjamites round about, chased them, and trod them down at their resting place, as far as over against Gibeah toward the sunrise. There fell of Benjamin 18,000 men, all of whom were men of valor. They turned and fled toward the desert to the rock of Rimmon, and they gleaned of them in the highways five thousand men, and followed hard after them to Gidom, and struck 2000 of them. So that, all who fell that day of Benjamin were 25,000 men who drew the sword. All these were men of valor. But six hundred men turned and fled toward the desert to the rock of Rimmon, and abode in the rock of Rimmon four months. The men of Israel turned again on the children of Benjamin, and struck them with the edge of the sword, both the entire city, and the livestock, and all that they found, moreover all the cities which they found they set on fire.

Now the men of Israel had sworn in Mizpah, saying, “None of us shall give his daughter to Benjamin as wife.” The people came to Bethel, an sat there until evening before God, and lifted up their voices, and wept bitterly. They said, “O Lord, the God of Israel, why has this happened in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel?” It happened on the next day that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. The children of Israel said, “Who is there among all the tribes of Israel who did not come up in the assembly to the Lord?” For they had made a great oath concerning him who did not come up to the Lord at Mizpah, saying, “He shall surely be put to death.” The children of Israel grieved for Benjamin their brother, and said, “There is one tribe cut off from Israel this day. How shall we do for wives for those who remain, seeing we have sworn by the Lord that we will not give them of our daughters to wives?” They said, “Who of the tribes of Israel did not come up to the Lord to Mizpah?” Behold, there came no one to the camp from Jabesh-gilead to the assembly. For when the people were numbered, behold, there were not any of the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead there. The congregation sent there 12,000 men of the most valiant, and commanded them, saying, “Go and strike the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead with the edge of the sword, with the women and the little ones. This is the thing that you shall do, you shall utterly destroy every male, and every woman who has lain by man.” They found among the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead four hundred young virgins, who had not known man by lying with him, and they brought them to the camp to Shiloh, which is in the land of Canaan. The whole congregation sent and spoke to the children of Benjamin who were in the rock of Rimmon, and proclaimed peace to them. Benjamin returned at that time, and they gave them the women whom they had saved alive of the women of Jabesh-gilead, and yet so they were not enough for them.

The people grieved for Benjamin, because the Lord had made a breach in the tribes of Israel. Then the elders of the congregation said, “How shall we do for wives for those who remain, seeing the women are destroyed out of Benjamin?” They said, “There must be an inheritance for those who are escaped of Benjamin, that a tribe not be blotted out from Israel. However we may not give them wives of our daughters, for the children of Israel had sworn, saying, “Cursed be he who gives a wife to Benjamin.” They said, “Behold, there is a feast of the Lord from year to year in Shiloh, which is on the north of Bethel, on the east side of the highway that goes up from Bethel to Shechem, and on the south of Lebonah. They commanded the children of Benjamin, saying, “Go and lie in wait in the vineyards, and see, and behold, if the daughters of Shiloh come out to dance in the dances, then come out of the vineyards, and each man catches his wife of the daughters of Shiloh, and go to the land of Benjamin. It shall be, when their fathers or their brothers come to complain to us, that we will say to them, Grant them graciously to us, because we did not take for each man his wife in battle, nor did you give them to them, else would you now be guilty. The children of Benjamin did so, and took wives for themselves, according to their number, of those who danced, whom they carried off, and they went and returned to their inheritance, and built the cities, and lived in them. The children of Israel departed there at that time, every man to his tribe and to his family, and they went out from there every man to his inheritance. In those days there was no king in Israel, every man did what was right in his own eyes.

Reading 73/341, Judges 17-19

Two stories today. The moral of each is that Israel is as bad as anyone. In the first paragraph there is an oft quoted line from Judges, "In those days there was no king in Israel. Every man did what was right in his own eyes." The second story is to be continued tomorrow.

...Judges...

There was a man of the hill country of Ephraim, whose name was Micah. He said to his mother, “The eleven hundred pieces of silver that were taken from you, about which you uttered a curse, and also spoke it in my ears, behold, the silver is with me; I took it.” His mother said, “Blessed be my son by the Lord.” He restored the eleven hundred pieces of silver to his mother, and his mother said, “I most certainly dedicate the silver to the Lord from my hand for my son, to make an engraved image and a molten image.” “Now therefore I will restore it to you.” When he restored the money to his mother, his mother took two hundred pieces of silver, and gave them to the silversmith, who made of it an engraved image and a molten image, and it was in the house of Micah. The man Micah had a shrine, and he made an ephod, and household gods, and consecrated one of his sons as his priest. In those days there was no king in Israel. Every man did what was right in his own eyes. There was a young man out of Bethlehem in Judah, of the family of Judah, who was a Levite, and he sojourned there. The man departed out of the city, out of Bethlehem in Judah, to sojourn where he could find a place, and he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah, as he traveled. Micah said to him, “Where have you come from?” He said to him, “I am a Levite of Bethlehem in Judah, and I am going to sojourn wherever I find a place.” Micah said to him, “Dwell with me, and be to me a father and a priest, and I will give you ten pieces of silver each the year, and a suit of clothing, and your food.” So the Levite went in. The Levite was content to dwell with the man, and the young man was to him as one of his sons. Micah consecrated the Levite, and the young man became his priest, and was in the house of Micah. Then said Micah, “Now I know that the Lord will do me good, seeing as I have a Levite as my priest.”

In those days there was no king in Israel, and in those days the tribe of Dan sought an inheritance to dwell in, for to that day their inheritance had not fallen to them from among the tribes of Israel. The children of Dan sent from five men from the whole number of their tribe, men of valor, from Zorah, and from Eshtaol, to spy out the land, and to explore it, and they said to them, “Go, explore the land. They came to the hill country of Ephraim, to the house of Micah, and lodged there. When they were by the house of Micah, they knew the voice of the young man the Levite, and they turned aside there, and said to him, “Who brought you here? And what do you in this place? And what do you do here?” He said to them, “Thus and thus has Micah dealt with me, and he has hired me, and I have become his priest.” They said to him, “Inquire of God, we beg you, that we may know whether the way which we go shall be prosperous.” The priest said to them, “Go in peace. The way in which you go is under the eye of the Lord.” Then the five men departed, and came to Laish, and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking nothing that is in the earth, possessing wealth, and they were far from the Sidonians, and had no dealings with any man. They came to their brothers at Zorah and Eshtaol, and their brothers said to them, “What do you say?” They said, “Arise, and let us go up against them, for we have seen the land, and behold, it is very good. Will you stand still? Do not be slothful to go and to enter in to possess the land. When you go, you shall come to an unsuspecting people, and the land is large, for God has given it into your hand, a place where there is no want of anything that is in the earth.” There set forth from there of the family of the Danites, out of Zorah and out of Eshtaol, six hundred men girt with weapons of war. They went up, and encamped in Kiriath-jearim, in Judah. Therefore the place is called Mahaneh-dan [Camp of Dan] to this day; behold, it is west of Kiriath-jearim. They passed there to the hill country of Ephraim, and came to the house of Micah.

Then the five men who went to spy out the country of Laish answered, and said to their brothers, “Do you know that there is in these houses an ephod, and household gods, and an engraved image, and a molten image? Now therefore consider what you have to do.” They turned aside there, and came to the house of the young man, the Levite, to the house of Micah, and asked him of his welfare. The six hundred men girt with their weapons of war, who were of the children of Dan, stood by the entrance of the gate. The five men who went to spy out the land went up, and came in there, and took the engraved image, and the ephod, and the household gods, and the molten image, and the priest stood by the entrance of the gate with the six hundred men girt with weapons of war. When they went into Micah's house, and fetched the engraved image, the ephod, and the household gods, and the molten image, the priest said to them, “What are you doing?” They said to him, “Hold your peace. Lay your hand on your mouth, and go with us, and be to us a father and a priest. Is it better for you to be priest to the house of one man, or to be priest to a tribe and a family in Israel?” The priest's heart was glad, and he took the ephod, and the household gods, and the engraved image, and went in the midst of the people. So they turned and departed, and put the little ones and the livestock and the goods before them. When they were a good way from the house of Micah, the men who were in the houses near to Micah's house were gathered together, and overtook the children of Dan. They cried to the children of Dan, who turned their faces, and said to Micah, “What’s the matter, that you come with such a company?” He said, “You have taken away my gods which I made, and the priest, and are gone away, and what else do I have? How dare you say to me, ‘What’s the matter?’” The children of Dan said to him, “Do not let your voice be heard among us, lest angry fellows fall on you, and you lose your life, with the lives of your household.” The children of Dan went their way, and when Micah saw that they were too strong for him, he turned and went back to his house. They took what Micah had made, and the priest whom he had, and came to Laish, to a people quiet and secure, and struck them with the edge of the sword, and they burnt the city with fire. There was no deliverer, because it was far from Sidon, and they had no dealings with any man, and it was in the valley that lies by Beth-rehob. They built the city, and lived therein. They called the name of the city Dan, after the name of Dan their father, who was born to Israel, though the name of the city was Laish at the first. The children of Dan set up for themselves the engraved image, and Jonathan, the son of Gershom, the son of Moses, and his sons were priests to the tribe of the Danites until the day of the captivity of the land. So they set up Micah's engraved image which he made, all the time that the house of God was in Shiloh.

It happened in those days, when there was no king in Israel, that there was a certain Levite sojourning on the farther side of the hill country of Ephraim, who took for himself a concubine out of Bethlehem in Judah. His concubine was unfaithful to him and went away from him to her father's house in Bethlehem in Judah, and was there for about four months. Her husband arose, and went after her, to speak kindly to her, to bring her again, having his servant with him, and a couple of donkeys, and she brought him into her father's house, and when the father of the young lady saw him, he rejoiced to meet him. His father-in-law, the young lady's father, retained him, and he abode with him three days, so they ate and drink, and lodged there. It happened on the fourth day, that they arose early in the morning, and he rose up to depart, and the young lady's father said to his son-in-law, “Strengthen your heart with a morsel of bread, and afterward you shall go your way.” So they sat down, ate, and drank, both of them together, and the young lady's father said to the man, “Please be pleased to stay all night, and let your heart be merry.” The man rose up to depart, but his father-in-law urged him, and he lodged there again. He arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart, and the young lady's father said, “Please strengthen your heart and stay until the day declines”, and they ate, both of them. When the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father-in-law, the young lady's father, said to him, “Behold, now the day draws toward evening, please stay all night, behold, the day grows to an end, lodge here, that your heart may be merry, and tomorrow get up early and on your way, that you may go home.” But the man would not stay that night, but he rose up and departed, and came opposite Jebus (this is Jerusalem), and there were with him a couple of donkeys saddled; his concubine also was with him. When they were by Jebus, the day was far spent, and the servant said to his master, “Please come and let us turn aside into this city of the Jebusites, and lodge in it.” His master said to him, “We will not turn aside into the city of a foreigner who is not of the children of Israel, but we will pass over to Gibeah.” He said to his servant, “Come and let us draw near to one of these places, and we will lodge in Gibeah, or in Ramah.”

So they passed on and went their way, and the sun set on them near to Gibeah, which belongs to Benjamin. They turned aside there, to go in to lodge in Gibeah, and he went in, and set down in the street of the city; for there was no man who took them into his house to lodge. Behold, there an old man came from his work in the field at evening. Now the man was of the hill country of Ephraim, and he sojourned in Gibeah, but the men of the place were Benjamites. He lifted up his eyes, and saw the wayfaring man in the street of the city, and the old man said, “Where are you going? And where have you come from?” He said to him, “We are passing from Bethlehem in Judah to the farther side of the hill country of Ephraim, where I am from, and I went to Bethlehem in Judah, and I am now going to the house of the Lord, and there is no man who takes me into his house. Yet there is both straw and provender for our donkeys, and there is bread and wine also for me, and for your handmaid, and for the young man who is with your servants, There is no want of anything.” The old man said, “Peace be to you; let all your wants depend on me, but do not lodge in the street.” So he brought him into his house, and gave the donkeys fodder, and they washed their feet, and ate and drank.

As they were making their hearts merry, behold, the men of the city, worthless fellows, beset the house round about, beating at the door, and they spoke to the master of the house, the old man, saying, “Bring forth the man who came into your house, that we may know him.” The man, the master of the house, went out to them, and said to them, “No, my brothers, please do not act so wickedly; seeing that this man has come into my house, do not do this folly. Behold, here is my daughter a virgin, and his concubine, them I will bring out now. Humble them, and do with them what seems good to you, but to this man do not do any such folly.” But the men would not listen to him, so the man laid hold on his concubine, and sent her out to them, and they knew her, and abused her all the night until the morning, and when the day began to spring, they let her go. At the dawning of the day, the woman came and fell down at the door of the man's house where her master was, until it was light. Her lord rose up in the morning, and opened the doors of the house, and went out to go his way, and behold, the woman his concubine was fallen down at the door of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, “Get up, and let us be going”, but there was no answer, so he took her up on the donkey, and the man rose up, and went to his place. When he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, limb by limb, into twelve pieces, and sent her throughout all the borders of Israel. It was so, that all who saw it said, “There was no such deed done nor seen from the day that the children of Israel came up out of the land of Egypt to this day. Consider it, take counsel, and speak.”

Reading 72/341, Judges 14-16

[A] Samson is a terrible person. He seems to have no redeeming quality that would make him a hero. He is remembered for his strength, but not his morality.
[B] Notice in this text, lines reminiscent of parts of Scripture that he have already read. E.g. Samson sounds like the Israelites when complaining about a lack of water, and then gets a drink of water from a rock, just like the Israelites in the Pentateuch.

...Judges...

Samson went down to Timnah, and saw a woman in Timnah of the daughters of the Philistines. He came up, and told his father and his mother, and said, “I have seen in Timnah one of the daughters of the Philistines. Now get her for me as a wife.” Then his father and his mother said to him, “Is there not a woman among the daughters of your relatives, or among all our people, that you go to take a wife of the uncircumcised Philistines?” Samson said to his father, “Get her for me; for she pleases me well.” But his father and his mother did not know that this was of the Lord; for he sought an occasion against the Philistines. At that time the Philistines had rule over Israel. Then Samson went down, and his father and his mother, to Timnah, and came to the vineyards of Timnah, and behold, a young lion roared against him. The Spirit of the Lord came mightily on him, and he tore it as he would have torn a kid goat. He was barehanded. He did not tell his father or his mother what he had done. He went down, and talked with the woman, and she pleased Samson well. After a while he returned to take her, and he turned aside to see the carcass of the lion, and behold, there was a swarm of bees in the body of the lion, and honey. He took it into his hands, and went on, eating as he went, and he came to his father and mother, and gave to them, and they ate, but he did not tell them that he had taken the honey out of the body of the lion.

His father went down to the woman, and Samson made a feast, as young men used to do. It happened, when they saw him, that they brought thirty companions to be with him. Samson said to them, “Let me now put forth a riddle to you. If you can solve it for me within the seven days of the feast, and find it out, then I will give you thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing, but if you cannot solve it for me, then you shall give me thirty linen garments and thirty changes of clothing.” They said to him, “Put forth your riddle, that we may hear it.” He said to them, “Out of the eater came forth food. Out of the strong came forth sweetness.” They could not in three days solve the riddle. It happened on the seventh day, that they said to Samson's wife, “Entice your husband, that he may declare to us the riddle, lest we burn you and your father's house with fire. Have you called us to impoverish us?” Samson's wife wept before him, and said, “You must hate me, and do not love me. You have put forth a riddle to the children of my people, and have not told it to me.” He said to her, “Behold, I have not told it to my father or my mother, but I should I tell you?” She wept before him for seven days, while their feast lasted, and it happened on the seventh day, that he told her, because she pressed him sorely, and she told the riddle to the children of her people. The men of the city said to him on the seventh day before the sun went down, “What is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion?” He said to them, “If you had not plowed with my heifer, you would not have found out my riddle.” The Spirit of the Lord came mightily on him, and he went down to Ashkelon, and struck down thirty men of that town, and took their spoil, and gave the changes of clothing to those who solved the riddle. His anger was kindled, and he went up to his father's house. But Samson's wife was given to his companion, whom he had used as his best man.

But it happened after a while, in the time of wheat harvest, that Samson visited his wife with a kid goat, and he said, “I will go in to my wife in the chamber.” But her father would not allow him to go in. Her father said, “I most certainly thought that you had utterly hated her; therefore I gave her to your companion. Is not her younger sister more beautiful than she? Please take her, instead.” Samson said to them, “This time I shall be blameless with regard to the Philistines, when I do them mischief.” Samson went and caught three hundred foxes, and took firebrands, and tied tail to tail, and put a firebrand in the middle between every two tails. When he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing grain of the Philistines, and burnt up both the shocks and the standing grain, and also the olive groves. Then the Philistines said, “Who has done this?” They said, Samson, the son-in-law of the Timnite, because he has taken his wife, and given her to his companion. The Philistines came up, and burnt her and her father with fire. Samson said to them, “If this is how you act, surely I will be avenged of you, and after that I will cease.” He struck them, hip and thigh, with a great blow, and he went down and lived in the cleft of the rock of Etam.

Then the Philistines went up, and encamped in Judah, and raided Lehi. The men of Judah said, “Why have you come up against us?” They said, “To bind Samson have we come up, to do to him as he has done to us.” Then three thousand men of Judah went down to the cleft of the rock of Etam, and said to Samson, “Do not you know that the Philistines are rulers over us? What then have you done to us?” He said to them, “As they did to me, so I have done to them.” They said to him, “We have come down to bind you, that we may deliver you into the hand of the Philistines.” Samson said to them, “Swear to me that you will not attack me yourselves.” They spoke to him, saying, “No. We will bind you fast, and deliver you into their hand, but surely we will not kill you.” They bound him with two new ropes, and brought him up from the rock. When he came to Lehi, the Philistines shouted as they met him, and the Spirit of the Lord came mightily on him, and the ropes that were on his arms became as flax that was burnt with fire, and his bands dropped from off his hands. He found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put forth his hand, and took it, and struck down a thousand men with it. Samson said, “With the jawbone of a donkey, heaps upon heaps! With the jawbone of a donkey, I have struck a thousand men!” It happened, when he had made an end of speaking, that he cast away the jawbone out of his hand, and that place was called Ramath-lehi [Hill of the Jawbone]. He was very thirsty, and called on the Lord, and said, “You have given this great deliverance by the hand of your servant, and now I shall die of thirst, and fall into the hands of the uncircumcised.” But God split the hollow place that is in Lehi, and water came out of it. When he had drunk, his spirit came again, and he revived, therefore the name of it was called En Hakkore, [Caller’s Spring] which is in Lehi, to this day. He judged Israel in the days of the Philistines twenty years.

Samson went to Gaza, and saw there a prostitute, and went in to her. It was told to the Gazites, saying, “Samson has come here.” They compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, “Let him be until morning light, then we will kill him.” Samson lay until midnight, and arose at midnight, and laid hold of the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and plucked them up, bar and all, and put them on his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of the mountain that is before Hebron. It came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. The lords of the Philistines came up to her, and said to her, “Entice him, and see what his great strength lies in, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him, and we will each give you eleven hundred pieces of silver. Delilah said to Samson, “Tell me, Please, what your great strength lies in, and with what you might be bound to afflict you.” Samson said to her, “If they bind me with seven green cords that were never dried, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” Then the lords of the Philistines brought to her seven green cords which had not been dried, and she bound him with them. Now she had an ambush waiting in the inner chamber. She said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson!” He broke the cords, as a string of flax is broken when it touches the fire. So the secret of his strength was not known. Delilah said to Samson, “Behold, you have mocked me, and told me lies, now tell me, please, with which you might be bound.” He said to her, “If they only bind me with new ropes with which no work has been done, then I shall become weak, and be like any other man.” So Delilah took new ropes, and bound him with them, and said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson.” The ambush was waiting in the inner chamber. He broke them off his arms like a thread. Delilah said to Samson, “Up till now you have mocked me, and told me lies, tell me with what you might be bound.” He said to her, “If you weave the seven locks of my head with the web.” She fastened it with the pin, and said to him, “The Philistines are on you, Samson.” He awakened out of his sleep, and plucked away the pin of the beam, and the web. She said to him, “How can you say, I love you, when your heart is not with me? You have mocked me these three times, and have not told me what your great strength lies in. It happened, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, that his soul was vexed to death. He told her all his heart, and said to her, “No razor has ever come on my head; for I have been a Nazirite to God from my mother's womb. If I am shaved, then my strength will go from me, and I will become weak, and be like any other man.” When Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, “Come up once more, for he has told me all his heart.” Then the lords of the Philistines came up to her, and brought the money in their hand. She made him sleep on her knees, and she called for a man, and shaved off the seven locks of his head, and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him. She said, “The Philistines are on you, Samson.” He awoke out of his sleep, and said, “I will go out as at other times, and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the Lord had departed from him. The Philistines laid hold of him, and put out his eyes, and they brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of bronze, and he ground at the mill in the prison. However, the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaved.

The lords of the Philistines gathered themselves together to offer a great sacrifice to Dagon their god, and to rejoice, for they said, “Our god has delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.” When the people saw him, they praised their god, for they said, “Our god has delivered into our hand our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, who has slain many of us.” It happened, when their hearts were merry, that they said, “Call for Samson, that he may make us sport.” They called for Samson out of the prison, and he made sport before them. They set him between the pillars, and Samson said to the boy who held him by the hand, “Let me feel the pillars whereupon the house rests, that I may lean on them.” Now the house was full of men and women, and all the lords of the Philistines were there, and there were on the roof about three thousand men and women, who saw while Samson made sport. Samson called to the Lord, and said, “Lord God, remember me, please, and strengthen me, please, only this once, God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.” Samson took hold of the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and leaned on them, the one with his right hand, and the other with his left. Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines.” He bowed himself with all his might, and the house fell on the lords, and on all the people who were inside. So the dead that he killed at his death were more than those who he killed in his life. Then his brothers and all the house of his father came down, and took him, and brought him up, and buried him between Zorah and Eshtaol in the burial site of Manoah his father. He judged Israel twenty years.

Reading 71/341, Judges 10-13

...Judges...

After Abimelech, there arose to save Israel, Tola, the son of Puah, the son of Dodo, a man of Issachar, and he lived in Shamir in the hill country of Ephraim. He judged Israel twenty-three years, and died and was buried in Shamir. After him arose Jair, the Gileadite, and he judged Israel twenty-two years. He had thirty sons who rode on thirty donkey colts, and they had thirty cities, which are called Havvoth-jair to this day, which are in the land of Gilead. Jair died, and was buried in Kamon. The children of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and served the Baals, and the Ashtaroth, and the gods of Syria, and the gods of Sidon, and the gods of Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites, and the gods of the Philistines, and they forsook the Lord, and did not serve him. The anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of the Philistines, and into the hand of the Ammonites. They crushed and oppressed the children of Israel that year. For eighteen years, they oppressed all the children of Israel that were beyond the Jordan in the land of the Amorites, which is in Gilead. The Ammonites passed over the Jordan to fight against Judah too, and against Benjamin, and against the house of Ephraim, so that Israel was sore distressed. The children of Israel cried to the Lord, saying, “We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God, and have served the Baals.” The Lord said to the children of Israel, “Did I not save you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites, and from the Philistines? The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites, and the Maonites, oppressed you, and you cried to me, and I saved you out of their hand. Yet you have forsaken me, and served other gods, therefore I will save you no more. Go and cry to the gods which you have chosen, let them save you in the time of your distress.” The children of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned, do to us whatever seems good to you, only deliver us, we pray you, this day.” They put away the foreign gods from among them, and served the Lord, and his soul was grieved for the misery of Israel.

Then the Ammonites were gathered together, and encamped in Gilead. The children of Israel assembled themselves together, and encamped in Mizpah. The people, the princes of Gilead, said one to another, “Who is the man who will begin to fight against the Ammonites? He shall be head over all the inhabitants of Gilead. Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valor, and he was the son of a prostitute, and Gilead became the father of Jephthah. Gilead's wife bore him sons, and when his wife's sons grew up, they drove out Jephthah, and said to him, “You shall not inherit in our father's house, for you are the son of another woman.” Then Jephthah fled from his brothers, and lived in the land of Tob, and worthless fellows gathered around Jephthah, and they went out with him. It happened after a while, that the Ammonites made war against Israel. It was so, that when the Ammonites made war against Israel, the elders of Gilead went to get Jephthah out of the land of Tob, and they said to Jephthah, “Come and be our chief, that we may fight with the Ammonites.” Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “Did not you hate me, and drive me out of my father's house? Why are you come to me now when you are in distress?” The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “That is why we turned again to you now, that you may go with us, and fight with the Ammonites, and you shall be our head over all the inhabitants of Gilead.” Jephthah said to the elders of Gilead, “If you bring me home again to fight with the Ammonites, and the Lord deliver them before me, shall I be your head?” The elders of Gilead said to Jephthah, “The Lord shall be witness between us, surely according to your word, so will we do.” Then Jephthah went with the elders of Gilead, and the people made him head and chief over them, and Jephthah spoke all his words before the Lord in Mizpah.

Jephthah sent messengers to the king of the Ammonites, saying, “What have you to do with me, that you are come to me to fight against my land?” The king of the Ammonites answered to the messengers of Jephthah, “Because Israel took away my land, when he came up out of Egypt, from the Arnon to the Jabbok, and to the Jordan. Now therefore restore it peaceably.” Jephthah sent messengers again to the king of the Ammonites, and he said to him, “Thus says Jephthah, ‘Israel did not take away the land of Moab, nor the land of the Ammonites, but when they came up from Egypt, and Israel went through the desert to the Red Sea, and came to Kadesh, then Israel sent messengers to the king of Edom, saying, “Please let me pass through your land, but the king of Edom did not listen. In the same way, he sent to the king of Moab, but he would not let them, and Israel dwelt in Kadesh. Then they went through the desert, and went around the land of Edom, and the land of Moab, and came by the east side of the land of Moab, and they encamped on the other side of the Arnon, but they did not come within the border of Moab, for the Arnon was the border of Moab. Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, the king of Heshbon, and Israel said to him, “Let us pass, we pray you, through your land to my place. But Sihon did not trust Israel to pass through his border, so Sihon gathered all his people together, and encamped in Jahaz, and fought against Israel. The Lord, the God of Israel, delivered Sihon and all his people into the hand of Israel, and they struck them, so Israel possessed all the land of the Amorites, the inhabitants of that country. They possessed all the territory of the Amorites, from the Arnon to the Jabbok, and from the desert to the Jordan. So now then, the Lord, the God of Israel, has dispossessed the Amorites from before his people Israel, and should you possess them? Will you not possess what Chemosh your god gives you to possess? So whoever the Lord our God has dispossessed from before us, them will we possess. Now are you anything better than Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab? Did he ever strive against Israel, or did he ever fight against them? While Israel lived in Heshbon and its towns, and in Aroer and its towns, and in all the cities that are along by the side of the Arnon, three hundred years, why did not you recover them within that time? I therefore have not sinned against you, but you do me wrong to war against me. The Lord, the Judge, be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon.”

However, the king of the Ammonites did not listen to the words which Jephthah sent him. Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over to the Ammonites. Jephthah vowed a vow to the Lord, and said, “If you will indeed deliver the Ammonites into my hand, then it shall be, that whatever comes forth from the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord's, and I will offer it up for a burnt offering.” So Jephthah passed over to the Ammonites to fight against them, and the Lord delivered them into his hand. He struck them from Aroer until near Minnith, twenty cities, and to Abelcheramim, with a very great slaughter. So the Ammonites were subdued before the children of Israel. Jephthah came to Mizpah to his house, and behold, his daughter came out to meet him with tambourines and with dances, and she was his only child; besides her he had neither son nor daughter. It happened, when he saw her, that he tore his clothes, and said, “Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low, and you are one of those who trouble me, for I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot go back.” She said to him, “My father, you have opened your mouth to the Lord. Do to me according to what has proceeded out of your mouth, because the Lord has taken vengeance for you on your enemies, on the Ammonites.” She said to her father, “Let this thing be done for me: leave me alone for two months, that I may depart and go down on the mountains, and weep for my virginity, I and my companions.” He said, “Go.” He sent her away for two months, and she departed, she and her companions, and mourned her virginity on the mountains. It happened at the end of two months that she returned to her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed, and she was a virgin. It was a custom in Israel, that the daughters of Israel went yearly to celebrate the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite, four days in a year.

The men of Ephraim were gathered together, and passed northward, and they said to Jephthah, “Why did you pass over to fight against the Ammonites, and did not call us to go with you? We will burn your house over you with fire.” Jephthah said to them, “I and my people were at great strife with the Ammonites, and when I called you, you did not save me out of their hand. When I saw that you did not save me, I put my life in my hand, and passed over against the Ammonites, and the Lord delivered them into my hand. Why then have you come up to me this day, to fight against me?” Then Jephthah gathered together all the men of Gilead, and fought with Ephraim, and the men of Gilead struck Ephraim, because they said, “You are fugitives of Ephraim, you Gileadites, in the midst of Ephraim, and in the midst of Manasseh.” The Gileadites took the fords of the Jordan against the Ephraimites. It happened that when any of the fugitives of Ephraim said, “Let me go over”, the men of Gilead said to him, “Are you an Ephraimite?” If he said, “No”; then said they to him, “Say ‘Shibboleth’ then”, and he said ‘Sibboleth’, for he could not manage to pronounce it correctly, then they laid hold of him, and killed him at the fords of the Jordan. There fell at that time 42,000 of Ephraim. Jephthah judged Israel six years. Then Jephthah the Gileadite died and was buried in one of the cities of Gilead. After him Ibzan of Bethlehem judged Israel. He had thirty sons, and thirty daughters he married abroad, and thirty daughters he brought in from abroad for his sons. He judged Israel seven years. Ibzan died, and was buried at Bethlehem. After him Elon the Zebulunite judged Israel, and he judged Israel ten years. Elon the Zebulunite died, and was buried in Aijalon in the land of Zebulun. After him Abdon, the son of Hillel the Pirathonite, judged Israel. He had forty sons and thirty sons' sons, who rode on seventy donkey colts, and he judged Israel eight years. Abdon, the son of Hillel the Pirathonite, died, and was buried in Pirathon in the land of Ephraim, in the hill country of the Amalekites.

The children of Israel again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord delivered them into the hand of the Philistines forty years. There was a certain man of Zorah, of the family of the Danites, whose name was Manoah, and his wife was barren, and did not bear. The angel of the Lord appeared to the woman, and said to her, “See now, you are barren, and do not bear, but you shall conceive, and bear a son. Now therefore please beware and drink no wine nor strong drink, and do not eat any unclean thing, for, behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son. No razor shall come on his head, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb, and he shall begin to save Israel out of the hand of the Philistines.” Then the woman went and told her husband, saying, “A man of God came to me, and his face was like the face of the angel of God, very awesome, and I did not ask him whence he was, nor did he tell me his name, but he said to me, ‘Behold, you shall conceive, and bear a son, and now drink no wine nor strong drink, and eat no unclean thing, for the child shall be a Nazirite to God from the womb to the day of his death. Then Manoah entreated the Lord, and said, “O Lord, please let the man of God whom you sent come again to us, and teach us what we shall do to the child who shall be born.” God listened to the voice of Manoah, and the angel of God came again to the woman as she sat in the field, but Manoah, her husband, was not with her. The woman made haste, and ran, and told her husband, and said to him, “Behold, the man has appeared to me, he who came to me the other day.”

Manoah arose, and went after his wife, and came to the man, and said to him, “Are you the man who spoke to this woman?” He said, “I am.” Manoah said, “Now, when your words happen, what shall be the way of life of the child, and how shall we provide for him?” The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Of all that I said to the woman let her beware. She may not eat of anything that comes of the vine, nor let her drink wine or strong drink, nor eat any unclean thing; all that I commanded her let her observe.” Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “I pray you, let us detain you, that we may make ready a kid goat for you.” The angel of the Lord said to Manoah, “Though you detain me, I will not eat of your bread, but if you will make ready a burnt offering, you may offer it to the Lord.” For Manoah did not know that he was the angel of the Lord. Manoah said to the angel of the Lord, “What is your name, that when your words happen, we may honor you?” The angel of the Lord said to him, “Why do you ask after my name, seeing it is wonderful?” So Manoah took the kid with the grain offering, and offered it on the rock to the Lord, and the angel did something wondrous as Manoah and his wife looked on. For it happened, when the flame went up toward the sky from off the altar, that the angel of the Lord ascended in the flame of the altar, and Manoah and his wife looked on, and they fell on their faces to the ground. But the angel of the Lord no longer appeared to Manoah or to his wife. Then Manoah knew that it was the angel of the Lord. Manoah said to his wife, “We shall surely die, because we have seen God.” But his wife said to him, “If the Lord were pleased to kill us, he would not have received a burnt offering and a grain offering at our hand, nor would he have shown us all these things, nor would he at this time have told us such things as these.” The woman bore a son, and named him Samson, and the child grew, and the Lord blessed him. The Spirit of the Lord began to move him in Mahaneh-dan, between Zorah and Eshtaol.

Reading 70/341, Judges 8-9

[A] Congratulations. With today's reading, you have made it 20% of the way. One fifth down, four to go.
[B] Remember that Gideon is another name of Jerubbaal.

...Judges...

The men of Ephraim said to Gideon, “Why have you treated us this way, that you did not call us, when you went to fight with Midian?” They argued with him sharply. He said to them, “What have I now done in comparison with you? Is not the gleaning of the grapes of Ephraim better than the whole harvest of Abiezer? God has delivered into your hand the princes of Midian, Oreb and Zeeb. What was I able to do in comparison with you?” Then their anger was abated toward him, when he had said that. Gideon came to the Jordan, and passed over, he, and the three hundred men who were with him, faint, yet pursuing. He said to the men of Succoth, “Please give loaves of bread to the people who follow me; for they are faint, and I am pursuing after Zebah and Zalmunna, the kings of Midian.” The princes of Succoth said, “Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your army?” Gideon said, “Okay. When the Lord has delivered Zebah and Zalmunna into my hand, I will tear your flesh with the thorns of the desert and with briers.” He went up there to Penuel, and spoke to them in like manner, and the men of Penuel answered him as the men of Succoth had answered. He spoke also to the men of Penuel, saying, “When I come again in peace, I will break down this tower.” Now Zebah and Zalmunna were in Karkor, and their armies with them, about fifteen thousand men, all who were left of all the army of the children of the east, for 120,000 men who drew sword had fallen. Gideon went up by the way of the tent dwellers, on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah, and struck the army, for the army was secure. Zebah and Zalmunna fled, and he pursued after them, and he took the two kings of Midian, Zebah and Zalmunna, and confused the whole army.

Gideon the son of Joash returned from the battle by the ascent of Heres. He caught a young man of the men of Succoth, and inquired of him, and he named for him the princes of Succoth, and the elders of it: 77 men. He came to the men of Succoth, and said, “See Zebah and Zalmunna, concerning whom you taunted me, saying, ‘Are the hands of Zebah and Zalmunna now in your hand, that we should give bread to your men who are weary?’ He took the elders of the city, and thorns of the desert and briers, and with them he taught the men of Succoth. He broke down the tower of Penuel, and killed the men of the city. Then he said to Zebah and Zalmunna, “Where are the men whom you killed at Tabor?” They answered, “As you are, so were they; each one resembled the son of a king.” He said, “They were my brothers, the sons of my mother, as the Lord lives, if you had saved them alive, I would not kill you.” He said to Jether his firstborn, “Get up, and kill them.” But the youth did not draw his sword; for he was afraid, because he was still a youth. Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself, and fall on us; for as the man is, so is his strength.” Gideon arose, and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and took the crescents that were on their camels' necks. Then the men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule you over us, both you, and your son, and your son's son also, for you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.” Gideon said to them, “I will not rule over you, nor shall my son rule over you, the Lord shall rule over you.” Gideon said to them, “I would make a request of you, that you would each give me the earrings of his spoil.” (For they had golden earrings, because they were Ishmaelites.) They answered, “We will willingly give them.” They spread a garment, and every man cast on it the earrings of his spoil. The weight of the golden earrings that he requested was 1700 shekels of gold, besides the crescents, and the pendants, and the purple clothing that was on the kings of Midian, and besides the chains that were about their camels' necks. Gideon made an ephod of it, and put it in his city, in Ophrah, and all Israel whored after it there, and it became a snare to Gideon, and to his house. So Midian was subdued before the children of Israel, and they lifted up their heads no more.

The land had rest forty years in the days of Gideon. Jerubbaal, the son of Joash, went and lived in his own house. Gideon had seventy sons conceived from his body, for he had many wives. His concubine who was in Shechem, also bore him a son, and he named him Abimelech. Gideon the son of Joash died in a good old age, and was buried in the tomb of Joash his father, in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. It happened, as soon as Gideon was dead, that the children of Israel turned again, and whored after the Baals, and made Baal-berith their god. The children of Israel did not remember the Lord their God, who had delivered them out of the hand of all their enemies on every side, nor did they show kindness to the house of Jerubbaal, who is Gideon, according to all the goodness which he had shown to Israel. Abimelech the son of Jerubbaal went to Shechem to his mother's brothers, and spoke with them, and with all the family of the house of his mother's father, saying, “Please speak in the ears of all the men of Shechem, whether it is better for you that all the sons of Jerubbaal, who are 70 people, rule over you, or that one rule over you? Remember also that I am your bone and your flesh.” His mother's brothers spoke all these words of him in the ears of all the men of Shechem, and their hearts inclined to follow Abimelech, for they said, “He is our brother.” They gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal-berith, with which Abimelech hired vain and reckless fellows, who followed him. He went to his father's house at Ophrah, and killed his brothers, the sons of Jerubbaal, 70 men, on one stone, but Jotham the youngest son of Jerubbaal was left, for he hid himself. All the men of Shechem assembled themselves together, and all the house of Millo, and went and made Abimelech king, by the oak of the pillar that was in Shechem.

When they told it to Jotham, he went and stood on the top of Mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said to them, “Listen to me, you men of Shechem, that God may listen to you. Once upon a time, the trees went forth to anoint a king over them, and they said to the olive tree, ‘Reign over us.’ But the olive tree said to them, ‘Should I leave my abundance, with which gods and men are honored, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?’ The trees said to the fig tree, ‘Come and reign over us.’ But the fig tree said to them, ‘Should I leave my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?’ The trees said to the vine, ‘Come and reign over us. The vine said to them, ‘Should I leave my new wine, which cheers God and man, and go to wave back and forth over the trees?’ Then all the trees said to the bramble, ‘Come and reign over us.’ The bramble said to the trees, ‘If in good faith you anoint me king over you, then come and take refuge in my shade, and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.’ Now therefore, if you have dealt truly and righteously, when you have made Abimelech king, and if you have dealt well with Jerubbaal and his house, and have done to him according to the deserving of his deeds (for my father fought for you, and risked his life, and delivered you out of the hand of Midian, and you are risen up against my father's house this day, and have slain his sons, 70 men, on one stone, and have made Abimelech, the son of his female servant, king over the men of Shechem, because he is your brother, if you then have dealt truly and righteously with Jerubbaal and with his house this day, then rejoice in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you, but if not, let fire come out from Abimelech, and devour the men of Shechem, and the house of Millo, and let fire come out from the men of Shechem, and from the house of Millo, and devour Abimelech.” Jotham ran away, and fled, and went to Beer, and lived there, for fear of Abimelech his brother.

Abimelech was prince over Israel three years. God sent an evil spirit between Abimelech and the men of Shechem, and the men of Shechem dealt treacherously with Abimelech, that the violence done to the 70 sons of Jerubbaal might return, that their blood might be laid on Abimelech their brother, who killed them, and on the men of Shechem, who strengthened his hands to kill his brothers. The men of Shechem set an ambush for him on the tops of the mountains, and they robbed all who passed by them along that way, and this was told to Abimelech. Gaal the son of Ebed came with his brothers, and went over to Shechem, and the men of Shechem put their trust in him. They went out into the field, and gathered their vineyards, and trod the grapes, and held festival, and went into the house of their god, and ate and drank, and cursed Abimelech. Gaal the son of Ebed said, “Who is Abimelech, and who is Shechem, that we should serve him? Is not he the son of Jerubbaal? And is not Zebul his officer? Serve the men of Hamor the father of Shechem, but why should we serve him? Would that this people were under my hand! Then I would remove Abimelech. He said to Abimelech, “Increase your army, and come out.” When Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Ebed, his anger was kindled. He sent messengers to Abimelech secretly, saying, “Behold, Gaal the son of Ebed and his brothers are come to Shechem, and behold, they stir up the city against you. Now therefore, go up by night, you and the people who are with you, and lie in wait in the field, and it shall be, that in the morning, as soon as the sun is up, you shall rise early, and rush on the city, and behold, when he and the people who are with him come out against you, then do to them as you shall find opportunity.”

Abimelech rose up, and all the people who were with him, by night, and they laid wait against Shechem in four companies. Gaal the son of Ebed went out, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, and Abimelech rose up, and the people who were with him, from the ambush. When Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul, “Behold, people are coming down from the mountains-tops.” Zebul said to him, “You mistake the shadows of the mountains for men.” Gaal spoke again and said, “Behold, there come people down by the middle of the land, and one company comes by the way of the oak of Meonenim.” Then Zebul said to him, “Where is your mouth now, that you said, ‘Who is Abimelech, that we should serve him?’ Are not these the people that you have despised? Go out now, I pray, and fight with them.” Gaal went out before the men of Shechem, and fought with Abimelech. Abimelech chased him, and he fled before him, and many fell wounded, to the entrance of the gate. Abimelech lived at Arumah, and Zebul drove out Gaal and his brothers, that they could not dwell in Shechem. It happened on the next day, that the people went out into the field. Abimelech was told, so he took the people and divided them into three companies and laid wait in the field, and he looked, and behold, the people came forth out of the city. He rose up against them, and struck them. Abimelech, and the companies that were with him, rushed forward, and stood in the entrance of the gate of the city, and the two companies rushed on all who were in the field, and struck them. Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and he took the city, and killed the people who were in it, and he beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.

When all the men of the tower of Shechem heard of it, they entered into the stronghold of the house of Elberith. It was told to Abimelech that all the men of the tower of Shechem were gathered together. Abimelech got up to Mount Zalmon, he and all the people who were with him, and Abimelech took an axe in his hand, and cut down a bough from the trees, and took it up, and laid it on his shoulder, and he said to the people who were with him, “What you have seen me do, make haste, and do as I have done.” All the people likewise cut down, every man cut his own bough, and followed Abimelech, and laid them before the stronghold, and set the stronghold on fire with them, so that all the people of the tower of Shechem died also, about 1000 men and women. Then Abimelech went to Thebez, and encamped against Thebez, and took it. But there was a strong tower within the city, and there fled all the men and women, and all of the city, and shut themselves in, and they got up to the roof of the tower. Abimelech came to the tower, and fought against it, and drew near to the door of the tower to burn it with fire. A certain woman cast an upper millstone on Abimelech's head, and broke his skull. Then he called hastily to the young man his armor bearer, and said to him, “Draw your sword, and kill me, so that men will not say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’” His young man thrust him through, and he died. When the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, every man departed to his own place. Thus God repaid the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did to his father, in killing his 70 brothers, and all the wickedness of the men of Shechem, God repaid on their heads, and on them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal.