King James Bible - Old Testament Judges
With the death of Joshua, the Israelites were not sure who should lead the fight against the Canaanites. Caleb promised his daughter's hand to any victorious chief. His nephew, Othniel won her. A foreign tribe took a valley from the family of Dan An angel of God announced to them that some had forsaken God and worshiped others. Other tribes intermarried with Canaanites and were cursed by God. Othniel became their savior by waging successful battles. The Israelites strayed again and God strengthened Moab against them. Deborah came to judge the people and made them hearken to the ways of the Lord. With her victorious general, Barak she sang to God and made the people repent.
The Israelites did evil again and God made the Midianites masters over them. God sent them a prophet and told Gideon that He would "smite the Midianites as one man." Judges, 6:16. Gideon saw an angel and built an altar to God after casting down an altar to Baal. People who wanted to preserve the altar to Baal assailed Gideon, but he blew a trumpet with the assistance of God. Gideon proved himself by leaving a fleece out overnight and praying to God that it not be touched by morning dew. He gathered the people against the Midianites. There were too many people so he took only those who lap at water like a dog. He divided three hundred men into three companies and they blew the trumpets and shouted to the Lord. Their enemy ran away in fear. Gideon defeated other armies and nations. He built a house and had many wives.
Abimelech, one of Gideon's sons, got other relatives to support him as ruler. He killed all of his brothers except one who escaped. Some men opposed Abimelech and fought with him. Abimelech was killed by a stone thrown from above by a women. The Israelites did evil under the next rulers and were made servants of the Philistines. They languished for 18 years until God forgave them. The children of Ammon made war against Israel and Jephthah led the Israelites to repulse the invaders. His daughter disgraced him by losing her virginity. She was his only child. The tribe of Ephraim attacked Jephthah's city but they were defeated.
After Jephthah died there were other judges, but the children of Israel continued to do evil. A barren women bore a child named Samson. This child was blessed by God. He wanted to take a Philistine wife but saw a lion corpse riddled with bees and honey. When he asked a question of his bride-to-be's family, they threatened him. He killed them and left the woman with a friend. He tied firebrands to the tails of 300 foxes to scare away his enemies. They killed his wife but he killed many with the jawbone of an ass. He thanked God and became a judge of Israel.
Samson fell in love with a girl named Delilah who tried to find his weakness. He told her one answer but it was a lie. He did this three times. Finally, he admitted to her that if his head were shaved he would have no strength. She cut his hair and imprisoned him. He killed many but was also killed. The children of Israel went astray again and began to worship other gods. A Levite was traveling home with a concubine and was given shelter by an old man. Some townspeople raped the woman. The Levite killed her and cut her into little pieces. He retold the rape to the tribes of Israel and they went out against these people. The tribe of Benjamin fought with the foreigners and was defeated by the other tribes and expelled. Men began to do right again.