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The Book of the Judges

(Part Two)


The 7th Chapter
     Then Jerobaal otherwise called Gedeon rose early and all the people that were with him, and pitched beside the well of Harad, so that the host of the Madianites were in a valley on the north side of the hill Hamoreh. And the Lord said unto Gedeon, the people that are with you are too many for me to give the Madianites into their hands, least Israel make her vaunt (boast, brag) to my dishonor and say, our own hand has saved us. Now therefore make a proclamation in the Ears of the people and say: if any man dread or be afraid, let him return and get him soon from mount Galaad. And there departed and returned of the people twenty two thousand, and there abode ten thousand.
     And the Lord said unto Gedeon: the people are yet too many, bring them down unto the water, and I will try them unto you there. And of whom I say unto you, this shall go with you, the same shall go with you. And whosoever I say unto you, this shall not go with you, the same shall not go. And when he had brought down the people unto the water, the Lord said unto Gedeon: As many as lap the water with their tongues, as dogs do, them put by themselves, and so do them that kneel down upon their knees to drink. And the number of them that put their hands to their mouths and lapped, were three hundred men. And all the remnant of the people knelt down upon their knees to drink water. And the Lord said unto Gedeon, with the three hundred men that lapped will I save you, and deliver the Madianites into your hand. And all the other people shall go every man unto his own home.
     And they took victuals with them for the folk, and their trumpets. And he sent all the rest of Israel, every man unto his tent, and kept the three hundred with him. And the host of Madian was beneath him in a valley. And the same night the Lord said unto him, up and go down unto the host, for I have delivered it into your hand. But if you fear to go down, then go you down unto the host, and Pharah your lad, and hearken what they say, and so shall your hands be strong, and then you shall go down unto the host.
     Then he went down with Pharah his lad, even hard unto the men of arms that were in the host. And the Madianites, the Amalekites, and all they of the East, lay along in the valley, like unto grasshoppers in multitude, and their camels were without number, even as the sand by the sea side in multitude. And when Gedeon was come: behold, there was a man that told a dream unto his fellow and said: Behold I dreamed a dream and me thought that a broiled loaf of barley bread tumbled into the host of Madian, and came unto a tent, and smote it that it fell, and overturned it, that the tent lay along. And his fellow answered and said, this is nothing else save the sword of Gedeon the son of Joas a man of Israel, into whose hand the Lord has delivered Madian and all the host.
     When Gedeon heard the telling of the dream and the interpretation of the same, he bowed himself to the earth and returned unto the host of Israel, and said: up for the Lord has delivered into your hands the host of the Madianites. And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and gave every man a trumpet in his hand, with an empty pitcher and lamps therein, and said unto them look on me and do likewise: and behold, when I come to the side of the host, even as I do, so do you. And when I blow with a trumpet and all that are with me, blow you with trumpets also on every side the host and say, here be the Lord and Gedeon.
     And so Gedeon and the three hundred men that were with him, came unto the side of the host in the beginning of the middle watch, and raised up the watch men. And they blew with their trumpets and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And all three companies blew with trumpets and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right, to blow with all. And they cried the sword of the Lord and of Gedeon. And they stood still, every man in his place round about the host. And all the host ran and cried and fled. And as the three hundred blew with trumpets, the Lord set every mans sword upon his neighbor, throughout all the host. And the host fled until they came to Bethsitah, to Zererath, and to the edge of Abelmeholah beside Tabath. And the men of Israel gathered together of the tribe of Naphthalim, of Aser, and of all Manasses, and followed after the Madianites. For Gedeon had sent messengers throughout all mount Ephraim saying: come down against the Madianites and take from them the waters both Bethbarath and also of Jordan. Then all the men of Ephraim gathered together and came down and took the waters, both of Bethbarath and also of Jordan. And they took two captains of the Madianites, Oreb and Zeb, and slew Oreb upon the rock Oreb, and Zeb at the press Zeb and followed after Madian. And brought the heads of Oreb and Zeb to Gedeon on the other side Jordan.

The 8th Chapter
     And the men of Ephraim said unto him. Why have you served us thus, that you called us not, when you went to fight with the Madianites. And they chode (scold) with him a good. And he said unto them: What deed have I done like unto yours: are not the clusters of Ephraim better than the wine harvest of Abiezer? God has delivered into your hands the Lords of Madian, Oreb and Zeb. And what was I able to do like as you have done. And then their spirits abated from off him, when he had said that. And then Gedeon came to Jordan and passed over, both he and the three hundred men that were with him very faint and yet followed the chase. And he said unto the men of Socoth: give I pray you cakes of bread unto the people that follow me: for they be fainty, that I may follow after Zebah and Zalmona kings of Madian. And the Lords of Socoth said: are the hands of Zebah and Zalmona now in your hands that we should give bread unto your company. And Gedeon said, therefore when the Lord has delivered Zebah and Zalmona into mine hand, I will tear the flesh of you with the thorns of the wilderness and with briers. And he went from that place to Phanuel, and spoke unto them likewise. And the men of Phanuel answered him, as did the men of Socoth. And he said also unto the men of Phanuel, when I come again in peace, I will break down this tower. Zebah and Zalmona were in Arkar and their hosts with them, upon a fifteen thousand, which were all that were left of all the hosts of them of the East. And they that were slain were a hundred and twenty thousand men that drew swords.
     And Gedeon went through them that dwell in tabernacles on the east side of Nobah and Jebahah, and smote the host: for the host did *cast no perils. Zebah and Zalmona fled. But he followed after them, and took the two kings of the Madianites, Zebah and Zalmona and discomfited all the host. *cast no perils=were not aware of the danger...
     And Gedeon the son of Joas returned from battle, the *son being yet up, and caught a lad of the men of Socoth, and enquired of him. And he wrote him of the Lords and Elders of Socoth seventy seven men. Then he came unto the men of Socoth and said: Behold Zebah and Zalmona, with which you cast me in the teeth saying: are the hands of Zebah and Zalmona already in your hand, that we should give bread unto your fainty men. And he took the elders of the city, and thorns of the wilderness and briers, and all to tear them therewith. And he brake down the tower of Phanuel and slew the men of the city. *son as written; sonne, elsewhere see that sun was written sunne.
     And then said unto Zebah and Zalmona, what manner men were they which you slew at Thabor? and they answered, the likeness of you and them is all one, even after the fashion of the children of a king. And he said, they were my brethren, even my mothers children, and as truly as the Lord lives, if you had saved their lives, I would not slay you. And he said unto Jether his eldest son, up and slay them: But the lad drew not his sword, for he feared, because he was yet young. Then Zebah and Zalmona said: Rise you and fall upon us, for as the man is so is his strength. And Gedeon arose and slew them: and he took away the chains that were on their camels necks.
     Then the men of Israel said unto Gedeon, Reign over us, both you, your son and your sons son, for you have delivered us out of the hands of the Madianites. And Gedeon said unto them, I will not reign over you, neither shall my children reign over you, but the Lord shall reign over you.
     Neverthelater Gedeon said unto them: I would desire a certain request of you, even that you would give me every man the earrings of his prey. For they had golden earrings, because they were Ismaelites. And they said, we will do it. And they spread a mantle and did cast thereinto every man the earrings of his prey. And the weight of the golden earrings was a thousand and seven hundred sickles of gold, beside brooches, ouches and garments of scarlet that were of the kings of Madian, and beside the chains, that were about their camels necks. And Gedeon made an ephod thereof, and put it in his city Ephrah. And all Israel went a whoring after him there, which thing was the ruin of Gedeons house. Thus were the Madianites brought low before the children of Israel, so that they lift up their heads no more. And the country was in quietness forty years in the days of Gedeon.
     And Jerobaal the son of Joas went and dwelt in his own house. And Gedeon had seventy sons of his body begotten, for he had many wives. And his concubine that dwelt in Sichem bare him a son also, whose name he called Abimelech. And Gedeon the son of Joas died, when he was of a good age, and was buried in the burial of Joas his father, even in Ephrah that pertained unto the father of the Ezrites.
     But as soon as Gedeon was dead, the children of Israel turned away and went a whoring after Baal, and made Baal berith their God, and thought not on the Lord their God which had delivered them out of the hands of all their enemies on every side. Neither showed they mercy on the house of Jerobaal, otherwise called Gedeon, according to all the goodness which he showed them.

The 9th Chapter
     For Abimelech the son of Jerobaal went to Sichem, unto his mothers brethren, and communed with them and with all his mothers fathers kindred saying: say I pray you, in the ears of all the inhabiters of Sichem: whether is better for you that all the sons of Jerobaal which are seventy persons reign over you, either that one reign over you. And remember thereto, that I am your bones and your flesh. And his mothers brethren rehearsed of him in the audience of all the Citizens of Sichem, all these words, and moved their hearts to follow Abimelech, in that they said how he was their brother. And they gave him seventy pieces of silver out of the house of Baal Berith, with which Abimelech hired Jehel and *light persons which went with him. And they went unto his fathers house at Ephrah, and slew all his brethren, the sons of Jerobaal, even seventy persons with one stone. Notwithstanding yet Joatham the youngest son of Jerobaal escaped, for he hid himself. And all the citizens of Sichem gathered together with all the house of Mello, and went and made Abimelech King at a certain oak that was by Sichem. *light persons: from the Hebrew "pachaz" to be wanton and reckless.
     And when it was told Joatham, he went and stood in the top of mount Garizim, and lift up his voice and called, and said unto them: Hearken unto me you citizens of Sichem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went to anoint a King over them, and said unto the olive tree, reign over us. But the olive tree said unto them: should I leave my fatness which both God and man praises in me, and go to be promoted over the trees. Then said the trees to the fig tree, come you and be king over us. And the fig tree answered them, should I forsake my sweetness and my good fruit, and should go to be promoted over the trees. Then said the trees unto the vine, come you and be King over us. And the vine answered, should I leave my wine that cheers both God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees. Then said all the trees unto the fiery bush come you and reign over us. And the fiery bush said unto the trees: if it will be true that you will anoint me king over you, then come and rest under my shadow, and you shall see that a fire shall come out of the fiery bush and waste the cypress trees of Libanon.
     And even so now, if you have done truly and uncorruptly to make Abimelech king. And if you have dealt well with Jerobaal and his house, and have done unto him according to the deserving of his hands, forasmuch as my father fought for you and adventured his life, and rid you out of the hands of the Madianites. And you are risen up against my fathers house this day. And have slain his children, even seventy persons with one stone and have made Abimelech the son of his maidservant King over the citizens of Sichem, because he is your brother, if then you have dealt purely and truly with Jerobaal and with his house this day: then rejoice you in Abimelech, and let him also rejoice in you. But if you have not dealt truly, then I pray God a fire may come out of Abimelech and consume the citizens of Sichem and the house of Mello. And that there come a fire out of the citizens of Sichem, and out of the house Mello and consume Abimelech. And Joatham ran away and fled and went to Beer and dwelt there, for fear of Abimelech his brother. When Abimelech had reigned three years God sent an hate between Abimelech and the citizens of Sichem. And the citizens of Sichem railed upon Abimelech, and wished that the wickedness done to the seventy sons of Jerobaal might come on him, and laid the blood of them unto Abimelech their brother which slew them, and unto the other citizens of Sichem which aided him in the killing of his brethren. And the citizens of Sichem set men to lay await for him in the top of the mountains, which men robbed all that came along the way by them. And it was told Abimelech.
     And Gaal the son of Abed and his brethren went and got them to Sichem. And the men of Sichem put their confidence in him. And they went out into the fields and gathered in their grapes and trod them and made merry: and went into the house of their God, and did eat and drink and cursed Abimelech. And Gaal the son of Abed said: what is Abimelech? and what is Sichem? that we should serve him, is he not the son of Jerobaal? and Zebul is his officer? serve such as come of Hemor the father of Sichem, for what reason is it that we should serve him? would God this people were under my hand, then I would take Abimelech out of the way. And one said unto Abimelech, make your host greater and go out. And when Zebul the ruler of the city heard the words of Gaal the son of Abed, he was wroth and sent messengers unto Abimelech privily saying: Behold Gaal the son of Abed and his brethren be come to Sichem: and behold they set the city against you. Now therefore up by night, both you and all the people that is with you, and lie in wait in the fields. And rise early in the morning as soon as the *son is up and come upon the city. And when he and the people that is with him come out against you, do to him what your hands shall be able. And Abimelech rose up, and all the people that were with him, by night. And they laid await to the city in four companies. And Gaal the son of Abed went out and stood in the entering of the gate of the city. And Abimelech rose up and the folk that were with him, from lying await. And when Gaal saw the people, he said to Zebul: Behold there come people down from the top of the mountains. And Zebul said unto him: the shadow of the hills seem men unto you. And Gaal answered again and said: see there come folk down by the middle of the land and another company come along by the charmers Oak. Then said Zebul unto him: where is now your mouth that said, what fellow is Abimelech, that we should serve him. These are the people that you so despise. Go out now a fellowship and fight with them. And Gaal went out before the citizens of Sichem, and fought with Abimelech. And Abimelech chased him that he fled before him and many were overthrown and slain, even until they came unto the entering of the gate. And then Abimelech went and dwelt at Arumah. And then Zebul thrust out Gaal and his brethren, and would not allow them to dwell in Sichem. And on the morrow the people went out into the field. And it was told Abimelech. And he took his people and divided them into three companies and lay await in the fields. And when he saw that the people were come out of the city, he ran upon them and laid upon them.
     And Abimelech and the companies that were with him, ran and stood in the entering of the gate of the city. And the two other companies ran upon all the people that were in the fields and slew them. And then Abimelech fought against the city all that day, and took it, and slew the people that were therein, and destroyed the city and sowed salt in the place. And when all the men of the town of Sichem heard that, they entered into a stronghold of the house of their god Baal Berith. And when it was told Abimelech, that all the men of the tower of Sichem were gathered together, he got him to mount Zelmon, both he and all that were with him, and took axes with him and cut down an arm of a tree, and took it up, and put it on his shoulder, and said unto the folk that were with him, whatsoever you see me do: speed yourselves and do likewise. And all the people cut down also every man a bough, and followed Abimelech, and put them into the hold, and set the hold a fire upon them: so that all the men of the tower of Sichem were slain, upon a thousand persons what of men and women together.
     Then went Abimelech to Thebes and besieged it and took it. But there was a strong tower in the midst of the city, and into there ran all the men and women and all the citizens of the city and shut it to them, and got them up upon the top of the tower. Then came Abimelech unto the tower and fought against it, and went hard unto the entering of the gate, to set it on fire. But a woman cast a piece of a millstone upon his head and all to brake his brain pan.
     Then Abimelech called hastily unto the young man that bare his harness, and said unto him: draw your sword and slay me, that men say not of me, a woman slew him. And his lad thrust him through and he died.
     And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed, every man unto his own house. And thus all the wickedness of Abimelech which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren, and thereto all the wickedness of the men of Sichem, God did bring upon their heads: And upon them came the curse of Joatham the son of Jerobaal.

The 10th Chapter
     After Abimelech there arose, to defend Israel, one Thola, the son of Phuah, the son of Dodo, a man of Isacar, which dwelt in Samir in mount Ephraim. And he judged Israel twenty three years, and then died and was buried in Samir. And after him arose Jair a Galaadite, which judged Israel twenty two years. And he had thirty sons that rode on thirty Ass colts, and had thirty cities for them, which are called the towns of Jair unto this day, and are in the land of Galaad. And Jair died, and was buried in Kamon.
     And the children of Israel wrought wickedness yet again, in the sight of the Lord, and served Baalim and Astharoth, and the Gods of Siria, and the Gods of Sidon, the Gods of Moab, the Gods of the children of Ammon, and the Gods of the Philistines, and forsook the Lord and served him not. And the Lord was wroth with Israel, and sold them into the hands of the Philistines, and into the hands of the children of Ammon: which *pilled (charged excessively for things: extortion) and oppressed the children of Israel in those days eighteen years, all that were on the other side Jordan in the land of the Amorites in Galaad. Moreover the children of Ammon went over Jordan to fight against Juda, Benjamin, and the house of Ephraim: so that Israel was sore cumbered. Then the children of Israel cried unto the Lord saying: we have sinned against you: for we have forsaken our own God, and have served Baalim. And the Lord said unto the children of Israel: did not the Egyptians, the Amorites, the children of Ammon, the Philistines, the Sidonites, the Amalekites and the Maonites oppress you? And you cried to me, and I delivered you out of their hands. And for all that you have forsaken me, and serve strange Gods, wherefore I will help you no more. But go and cry unto the Gods which you have chosen, and let them save you in the time of your tribulation.
     But the children of Israel said unto the Lord we have sinned: do you unto us whatsoever please you, and deliver us only at this time. And they put away the strange Gods from them and served the Lord. And the misery of Israel grieved his soul.
     Then the children of Ammon gathered together and pitched in Galaad. And the children of Israel gathered them together and pitched in Mazphah. And the company of the Lords of Galaad said each to other, whosoever will begin the battle against the children of Ammon, the same shall be head over all the inhabiters of Galaad.

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