The cycle that is repeated throughout the book of Judges is in full swing. The cycle is:
(1) The people do what is evil in the sight of God (verses 7, 12)
(2) God allows them to be oppressed (verses 8, 12-14)
(3) they cry out to God (verses 9, 15)
(4) God sends a judge to deliver them (verses 9, 15)
(5) There is a period of rest, before the apostasy begins the cycle again.
The Baal worship referred to in the scripture included a system of sacred prostitutes – “priestesses” of Baal. In this chapter, the first judge was Othniel, who delivered Israel from Cushan-rishathaim, king of Mesopotamia. The second was Ehud, a left-handed man, who hid his sword bound to his right thigh under his clothes (verse 16). He tricked Eglon, the king of Moab into being alone with him and killed him (verses 20-23). Then he led the people to defeat the Moabites. This time, the period of rest lasts 80 years. The third judge is Shamgar, mentioned briefly in verse 31.
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