This Week's Story

Israel rebels against God and an enemy country tramples her.

This Week’s Story relives American history and the Bible through brief inspiring stories presented on mp3 audio recordings and text for reading.

A Deadly Cycle, part one

I made this weapon; and now I take it, to kill an enemy king, who has trampled my people for eighteen years. Ehud looked grimly downwards. Was the double-edged, eighteen inch dagger visible? Certainly not! He had strapped it under his clothing. May King Eglon die soon.

He took the tax money, which he had been asked to deliver to King Eglon. He thought bitterly, Is there anything worse than having to pay taxes to an enemy?

We Israelites keep making the same mistakes. We do what we want, ignore God, and pray to idols that any fool knows are just objects of wood and stone. We marry people who care nothing about God. We have not taught our children how God has protected us in the past.

So, we’re in trouble again, and we want God’s help. He should be sick of us; but I know He has mercy for us. He has given me the mission to lead my people against the Moabites.

After delivering the tax money to King Eglon, Ehud travelled away from the king’s palace and then doubled back to the king. This time he told the king, “I have a secret message for you.”

King Eglon ordered his servants, “Be silent and leave this room.”

Ehud walked towards the king until he was directly in front of him. Swiftly he grasped his dagger and plunged it into the king. The king was a very heavy man and the dagger penetrated so deeply that the handle disappeared under the king’s fat. Ethud left the dagger and slipped away through a sewer shaft.

The king’s servants were perplexed. “Why doesn’t the king call for us?” When they checked, they found him dead, lying in blood.

Ethud rode for the hill country of Ephraim, gathering Israelite men to fight. “Follow me! The Lord is giving us victory over our enemies.” When the Israelites attacked, 10,000 of the strongest and bravest soldiers of the Moabites were killed. The nation of Moab was conquered; and Israel lived in peace for the next eighty years, until the death of Ethud.

Then the Israelites repeated their deadly cycle of obeying and disobeying God. With their rebellion came weakness, defeat and harsh times. They were oppressed by the Canaanites. The commander of the Canaanite army, General Sisera, specialized in brutal attack and abuse of the defeated. Nine hundred iron chariots were in his arsenal.

For twenty years the Israelites lived in fear under the Canaanites. No place was safe. Gradually some of the Israelites began praying, “God, we know we have violated your love and commands. Please forgive us. Only you can help us.”

A surprising leader was in their midst. An Israelite woman, who was their prophet and judge! Deborah! As a prophet she was to be inspired by God to communicate His will to the people. As a judge she held court outdoors and people came to her with their disputes. She settled them applying the laws of Moses and the customs of the Israelites.

One day she sent a message to Barak. “This is God’s command to you. Assemble 40,000 Israelite men. Get them from the tribes of Naphtali and Zebulun and meet at Mount Tabor. I, the Lord, will draw General Sisera and his army into a trap. There you will have victory over him.”

Barak replied to Deborah, “I will go, but only if you go with me.”

Was the man a coward? What an answer for him to give in a culture with male kings, male generals, and male soldiers! Soon we will hear Deborah’s response.

This is Barbara Steiner with another Bible story, which does not fit an easy stereotype. Please check out thisweeksstory.com.

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