The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 3 – part 2 and final

Eutychius continues summarising the Book of Judges.  Today… Gideon, Samson etc.  This material is of no special interest, except as showing what seemed interesting to include to the author. 

3. Gid‘ūn, son of Yuwās, of the tribe of Manasseh came out against them, and took ten of his servants with him in the night, and destroyed the temple of the idol Bā‘il.  But the Midianites surprised them and they fled away.  Then he gathered three hundred Israelites and moved against them at night.  When they reached the place where the Midianite soldiers were, he divided his men around the soldiers’ camp and made the drums and trumpets sound.  Among the Midianites there was great turmoil and they began to run, madly killing each other and trying to escape from the Israelites.  Gid‘ūn wrote to the Israelites of the tribe of Ifrām, who lived in the area of the Jordan, to move and confront the Midianites who were fleeing.  They went out against them and made a great slaughter, taking prisoners ‘Ūzīb and Zīb, kings of the Midianites.  They killed ‘Uzīb at the rock of ‘Uzīb and Zīb at the kiosk of Zīb (22), and sent their heads to Gid‘ūn.  Gid‘ūn then went to Shukūt (23) and asked the population to give his soldiers food and hospitality.  But they answered him: “We will feed your soldiers and offer them hospitality if you bring us the heads of Zābā‘ and of Salmānā‘, king of the Midianites” (24).  Gid‘ūn left them, moved against Zābā‘ and Salmânā‘, kings of the Midianites, who had with them fifteen thousand fighters, routed them and brought back a great victory by killing the two kings and their men.  He then returned to Shukūt, killed its inhabitants and destroyed it.  Gid‘ūn had seventy children.  He also had a concubine from Nābulus (25) who gave birth to a son, to whom he gave the name Abimālikh.  Gid‘ūn governed the people for forty years, died and was buried near the tomb of his father Yuwāsh at ‘Ufrā ‘Azāriya (26).

4. After the death of Gid‘un the children of Israel began to worship the idols of Ba‘ālim, ‘Ashtarūt and Bā‘il.  Abīmālikh then went to Nābulus to his uncles and told them: “My brothers are seventy in number, and they want to govern the people.  Help me, so that I can govern alone, because one alone governs the people better than seventy”(27).  So they gave him seventy qintār of silver, taking it from the temple of the idol Bā‘il.  Then he took some men with him, went to his father’s house in ‘Ufrā and killed his seventy brothers.  Only one was saved, the smallest, or Yūthām, who went to Bīrā (28), where he established his abode.  Abīmālikh ruled the people for three years.  The inhabitants of Nābulus rose up to remove him, but he gathered his men and made a great slaughter.  Then he went out of the city, placed wood all around it, and set fire to it, burning the city and all that were there.  Then Abīmālikh went to Gabal Nābulus (29) and besieged it. The fortified tower of the city was very large.  From the top of the fortified tower a woman threw a stone that fell on Abīmālikh’s head (30).  Feeling close to death, he said to the servant who was near him: “Strike my neck with my sword so that I die, and so it will not be said that it was a woman who killed me” (31). Then he hit him with the sword and killed him.  After his death there governed the people Yuwākh, son of Fūdī, son of Hālāt, of the tribe of Issākhar (32), for twenty-three years. He died and was buried in Sāmīr (33).

After him there governed the people Tāyir, son of ‘Alghād (34), of the tribe of Manasseh, for twenty-two years.  He had thirty-two sons who rode purebred horses behind him.  He died and was buried in Qāmurā (35).

5. After his death, the children of Israel began to worship the idols of Ba‘alim, ‘Ashtārūt, Bā‘il, the gods of Syria, of Saydā, of Moab, of ‘Amman and of Palestine.  The people were overwhelmed by the Ammonites and were governed by them for eighteen years, with pain, afflictions and distresses.  The Ammonites crossed the Jordan to fight against the children of Israel, the children of Judah, and the children of Benjamin, who were terrified of them.  When the Ammonites came to the city of Ğala‘ād the leaders of the people gathered and said: “Who will fight against the Ammonites and be our leader?”  Niftākh, son of Ğala‘ād, was a violent and strong man, and was the son of a prostitute (36).  His brothers had driven him out and disavowed him, depriving him of the right to inherit.  He had then fled away into the land of Tūb, and there had been joined by a crowd of beggars who fought with him against the Ammonites.  The leaders of the city of Ğala’ād then went to Niftākh and asked him to continue fighting against the Ammonites and to be their leader.  He consented, gathered some men and went out to fight against the Ammonites, vowing to the Lord that if He granted him the victory over them, he would offer to God the first of his family to meet him when he came back.  God granted him the victory, and he made a great slaughter of the Ammonites and stormed twenty cities.  Having heard of it, his daughter came out and stood at the door of the house with all the drum and cymbal players, to welcome her father.  The first one he met at the door was his daughter.  He had no other children besides her. As soon as he saw her, he tore off his clothes and felt intense pain.  His daughter told him: “Do not be sad, my father, and fulfil your vow as well.  But let me gather my eldest maids and make them come up with me on the mountain, so that they can cry over me and I cry over my youth” (37).  She remained crying over herself on the mountain for two months.  The advisers of Niftak suggested that he go to the prophet Finhās, son of Il‘āzār, son of Harūn, to ask him if he could give him a response to save his daughter.  But his majesty of kings did not allow him to go to the prophet, as also the dignity of the prophet Finhās kept him from going to the king.  Two months later, Niftak made a great feast for the Jews, and on the same day he sacrificed his daughter.  That party was called “the weeping party”.  Later the sons of Ifrām went to Niftākh in the city of Shaqil (38) and said to him:  “Since you have come out to fight against the Ammonites without consulting us and taking none of us with you, we will burn you and your home” (39).  Niftākh fought against them and overcame them, killing forty-two thousand.  Niftākh ruled the people for six years, died and was buried in Gala‘ād.

6. At that time there was a severe famine in the land of the Greeks.  People were starving to such an extent that the streets and markets were full of the dead and the dogs were grazing on corpses.  Because this was often happening, they dug great graves and buried their dead.  This was the first reason for which burial pits were dug.

After Niftākh’s death there governed the people Ifsān (40), of the tribe of Judah, of Bethlehem, for seven years.  He had thirty sons, thirty daughters and thirty wives.  When he died, he was buried in Bethlehem.  After him there governed the people, Iblūn the Zabulonite, for ten years.  He died and was buried in Zābulūn (41).  After him there governed the people ‘Abdūn, son of Hillāl, of the tribe of Ifrām, for eight years.  He had forty sons and thirty grandchildren who rode behind him.  When he died he was buried in Fārātūn (42), in the territory of Ifrām, in the mountains of Amāliq.

After his death the sons of Israel re-embraced the worship of idols and were subjugated by the foreign tribes, who ruled the people for forty years.

7. There was a man from the tribe of Dān, named Mānūh, descendant of Mānūh, of the city of Surgha (43).  His wife was sterile.  An angel appeared in her dream and announced that she would give birth.  In fact, she conceived and gave birth to a son whom they called Shimshūn (44).  Having grown up he went to the city of Timnāthā (45) where he saw a woman from the foreign tribes and married her.  He stayed with her for a while, then left her and went to the parts of ‘Asqalān (46) where he gave himself to brigandage.  Thirty men attacked him, robbed them, and took his clothes, and he went to his wife’s house in Timnāthā.  But the woman’s father prevented him from seeing her by telling him: “I gave her in marriage to another.  I have a younger sister of hers, if you want I will give her in marriage” (47).  Samson became angry, went away and captured three hundred foxes, set fire to their tails and unleashed them across the fields.  So it was that all the camps of the foreign tribes including the trees went up in flames.  When the foreign tribes knew what Samson had done, they went to his wife’s house and burned her and her home.  Then they formed an army and went out to fight against the sons of Judah, who were terrified of them.  Samson was then on the cliff of Aghīzām (48).  The foreign tribes said to the sons of Judah: “Deliver Samson to us, and we will leave without fighting you”.  Three thousand men of the sons of Judah went to Aghīzām for Samson.  Samson said to them: “Guarantee me that you will not kill me and that you will not hand me over to foreign tribes” (4). They guaranteed it, knowing they were deceiving him.  In fact, they took him and handed him over to the foreign tribes who took him away, tying his hands to his back.  But Samson untied the ropes, seized the jawbone of a dead donkey, and killed more than a thousand men of the foreign tribes.  Then he was thirsty and invoked the Lord who made water spring from the ass’s jawbone: he drank and overwhelmed the foreign tribes.

8. [Samson] ruled the people for twenty years.  Then he fell in love with a woman from Ghazza (50).  Going to Ghazza, the inhabitants of the city were very afraid of him.  In the middle of the night, Samson grasped the door of Ghazza’s stronghold with his hand, and took it from its hinges, placed it on his shoulders, carried it to the top of the mountain in the area of ​​Hibrun, and took the woman.  Later he fell in love with another woman of the people of Sakhīrā (51), named Dalīlā, and took her with him.  The leaders of the foreign tribes told her: “Try to deceive him and make him say from which part of his body his strength comes to him”.  Samson replied: “If they bound me with seven fresh tendons, not passed through the fire, I would become weak”.They surprised him and bound him with seven still wet tendons.  But Samson leaned over them and broke them.  Dalīlā told him: “You do not love me, because if you loved me you would tell me in which part of your body your strength resides”.  He told her: “If they tied me with seven new hemp ropes, I would become weak”.  Dalīlā did it, but Samson broke them like cotton threads. Dalīlā told him: “You do not love me, because if you loved me you would tell me in which part of your body your strength resides”.  He replied: “If you intertwined the seven braids of my head with an inch-wide frame I would become weak”. Dalīlā did so, but Samson took them off. She told him: “You do not love me, because if you loved me you would tell me in which part of your body your strength resides”.  Samson then replied impatiently: “It was announced to me by God, in the womb of my mother, that never should my head have known the touch iron, because on the day when my head was shaved I would lose my strength” (52). Then he fell asleep in Dalīlā’s lap and while he was sleeping Dalīlā cut off his seven hair braids.  When he awoke, his strength was weakened.  Dalīlā then sent for the leaders of the foreign tribes.  They captured Samson, took out his eyes and bound him with chains of copper.  They took him to Ghazza and threw him into jail.  Samson’s hair began to grow again. The leaders of the foreign tribes gathered to offer a sacrifice to their god Dā‘ūn (53).  So they gave orders to bring Samson out to have some fun with him and kill him.  The temple of the god Dā‘ūn was full of people, men and women.  Even the temple terraces were so crowded that there was no longer a place to stop and see Samson and what was being done to him.  Samson then said to the young man that was leading him: “Put my hand on the column that holds up the temple” (54).  He stretched out his right hand and grasped a column.  Then he grasped the other one with his left hand and pushed them, so that the columns and the temple fell.  So it was that Samson died and all the men and women who were in the temple.  The dead that Samson killed, dying himself, were more numerous than those he had killed when he was alive.  His men took him and buried him between Su‘rā and Ishtāwul with his father Mānūh (55).  After the death of Samson the sons of Israel governed themselves with tranquility and peace for forty years.


The Annals of Eutychius of Alexandria (10th c. AD) – chapter 3 – part 1

As we’re translating backwards, we now find ourselves at the start of chapter 3.  This is material from the biblical book of Judges.

1. Later the sons of Israel began to visit the surrounding nations, marrying and giving in marriage their daughters and worshiping the idols, i.e. Ba‘alīm (1), ‘Ashtārūt and Bā‘il.  The sons of Israel were then subjugated by Kūshān Rish‘atāym, king of Aram (2), i.e. the king of Tyre and Sidon, called for this reason “the king of the two seas” (3).  He ruled the people for eight years with firmness and cruelty.  There were so many afflictions upon the sons of Israel that they began to worship God, abandoning their impiety.  Then the young ‘Ithā‘īl, son of Qinān and brother of Kālib (4), of the tribe of Judah rebelled, fought against Kūshān Rish‘atāym and killed him.  He ruled the people for forty years.  At the death of ‘Ithā‘īl, the sons of Israel began to worship the idols.  ‘Aqlūn, king of Moab, gathered the Ammonites and the Amalekites (5), marched against the sons of Israel and conquered them, occupying the city of Fīq (6).  The children of Israel served him and were under his domination for eighteen years, between anguish and cruelty of all kinds.  The sons of Israel chose one of their men named Ihūd, son of Gara, of the tribe of Ephraim (7) – he was left-handed, strong and daring – and sent him with gifts to ‘Aqlūn, king of Moab.  When he was in the presence of the king with gifts, he said to him: “I need to tell the king a secret, and I would therefore like to speak to him separately”.  He stood face to face with the king, and stabbed him with a dagger which he had with him, and killed him.  He went out, closed the door of the king’s meeting room and told his advisors: “The king has ordered that no one come to him” (8). Ihūd then ran away and joined his men.  He gathered a group of soldiers and went out against the city of Moab, occupied it, killed all those who were there and destroyed it.  He ruled the people for fifty-five years.  After him there ruled over the people Sim`ān (9), son of ‘Anāt, for twenty-five years. The Philistines waged war and killed six hundred. Sim‘ān died.

2. After his death the children of Israel returned to the worship of idols. Nāyīn (10), king of Canaan, originally from a city named Hāsūr (11), subdued them to his dominion. A man named Sīsarā was the head of his soldiers.  He ruled the people for twenty-five years, afflicting them with anguish and pain.  In his day there prophesied Dibūrā, wife of al-Qandūn (12), of the tribe of Ephraim.  Dibūrā lived between ar-Rāma and Bethel and served as a judge among the sons of Israel.  A large group of Israelites came to her and said to her: “You know in what anguish and afflictions we live. Nāyīn (13), king of Canaan, has enslaved us. [Why don’t] you govern the sons of Israel and liberate them from the hands of Nāyīn (14), king of Canaan”.  Dibūrā chose Bāraq, son of Abū Nu‘am, of the tribe of Nifthālīm, and entrusted him with the government of the people.  In another text it says: “And she gave him the command of the army”.  Bāraq took ten thousand Israelites from among the sons of Nifthālīm and Zābūlūn, and together with Dibūrā (15) they ascended Mount Thābūr (16).  When Sīsarā, Lieutenant of Nāyīn (17), learned of it, he came out against them.  The sons of Israel came down from the mountain and defeated him, killing all who were with Sīsarā, lieutenant of Nāyīn (18). Sīsarā managed to escape and sheltered under the tent of Yā‘īl, wife of Hābir al-Qaynī, i.e. of the descendants of Qā’in, the father-in-law of Moses called [also] Yaru (19).  [The woman] hid him from them.  [Sisara] asked her for some water to drink and she poured him some milk to put him to the test and see if he was able to discern. That was how he drank milk, thinking he had drunk water.  Then the woman made him lie down and hammered a peg into his temple, so that he was pinned to the earth and died.  Dibūrā found him when he was already dead.  Dibūrā and Bāraq went out against Nāyīn (20), king of Canaan, defeated him and killed him along with his men. Dibūrā ruled the people for forty years.  At her death the sons of Israel resumed adoring idols.  The Midianites ‘Ūzīb and Zīb (21) subdued them to their power and oppressed the people for seven years amid continued distress and afflictions, taking their flocks, cows and possessions.