6 And then the People of Israel went back to doing evil in God's sight. They worshiped the Baal gods and Ashtoreth goddesses: gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab; gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They just walked off and left God, quit worshiping him. And God exploded in hot anger at Israel and sold them off to the Philistines and Ammonites, who, beginning that year, bullied and battered the People of Israel mercilessly. For eighteen years they had them under their thumb, all the People of Israel who lived east of the Jordan in the Amorite country of Gilead. 9 Then the Ammonites crossed the Jordan to go to war also against Judah, Benjamin, and Ephraim. Israel was in a bad way!
10 The People of Israel cried out to God for help: "We've sinned against you! We left our God and worshiped the Baal gods!" 11 God answered the People of Israel: "When the Egyptians, Amorites, Ammonites, Philistines, Sidonians - even Amalek and Midian! - oppressed you and you cried out to me for help, I saved you from them. And now you've gone off and betrayed me, worshiping other gods. I'm not saving you anymore. Go ahead! Cry out for help to the gods you've chosen - let them get you out of the mess you're in!" 15 The People of Israel said to God: "We've sinned. Do to us whatever you think best, but please, get us out of this!" 16 Then they cleaned house of the foreign gods and worshiped only God. And God took Israel's troubles to heart.
17 The Ammonites prepared for war, setting camp in Gilead. The People of Israel set their rival camp in Mizpah. The leaders in Gilead said, "Who will stand up for us against the Ammonites? We'll make him head over everyone in Gilead!"