Ehud (Judg 3:12-3:30)

“The Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. Yahweh strengthened King Eglon of Moab against Israel, because they had done what was evil in the sight of Yahweh. In alliance with the Ammonites and the Amalekites, he went and defeated Israel. They took possession of the city of palms. So the Israelites served King Eglon of Moab eighteen years.”

After the death of Othniel, the Israelites became evil again. The Moabites were considered descendents of Lot. King Eglon of Moab, which was on the other side of Jordan, took over the city of palms, Jericho. He was in an alliance with the Ammonites, who also were east of Gad and Reuben, and the Amalekites who came from the Sinai area. Somehow Yahweh gave the strength to the Moab king, who ruled for 18 years.

“But when the Israelites cried out to Yahweh, Yahweh raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man. The Israelites sent tribute to King Eglon of Moab with Ehud. Ehud made for himself a sword with two edges, a cubit in length. He fastened this sword on his right thigh under his clothes. Then he presented the tribute to King Eglon of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man. When Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, King Eglon sent the people who carried the tribute on their way. But he himself turned back at the sculptured stones near Gilgal, and said. ‘I have a secret message for you, O king.’ So the king said.   ‘Silence!’ All his attendants went out from his presence. Ehud came to him, while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. He said. ‘I have a message from God for you.’ So he arose from his seat. Then Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into Eglon’s belly. The handle also went in after the blade. The fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly. Then the dirt came out. Then Ehud went out into the vestibule. He closed the doors of the roof chamber on him, and locked them.”

Here is the amazing story of how Ehud killed poor fat King Eglon with a ½ yard long sword that stuck in him. Ehud was left handed and had a sword strapped to his right thigh. When he got to Gilgal, Ehud turned back. He said he had a secret message for the king. Then all the others left. He then stabbed King Eglon, who was a very fat man. The sword stuck in his belly. Ehud walked out and locked the door after him.

“After he had gone, the servants came. When they saw that the doors of the roof chamber were locked, they thought. ‘He must be relieving himself in the cool chamber.’ So they waited until they were embarrassed. When he still did not open the doors of the roof chamber, they took the key and opened them. There was their lord lying dead on the floor.”

His guards thought that Eglon was relieving himself, so they left him alone. Finally, they did not know what to do, so they unlocked the chamber to see him dead.

“Ehud escaped while they delayed. He passed beyond the sculptured stones, and escaped to Seirah. When he arrived, he sounded the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim. The Israelites went down with him from the hill country, having him at their head. He said to them. ‘Follow after me. Yahweh has given your enemies the Moabites into your hand.’ So they went down after him. They seized the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites, and allowed no one to cross over. At that time they killed about ten thousand of the Moabites, all strong, able-bodied men. No one escaped. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. The land had rest for eighty years.”

What a great story! Ehud led a troop from Ephraim against the Moabites at the Jordan River. They killed 10,000 Moabite able bodied men. This led to a peace of 80 years, a very long time. Ehud had killed the fat king with his sword and then led a troop that defeated the Moabites. Ehud was judge #2.

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