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Icons of the Bible: Ehud (The Left Handed Judge) and King Eglon

Updated: Aug 31, 2023

Icons of the Bible: Ehud (The Left Handed Judge) and King Eglon
Icons of the Bible: Ehud (The Left Handed Judge) and King Eglon

The Icons of The Bible Series will go through all the people of the Bible in chronological order. I will attempt to provide you focused article and videos that will help you become more familiar with those whom God chose to tell us about in His Holy Scripture. -

Icons of the Bible: Ehud (The Left Handed Judge) and King Eglon

Ehud and Eglon

By emphasizing the activity of the Holy Spirit in the judgeship of Othniel and not focusing on the specific details of what Othniel did, the author of Judges seems to lift him up as the model judge during a difficult era for Israel (Judg. 3:7–11). Perhaps there is no need for specifics because Othniel’s desires and methods were so in conformity with God’s will.

As we will see, things declined in terms of the judges’ character after Othniel. God still used them, but the judges tend to receive a greater focus than the Lord Himself. And the judges became increasingly flawed. The one possible exception to this is Ehud the Benjaminite, the first judge described after Othniel. His story, which is among the coarsest tales in the Bible, is found in Judges 3:12–30.

We see in verses 12–14 that after Othniel died, the people of Israel fell back into apostasy, and the Lord raised up Eglon, king of Moab, to discipline them. The Moabites were descendants of Abraham’s nephew Lot who lived east of the Dead Sea (Gen. 19:30–38). They were longtime enemies of Israel because of their refusal to show hospitality and because they hired Balaam to curse the Israelites while Israel was wandering in the wilderness (Deut. 23:3–6). Under Eglon, the Moabites joined with the Ammonites and the Amalekites and invaded Benjamin’s territory, capturing the “city of palms” (Judg. 3:12–14). That is, Eglon established a base at Jericho, rebuilding it to some extent as a stronghold from which he could oppress God’s people.." from the article: Ehud and Eglon

Who Was Ehud the Judge (and Left-Handed Assassin)?

Ehud was one of 15 judges that ruled over Israel prior to when the kings took charge. The Bible says Ehud was left-handed, the judge during the time Moabites ruled over Israel, and an assassin.

In the Old Testament, God appointed a handful of Judges to rule over Israel prior to when the kings took charge. Fifteen in all, they appeared to degrade in morality from start to the finish of their reign—with the exception of Samuel, the last judge (1 Samuel 2:18-4:1).

The second judge’s story plays out like a Mission Impossible story with an absurd ending. This article will dive into why Israel needed judges in the first place, who Ehud was and his story, and why it matters.

Why Did Israel Need Judges in the Bible?

Per the typical Israelite Old Testament pattern, they chased after other gods, a lot. They would lose sight of God and do evil in the sight of the Lord (Judges 3:12).

Whenever this would happen, God would give them over to the hands of their enemies. We can see a similar sentiment in Romans 1:24 when God allows people to have the desires of their hearts. In the time of the judges, the Lord would let the Israelites know who exactly they were chasing, by letting the enemy they worshipped take over.

In the case of Ehud’s story, God lets the Moabites, a group of people that descended from an incestuous relationship from Abraham’s nephew Lot (Genesis 19:37) rule over them for a short while.

When the Israelites would realize the error of their ways and cry out to God to release them from their oppressors, God would send a judge to save them and rule over them for a short period of time.

Once the judge no longer ruled Israel, they chased after other gods, and the pattern began again.

The Odd Story of Ehud in the Bible

Right off the bat, we get an odd fact about this judge: he’s left-handed (Judges 3:15)Not only does stick out as a rarity in any time, but Ehud’s left-handed-ness will help him take down the king of Moab, Eglon, later in the story. He stashes a one and a half sword on his righthand side and pretends to pay tribute to the Moabite king. When the guards check his left-hand side (assuming he’s righthanded), they see no weapon and allow him to proceed to the king.

Ehud claims to have a secret message for the king. King Eglon likes knowing he has a message all to himself and tells his other guards to leave him so he can hear it in private. The “message” turns out to be a sword plunged into Eglon’s gut (Judges 3:20-21). Judges 3:17 describes King Eglon as, “a very fat man.” Ehud plunges the entire blade into the king, and his belly closes over the hilt.

The judge makes his escape after he locks the doors. When the servants see the doors, they assume the king has gone to relieve himself (Judges 3:24). But after a while, they start to get antsy and decide to check in on the king. They find him dead.." from the article: Who Was Ehud the Judge (and Left-Handed Assassin)?

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