Ehud, Left-Handed Judge

Bible Reference:  Judges 3: 12-30.

Heart of the Story: Ehud was the second of the Judges in the Promised Land. He is noteworthy by being left-handed.

Back Story: When the Israelites sinned by worshipping foreign gods, God caused Eglon, king of Moab to suppress the Israelites. King Moab recruited the Ammonites and Amalekites to war against the Israelites. Eglon and coalition had success against Israel and they were able to take possession of the city of the plains (most likely Jericho). Possibly, King Eglon ruled from Jericho. Israelites paid tribute to King Eglon for 18 years. Eventually, the Israelites repented of their sins and God raised Ehud to be their military leader. Ehud was a Benjaminite and the son of Gera.

Story Line: King Eglon was a very obese man and his obesity is important to the way that Ehud murdered him. The Israelite took their tribute to King Eglon. After the Israelites left the King, Ehud turned back and told the king that he had a secret message for Eglon. King Eglon ordered all attendants out of his presence and the door shut.

Ehud reached to his left side and pulled a sword from his left side.  Ehud stabbed his sword into King Elgon’s belly. Because King Elgon was so obese Ehud’s sword was buried in his rolls of stomach fat. His intestines were ruptured and he shortly died.

Ehud escaped the locked room (door) by the porch and closed the door on the king’s roof chamber. Ehud escaped from King Eglon’s palace and Moab. He went into Seirah (in Ephriam) where he sounded a trumpet. Ephraimite men responded to the trumpet call.  Elon led them to secure the fords of the Jordan River between Moab and Israel. Also, they killed about 10,000 Moabites at that time.

The Bible noted that Israel had rest after Ehud’s action for 80 years.

Pondering Relationships: When Ehud was given access to King Eglon’s chamber, likely he was searched. Possibly, the king’s attendants check Ehud’s left side, assuming Ehud was right-handed and would carry a weapon on his left side. Because Ehud was left-handed, he carried his weapon on his right side. Apparently, King Eglon’s attendants did not check Ehud’s right side for a weapon, thus, Ehud walked into King Eglon’s chamber with a weapon under his clothes.

Ehud was able to escape the King’s palace because King Eglon’s servants were hesitant to disturb the king. They concluded that the King was absent from his chamber because he was in the bathroom (or its equivalent). Possibly attendants even smelled the stench of feces which leaked from around the sword that punctured King Eglon’s stomach. Eventually, attendants opened the doors to the roof chamber and found the King dead on the floor.

Because Ehud was a Benjaminite, I am curious why he didn’t rally to his own tribesmen to wage war on the Moabites. The Bible is silent on this information.

Reflection: King Eglon was murdered because of assumptions of his attendants, that is, all warriors were right-handed. Think about assumption you make that can cause problems in your life.

Copyright May 20, 2019. Carolyn Adams Roth

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