The Judge Ehud Was a Left-Handed Benjamite Who Assassinated King Eglon With a Dagger
In the rich tapestry of biblical history, the story of Ehud, the left-handed Benjamite judge, stands out as one of the most intriguing and dramatic tales. Found in the book of Judges, this account sheds light on the courage and resourcefulness of a man chosen by God to deliver the Israelites from the oppressive rule of King Eglon. Ehud’s daring act of assassination using a hidden dagger not only changed the course of history but also showcases the unexpected ways in which God works through individuals.
The story of Ehud begins with the Israelites falling into idolatry and disobedience, resulting in their subjugation under the Moabites. For eighteen years, the Moabite king, Eglon, ruled over the Israelites, exploiting and oppressing them. In their distress, the Israelites cried out to God, who responded by raising up Ehud as their deliverer.
Ehud, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, possessed a unique attribute that would play a crucial role in his mission. He was left-handed, a trait that was considered unusual and even stigmatized in ancient times. However, this so-called disadvantage became a hidden advantage for Ehud, as his left-handedness allowed him to conceal his weapon where his enemies least expected it.
The narrative unfolds as Ehud presents a tribute to King Eglon, a gesture common among vassal states. The tribute, which consisted of a double-edged dagger strapped to Ehud’s right thigh, was overlooked by the Moabite king’s guards due to their assumption that Ehud, being left-handed, would carry his weapon on his left side. This miscalculation would prove fatal for Eglon.
After delivering the tribute, Ehud requests a private audience with King Eglon, claiming that he has a secret message for him. Eglon dismisses his attendants, and Ehud seizes the opportunity to strike. Drawing the hidden dagger from his right thigh, he plunges it into the obese king’s belly, causing Eglon’s fat to envelop the blade.
Ehud’s audacious act of assassination leaves the Moabite king dead, and the Israelites seize the opportunity to revolt against their oppressors, leading to a decisive victory over the Moabites. The land enjoys eighty years of peace and prosperity under the leadership of Ehud.
1. Why was Ehud chosen as the judge?
Ehud was chosen by God to be the judge and deliverer of the Israelites because of his courage, resourcefulness, and willingness to act on behalf of his people.
2. Why was left-handedness considered unusual or stigmatized?
In ancient times, left-handedness was seen as unusual and even stigmatized because the majority of people were right-handed. It was associated with weakness, clumsiness, or even sinister intentions.
3. Why did Ehud hide the dagger on his right thigh?
Ehud hid the dagger on his right thigh to exploit the guards’ assumption that he would carry his weapon on his left side. This allowed him to pass through security unnoticed.
4. How did Ehud manage to assassinate King Eglon without being caught?
Ehud requested a private audience with the king, claiming to have a secret message. Once alone with Eglon, he quickly drew the hidden dagger and struck him, catching the king by surprise.
5. Why did Ehud choose a dagger as his weapon?
Ehud chose a dagger as his weapon because it was compact, concealable, and lethal at close range. Its size and ease of use made it the ideal weapon for his mission.
6. What was the significance of the eighty years of peace after Ehud’s victory?
The eighty years of peace that followed Ehud’s victory symbolize a long period of stability and prosperity for the Israelites. It demonstrates the impact a righteous leader can have on a nation.
7. What lessons can we learn from the story of Ehud?
The story of Ehud teaches us that God can use anyone, regardless of their perceived weaknesses or societal limitations, to accomplish great things. It also emphasizes the importance of courage, resourcefulness, and obedience to God’s call.
8. How does the story of Ehud relate to us today?
The story of Ehud reminds us that God can work through ordinary individuals to bring about extraordinary change. It encourages us to trust in God’s guidance and step out in faith, even when faced with seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
In conclusion, the story of Ehud, the left-handed Benjamite judge, serves as a testament to the unexpected ways in which God can use individuals to bring about liberation and change. Ehud’s audacious act of assassination, executed with a hidden dagger, not only liberated the Israelites from the oppressive rule of King Eglon but also demonstrates the power of resourcefulness and courage in the face of adversity. As we reflect on this fascinating biblical account, may we be inspired to embrace our unique attributes, trust in God’s guidance, and bravely act in the pursuit of justice and freedom.