14 May. Judges 3:12-30

14 May. Ehud defeats King Eglon of Moab

“Again the people of Israel did what the LORD said was wrong. So the LORD gave Eglon king of Moab power to defeat Israel because of the evil Israel did.”

“Eglon got the Ammonites and the Amalekites to join him. Then he attacked Israel and took Jericho, the city of palm trees. So the people of Israel were ruled by Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.”

“When the people cried to the LORD, he sent someone to save them. He was Ehud, son of Gera from the people of Benjamin, who was left-handed. Israel sent Ehud to give Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded.”

“Ehud made himself a sword with two edges, about half a metre long, and he tied it to his right hip under his clothes. Ehud gave Eglon king of Moab the payment he demanded. Now Eglon was a very fat man. After he had given Eglon the payment, Ehud sent away the people who had carried it. When he passed the statues near Gilgal [on his way home], he turned around [went back to Moab] and said to Eglon, ‘I have a secret message for you, King Eglon.’”

“The king said, ‘Be quiet!’ Then he sent all of his servants out of the room. Ehud went to King Eglon, as he was sitting alone in the room above his summer palace. Ehud said, ‘I have a message from God for you.’”

“As the king stood up from his chair, Ehud reached with his left hand and took out the sword that was tied to his right hip. Then he stabbed the sword deep into the king’s belly! Even the handle sank in, and the blade came out of his back. The king’s fat covered the whole sword, so Ehud left the weapon in Eglon. Then he went out of the room and closed and locked the doors behind him.”

“When the servants returned just after Ehud left, they found the doors to the room locked. So they thought the king was relieving himself. They waited for a long time. Finally they became worried because he still had not opened the doors. So they got the key and unlocked them and saw their king lying dead on the floor!”

“While the servants were waiting, Ehud had escaped. He passed by the statues [at Gilgal] and went to Seirah. When he reached the mountains of Ephraim he blew the trumpet [to declare war]. The people of Israel heard it and went down from the hills with Edud leading them.”

“He said to them, ‘Follow me! The LORD has helped you to defeat your enemies, the Moabites.’ So Israel followed Ehud and captured the crossings of the Jordan River. Israel killed about 10,000 strong and able men from Moab; not one escaped.”

“So that day Moab was forced to be under the rule of Israel, and there was peace in the land for 80 years.”

          (Judges 3:12-30)



During the time of the Judges, King Eglon of Moab - the land to the east of the Jordan - captured Jericho in c.1361BC, and ruled Israel for 18 years (see 2 on the map on 10 May).

King Eglon was killed in c.1344BC by Ehud, one of the ‘judges’, who crossed the River Jordan to present the Israelites’ tribute to the king at his summer palace in Moab. On his way back, near Gilgal, he decided to return to the palace and he killed the king with a concealed sword by pretending to have a secret message from God for him. He certainly had a ‘message’ – but it wasn’t what the king expected!

The Moabites were subsequently defeated by the Israelites, under Ehud’s command, at the fords across the River Jordan, to the east of Jericho, and Moab became subject to Israel for eighty years.

During the time of Ehud, in c.1300BC, Shamgar intercepted a raiding party of Philistines moving inland from the southern coastal plain (see 3 on the map on 10 May). Judges 3:31 tells us that Shamgar killed six hundred Philistines with an ox-goad!

The photo (by Eliot) shows the Vale of Jezreel in Israel.

You can read more about the Judges @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/28-the-israelites-face-continuing-opposition/israel-under-the-judges-othniel-and-ehud

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