Study Guide

Book of Judges Chapter 3

Chapter 3

The Left-Handed Assassination Of A Very Fat King

  • The Lord left the five lords of the Philistines, the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites in Canaan to test Israel's devotion to him. Let's hope he grades on a curve, becauseā€¦
  • Israel forgets God, worships Baal, and gets taken over by Mesopotamia, whom they have to serve for 8 years.
  • Israel cries unto the Lord, so he raises up the first judge: Othniel, Caleb's nephew.
  • Under Othniel, Israel enjoys 40 years of peace. But then he dies, and you know what happens next: Israel forgets God again, this time serving Moab for 18 years.
  • As you might have guessed, Israel then cries unto the Lord (again), who raises them up another judge to deliver them: Ehud, son of Gera, who hatches a plan to take out Eglon. Remember those juicy details we promised? Read on, Shmoop-ites!
  • Israel sends Ehud to give Eglon a present.
  • Ehud is left-handed (or, according to some translations, ambidextrous), like many of his fellow Benjamites (20:16), which is important because this allows him to wear his dagger hidden on the right side of his body, where Eglon wouldn't expect it to be.
  • When Ehud arrives, he tells the king he has a secret to tell him, so "all that stood by him went out from him" (KJV 3:19).
  • Alone with Eglon in his summer parlor, Ehud says, "I have a message from God unto thee" (KJV 3:20). Then he stabs Eglon in the belly. The dagger gets stuck in the king's fat, so Ehud just leaves it, locks the parlor doors, and walks out like he owns the place.
  • Eglon's servants don't notice he's dead until Ehud is long gone.
  • Ehud rallies Israel to battle against Moab, and they kill 10,000 lusty men, which ushers in 80 years of peace.

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