Ehud or Ehud ben-Gera (Ehud the son of Gera in the tribe of Benjamin) is not one of the famous Bible characters. However, he played a great part in the Book of Judges as the ad VOC or Hebrew Judge, who delivered the people of Israel from the domination of King Elgon, the ruler of the Moabites. He is on the Biblical Timeline Chart during the Time of the Judges that was after the death of Moses to the time of Solomon.
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The origin of the name Ehud is unknown although it has become a name often used in contemporary Jewish people. Two of Israel’s ministers were named Ehud. There are two possible meanings of the name; the first one is ‘Unity’ and the other one is ‘Glory’. However, neither of the two meanings were considered as a legal etymology of the name. Though there are some sermons, that referred to Ehud as Glory or Praise or Thanksgiving.
Ehud was a Benjamite as his father Gera before him and he were also left handed. His being left handed highlighted in the scriptures as it held great significance in the deliverance of Israel from the Moabites and its king Eglon.
The Judges of Israel
After Joshua’s conquest of the Canaanites, the tribes was led by Judges or ad hoc. Biblical judge or shôphatîm in Hebrew was considered to be as a person who presides on legal hearings and was regarded as military ruler. This was the way of Israel government until the Kingdom of Israel was formed around 1150 to 1025 BCE.
The Conquerors of Israelites
Upon the death of Joshua, the Israelites began to worship other gods causing the wrath of the Lord so that He allowed Cushan-Risthaim, king of the Aram from Mesopotamia to dominate Israel. King Cushan-Rishathaim ruled Israel ruthlessly for eight years. When the people of Israel began calling for God’s help, Othniel, son of Kenaz, was made Judge by God and the first judge of Israel who delivered the people from the hands of their conquerors.
After forty years of peace starting with Othniel’s victory against the King of Aram, the people of Israel once again sinned against God. Upon the death of Othniel, the Israelites once again forgot the wrath of God and sinned against Him. So as a punishment, God allowed Eglon the King of Moab to conquer Israel and rule over them for eighteen years. Then God called Ehud as the deliverer of Israel from the Moabites.
The Assassination of King Eglon
After eighteen years of tyranny, King Eglon became fat. Each year, he demanded tribute from the Israelites. When the Israel people called for God’s help, He called upon Ehud, referred to as the left-handed Benjamite, to be the deliverer of Israel. Ehud, as the Judge, presented the tribute to the fat King of Moabites, Eglon. But before he presented the tribute to the King, Ehud made a double-edged sword and strapped it to his right thigh where no palace guard would have thought a weapon might be concealed. Ehud, however, as a left-handed man could easily reach it. Upon giving the tribute, Ehud told the King that he had a message from God for Eglon. Eglon invited Ehud into his summer parlor in the palace and asked his palace guard to go away. As the King stood up to hear what Ehud came to say, the latter draw out the sword from his right thigh and stabbed the King in his belly.
King Eglon was so overweight that the fats on his belly absorbed the one and half foot sword up to its handle. Out from the King’s belly came human excrement. Ehud then silently went out, locking the parlor door behind him. The King’s servants came but when they found the doors was locked and that the smell was foul, they have thought their leader was relieving himself inside and chose not to disturb him. They later came back when the King did not go out for a long time and found their leader dead. As the Moabites were delayed in learning of the demise of their King, Ehud went to Seirath and rallied the people of Israel to go against the Moabites. Ehud and the Israelites killed 10,000 more Moabites and subdued them. The Israelites had 80 years of peace under the Judgment of Ehud.
Ehud a Judge in the Bible
Judges 3:12. The Lord gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel for the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the Lord.
Judges 3:15. The Lord delivered Israelites by giving Ehud, the son of the Benjamite Gera, whom they sent him with a tribute to Eglon king of Moab.
Judges 3:16. Ehud had geared up his right thigh under his clothing with a double-edged sword about a foot and a half long.
Judges 3:18. After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way the men who had carried it.
Judges 3:20. Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat,
Judges 3:21. Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly.
Judges 3:22. Even the handle sank in after the blade, which came out his back. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.
Judges 3:23. Then Ehud went out to the porch; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
Judges 3:26. While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah.
Judges 3:31. After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.
Judges 4:1. After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the LORD.
1 Chronicles 7:10. The son of Jediael: Bilhan. The sons of Bilhan: Jeush, Benjamin, Ehud, Kenaanah, Zethan, Tarshish, and Ahishahar.
1 Chronicles 8:6. These were the descendants of Ehud, who were heads of families of those living in Geba and were deported to Manahath:
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1 thought on “Ehud A Judge in Israel”
Nice write up. I just finished making an animation about Ehud with my company, G-dcast, and believe this audience would enjoy it. It’s at: http://g-dcast.com/ehud
In a short animation, there’s so many details that have to be skipped, that you write about here, but my hope is that by watching it, it helps embed this in people’s memory that much more.