Ehud the lefty and Eglon the hefty!

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This is the second post in a mini-series tracing the way the seven saviour-judges of Israel prefigure Jesus, The Saviour-Judge.
[click link to start series]

In the middle of the 14th Century BC, the Southern tribes of Israel where being oppressed by Moab and it’s super-sized King, Eglon…

The Moabites where of course descended from Lot, Abraham’s nephew, they should have been allies but they had come out against Israel while they where passing through the wilderness, as a result they where barred from intermarrying with the Israelites, but Ruth (a Moabite) still marry Boaz and produced the line to David and ultimately Jesus. A tension that was causing questions about the balance of Law v Grace right up to the end of the Old Testament, (see Nehemiah 13).

But back in the day, King Eglon had made an alliance with the Ammonites (the sister-tribe of Moab) and also the Amalekites who where descended from Esau’s grandson, Amalek. Now Esau’s descendents where called Edomites and in the Bible the are used to personify the flesh because Edom and Adam where spelt the same way. So Eglon crossed the Jordan and captured Jericho, called the City of Palms due to many springs and Oases that surround it, Judges 3:13.

Ehud was delegated to carry Israels tribute to Eglon at Jericho. English translations tell us he was “left-handed“, the Hebrew actually says he was “impeded in the right hand” which I prefer as it makes more sense of the story, Ehud is able to get close to Eglon because his crippled sword hand means he does not look like a threat. Ironically Ehud was a Benjaminite and Benjamine means “Son of the right hand” so Ehud couldn’t have looked less like he belonged to his real heritage, just as nobody would have seen a son of David nor the son of God in Jesus the Galilean artisan.

ehud-300x286Ehud hides a long dagger on his right thigh, to stab Eglon with if he gets the chance. His spirit was willing though his flesh was weak, and first time around he chicken’s out. Ehud leaves, but he gets to Gilgal, where Joshua had created a memorial to the supernatural crossing of the Jordan and had won a famous victory from. So Ehud finds a new resolve and returns to Eglon.

Ehud claims to have a message and as he is not seen as a threat on account of his weak body, he is left alone with the despot. Once on their own Ehud pushes his hidden dagger into Eglon’s gut so that his roles of fat cover the hilt. give it 10 minutesThe Bible in its graphic detail describes the “refuse” spilling out, which would create a very bad smell.

Ehud pushes the body to the “restroom” and leaves. When Eglon’s servants come to check on Eglon they figure he must be relieving himself an leave it for a while. Along Ehud to get away and spread the news.

So how does Ehud’s victory foreshadow Jesus’

Well the early church in particular was very keen on a model of the cross that emphasised the deception of the devil into an encounter he didn’t realise would be his undoing. Fooled by Jesus humanity he didn’t understand the threat to his power in taking Jesus’ life.

Martin Luther described this deception:

Fishermen… Put on the hook a little worm. Then comes the fish and snatches the worm but gets the hook… So has the Lord God dealt with the devil, God has put into this world his only Son and upon the hook has put Christ’s humanity as the worm, then comes the devil and snaps at the man and devours him… But he also bites the iron hook that is the Godhead of Christ…so all his power is thrown to the ground! ” – Familiar Discources

Othniel, the “Lion of Judah” was anointed by the Spirit to win a straight out victory, Ehud on the other hand went right into the enemies camp in his weak body and delivered a left handed fatal blow to the fleshy king who had made a pact with the flesh, (the Edomites).

A case of lefty fools hefty!

“What the law couldn’t do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God did, sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh” – Romans 8:3

Christen Forster

Christen Forster

Christen Forster is widely recognised as an original Bible teacher who brings people into a love of and confidence in scripture.

Christen has planted churches, been a youth worker, mission administrator and church leaders. The author of several books, Christen is now an itinerant minister, helping churches to step into a more deliberately spiritual experience of the Christian life while at the same time firmly rooting their practice in scripture.

© 2000 - 2019 Christen Forster
Christen Forster

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