Judges Chapter 3

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12: And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. edit

13: And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees. edit

14: So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years. edit

15: But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab. edit

16: But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh. edit

17: And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man. edit

18: And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present. edit

19: But he himself turned again from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from him. edit

20: And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat. edit

21: And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly: edit

22: And the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly; and the dirt came out. edit

23: Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them. edit

24: When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlour were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber. edit

25: And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth. edit

26: And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath. edit

27: And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount, and he before them. edit

28: And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over. edit

29: And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. edit

30: So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years. edit

 ==A Creative Retelling of the Story of Ehud (Judges 3:12-30)==  

My name is Ehud, a servant of the Most High God. My father, Bilhan, comes from the tribe of Benjamin. I remember my father sitting me on his lap when I was younger, telling me that I was a very cunning and convincing child, but I needed to be careful to use my craftiness for Godly purposes. This was hard for me to learn, especially when my brothers and I would go out to play our games of ‘glorious battle’ just like our ancestors, the Israelites. I was often the leader of our army, sword in hand, scheming ways to gain victory over our ‘rebellious enemies’. Ah, how those memories take me back! I can just feel the blowing sand graze across my face as I head out for our make-believe battle outside the city of Jericho my home. But where was I…oh, yes, my father’s tribe, the tribe of Benjamin. My people, the Israelites, were known for being God’s chosen people, gaining God’s never-ending blessing. However, even though God favored our people, we were disobedient to Him, disregarding the gift of grace. We rebelled against God’s laws and were continually unfaithful to Him, giving into the surrounding culture’s practices such as: building and worshipping idols, intermarrying with the foreigners, and losing reverence for the one true God. I could see the influence of the other societies infiltrating us Israelites through our everyday life. Zakkai, my Israelite neighbor, was starting to model Uriah, my other neighbor, a Hittite: he was skipping the daily prayer meetings at the Temple, dishonest in his business dealings, married a Hittite woman, and continued breaking God’s laws. It wasn’t just the Hittites that were affecting us Israelites; it was also the Canaanites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites.

As I looked out from my silversmith shop in Jericho, seeing the my fellow Israelites rushing from place to place, I saw more and more of our people becoming just like all of the other people groups in the way that they interacted with others. We were becoming less honest in our business dealing, less patient with our neighbors and less willing to help our friends and strangers in need. Instead we became more sinful in our lust for money and selfish desires. As I looked out, I could hear God continue to tell me, ‘It’s not right…my people have fallen away and they are no longer doing what’s right in my eyes. I will teach them, it’s not going to be the easy path for them; but I must discipline them as a father disciplines a son.’ And that’s exactly what God did. King Eglon from Moab attacked us and took possession of our city Jericho. That’s exactly where we are now, and have been for the past 18 years – under oppression from the Moabites in Jericho.

We Israelites continued to feel the oppression weighing down on us just as the anvil rests heavily on my shop room floor. Then one day, as I stood listening to the clamoring and banging of metal beating hot metal, I heard God’s voice say to me, ‘The oppression my people are feeling from the Moabites will come to an end soon and you are going to be a part of it. Here’s the plan…’ I was so used to hearing the wailing of the Israelites in the streets every day, calling out to God for someone to rescue us, but I never thought God would call me! I spent some time in prayer and then made the preparations the Lord had told me to make. I must admit…this plan that the Lord gave me was the best plan that I had ever came across in all of my days of scheming. It was a crazy plan and would only work with the Lord’s help; but I knew that it was a stroke of genius and that God would be on our side through every step. The first step was to craft a special sword – a double-edged sword measuring a foot and a half long. I was used to things being made ‘special’ for me since I am left-handed. I went to work on the sword and then started rallying the Israelites together as God had directed me. All of my Israelite brothers and I gathered a tribute together to bring for King Elgon to both soften his heart and to allow me entrance to ‘talk’ with him. Before I knew it, everything was set in place and the grand plan was ready to be put into action.

I had a few good friends, who had not been tainted by evil, accompany me and carry the tribute to the King’s breath-taking summer palace. When we had made our way to the grand front entrance, the guards checked us for weapons. I was scared to death when they roughly patted me down, but was so thankful to God when they (thinking I was right-handed) checked my left side for hidden weapons and not my right. At that moment I thanked God for my left-handedness, even though up until that point in my life it was always seen as a scornful thing. I continued to feel my heart pounding as we walked though the courtiers to the king’s throne room. The smell of everything from the choicest roast lamb to the freshest grain in the area filled the hallway with a glorious aroma. As we entered the room, I was shocked at how large King Elgon was. I had heard about his rolls of fat, bursting out of the royal robes he wore and how he was continually fed the desires of his stomach holding such grand feasts every weekend; but this was far from what I had ever imagined! There the king was stuffing his mouth with these savory foods we had smelled from a table filled with enough food to feed my family for a month. The King’s face lit up when he saw the tribute we brought him, gifts of fine pottery, gold, silver, and flawless animals. All these presents pleased the king and he ordered that they be placed in the store room with the other tributes he had received. As the king was about to send us on our way, the Lord showed me that the pivotal point in the plan was to take place at this moment.

I knew that the King loved to hear of the latest secrets and knowledge, being the first to hear of any news. So, as my men and I were walking towards the door, I turned back to the king and said, “Oh, great King Elgon! I have a secret message for you.” Immediately, in childlike giddiness and selfishness of wanting to be the first and only one to know this message, the king ordered that he be move to his upper room where he could have a private audience with me. It took the help of two servants just to help the fool up from his chair and then another servant to help him to his favorite room upstairs, the upper room – it was quite a sad sight to see as he struggled to take each step because of his enormous size. Alas, we made it to the king’s room. When I was certain that all of the servants had left and were nowhere nearby, I said to the King, “I have a message from God for you!” and I drew my sword, catching the king by surprise, and thrust it into the king’s bloated belly. The entire sword vanished into the King’s stomach out through his back – even the handle of my sword was devoured into his belly! Immediately a feeling of shock came over me as I felt King Eglon’s warm blood covering my hands, and heard the agonized groanings of the King as he took his last breath. It was at the point I realized what I had just done – I had just killed the King! I would be a wanted man as soon as the Moabites found out. I tried putting all these feeling beside me and quickly washed my hands to cover up the deed I had just done. I was sure to lock the doors to the upper room behind me, to buy more time, as I rushed out of the room. Once I had escaped from the palace, I raced back to the Israelites who were waiting for me to return. I blew the trumpet to signal my troops and within no time we were overtaking the fords at the Jordan River and making our way to the terrified Moabites. I felt like I was back in my younger days, rounding the ‘soldiers’ to fight – but this was a real battle, finally what I had been waiting for my entire life!

Back at the palace, the king’s attendants found the doors to the upper room locked. They knew the king’s habits and normal schedule, so they just thought that he was relieving himself; but after a few hours of waiting, they became worried. Breaking down the door, they found the king lying on the floor in a puddle of his own blood. Their leader whom they had just seen downstairs consuming the choicest meals hours before, lay there on the ground dead leaving his people helpless. There was such a panic as news of the king’s death spread rapidly throughout the kingdom. As this tragic news was being passed around, the watchmen came announcing the approaching army of the Israelites. The city was filled with paranoia as the people were rushing back and forth with their children in one hand and any weapon they could find in the other. The sight of the Moabites as we approached them reminded me of my silversmith shop seeing the fire in the oven dancing around from place to place, always moving frantically. This confusion among the Moabites made our battle victory easy – God definitely had the best ‘scheme’ I had ever seen. Our victory was won by the plan and work of our wonderful Lord, the God of our father Abraham.

The same God who had rescued our people from the hand of the Egyptians had now rescued us from the oppression of the Moabites and God would grant us such glorious peace for the next eighty years. As I look out from my silversmith shop now, I see such joy in my brothers. No more fear of the enemy and falling away from God’s laws, but a peace within their hearts and a willingness to serve our Savior.

Written by Catheryn V K

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