The Period Of The Judges

   
Chapter 13
The Judge Ehud         [Judges 3.12-3.30]

  
Scripture

 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
and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees done evil in the sight of the LORD.
13 And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went.
14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.
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.
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.
17 And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.
18 And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present.
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.
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.
21 And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly:
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.
23 Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them.
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.
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.
26 And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath.
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. 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.
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.
30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.

Background

The next judgment to rebellious Israel came likewise from the east. On the eastern boundary of Reuben and of Gad lay the land of Moab. One of the chieftains of its tribes, Eglon, now allied himself with the old enemies of Israel, Ammon and Amalek, the former occupying the territory south of Reuben, the latter the districts in the far south-west, below Philistia. Eglon swept over the possessions of the trans-Jordanic tribes, crossed the river, and made Jericho, which was probably rebuilt as a town, though not as a fortress, his capital. Having thus cut the land, into two, he occupied its center and garden. Eglon degraded Israel (i.e., the Benjamites and perhaps some Ephraiminites.) to servitude for eighteen years. At the end of that period the people once more "cried unto the Lord," and "the Lord raised them up a deliverer," although Holy Scripture does not say that in his method of deliverance he acted under the influence of the Spirit of the Lord. However, in the peculiar circumstances of the case I am convinced that we can see the hand of God at work.

Commentary

12And 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.
13And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees.
14So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

Israel had enjoyed forty years of undisturbed peace while under Othniel, their first judge. After the death of Othniel, there was another time of backsliding and idolatry among the Israelites. Ehud, a Benjaminite, is the next of the judges whose achievements are reported in this history book we call The Book of Judges, and here is an account of his actions.

The Israelites, deprived of the moral and political influences of Othniel, were not long in following their native partiality to idolatry. When Israel dwelt in tents, Balak king of Moab, would have acted against them, but God confused his mind; now that they had forsaken God, and worshipped the gods of the nations around them (and perhaps the Moabites were among those pagan nations), there was another king of Moab, whom God built up to go against Israel. The Lord put power into his hands, even though he was a wicked man, so that he might be a scourge to Israel. The staff in Balak’s hand with which he beat Israel was God’s indignation;
[1](Isa. 10:6,7 ). The Israelites did evil, and, we may suppose that the Moabites did worse; yet because God commonly punishes his own people for sins committed in this world, so that, the flesh being destroyed, the spirit may be saved, Israel is weakened and Moab strengthened against them.

God raised up another enemy nation as an instrument of judgment on His people. Moab is the land east of the Dead Sea, lying between the Arnon and the Zered Rivers. The Moabites were descendents of Lot by his older daughter’s incestuous relationship with him [2](Gen. 19.30-38 ). This oppressor’s territory was situated nearer to them than the former, and therefore would be more harmful to them; God’s judgments were approaching them gradually, to bring them to repentance. Eglon’s ambition was to get back that extensive portion of his ancient territory possessed by the Israelites. In conjunction with his neighbors, the Ammonites and the Amalekites, sworn enemies of Israel, he first subjected the eastern tribes to hostilities; then crossing the Jordan, he made a sudden incursion on western Canaan.
The Moabites, like the other Transjordanian kingdoms, had been previously nomadic peoples. Eglon was able to gather a confederacy of men from Moab, Ammon and Amalek in order to defeat the Israelites. The Ammonites were closely allied to the Mosbites throughout their history, and the nomadic Amalekites had been bitter foes of Israel since the battle at Rephadim. These amalgamated tribes had harassed Israel considerably during the wilderness journey and remained a constant threat to them during the early settlement period as well.

The Transjordanian confederacy followed the same route that Israel had taken earlier and captured the city of palm trees, i.e., Jericho. This city was previously destroyed by Joshua; however, it occupied such a strategic position that apparently another city was built on the site a short time after its destruction; but without refortifying it with city walls, because of the curse on whoever did this [3](Jos. 6.26 ). Archaeological remains show that Jericho was actually built, destroyed, and rebuilt several times.

They made the Israelites serve them (v. 14), that is, they exacted tribute from them, either the fruits of the earth in kind, or money in lieu of them. They neglected the service of God, and did not pay him his tribute; therefore, God recovered from them that wine and oil, that silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal, [4](Hos. 2:8 ). What should have been paid to the divine grace, and was not, was paid to the divine justice. The former servitude (v. 8) lasted for eight years, this eighteen; for, if less troubles do not do the work, God will send greater.
God would not allow the Israelites, when they were the stronger nation, to distress the Moabites, nor to disturb them in any way even though they were idolaters [5](Deut. 2:9 ); yet now he allowed the Moabites to distress Israel, and He strengthened them on purpose so that they might say: “Thy judgments, O God! are a great deep.”

15But 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.  
16But 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.
17And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.
18And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present.

To counteract the eighteen-year oppression brought on by Eglon, God raised up a deliverer, Ehud … a Benjamite, a lefthanded man . The term “lefthanded” comes from the Hebrew term meaning “bound of his right hand.” The Benjamites apparently were known for being lefthanded—“Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss” (Judges 20:16). They were also noted for being ambidextrous—“They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saul's brethren of Benjamin” (1 Chr. 12:2).

In a clever move, Ehud was selected to bring a present (the yearly tribute money) demanded from Israel by the Moabite king. In actuality, the tribute was probably paid in the form of agricultural produce or a series of gifts requiring a number of porters (vs. 18) to carry it all. Bruce suggests that the gift was taken to Jericho, which was being used as a temporary headquarters within Israel by the Moabite king, rather than to Kir Hareseth, the capital of Moab. Davis (Conquest and Crisis, p. 107) dates the Moabite conquest from about 1335 B.C., including their infiltration into the Jordan Valley. Ehud, who perhaps had had this dubious responsibility previously, decided to use it as an opportunity to assassinate the Moabite king. In order to carry out the assassination attempt, Ehud made a dagger which was a cubit in length (vs. 16). The Hebrew word for cubit, is used no other place in the entire Old Testament. It refers to a short cubit, i.e., the distance between the elbow and knuckles of a closed fist; therefore, it was about twelve to fourteen inches long. Hiding the dagger under his robe, Ehud brought the tribute caravan to Eglon, who is described as a very fat man (indicating the need for the length of the dagger). After the official presentation of the tribute, Ehud dismissed his entourage and requested a private audience with the king himself.

What do we know about this new deliverer, named Ehud. We are told here:
1. That he was a Benjamite. The city of palm-trees lay within the lot of this tribe; therefore, it is probable that they suffered the most, and therefore, they were the first to shake off the yoke of oppression. It is supposed by the chronologers that the Israelites’ war with Benjamin for the wickedness of Gibeah, by which that whole tribe was reduced to 600 men, happened before this, so that we may rightly think that Benjamin was now the weakest of all the tribes, yet out of it God raised up this deliverer, as an indication of his being perfectly reconciled to them, to manifest his own power in ordaining strength out of weakness, and that he might bestow more abundant honour upon that part which lacked, [6](1 Co. 12:24 ).
2. That he was left-handed. It seems that many of that tribe was. Benjamin means the son of the right hand, and yet multitudes of them were left-handed; for men’s natures do not always echo their names. The LXX say he was an ambi-dexter, one that could use both hands in a similar way. We may suppose that this was an advantage to him in the action he was called to carry out; but the Hebrew phrase, that he was shut of his right hand, suggests that, either through disease or injury, he had little or no use of his right hand. He could only use his left hand, and so he was less fit for war, because there would be things he could not do like hold a shield for defense; yet God chose this left-handed man to be the man of his right hand, whom he would make strong for himself, [7](Ps. 80:17 ). It was God’s right hand that gained Israel the victory [8](Ps. 44:3 ), not the right hand of the instruments he employed.
3. That he was the son of Gera, one of Benjamin's sons [9](Ge 46:21 ).
4. Othniel was from Judah, the mightiest tribe in Israel. Ehud was from Benjamin, now the smallest tribe. God can use the great or the small to gain the victory, since the power is from Him anyway. Men are simply the agents of deliverance, not the originators of it.
5. That he planned the death of this tyrant. It is apparent from the preparations he made that he followed a well thought-out plan. For example, he made a weapon for the specific purpose of killing King Eglon; a short dagger about half a yard long and shaped like a bayonet, which might easily be concealed under his clothes (v. 16). It had to be concealed because no one was allowed to come near the king with their swords by their sides. He wore the sword on his right thigh, so that it might be easily drawn with his left hand.
Before Ehud’s plan would work, he had to be alone with him, which might be easier now that he had not only made himself known to him, but ingratiated himself by the present, and the compliments which he no doubt had spoken to him. Presents, tribute, etc., in the eastern countries were offered with very great ceremony; and to make the occasion more distinguished several persons, ordinarily slaves, who were lavishly dressed, were employed to carry what would not be a burden even to one. This appears to have been the case in the present instance. It is highly likely that Ehud had hid his plans from everyone in the entourage, and he ordered them to leave as soon as they presented their gift, and then he followed them out of the king’s palace.

19But 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. 

The reference in verse 19 that he turned again from the quarries, that were by Gilgal has caused considerable confusion. The Hebrew word translated quarries  is usually translated “sculptured stones” (RSV) or “graven images” (LXX, RV mg) or statues of Moabite idols, the sight of which may have kindled the patriotic zeal of Ehud to avenge this public insult to Israel. The quarries are mentioned again in verse 26, where they are an important landmark. It is probably the case that when he had passed them he was safe from the Moabites. Thus, it has been suggested that they marked the limits of the Moabite territory and would be similar to boundary stones. Cundall (p. 77) prefers the idea that they were the actual stones set up earlier by Joshua to commemorate the miraculous crossing of the Jordan and, thus, were a well-known landmark.

Verse 18 states that he dismissed his retinue from the Kings presence. He soon left himself to accompany his companions on the return trip. When the group came to the quarries, Ehud turned back to seek a private audience with Eglon. The implication of this move was to reinforce the concept of the secrecy of his mission. Now Ehud pretended as if he had left something behind, and went back to the king of Moab’s court, v. 18. Then Ehud begged for a private audience to discuss a secret message. It may be that he went as far as to these images, so that, by telling him that he went as far as the quarries before returning that the king of Moab might be more apt to believe he had a message from God. Then again, Eglon may have thought that Ehud had come to deliver a message, the nature of which a spy would bring, or perhaps he thought Ehud was prepared to bring a special bribe to him personally in addition to the tribute. The fact that the king responded to his secret errand with the statement Keep silence "Privacy" -- a signal for all to withdraw, further suggests that he expected something of a personal nature that he did not want the others to know about, thus, he sent them out, until Ehud and Eglon were alone in the room. It was a very unwise thing for him to be all alone with a stronger man that he had reason to look upon as an enemy; but those that are marked for ruin are infatuated, and their hearts hid from understanding; God deprives them of discretion.

He—turned—from the quarries. Some of the versions understand this word to mean idols or graven images, or some spot where the Moabites had a place of idolatrous worship. Another possibility for the meaning is the boundaries of the two countries: and when Ehud had got this far, he sent away the people that were with him, under the pretense of having a secret message for Eglon, and so he got rid of his attendants, since their presence with him would prove to be a hindrance to the execution of his scheme, and to his escape afterwards

20And 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. 

Ehud begged a private audience, and obtained it in a withdrawing-room, here called a summer parlour. He told the king that he had a secret message for him, who thereupon ordered all his attendants to withdraw, v. 19. There is no way to know whether he expected to receive some private instructions from an oracle, or some private information concerning the present state of Israel, as if Ehud would betray his country.

He (Eglun) was sitting in a summer parlor—Besides the platforms, says Dr. Shaw, which were upon the ancient houses of the East, and which are found there to this day, it is probable that prior to this, as well as at the present, most of the great houses had a smaller one annexed, which seldom consisted of more than one or two rooms and a terrace. Others, built as they frequently are above the porch or gateway. There is a door of communication from them into the veranda of the house, kept open or shut at the discretion of the master of the house. Another door opens from stairs that lead down to a privy, and then to the porch or street, without giving the least disturbance to the house. In these back houses strangers are usually lodged and entertained. And without doubt the apartment in which Eglon received Ehud was like this; near the privy stairs which was where he made his escape, after having killed Eglon. The doors of the Eastern buildings are large, and their chambers spacious, with conveniences that are well adapted to those hotter climates; but in the present passage something more seems to be meant; at least there are now other conveniences in the East to give coolness to particular rooms, which are very common. Eglon's was a chamber; and some contrivance to mitigate the heat of it was the more necessary, as he appears to have kept his court at Jericho, Judges 3:13, 28, where the heat is so excessive as sometimes to prove fatal.

I have a message from God unto thee—debar elohim li aleycha, a word of the gods to me, unto thee. It is very likely that the word elohim is used here to signify idols. Ehud, having gone so far as this place of idolatry, might pretend he had been there worshipping, and that one of the Moabite gods had inspired him with a message for the king; and this was the reason why the king commanded silence, why every man went out of the throne room and why he rose from his seat or throne, that he might receive it with the greatest respect. Eglon, being an idolater, would not have shown such interest in any message coming from the God of Israel.
But, on this occasion, Eglon does pay respect to a message from God. Though a king, though a heathen king, though rich and powerful, though now a tyrant over the people of God, though a fat unwieldy man that could not easily rise nor stand long, though in private and what he did was not under observation, yet, when he expected to receive orders form heaven, he rose out of his seat; whether it was low and easy, or whether it was high and stately, he left it, and stood up when God was about to speak to him, thereby acknowledging that God is his superior. This shames many who are called Christians that act with irreverence and lightly regard it, when a message from God is delivered to them.

Ehud, by calling what he had to do a message from God, plainly affirms a divine commission for his mission; and God’s influencing Eglon to do it did both confirm the commission and facilitate the execution of it. God prompts us by the judgments of his hand, as well as by the judgments of his mouth.

21And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly:
22And 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. 

The message was delivered, not to his ear, but immediately, and literally, to his heart, into which the fatal knife was thrust, and was left there. His extreme fatness made him unable to resist or to help himself; probably it was the effect of his luxury and overindulgence. God would show by this circumstance  how those that pamper the body do but prepare for their own distress.

Notice is taken of the coming out of the dirt or dung; that was done so that the death of this proud tyrant may appear more embarrassing and shameful. He that had been so very pompous about his own body, to keep it comfortable and clean, shall now be found wallowing in his own blood and excrements. In this fashion God pours contempt upon princes.

Now this act of Ehud’s is justified because he had special direction from God to do it; God put it into his heart, and let him know also, by the Spirit that came upon him that the urge to do this action was from Himself: the impulses carried with them their own evidence, and allowed him to be fully satisfied with the lawfulness and the success of this daring attempt, both of which he would have had reason enough to doubt. If he is sure that God is directing him to do it, then he is sure both that he may do it and that he will do it; because a command from God is sufficient to make it happen, both against our consciences and against all the world.

We know now that God was agreeable with the method Ehud used which, under that dispensation, He used to avenge his people against their enemies, and to display to the world his own justice. But God will by no means justify any such acts today. No such commissions are given now, and to pretend there are is to blaspheme God. Christ Told Peter to sheathe the sword, and we do not find that he ever asked him to draw it again.

The haft also went in after the blade. Seeing that the instrument was very short, and Eglon very fat, this might readily take place.

And the dirt came out. This was expected: either the contents of the bowels passed through the wound, or he had an evacuation in the natural way because he was frightened and in agony.

23Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them.
24When 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. 
25And 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.
26And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath.

Ehud escaped through the porch. It may possibly refer to some form of elaborate roof colonnade. Ehud then locked the double doors of the roof-chamber and escaped undetected. Finding the door locked, the servants assumed that he covereth his feet, a euphemism meaning “go to the bathroom.” This would probably indicate that some sort of plumbing was available in the parlor on the roof.

The statement that they tarried till they were ashamed means they “waited until the point of confusion.”

Cundall (p. 78) suggests that the key was a flat piece of wood fitted with pins that corresponded with holes in a hollow bolt. The insertion of this key in the bolt pushed out the pins of the lock and enabled the bolt to be withdrawn from the socket in the doorpost. Thus, the door could be locked without a key, but could not be unlocked without one.

Providence wonderfully favored Ehud’s escape, after he had done the execution. First, The tyrant fell silently, without any shriek or out-cry, which might have been overheard by his servants. How silently does he go down to the pit, choked up, it may be, with his own fat, which stifled his dying groans, though he had made such a great a noise in the world, and had been the terror of the mighty in the land of the living! Secondly, The heroic executioner of this vengeance, had such a presence of mind that he discovered that he experienced no consciousness of guilt, but a strong confidence in the divine protection. He shut the doors after him, took the key with him, and passed through the guards with such an air of innocence, and boldness, and unconcernedness, that none of the servants and guards suspect that he had done any thing wrong.

The servants that attended the king in the antechamber, in time became curious about the silence surrounding him. When Ehud had gone, they went to the door of the inner parlor, to enquire about their master’s requests, and finding it locked and all quiet, concluded he had lain down to sleep, had covered his feet upon his couch, and gone to consult his pillow about the message he had received, and to dream about it (v. 24), and therefore would not offer to open the door. That is one possible reason for their delay, but most Bible scholars believe that they believed that Eglon was relieving himself. Consequently, by their care not to disturb his sleep they lost the opportunity of revenging his death. See what happens when men make too much of their high position, and force those around them to keep their distance; some time or other it may come against them more than they think it could.

The servants at long last opened the door, and found their master was dead. The horror of this tragic spectacle, and the confusion it must have created, triggered thoughts of their own inconsideration in not opening the door sooner. The result was that they set aside all thoughts of sending pursuers after Ehud, because now they had given up hope of overtaking him.

By the time they discovered their king was dead, Ehud escaped … unto Seirath (unknown location in Ephraim). Ehud wasted no time in rallying the people of Israel to attack the confused Moabites who were now without a leader.

He covereth his feet. A euphemism for bathroom functions. A phrase also used in regard to making preparations for sleep—He has lain down on his sofa in order to sleep; when this was done they dropped their slippers, lifted up their feet, and covered them with their long loose garments. I believe that the former is what is meant here.

EHUD PUT EGLON THE KING OF MOAB TO DEATH; I SAY, PUT HIM TO DEATH, NOT MURDERED OR ASSASSINATED HIM, BUT AS A JUDGE, OR MINISTER OF DIVINE JUSTICE, HE CARRIED OUT THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD UPON HIM, WHO WAS A COLD-HEARTED ENEMY OF GOD AND ISRAEL.

Ehud made his escape to Sierath, a thick wood. It is not said any where in this story where Eglon lived; but, since there is no mention of Ehud crossing the Jordan River, I am inclined to think that Eglon had left his own country of Moab, on the other side of the Jordan, and made his principal residence at this time in the city of palm-trees, within the land of Canaan, a richer country than his own, and that there he was slain. There where he thought he had sufficiently fortified himself to lord it over the people of God, there he was cut down, like a lamb that is slaughtered.

 27And 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.
28And 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
.

He blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim. The trumpet sound summoned the people of that mountainous region to arms.  The territory of Benjamin adjoined that of Ephraim, and it is probably the case that they suffered the most from the dreadful oppression of the Moabites. He raised an army immediately in Mount Ephraim, which was some distance from the headquarters of the Moabites, and he commanded the army himself. The Israelites easily took the fords of Jordan, meaning that they cut off the shallow water fords across the Jordan which would be used as an escape route by the fleeing Moabites. The trumpet Ehud blew was certainly a jubilee-trumpet, proclaiming liberty, and the joyful sound was welcomed by the oppressed Israelites, who for a long time had heard no other trumpets than those of their enemies.

Ehud was a pious man, and he did all this in faith, but he took encouragement himself, and gave encouragement to his soldiers, from the power of God engaged for them; He shouted, "Follow me, for the Lord hath delivered your enemies into your hands. When we face our enemies, we are sure to have God with us, and therefore, we may go on boldly, and shall go on triumphantly.”

29And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man. 
30So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.

Like a cunning general, he first secured the fords of Jordan, and then he set strong guards upon all the passes, to cut off all communications between the Moabites that were in the land of Israel (for they were the ones he planned to destroy) and their own country on the other side of the Jordan. He reasoned that if the alarm was given and they tried to escape, they could not, and, if they resolved to fight, they might not have assistance from their homeland. Thus he shut them up in that land as sure as if it was their prison.

Then the Israelites fell upon them, trapping them on the west bank of the Jordan, putting them all to the sword, 10,000 of them, which was a serious loss for the Moabites, and which it seems was the number appointed to keep Israel in subjection thus ending their oppression of Israel. There escaped not a man of them. And they were the best and choicest of all the king of Moab’s forces, all lusty men, men of bulk and stature, and not only able-bodied, but high spirited too, and men of valor. But neither their strength nor their courage did them any good when the set time had come for God to deliver them into the hand of Israel.

The land had rest for the next eighty years. This represents the longest period of peace during the turmoil of the era of the judges.

The consequence of this victory was that the power of the Moabites was altogether broken in the land of Israel. The country was cleared of these oppressors; their defeat was so decisive that they became subjects of Israel, and the land had rest for eighty years. We may hope that there was a reformation among them, and that idolatry was curbed by the influence of Ehud, which continued throughout his life. It was a great while for the land to rest, fourscore years; yet what is that to the saints’ everlasting rest in the heavenly Canaan.


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[1](Isa. 10.6-7) “I will send him against an hypocritical nation, and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.  Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few.”

[2](Gen. 19.30-38) “And Lot went up out of Zoar, and dwelt in the mountain, and his two daughters with him; for he feared to dwell in Zoar: and he dwelt in a cave, he and his two daughters. And the firstborn said unto the younger, Our father is old, and there is not a man in the earth to come in unto us after the manner of all the earth:  Come, let us make our father drink wine, and we will lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.  And they made their father drink wine that night: and the firstborn went in, and lay with her father; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose.  And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said unto the younger, Behold, I lay yesternight with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go thou in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father. And they made their father drink wine that night also: and the younger arose, and lay with him; and he perceived not when she lay down, nor when she arose. Thus were both the daughters of Lot with child by their father. And the firstborn bare a son, and called his name Moab: the same is the father of the Moabites unto this day. And the younger, she also bare a son, and called his name Benammi: the same is the father of the children of Ammon unto this day.” 

[3](Jos. 6.26) “And Joshua adjured them at that time, saying, Cursed be the man before the LORD, that riseth up and buildeth this city Jericho: he shall lay the foundation thereof in his firstborn, and in his youngest son shall he set up the gates of it.” 

 [4](Hos. 2:8) “For she did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal.” For she did not know reiterates the problem lying behind Gomer’s (and Israel’s) defection, a misconception as to whom she was responsible and from whom she received blessings. Hosea (and Jehovah) lavished upon Gomer (and Israel) not only the necessities of life, but also the luxuries in unparalleled abundance. Effect demands a cause. Gomer (and Israel) recognized the blessing, but did not recognize the proper source or cause. Gomer must have done something similar to what Israel did with the silver and gold that God lavished upon her, for Israel took the silver and gold and prepared (it) for Baal. What Israel literally did was to take the silver and gold and make them into an idol of Baal. The error was not new; it was the same then as always and continues to be characteristic of man (See Rom. 1:21–25).

[5](Deut. 2:9) “And the LORD said unto me, Distress not the Moabites, neither contend with them in battle: for I will not give thee of their land for a possession; because I have given Ar unto the children of Lot for a possession.”

 [6](1 Co. 12:24) “For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked:” By making the less presentable parts of the body essential to the well-being of the rest, and by diffusing a common life through all the members, he has made the body a harmonious whole.

[7](Ps. 80:17) “Let thy hand be upon the man of thy right hand, upon the son of man whom thou madest strong for thyself.” The only person who can be said to be at the right hand of God as intercessor, is JESUS the MESSIAH. Let him become our Deliverer: appoint him for this purpose, and let his strength be manifested in our weakness! By whom are the Jews to be restored, if indeed they ever be restored to their own land, but by JESUS CHRIST? By HIM alone can they find mercy; through HIM alone can they ever be reconciled to God.

[8](Ps. 44:3) “For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.” For they got not the land—“Neither by their valor, nor cunning, nor for their merit; yet, they were obliged to fight. But how did they conquer? By the right hand of the Lord, and by his arm; by his strength alone, and the light of his countenance—his favor most manifestly shown unto them.”

[9](Ge 46:21) “And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi, and Rosh, Muppim, and Huppim, and Ard.”

 

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