I don’t know if you’ve picked up on the cycle or not but you’ll see it soon enough!
- A generation grew up not knowing the LORD or what he had done for Israel.
- They did evil in the eyes of the LORD.
- The LORD gave them over to oppressors and his hand was against them.
- They were in great distress. Most of the time it says something about them crying out to God.
- The LORD raised up judges who saved them.
- The land was at peace until the judge died.
- The cycle starts over…
My favorite story in the Book of Judges would have to be the story of Ehud and Eglon. Ehud is a left anded Benjamite which means he’s really insignificant and probably the last to be picked for the dodgeball team. He was selected to take a tribute to Fat King Eglon (His name means fat cow…at least I think it does). After leaving, Ehud went back to Eglon and told him that he had a secret message for him. Like any other Jr. High girl, Eglon was excited about his new little secret! Little did he know…Ehud’s secret was quick and to the point (pun intended). I don’t typically do many word studies to then talk about in public but the next part of the story is really important. We will not look at the Hebrew but we’ll look at different translations of Judges 3:22:
American Standard Version – “and the haft also went in after the blade; and the fat closed upon the blade, for he drew not the sword out of his body; and it came out behind.” (It implies the sword came out)
King James Version – “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.” (It implies that dirt came out)
Today’s New International Version – “Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.” (It implies that there was a big mess…)
There are many other translations that more or less fall into these three translations and I’m sure you’re wondering what the point is. The point…after killing Fat King Eglon, Ehud slips out of the room, locking it behind him, and sets off to assemble his militia. When Fat King Eglon’s found his chamber locked, having smelled the bowel discharge (BM for short), they assumed that he was relieving himself (v. 24). They wait to the point of embarrassment (which I’m not sure how long that is for Fat King Eglon) before going in to check on him. While all of this is going on, Ehud is gathering his militia to come to town and killed ten thousand Moabites and the land had peace for eighty years.
The ongoing theme of these stories is that when they remember who God is, everything goes well for them. When they forget the LORD, things go drastically bad! One of the overarching themes through the Israel narrative is that the Story of God needs to be passed down from generation to generation. What are you doing to pass down the story?