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Ehud and Eglon

There are those stories in the Bible that, once you’ve heard them, you never seem to forget them.  The story of Ehud and Eglon is such a story.


Ehud is the hero of this story.  He’s the judge that God raised up to deliver Israel (v. 15).  If I were a Hollywood casting agent assigned to find an actor to play Ehud in an upcoming motion picture film, my first inclination might be to invite some of the more obvious “lone-ranger type” action figures, such as Bruce Willis, Sylvester Stallone, Chuck Norris, or Jean Claude Van Damme.


After all, Ehud did single-handedly plunge an 18-inch sword all the way into King Eglon’s soft, roly-poly belly, so in that sense the above mentioned action figures would seem like a good fit.  And when I consider how craftily Ehud pulled off this assassination–the pretense of his return; the ability to be alone with King Eglon; and the way he escaped before any of Eglon’s servants discovered what happened– well, that makes me think Jackie Chan would be an excellent cast for the role.


But then I read verse 28.  Ehud was not a lone ranger.  He was not a one-man-show.  Nor did Ehud take any of the glory for himself.  Ehud was a great leader.  What he did to King Eglon was indeed a brave and heroic enterprise, but the true act of deliverance was when Ehud instructed Israel to trust in the Lord for their deliverance from the Moabites (v. 28).  And he prefaced this instruction with the words, “Follow me.”


Like all the men and women that God uses for great purposes, they are simply the ones who have the faith to believe; they are the ones who are motivated to action because they trust in the promises of the Lord.  So Ehud’s greatest qualification as a warrior for God was not his physical strength, or martial arts skills, or craftiness.  Ehud’s greatest qualification was his faith in God.


The words “faith” and “trust” are never used in our text, yet there are the clues found throughout these verses that faith and trust are embedded deeply in this story.  Can you identify those clues?


Verse 12 begins by describing the Israelites doing evil in the sight of the Lord.  What do you think this specifically refers to? (see 2:11; 3:7)  Given the nuance of how the book of Judges uses this phrase, in what ways do Americans “do what is evil in the sight of the Lord”?


Who would you cast for the role of Ehud?