- Religion and Philosophy
The Judges : Ehud
In need of a saviour
"Again the Israelites cried out to the Lord, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite."
After the death of Joshua the people and elders of his generation who knew God and had seen his wondrous miracles through the years died and the generation that followed forgot God and they did evil in his sight. The Israelites were defeated by the armies of their enemies and they went into bondage but God was merciful and he raised up for them judges that saved them out of the hands of their enemies but the Israelites still wouldn't repent of their sins. After a while the Israelites would cry out to God and he would hear their prayers and answer them.
The people of Israel loved their sins and they would soon go back to the error of their ways. This cycle happened a number of times in the book of judges and each time God would raise up an new judge to deliver his people. All in all there were twelve judges raised up by God among the Israelites. One of these judges was Ehud the left handed Benjamite as stated in the bible
Ehud and the King
Ehud son of Gera
Names in the bible have great significance, they can help us learn about the character or life of the holder of the name. The name Ehud means I will give praise or I will give thanks. Other texts say that this name means love or unity. His last name Gera means chewing the cud which is usually symbolic of meditating or giving thought. Ehud came from the tribe of Benjamin which means ravenous wolf. The Benjamites were taught to fight they were good at battle and they also had a special skill. They could use both their hands and they were taught to fight using their left hand so that they could surprise their enemies.
Ehud was a left handed man. The bible doesn't specify whether he was a natural left hander or his use of the left hand was due to the fact that he was a Benjamite, the fact that they mention it again here after having told us already that he was a Benjamite makes me think that maybe he was naturally left handed not just for fighting but for other everyday tasks. Many times in the bible the left is usually associated with negative things. Like the analogy of the sheep and the goats and that of the kingdom of God. It is therefore logical to conclude that being left handed was considered a weakness in the time of our judge Ehud. The fact that the bible mentions this fact about Ehud shows that it was an important point. Ehud's "weakness" was used by God to free his people.
Most times what we think are our weaknesses can be used by God to achieve amazing things, they might actually be our area of advantage. Albert Einstein after being told by his teacher that he would not amount to anything dropped out of that school. I would like to believe the hand of God was present in his life because some of his outstanding works came through his dreams. The fact that Ehud was left handed meant that he could use a hand that no one was expecting giving his enemies an element of surprise. God is almighty and we let him take our weaknesses and use them we can achieve amazing things.
Double edged sword
When our judge went to see the enemy he was well prepared with a double edged sword under his cloak. This sword is symbolic for the word of God. "Paul tells us that the word of God is living and active sharper than a double edged sword piercing to the dividing of soul and spirit, bone and marrow." To defeat the enemy in our lives we also like Ehud need to arm ourselves with the double edged sword that is the word of God.
Eglon king of Moab
Eglon according to Smith's bible dictionary means calf-like. In their times some tribes worship the calf and considered it to represent a God. At the foot of Mount Sinai the Israelaties grumbled that Moses had been gone for too long and Aaron made them a golden calf. The name of the King might have been symbolic of this status of a God. The Israelaties were practicing idolatry and were moving away from God. Their sins however led them to oppression. Most often we hold on to our sins like the Israelites but our sins make us unhappy and depressed and they suffocate us.
Sin takes root in our life and may become an addiction the king was a very fat man and the children of Israel had lived in bondage under him for 18 years. They had gotten used to their bondage and that way of life had become familiar to them but finally they decided enough was enough they cried out to God. Similar to us we might be living under the bondage of sin but if we cry out to God is always ready to forgive and deliver us from our sins. When the children of Israel cried out to God for mercy he heard their cries and delivered them from bondage. Sin can take root in our lives and be very hard to overcome if we use our own strength but God is able to deliver us.
When we return to God with all our hearts God is gracious he is able to deliver us and forgive us from our transgressions. It is impossible to be victorious with our own strength however If we arm ourselves with the double edged sword of the word of God and meditate upon it God will give us victory against our enemies and over our sins just like he gave Ehud victory. Just like Gera gave birth to Ehud so meditation upon God's word gives birth to praise and praise brings down the grace and mercy of God.
"That day Moab was made subject to Israel and the land had peace for eighty years"