Ehud — Crazy Bible Stories Part 3
The Story of Ehud
Today’s crazy Bible story comes from the book of Judges. In the third chapter we meet a man by the name of Ehud. Good news for you left handed people; you are specifically mentioned in this story as Ehud was able to do what he needed to because he was a left handed person. I wonder, are left handed people known to be more conniving and tricky? Link, from the Legend of Zelda is usually left handed (or ambidextrous for you Gameboy playing Zelda fans), but he is generally violent, not tricky. Anyway, let’s move on to the story.
Ehud’s story starts out like many other Old Testament stories. The Israelites were behaving poorly so God punishes. This time the form of punishment came in the form of an enemy Moabite king named Eglon. Yup, not only were the Israelites handed over to their enemy, it was an enemy named Eglon. Eg-lon. Wow, mom of the year right there.
Anyway, Eglon teams up with the Ammonites and Amalekites and they took over the city of Palms (I am assuming named for the trees, not the number of hands). Eglon ruled for 18 years over the Israelites. Apparently, it took 18 years for the Israelites to finally repent and beg God for some help. God’s answer? He gave them Ehud, a left-handedman, the son of Gera the Benjamite, a deliverer (verse 15). He was sent to give a tribute to ol’ Eglon. However, before leaving Ehud makes an 18 inch double edge sword and straps it to his right thigh (dun dun dun…). We then learn an interesting detail; Eglon is a very fat man (see, Dr. Eggman?). After presenting the tribute, Ehud begins to leave but then turns back telling the king that he has a “secret message” for him. This causes the king to immediately dismiss his men without question. Big mistake. However, I imagine that the tribute was probably a lot of bacon (the Israelites couldn’t eat the stuff). Eglon, being a very fat and probably happy man figured nothing bad could happen after getting a gift of bacon (or other delicacies).
Ehud pulls the God Card
Now Ehud has to think of something really quick. He obviously does not have a secret message for the king, or at least not a real one or a good one. So he thinks of the best thing he can and says “I have a message from God for you!” The king stands up with excitement, but instead of receiving a holy message, he receives 18 inches of cold steel to the gut (Hebrews 4:12 anyone?). Relatively normal story so far right? Well, the rest of it you just cannot make up. So, check this out:
21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. 22 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. 23 Then Ehud went out to the porch[f]; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
24 After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” 25 They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead.
Yea, what? So apparently it is only slightly important that Ehud was left handed? I am guessing it is just so that he could conceal the weapon or something or pull it out quickly without the king knowing? Most people must have been right handed back then? Anyway, this is obviously not the most bizarre part of the story. Verse 22 takes the cake there. Ehud stabbed the king so deep that the handle sunk into the fat and he pooed himself. His guts and whatever he ate for lunch fell out on the floor. Gross. Poor Ehud, he lost his brand new sword into a lake of fat and poop. Interestingly enough, when the servants come back, they think that the king has locked the doors so that he can use the restroom in private (close, they were so close). They waited long enough that anyone with the worst constipation should have been able to finish their business before they bravely opened to door only to see Dr. Egg… er… King Eglon dead in his own waste.
Afterward, Ehud goes back and tells the Israelites that they have won. He must not have spared them the details because it was recorded for the rest of all humanity to read. The Israelites rally and storm the Moabite fort conquering them and regaining the city. It seems odd when the Bible goes into such details in some stories and then does not for others. The story could have easily been condensed into “Israel was taken over by King Edglon because they had sinned against God. Eighteen years later, God provides Ehud who slays the king, and Israel’s freedom is restored.” Instead, we get a bunch of details about Ehud and his adventures. I think that the writer of Judges knew he had a cool story on his hands. One that would make the readers of the Old Testament stop, and think “wait, what I just read? Lefty stabs the fat out of somebody?” The part that gets me is that Ehud gets this crazy Bible story, and the guy that comes after him, Shamgar? Yea, he gets one sentence.
31 After Ehud came Shamgar son of Anath, who struck down six hundred Philistines with an oxgoad. He too saved Israel.
Ehud could have been given one sentence too, but his story was too good to pass up. I mean, what even is an oxgoad? Well, I looked it up… It’s a glorified marshmallow cooker. Yup. He killed 600 guys with a marshmallow roasting stick and gets one sentence.
What do you think about this story? Do you know any other crazy Bible stories? Leave me a comment below and I’ll explore them next time.