11 The land was quiet for forty years. Then Othniel son of Kenaz died.
12 ¶ But the People of Israel went back to doing evil in GOD’s sight. So GOD made Eglon king of Moab a power against Israel because they did evil in GOD’s sight.
13 He recruited the Ammonites and Amalekites and went out and struck Israel. They took the City of Palms.
14 The People of Israel were in servitude to Eglon fourteen years.
15 The People of Israel cried out to GOD and GOD raised up for them a savior, Ehud son of Gera, a Benjaminite. He was left-handed. The People of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon king of Moab.
16 Ehud made himself a short two-edged sword and strapped it on his right thigh under his clothes.
17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Eglon was grossly fat.
18 After Ehud finished presenting the tribute, he went a little way with the men who had carried it.
19 But when he got as far as the stone images near Gilgal, he went back and said, “I have a private message for you, O king.” The king told his servants, “Leave.” They all left.
20 Ehud approached him—the king was now quite alone in his cool rooftop room—and said, “I have a word of God for you.” Eglon stood up from his throne.
21 Ehud reached with his left hand and took his sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s big belly.
22 Not only the blade but the hilt went in. The fat closed in over it so he couldn’t pull it out.
23 Ehud slipped out by way of the porch and shut and locked the doors of the rooftop room behind him.
24 Then he was gone. When the servants came, they saw with surprise that the doors to the rooftop room were locked. They said, “He’s probably relieving himself in the restroom.”
25 They waited. And then they worried—no one was coming out of those locked doors. Finally, they got a key and unlocked them. There was their master, fallen on the floor, dead!
26 While they were standing around wondering what to do, Ehud was long gone. He got past the stone images and escaped to Seirah.
27 When he got there, he sounded the trumpet on Mount Ephraim. The People of Israel came down from the hills and joined him. He took his place at their head.
28 He said, “Follow me, for GOD has given your enemies—yes, Moab!—to you.” They went down after him and secured the fords of the Jordan against the Moabites. They let no one cross over.
29 At that time, they struck down about ten companies of Moabites, all of them well-fed and robust. Not one escaped.
30 That day Moab was subdued under the hand of Israel. The land was quiet for eighty years.
As I read the history of Israel as it is recorded in the book of Judges, I am astounded at the lack of faith of the people. Not only their lack of faith but why do they keep returning to the same sin time after time?
It is really cyclical. They do evil in the site of the Lord. God raises up a wicked power against them. They cry out (same as in Egypt) to the true God. God sends a redeemer and all is well. Then the current savior dies and the cycle starts all over again.
This story is one of my favorites because it so picturesque. Can’t you just visualize this whole affair? It really is kind of gross when you think about it.
Now we can take this narrative and attach it to the history of every nation that ever called itself Christian. When there is a problem they scatter to the churches and pray. Finally after a time, the problem is resolved and they go back to their old ways. A new crisis arises, same thing again. Why does God have to chasten those He loves? Because we are such slow learners!
Don’t you think it would be easier if we stayed on the Lords side day by day instead of constantly going through the same cycle over and over?
So how about you, what causes you to stray from God over and over? Have you taken Jesus Christ as your savior? Have you also taken him as lord of your entire life? If so then the following proverb will not apply to you: “as a dog returns to its vomit so a fool returns to his folly. Don’t wander back to what is evil but instead abide with what is good.
Next up: the man with a pointed stick.