Judges 3

Man’s memory is treacherous in that it easily forgets God and he must be repeatedly tested that God might be kept in sight.
It often takes affliction to make him cry to God with importunity,
when before he would scarcely think of Jehovah.
A deliverer is always ready to answer the prayer of a contrite heart.

1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them, even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan;

2 Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least such as before knew nothing thereof;

3 Namely, five lords of the Philistines, and all the Canaanites, and the Sidonians, and the Hivites that dwelt in mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon unto the entering in of Hamath.

4 And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would hearken unto the commandments of the LORD, which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses.

5 ¶ And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, and Amorites, and Perizzites, and Hivites, and Jebusites:

6 And they took their daughters to be their wives, and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.

7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.

8 ¶ Therefore the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia: and the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.

9 And when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel, who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.

10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim.

11 And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.

12 ¶ And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD: and the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD.

13 And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees.

14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.

15 But when the children of Israel cried unto the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.

16 But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length; and he did gird it under his raiment upon his right thigh.

17 And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man.

18 And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present.

19 But he himself turned again from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and said, I have a secret errand unto thee, O king: who said, Keep silence. And all that stood by him went out from him.

20 And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat.

21 And Ehud put forth his left hand, and took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly:

22 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.

23 Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlour upon him, and locked them.

24 When he was gone out, his servants came; and when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlour were locked, they said, Surely he covereth his feet in his summer chamber.

25 And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth.

26 And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath.

27 And it came to pass, when he was come, that he blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mount, and he before them.

28 And he said unto them, Follow after me: for the LORD hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand. And they went down after him, and took the fords of Jordan toward Moab, and suffered not a man to pass over.

29 And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty, and all men of valour; and there escaped not a man.

30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.

31 ¶ And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, which slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox goad: and he also delivered Israel.

Judges 3:1-14 – Delivered from Mesopotamian Oppression

   Our sins and failures will sometimes be so overruled as to promote the growth of our souls in the true knowledge of ourselves and of God. It would be better to acquire these great lessons and virtues by the regular advance of an obedient and believing life. But where this method fails, God will teach us through our faults. The presence of the Canaanite taught Israel war and self-knowledge. See Judges 3:2, 4.
   Othniel had a noble estate of his own, which might have made him indifferent to the national crisis. But he and Achsah were animated by the high courage of Caleb, the lion-cub. See Judges 1:12. Let us be quick to feel the impulse of the Spirit of the Lord, and yield to it when it prompts us to go forth to war in some sacred cause. No thought of our own comfort or ease must hold us, when there is a wrong to right or an oppressor to beat to the ground! Dare to trust the unseen Christ who summons you, and as you step out, the ether will be rock beneath your feet. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Judges 3:15-31 – The “Message from God”

   The sword is usually worn at the left hand, and Ehud escaped suspicion because his was girded under his raiment on his right thigh. Eglon was also the more ready to listen to him and give a secret audience, because he had just received a tribute from Ehud’s hand. It was a terrible deed of vengeance, which must not be judged by our ethical standards. But can we not understand how the hatred of a downtrodden and high-spirited race would express itself in just this manner?
   That dagger, thrust in up to the hilt, was indeed a message from God, for it ended Eglon’s life and summoned his soul to stand at the bar of divine judgment. A supreme tragedy cannot befall except by the divine permission. Though God’s silent permission of evil cannot be construed as acquiescence, yet the results of an evil deed may be wrought into the scheme of His providence, as in the case of Genesis 50:20-21 and Acts 2:23. It is our frequent experience to have thrusts made at us; let us ask if they may not be messages from God! There is no chance in life. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Judges 3:20—I have a message from God unto thee.

   God’s Messages are often secret.—When Eglon was assured that Ehud had brought a Divine message, which could only be delivered in secret, “a secret errand” (Judges 3:19), he fearlessly bade all his retinue go forth from the audience chamber. And in utter loneliness the one passed to the other the message of death. So there are crises in our lives when God’s messengers bring us the secret message, in which none can intrude or interfere.
   God’s Messages must be received with, reverence.—When Ehud said, “I have a message from God unto thee,” Eglon rose out of his seat. This was a mark of respect, the attitude of attention. It is with similar awe that we should ever wait for the revelation of the Divine will. “What saith my lord unto his servant?” (Joshua 5:14).
   God’s Messages leap out from unexpected quarters.—Ehud was left-handed; his sword was therefore on his right side, and he appeared unarmed. No one dreamed of looking for his sword, except on his left side; he was therefore allowed to pass unchallenged into the presence of the king. So Nathan strode into David’s presence, who thought his sin was undiscovered, and said, “Thou art the man” (2 Samuel 12:7). Cultivate this surprise with sinners.
   God’s Messages are sharp as a two-edged sword, and cause death.—A scimitar is sharp at the edge, and blunt at the back to strike; a two-edged sword is made to pierce. God’s Word pierces as a two-edged sword to the dividing of soul and spirit in the recesses of the being, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. When the Eglon of self has received its death-wound, the glad trumpet of freedom is blown on the hills. —Our Daily Homily