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by Wayne Blank
"Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man lefthanded"
As so many times before and since (including the present), when the people of Israel and Judah were unfaithful and disobedient to Him, The Lord allowed, or brought about, the enemies of Israel to prevail over them (see also The Galilee Captivity and Why Babylon?). In this case it was the Moabites, "the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years."
"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. And he gathered unto him the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel, and possessed the city of palm trees [i.e. Jericho]. So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years." (Judges 3:12-14 KJV)
When the Israelites cried out to The Lord in repentance, "The Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera." The liberation of Israel would begin with the assassination of Moab's king (see Assassins to understand how and where the term originated), a lawful military act, not an act of murder (see "Thou shalt not kill").
"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. 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. And he brought the present unto Eglon king of Moab: and Eglon was a very fat man. And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people that bare the present. 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.
Ehud made his escape, rejoined the forces of Israel, and then led the attack on Moab. It was sure victory ("for The Lord hath delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand") because the Israelites had returned to The Lord, at least for 80 years i.e. "the land had rest fourscore years."
"And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries, and escaped unto Seirath. 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.
Fact Finder: Who were the "dagger men" of first century Judea? Was there at least one of them among the twelve apostles?