The Judge Ehud Page 4 of 5 (series: Lessons on Judges)
by John Lowe
The servants at long last opened the door, and found their master was dead. The horror of this tragic spectacle, and the confusion it must have created, triggered thoughts of their own inconsideration in not opening the door sooner. The result was that they set aside all thoughts of sending pursuers after Ehud, because now they had given up hope of overtaking him.
By the time they discovered their king was dead, Ehud escaped … unto Seirath (unknown location in Ephraim). Ehud wasted no time in rallying the people of Israel to attack the confused Moabites who were now without a leader.
He covereth his feet. A euphemism for bathroom functions. A phrase also used in regard to making preparations for sleep—He has lain down on his sofa in order to sleep; when this was done they dropped their slippers, lifted up their feet, and covered them with their long loose garments. I believe that the former is what is meant here.
EHUD PUT EGLON THE KING OF MOAB TO DEATH; I SAY, PUT HIM TO DEATH, NOT MURDERED OR ASSASSINATED HIM, BUT AS A JUDGE, OR MINISTER OF DIVINE JUSTICE, HE CARRIED OUT THE JUDGMENTS OF GOD UPON HIM, WHO WAS A COLD-HEARTED ENEMY OF GOD AND ISRAEL.
Ehud made his escape to Sierath, a thick wood. It is not said any where in this story where Eglon lived; but, since there is no mention of Ehud crossing the Jordan River, I am inclined to think that Eglon had left his own country of Moab, on the other side of the Jordan, and made his principal residence at this time in the city of palm-trees, within the land of Canaan, a richer country than his own, and that there he was slain. There where he thought he had sufficiently fortified himself to lord it over the people of God, there he was cut down, like a lamb that is slaughtered.
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.
He blew a trumpet in the mountain of Ephraim. The trumpet sound summoned the people of that mountainous region to arms. The territory of Benjamin adjoined that of Ephraim, and it is probably the case that they suffered the most from the dreadful oppression of the Moabites. He raised an army immediately in Mount Ephraim, which was some distance from the headquarters of the Moabites, and he commanded the army himself. The Israelites easily took the fords of Jordan, meaning that they cut off the shallow water fords across the Jordan which would be used as an
escape route by the fleeing Moabites. The trumpet Ehud blew was certainly a jubilee-trumpet, proclaiming liberty, and the joyful sound was welcomed by the oppressed Israelites, who for a long time had heard no other trumpets than those of their enemies.
Ehud was a pious man, and he did all this in faith, but he took encouragement himself, and gave encouragement to his soldiers, from the power of God engaged for them; He shouted, "Follow me, for the Lord hath delivered your enemies into your hands. When we face our enemies, we are sure to have God with us, and therefore, we may go on boldly, and shall go on triumphantly.”
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.
Like a cunning general, he first secured the fords of Jordan, and then he set strong guards upon all the passes, to cut off all communications between the Moabites that were in the land of Israel (for they were the ones he planned to destroy) and their own country on the other side of the Jordan. He reasoned that if the alarm was given and they tried to escape, they could not, and, if they resolved to fight, they might not have assistance from their homeland. Thus he shut them up in that land as sure as if it was their prison.
Then the Israelites fell upon them, trapping them on the west bank of the Jordan, putting them all to the sword, 10,000 of them, which was a serious loss for the Moabites, and which it seems was the number appointed to keep Israel in subjection thus ending their oppression of Israel. There escaped not a man of them. And they were the best and choicest of all the king of Moab’s forces, all lusty men, men of bulk and stature, and not only able-bodied, but high spirited too, and men of valor. But neither their strength nor their courage did them any good when the set time had come for God to deliver them into the hand of Israel.
The land had rest for the next eighty years. This represents the longest period of peace during the turmoil of the era of the judges.
The consequence of this victory was that the power of the Moabites was altogether broken in the land of Israel. The country was cleared of these oppressors; their defeat was so decisive that they became subjects of Israel, and the land had rest for eighty years. We may hope that there was a reformation among them, and that idolatry was curbed by the influence of Ehud, which continued throughout his life. It was a great while for the land to rest, fourscore years; yet what is that to the saints’ everlasting rest in the heavenly Canaan.