Ehud by Ari Snobel -
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  • Joined Mar 2017
  • Published Books 1

The Context and Content of Ehud

Before Ehud the Israelites lived with the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, Jebusites. The Israelites took their daughters for wives and worshiped their gods. For eight years the Israelites served Cushan-rishathaim king of Aram-naharaim. However, G-d appointed Othniel as judge and saved the Israelites. When Othniel died the Israelites did what was wrong in the eyes of G-d again (like they usually do after they are saved). G-d was mad at the Israelites and strengthened Eglon king of Moab. Eglon took control of Israel for 18 years. Again G-d appointed a savior for the Israelites. His name was Ehud. Ehud was from the tribe of Benjamin and was left handed. The Israelites sent Ehud a present for the king. Ehud made a double-edged short-sword that he hid under his clothes on his right thigh.


Ehud left to go to the castle and deliver the gift. The guards stopped to check if Ehud has any weapons but they did not find any. Ehud went into the king’s chamber and said to Eglon “I have a special errand for you”. Eglon sent everyone out and Ehud approached him. Ehud said “I have a message from G-d for you”. And Ehud took out the sword and stabbed Eglon in the stomach until the tip of the blade was poking out from the other side. This is quite a feat as the Torah states that Eglon was a fat man. Ehud hid the body and locked the door to the king’s chamber.

The servants were searching for the king but could not find him. They opened the door and when they saw that their king was dead they were in shock. During the chaos Ehud escaped to Seirah. Ehud gathered an army and blew a horn. The Israelites, with Ehud leading, charged towards the Moabites. The Israelites fought and killed 10 thousands Moabites and not a single Moabite escaped.


The Tanakh says that “they smote of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, every lusty man, and every man of valour; and there escaped not a man.” After their victory over their rulers of Moab the Israelites had fourscore years of freedom (around 60-80 years). This is the only time Ehud is mentioned.

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Why Specifically Say he Was Left Handed?

The Tanakh is very specific on the words used. The Tanakh never uses words that are not necessary and tends to avoid going into detail unless it is necessary. So then why mention Ehud was left handed? The simple explanation is that without him being left handed they would have never beat the Moabites. Most people are right handed. Being left handed is a very rare thing and during the time of Ehud it was basically unheard of. Therefore Ehud was special and G-d chose him because of this trait. This trait came in handy when Ehud hid the blade on his right thigh. When drawing a sword, or blade it is drawn from the opposite side of your body of the hand that you are using (your dominant hand). The guards outside the king’s chambers checking for weapons would only


check the left thigh as they assume everyone is right handed. The guards never checked Ehud’s right thigh for a weapon and Ehud got in without a problem and allowed him to easily get close enough to the king to kill him.


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Why Mention the King was a Fat Man

As told before the Tanakh is very choosy on which words to use, the Tanakh never gives details that are not needed. Another weird fact given in the story of Ehud is the fact that the king was a fat man. Why is this detail so important? This detail is important to demonstrate the strength of Ehud. The Tanakh states that when Ehud stabbed Eglon king of Moab the tip of his sword exited on the other side of the king’s body. Ehud did not use a longsword the blade he used was in fact a short sword (around 50cm total. Tanakh says one cubit). Therefore to stab a fat man with a short sword at a close distance without much speed and have the tip exit on the other side is hard.



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The Real Reason Ehud was Sent

Ehud was left-handed. His right hand was maimed and he could not use it. In biblical times and still today in some regions being left handed is seen as an ill omen. Even during Pesach, we lean to our left to eat with our right. This is because the left hand was only used for two things, cleaning oneself and fornication. Ehud was sent and the gift was he himself. As he offered the gift to Eglon with his left hand. Eglon lowered his guard because he thought he was going to have a good time with Ehud. This trait has come in handy for Ehud twice. To sneak a weapon in and get Eglon to approach and lower his guard to Ehud. With Eglon so close to Ehud he would not have time to react to a sword being drawn until it was too late.





This is a big factor as a leader usually represents their people. If the king conducts himself this way taking part in homosexual relations and relations with anyone as the Tanakh says “every lustful man” then the people would conduct themselves the same way as the king. The Moabites were the rulers of the Israelites and they were sinful. As we are only human and Israelites are not perfect they started to follow in the ways of the Moabites and would continue to unless a judge came to stop them. That is why Ehud was chosen. He was perfect for this role; he had the perfect trait for it, being left-handed.

Ehud by Ari Snobel -

Ehud Compared to Samson

Ehud and Samson have a few similarities. Ehud and Samson were both strong men however, Ehud is no where near as strong as Samson (no one probably is). Ehud, like Samson, did work alone. He brought the fake gift and hid the blade and went to the king on his own volition just like Samson worked by himself. He is also similar to Samson in the fact that both eventually had the help of the Israelites. Ehud goes up to the mountain village of Seirah and gathers an army, Samson gets the Israelites to bring him to the Philistines bound by ropes which he then released himself from and killed the Phillistines with the jaw of an ass. The only difference between Ehud and Samson is that Samson does not finish the rule of the Israelites’ rulers he only begins the end of the Philistines’ rule. Ehud ends the rule of the Moabites.

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