Judges 3:12-30


12 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and because they did this evil the LORD gave Eglon king of Moab power over Israel.
13 Getting the Ammonites and Amalekites to join him, Eglon came and attacked Israel, and they took possession of the City of Palms.[a]
14 The Israelites were subject to Eglon king of Moab for eighteen years.
15 Again the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and he gave them a deliverer—Ehud, a left-handed man, the son of Gera the Benjamite. The Israelites sent him with tribute to Eglon king of Moab.
16 Now Ehud had made a double-edged sword about a cubit[b] long, which he strapped to his right thigh under his clothing.
17 He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was a very fat man.
18 After Ehud had presented the tribute, he sent on their way those who had carried it.
19 But on reaching the stone images near Gilgal he himself went back to Eglon and said, “Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you.” The king said to his attendants, “Leave us!” And they all left.
20 Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his palace[c] and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat,
21 Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly.
22 Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.
23 Then Ehud went out to the porch[d] ; he shut the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.
24 After he had gone, the servants came and found the doors of the upper room locked. They said, “He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.”
25 They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead.
26 While they waited, Ehud got away. He passed by the stone images and escaped to Seirah.
27 When he arrived there, he blew a trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim, and the Israelites went down with him from the hills, with him leading them.
28 “Follow me,” he ordered, “for the LORD has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands.” So they followed him down and took possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab; they allowed no one to cross over.
29 At that time they struck down about ten thousand Moabites, all vigorous and strong; not one escaped.
30 That day Moab was made subject to Israel, and the land had peace for eighty years.

Judges 3:12-30 Meaning and Commentary


This chapter gives an account of the nations left in Canaan to prove Israel, and who became a snare unto them, Jud 3:1-7; and of the servitude of Israel under the king of Mesopotamia for their sins, from which they were delivered by Othniel, Jud 3:8-11; and of their subjection to the Moabites, from which they were freed by Ehud, who privately assassinated the king of Moab, and then made his escape, Jud 3:12-30; and of the destruction of a large number of Philistines by Shamgar, with an ox goad, Jud 3:31.

Cross References 24

  • 1. S Judges 2:11,14
  • 2. 1 Samuel 12:9
  • 3. S Genesis 19:38; Judges 10:11
  • 4. S Genesis 14:7
  • 5. S Judges 1:16
  • 6. Jeremiah 48:1
  • 7. S ver 9; Psalms 78:34; Psalms 107:13
  • 8. ver 16; Judges 4:1
  • 9. Judges 20:16; 1 Chronicles 12:2
  • 10. ver 17,18; 2 Samuel 8:2,6; 1 Kings 4:21; 2 Kings 17:3; Esther 10:1; Psalms 68:29; Psalms 72:10; Psalms 89:22; Ecclesiastes 2:8; Isaiah 60:5; Hosea 10:6
  • 11. S ver 15
  • 12. S ver 15
  • 13. Job 15:27; Psalms 73:4; ver 12
  • 14. Amos 3:15
  • 15. Nehemiah 8:5
  • 16. 2 Samuel 2:16; 2 Samuel 3:27; 2 Samuel 20:10
  • 17. 1 Samuel 24:3
  • 18. 2 Kings 2:17; 2 Kings 8:11
  • 19. S Leviticus 25:9; Judges 6:34; Judges 7:18; 2 Samuel 2:28; Isaiah 18:3; Jeremiah 42:14; 1 Samuel 13:3
  • 20. S Genesis 19:37
  • 21. S Joshua 2:24; S Judges 1:2; Judges 7:9,15
  • 22. S Numbers 13:29; S Joshua 2:7; Judges 7:24; Judges 12:5
  • 23. S Genesis 36:35
  • 24. S ver 11

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. That is, Jericho
  • [b]. That is, about 18 inches or about 45 centimeters
  • [c]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain; also in verse 24.
  • [d]. The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
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