The story of Ehud began in Judges 3:12- 30, and in this article, our discussion will be on verses 12-14 of the book of Judges.
(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 and Israel and possessed the city of palm trees.
(14) “So the children of Israel cried unto the Lord, the Lord raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a man left-handed: and by him the children of Israel sent a present unto Eglon the king of Moab.
God is faithful unto all His people. He will reward the righteous and punish the wicked. He is a caring Father and a righteous judge. Impartial in judgment, tender in mercies, and rich in forgiveness. The Israelites were fond of toggling between the favor of God and His fury due to their disobedience and lust after other gods. God delivers them to be punished by the enemies so they would return unto Him, ‘for they’ll never behave normally until they are in distress.’
And when they cry unto Him, in repentance, He will raise a deliverer unto them. One of such deliverers in that era was a unique man, of whom little was known, yet, there is much to learn from his life. This article focuses on the life and principles of Ehud, cum his relevance to our lives as present days believers.
The Personality of Ehud
The name “Ehud” means “union.” He was the great-grandson of Benjamin. “And the sons of Benjamin were Belah, and Becher, and Ashbel, Gera, and Naaman, Ehi and Rosh, Muppim.” (Gen. 46:21). Benjamin was the son of Rachael, Jacob’s first wife. The Pronouncement of Jacob on Benjamin as he (Jacob) drew near to his death “Benjamin is a ravenous wolf, in the morning devouring the prey and at night dividing the spoil.” AMP (Gen 49:27 AMP).
Moses, God’s servant, also made a pronouncement over his tribe; “And of Benjamin he said, the beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders. (Deuteronomy 33:12 KJV).
These prophecies were undoubtedly at work in the lives of all the children of Benjamin, of which Ehud was no exception. Ehud’s name was first mentioned in the book of Judges. The book of Judges is the main historical link between Joshua and the times of Israel Kings. The period of Judges dates from about 1375 to 1050 BC, during which time Israel was a confederacy of tribes. This book derives its name from the individual whom God raised periodically to lead and deliver the Israelites after they had backslidden and fallen under the oppression of foreign neighbors.
The judges (thirteen mentioned in the book) came from different tribes and functioned as military leaders and civil magistrates. Many remained tribal in their sphere of influence, while some served the whole territory of Israel. One of the deliverers God raised for the children of Israel during those times was Ehud Gera, the great-grandson of Benjamin.
The Picture of Ehud’s Time
“In those days there was no King in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 21:25). Ehud lived at such a time when Israel was in a state of apostasy, and God had delivered them into the hands of their enemies. God strengthened King Eglon of Moab to put Israel under bondage. He (God) must have done so by withdrawing His strength from Israel, for He (God) was their strength and stay (Joel 3:16).
Eglon king Moab put Israel under tribute, which necessitated that they bring periodically to King Eglon certain levies or presents. This could be said to be a time when everyone has gone into error and did what was right in his eyes. Ehud was chosen to represent the children of Israel before King Eglon of Moab. (Judges 3:15).
Certain qualities stood him out among his peers, for him to have been selected to take Israel’s presents to the king. He was a faithful man, dependable and available. He was also accountable and of good courage; for he led the team to the king. These are qualities we also must emulate in our days as would-be leaders/leaders that we are in our respective spheres of influence.
The Prayers that birthed Ehud
Judges 3:15 – “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.” The children of Israel had been in bondage for 18 years now. No one could have thought such a man as Ehud would be the answer to the nation’s cry. He was also a lefthanded man, which must have been considered a disadvantage. Had he been in a contest against a right-handed man, one would easily vote a righthanded man as the would-be winner of the contest.
But God saw in Ehud a vessel He could use. Ehud must have longed for a day he would stop bowing down before the idolatrous fat-bellied man called King Eglon. So, when God searched for who He could use, He found the right person in Ehud. (Psalm 53:2). When God’s people pray in faith, God responds in diverse ways. The scripture says God uses the foolish things of the earth to confound the wise. (1 Corinthians 1:27).
Ehud was God’s answer to His people. Often when God answers our prayers, he puts the answer in a man. We must never look down on any man, for the man one least expects may be the response of God to a long-time request. Just like Moses was the answer to the over 400 years of slavery in Egypt, and the baby Jesus was His answer to the problem of the whole universe.
God has not changed in choosing the weak things to work wonders. King Eglon wouldn’t have thought of Ehud as the hand that would end his reign. King Eglon has known Ehud for no less than 18 years. But he (Eglon) was wrong. God has raised for His people, Israel, a deliverer in the person of Ehud. Here is the lesson for us contemporary Christians.
Our lives could sometimes be like that of Ehud, such that people around us never believe we could be used to deliver them nor do any major exploit in the kingdom of God. We must understand that God’s thoughts are way different from that of men. God would work through us to accomplish His purpose if we had the right heart.
Ehud was such a man that represented Israel well. We never read of him trying to betray the people that appointed him. He never sought the position; he would have gotten this by seeking the favor of King Eglon of Moab. He was contended to be just a messenger, believing one day, an end would come to the slavery and suffering of his people.
We also must have the burden and concern that draws the attention of God to our lives. Yes, we are contented with whatever we do in the kingdom, but we must not be complacent. We must aspire to do more. And whatever we may count as a disadvantage, like the lefthanded peculiarity of Ehud, God will turn into a testimony.
The Perception of Ehud
There was no point in the record that God called Ehud, nor any prophet/prophetess spoke to Ehud. Not even an Angel. The Bible only says God raised for them (Israelites) a deliverer. This is revealing; so many men have done great works for the kingdom of God, not because an Angel appeared to them or because God spoke expressly to them. But because they got inspired.
There is power in inspiration. Here you are; you have many good ideas but never worked on any. Only God knew how many souls your ideas would have delivered had you worked on them. Ehud got inspired, and he acted on it.
The Preparation of Ehud
Judges 3:16 – “But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges of a cubit length, and he gird it under his right raiment upon his right thigh” It is not enough to have an idea; there’s a need for appropriate and adequate preparation. The ideas God gave you, have you found what you will need? And have you got those things in place? Ehud would have made a mess of his life, and his people had he appeared before the king of Moab with his bare hands to strangle the king’s neck. He is not likely to return home alive.
Also, we discovered that Ehud was such a man that “keeps it in until it’s done.” He was not talkative. Had he shared his plans with someone, he may never have been able to get that assignment done. Either he would be discouraged, or the secret would be discovered. We must also learn to keep our vision until it becomes mature/reality. If there is a need to share, we should do so with the right people who can further help us achieve the vision. How many visions has God given you? How many have been aborted by exposing it prematurely? How many have you achieved? Selah!
The Proceedings of Ehud
Ehud did not just prepare; he proceeded to action. He ensured he followed through with his plan. We must also remember that the prayer of the children of Israel birthed the vision of Ehud and that the power working in Ehud, behind the scene, was God Himself. Judges 3:20,21 “And Ehud came unto him (Eglon) and he was in a summer parlor, which he had alone. And Ehud said I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat. And Ehud put forth his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly.”
Ehud has studied the king of Moab over the years and mapped out his route. He ensured he made all who could hinder him (Ehud) go out—leaving the two of them alone. This is the power of focus in action. Oftentimes, we don’t achieve our primary goals when there are too many distractions around us. It is wisdom to remove all distractions and deal with our primary, most essential, and urgent goal at a time.
The Principles of Ehud
Killing the king of Moab alone wasn’t enough. To be in power and be free from oppression and extortion. The Moabites army must be subdued. Ehud knew he could not do it all alone. Unlike Samson the Nazarite, a lone ranger who died without any companion or servant, he understood the principle of teamwork. Judges 3:27,28-30 “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.
“And he said unto them, follow me: for the Lord has 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.
“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.”
“So, Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel, and the land had rest fourscore years (80 years).”
Ehud’s victory would have been insignificant if not for his calling on others who could help him. And more so, Ehud recognized that God was working in Him and delivering the people of Israel from their enemies. This is very instructive to know that no significant goal/vision is achieved alone. All grand visions were done/achieved by a group of like-minded people/team in partnership with God, the giver of the vision. We must learn to network and work with the right people to achieve our God-given dreams. It’s very interesting to know that, with God’s help, the vision Ehud pursued earned the Israelites 80 years of rest.,
In Conclusion: Ehud was not a prophet; was he anointed by a prophet/prophetess? God did not even call him audibly; there was no prophecy that Ehud would arise. He was least expected to bring deliverance to his people. He was even lefthanded, which was peculiar or familiar to his tribe. All these notwithstanding, he got inspired and followed through with His inspiration, knowing that, with God, all things are possible. Ehud was an unlikely deliverer.
Arise! Pursue your vision for God’s glory, no matter how unlikely you might appear now. For with God, all things are possible, and nothing shall be impossible.