3.1-2 nations. The nations left unconquered in the promised land became a training module for Israel to learn the art of war. God uses bad and disappointing situations to create good things in our lives. All things work together for good (Rom 8.28). Not everything that happens to us is good, but God can bring something good from the worst of events.

3.3-6 early failure. The fruit of every man doing what he felt was right continues to bear immediate and disastrous fruit. Israel began to serve the Gods of the land they were attempting to conquer and began to intermarry their children with the children of these heathen nations. Moses had warned of this in Ex 34 and again in Dt 7. 

3.7-11 Othniel. The son-in-law to Caleb was the first freedom fighter to rise up and war against the encroaching false religions. He witnessed this chosen nation forsake God and turn to Baal and the groves. Othniel bore the anger of God for eight years. Finally, the people cried unto God and God responded with deliverance. The land had rest forty years. Is there a significance of the forty years? This is the same length of time spent in the wilderness. Othniel was selected by God to be the first Judge, he was not selected by popular acclaim. God chose each of the 13 liberators Himself. There is no instance of choice by popularity or even ability. It was a sovereign choice by God.

3.12-30 Ehud. Israel does evil again. What a pregnant little word, again is. The Hebrew word is yasaph and means to continue. The 40 years in the desert did not cure them and neither did the 40 years under Othniel. The spotlight moves to Ehud whom the scripture points out is left handed. This innocuous point would not have meaning if it only meant his left hand was his dominant hand. There is cause to believe his right hand was not functional either from birth or injury. Early on God wants to illustrate He uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise. The children of Israel had now been under abuse from Moab for 18 years. Ehud uses a dagger that specifically had two edges so to cut in both directions, thereby off setting the loss of the right hand. Ehud brings a present, a gift, a tribute offering to Eglon, the wicked King of Moab. Ehud knew that Eglon was a fat man and it would take a long dagger to reach Eglon’s vital and kill him, so Ehud made his dagger a cubits length (18 inches). It appears Ehud sent the people home and when he reached the quarries where the stone idols were hewed, he reversed his course and returned to the mission he had planned. Eglon is in a summer parlor, which is a second story room or a roof top used to view his domain. As they stand admiring the view and the countryside, Ehud does a cross draw with his left hand. His right side would never be suspected because of his faulty right hand. As the blade slides easily into his hand Ehud thrusts it all the way in to the haft of the home made dagger. Ehud knows he has pierced the vitals because the dirt (entrails) come out. Ehud leaves quietly and locks the door and the servants assume Eglon is sleeping. Ehud literally single handedly brings down what an army would have struggled to achieve. Ehud blows the trumpet and the call to war is answered. 10,000 men of Moab are slain and Moab is subdued. This time the Lord gives the land 80 years of rest to prove to Israel their sinful nature will not die. The desire to do what their own heart wants may lay dormant for years, but eventually it asserts itself again.

3.31 Shamgar. Nineteen verses are devoted to Ehud. One verse to Shamgar. Shamgar slew six hundred men with an ox goad and delivered Israel. What is the cause of such brevity here? Why such detail about Ehud and such economy toward Shamgar? Added to his conciseness in mention is also the fact he is not called a judge. More importantly there is no mention of a time element as a result of this deliverance. Even more telling is that the narrative dates the next time stamp as the death of Ehud without a mention of Shamgar. The most appealing answer is that Ehud was in the Eastern part of Israel, while Shamgar was in the Western sector. This would infer Shamgar’s years were included either in the 80 years of Ehud or the years of Deborah and Barak. The Hebrew word achar for after can also mean, beside. This lends toward the time of Shamgar being concurrent with Ehud.

Thanks for reading today…