And the children of Israel cried out to Yahweh, so Yahweh raised up a savior for them, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamite, a left-handed man. The children of Israel sent by his hand a tribute to Eglon the king of Moab. Bible see other translations

“And the children of Israel cried out to Yahweh.” The Bible does not tell us exactly what the Israelites said as they cried out to God, but no doubt many asked for forgiveness. God does not generally deliver people just because they don’t like the circumstances they are in.

“so Yahweh raised up a savior for them.” Here we see God’s grace and mercy in raising up a savior to a mostly unthankful and undeserving people. It is records like this that should give all of us hope that even if we don’t deserve it, if we cry out to God for help and mercy, He hears us and will respond.

It is also important to notice that when God raises up people to do His work it is not all fun, glory, and fame. Most of God’s work is costly, and this refers to God’s real work, not the glitzy ostentatious religious stuff that so many T.V. evangelists and others like them tout as God’s work. God’s work is fighting the Devil and his evil systems and it tasks courage and means making sacrifices. The Apostle Paul described his life as “in frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, in danger from robbers, in danger from my own people, in danger from the Gentiles, in danger in the city, in danger in the open country, in danger at sea, in danger among false brothers; in labors and struggles, in many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and without adequate clothing” (2 Cor. 11:26-27). No wonder God promises rich rewards to his faithful servants!

“Ehud the son of Gera.” The name “Ehud” means “Where is the splendor?” or “Where is the majesty” and thus “reflects the despondency of the times.”a Given the name, it is quite likely that Ehud was born early on in Israel’s subjugation to Moab and named from the circumstances that he was born into.

“a left-handed man.” The Hebrew is an idiom, a man who was limited (or “bound”) in his right hand. It likely is the standard idiom for “left-handed,” although there is a small but unlikely possibility that Ehud was somehow crippled in his right hand. The idiom is clearly used in Judges 20:16.

“The children of Israel sent by his hand.” It is with some irony that Ehud was a “Benjamite” (“Benjamin” means “son of my right hand”), but he was left-handed. Ehud is the only man in the Bible who is named who is left-handed. It is more irony that the text says the Israelites sent a tribute to Eglon “by his hand.” Why not just say that Israel sent the tribute by Ehud? And why send a tribute by a left-handed man? The record abounds with irony and subtle humor. In this section of Scripture, we see how the work of God can do what the work of humans cannot do. The Israelites sent a tribute to Eglon, but that would not have ended their subjugation, if anything it would have extended it. However, God used that human effort to give an opportunity to Ehud, who had the spirit of God, to open a relationship with the Moabite king, Eglon, and eventually get close enough to him to kill him and begin the deliverance of Israel.

“tribute.” The Hebrew word translated as “tribute” is minchah (#04503 מִנְחָה), and it is another word in the record of Ehud and Eglon that points to Eglon being a type of sacrifice to Yahweh. While minchah can mean a gift, present, or tribute, and that is its primary meaning here, it also was the word used for the grain offering that was offered with animal sacrifices (e.g., Num. 28:18-20), and that meaning subtlety points to Eglon being the meat sacrifice and the “tribute” being the grain offering that was offered along with him (for more on the sacrificial language in this record, see commentary on Judg. 3:12).

Daniel I. Block, Judges, Ruth [NAC], 160.

Commentary for: Judges 3:15