Judges Chapter 3  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Judges 3
Jdg 3:1

“known.” In this case, “known by experience.”

Jdg 3:2(top)
Jdg 3:3

“Mount Baal Hermon.” This is Mount Hermon. There must have been some form of Baal worship happening on Mount Hermon.

Jdg 3:4(top)
Jdg 3:5(top)
Jdg 3:6

“and they took their daughters as wives for themselves.” The Israelites were warned against this in Joshua 23:12.

Jdg 3:7

“forgot Yahweh.” It is not as if Israel forgot who Yahweh was. They “ignored” Yahweh.

Jdg 3:8

“Aram-naharaim.” This could be Aram of the two rivers, often thought of as Mesopotamia. But that could be a copiest error for an area much closer to Israel.

Jdg 3:9

“raised up a savior.” There are many “saviors” in the Bible. God is the savior, and He often works through human saviors.

“Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother.” Although the reading of the text can be confusing, it is saying that Kenaz was Caleb’s younger brother, and Othniel was the son of Kenaz, and therefore Caleb’s nephew. Caleb was the son of Jephunneh (Num. 13:6), so the natural understanding of the text would be that Kenaz was also the son of Jephunneh (although sometimes “brothers” had the same mother but different fathers if a father had died). So from the information in the text, we can discern that Caleb and Kenaz were brothers and Othniel was Caleb’s nephew.

Jdg 3:10(top)
Jdg 3:11

“And the land had rest.” The land itself is said to be “quiet,” “peaceful,” “at rest.”

“forty years.” This is the total time of Othniel, including the 8 years of slavery.

Jdg 3:12(top)
Jdg 3:13

“City of Date Palms.” The palm trees in Israel were date palms, not coconut palms.

“children of Ammon.” So the Moabites and Ammonites, both from Abraham’s nephew Lot, align together against Israel.

“possessed the City of Date Palms.” The city of Jericho, now called the City of Date Palms, was the first city taken by Israel in the Promised Land. Now they begin to lose their inheritance and Jericho is the first city lost to the pagan enemies.

Jdg 3:14

“served Eglon.” The Israelites had voluntarily served pagan gods, so now they will be made to serve pagan kings.

Jdg 3:15

“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 some possibility that Ehud was somehow crippled in his right hand. The idiom is clearly used in Judges 20:16. Ehud was a “Benjamite” (from “son of my right hand”) who was impeded in his right hand. Ehud is the only man in the Bible who is named who is left-handed.

“The children of Israel sent by his hand a tribute.” 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.

Jdg 3:16

“had two edges.” The Hebrew is literally, “two mouths.” The sword “ate” in both directions.

“gomed.” A “gomed” is likely just shorter than a cubit. Likely 16 inches or so.

Jdg 3:17

“He offered the tribute.” More literally, “He brought near the tribute.” The text is using sacrificial language.

“a very fat man.” Eglon is the only man who is named and specifically called “fat” in the Bible (although the High Priest Eli is called “heavy,” 1 Sam. 4:18). And Ehud is the only man in the Bible who is named and called “left-handed.” So this is a conflict between two unique men: lefty versus fatty. Looked at another way, being left-handed was a terrible cultural disadvantage and considered a curse, while the fact that Eglon was fat showed that he had the best of life: a sedentary lifestyle and loads of food. So this record subtly shows that being disadvantaged but with God is always better than being worldly advantaged but without God.

Jdg 3:18

“he sent away the people who had carried the tribute.” Ehud really cared about others. He did not have a guarantee that his plot to kill Eglon would succeed; it was risky. And if it failed he did not want to have other people die with him. Killing Eglon was a one-man job and he did it alone.

Jdg 3:19

“turned back from the carved idols.” It is likely that Ehud acted as if he had received an oracle (a revelation) from the idol gods, and that made Eglon willing to listen to his “secret message.”

“that were near Gilgal.” This was early in the Judges period, and so not long after the death of Joshua (likely less than 75 years), and yet already Gilgal, which had been Joshua’s headquarters for years, had now become a place of pagan worship. The Devil is aggressive and persistent, and he works to promulgate ungodliness in every place and in every aspect of life. If believers are not diligent to be and stay godly, the Devil will always replace the godly with the ungodly, and sooner rather than later.

“The king said.” The Hebrew text just has the pronoun “he,” but it refers to the king.

“And all who were standing by him went out from him.” This was the work of God and as good as Ehud could have hoped for. He could not have made this happen, only prayed that it would happen. It turned what otherwise would likely have been a suicide mission into a great victory for God.

Jdg 3:20

“I have a message from God to you!” Ehud did or said something that made Eglon stand up, which opened him up to attack.

Jdg 3:21

“And Ehud reached with his left hand.” The fact that Ehud reached with his left hand may have caught Eglon off guard. He likely had not noticed before that Ehud was left-handed, and so Ehud’s left-handed reach may have bought Ehud the few extra seconds he needed to grab the dagger and kill Eglon with it.

Jdg 3:22(top)
Jdg 3:23

“and locked them.” In order to lock the door, Ehud would have had to have had the key, which he would have taken from the king.

Jdg 3:24

“cool inner room.” This is a different word for “room” than the “upper room,” and may refer to an inner bathroom, or it may simply be another way of describing the cool upper room.

“covering his feet.” An idiom and euphemism for having a bowel movement, in the process of which a person covers their feet with their body. Saul did the same thing (1 Sam. 24:3).

Jdg 3:25

“waited anxiously.” A rare use from a word that means to tremble, dance, writhe. The servants waited anxiously.

“were ashamed.” “Ashamed” or “embarrassed.”

“lord.” In the Hebrew text the word is plural, “lords.” This is a plural of emphasis.

Jdg 3:26

“Seirah.” The word means “hairy,” and the location of it is unknown. It seems to be in the hill country of Ephraim (Judg. 3:27). The location was likely referred to as “hairy” because of the trees there.

Jdg 3:27

“shofar.” The ram’s horn trumpet, not the metal trumpet.

“in the hill country of Ephraim.” Ehud was from the tribe of Benjamin (Judg. 3:15), but in this record, he went to rally an army from Ephraim. Ephraim was a stronger and more prominent tribe than Benjamin, and that may have been why. Also, we do not know for certain when the war between Benjamin and Israel occurred in which most of the men of Benjamin were killed (Judges 19-21). If it was before this, then the Benjamites would not have been able to muster an army.

Jdg 3:28

“the fords of the Jordan.” The British explorers in the 1800s apparently discovered five fords in the Jordan River close to the area of Jericho.

Jdg 3:29(top)
Jdg 3:30

“So Moab was subdued.” Israel got free from the slavery under Moab. In the battle, however, there is no indication that Israel’s troops crossed the Jordan and went after the heartland of Moab. Israel was free from Moab, but did not conquer Moab. The Moabites would soon crown another king.

Jdg 3:31

“struck down of the Philistines.” This is the first battle in the Bible that was specifically with the Philistines. Some Philistine cities like Gaza were mentioned, but not the Philistines themselves.

“oxgoad.” A long pointed stick that may have had a metal point on the end. See commentary on Acts 26:14.


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