Contend Earnestly: Mostest Weirdest Bible Stories: No. 8

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Mostest Weirdest Bible Stories: No. 8

Coming at number 8 is a story that makes me laugh. It is one that is so odd, you just have to laugh. It is the story of when the left handed man Ehud, sticks a sword in King Eglon, who is as fat as the Kool Aid man. I've also enjoyed this story because I am left handed, and guys that were left handed in the Old Testament usually wore a helmet and rode the short bus to the tabernacle. Here is the story given to us in Judges:

But when the sons of Israel cried to the Lord, the Lord raised up a deliverer for them, Ehud the son of Gera, the Benjamite, a left-handed man. And the sons of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab.

Ehud made himself a sword which had two edges, a cubit in length, and he bound it on his right thigh under his cloak.

He presented the tribute to Eglon king of Moab. Now Eglon was a very fat man.

It came about when he had finished presenting the tribute, that he sent away the people who had carried the tribute.

But he himself turned back from the idols which were at Gilgal, and said, “I have a secret message for you, O king.” And he said, “Keep silence.” And all who attended him left him.

Ehud came to him while he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat.

Ehud stretched out his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh and thrust it into his belly.

The handle also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not draw the sword out of his belly; and the refuse came out.

Then Ehud went out into the vestibule and shut the doors of the roof chamber behind him, and locked them.

When he had gone out, his servants came and looked, and behold, the doors of the roof chamber were locked; and they said, “He is only relieving himself in the cool room.”

They waited until they became anxious; but behold, he did not open the doors of the roof chamber. Therefore they took the key and opened them, and behold, their master had fallen to the floor dead.

Now Ehud escaped while they were delaying, and he passed by the idols and escaped to Seirah.

It came about when he had arrived, that he blew the trumpet in the hill country of Ephraim; and the sons of Israel went down with him from the hill country, and he was in front of them.

He said to them, “Pursue them, for the Lord has given your enemies the Moabites into your hands.” So they went down after him and seized the fords of the Jordan opposite Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross.

They struck down at that time about ten thousand Moabites, all robust and valiant men; and no one escaped.

So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land was undisturbed for eighty years.

Judges 3:15-30

The story is in the great book of Judges, where Israel acts like they are skitzophrenic with short attention spans. They are like the old "Aggie" joke that my dad told me when I was in elementary school: (you can substitute "aggie" for "blonde" if you wish. Anyone from Texas or Oklahoma knows what an Aggie is...)

One Aggie's car's blinker goes out so he replaces it. After replacing it, he gets one of his Aggie buddies to make sure it works. So, he turns on the blinker and asks, "Is it working?" To which the friend responds, "yes, no, yes, no, yes, no."

This is Israel in the book of Judges. It is like asking them, "Do you love and worship God?" To which they respond, "yes, no, yes, no, yes, no."

The story of King Eglon takes over Israel as God allows him to rule over Israel and fulfill his will and desire to punish Israel through having Eglon live out his sinful desires. One of the first things that we find out about Eglon, which is just funny to see, is that, "Eglon was a very fat man." This actually plays out as key to the story as later, when Ehud decides to surprise attack Eglon. Eglon's fat engulfs the sword (which was probably more of a dagger) and his insides start to simply ooze out all over the place. If this isn't enough, this might have happened while Eglon was on the toilet. The reason is that when Ehud leaves, the attendants stay outside and wait for the fat king to "finish up." They assume this huge king is taking a crap and must be taking his time as he was in the "cool room."

So the story plays out that Ehud, the slow kid, tricks fatty Mcfat pants while he is on the toilet by pulling out a dagger and thrusting it into his belly. Which is so large it swallows up the dagger like it's at an all you can eat buffet, with sword being on the menu. As his insides are flowing out of him, Ehud somehow keeps from laughing, and calmly leaves the premises and escapes. All the while, the attendants are waiting for the king to finish up in the cool room (which must have happened a lot, because they weren't surprised by this long wait) and having to talk about who knows what, "How about dem Bears?" Finally, they go inside and find the fat king barreled over with his insides all over the place.

So, What Do We Learn About God's Glory in King McFatty?

We first see that God is indeed control at all times, and God is hilarious. He allows King Eglon to rule over Israel, only because it is the will of God and the sinful desire of the King. He does this to discipline his children from their idolatry and sinfulness. They are then sent a saviour in Ehud who redeems Israel from this foreign king to the right establishment of God as their king and Ehud as their judge.

This story, and others like it in Judges, shows the need for Jesus, the perfect Judge. Ehud could only come and rule the people from the outside, and himself was imperfect. When Jesus came, he rescued his people for all eternity and instead of ruling from the outside looking in, He sent his spirit to rule within their hearts. Not only this, but when we sin, we do not get wrath, but we get forgiveness because of Christ. This doesn't mean that we don't get disciplined sometimes, but Eglon, as with all the stories of wrath in Judges, are a picture of hell. We don't receive hell, but we receive the grace of God found in the cross and resurrection of Jesus.

This story, like all the Old Testament is a shadow of the greater person to come. The greater Ehud has come, to deliver us from the greatest Eglon, which is hell. But, both had to come because of one thing: our sin.

Like Israel, we are sinners and continue to sin. We, like Israel, are like the Aggie who continues to say, "yes, no, yes, no, yes, no" and if it wasn't for the perfect Saviour who came to mediate and redeem us, we would be judged for eternity by hell and Satan defeating us.

But God shows his love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. If this was in Judges, it would be like saying, "But God shows his love towards Israel, in that while they continued to sin and turn their backs against God, he saved them and redeemed them through a judge. "

Thanks be to the greater Ehud, Jesus Christ, for redeeming us from the even fatter king of this world, the devil.


Matt Blick said...

Great story and post!

I don't think Eglon was ON the toilet, it's just what it smelled like to the people outside.

And just to put the icing on the cake I heard of one Hebrew scholar that (I quote) "argued from archeological findings of similar palaces that the "porch" (ESV) of v. 23 should be translated "latrine." In other words, to make his escape, Ehud locked the doors of the room and jumped down the poop chute".

Any way - if you love this story, you might enjoy it set to music. That's right - I wrote a sunday school song about a political assassination - you can hear it here

The Eglon Song

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