What does a parent do when they run out of candy? Read Bizarre Halloween Bible Stories of course. I have it as a free download through Kindle from Oct 29 – Nov 2 here. Look for the guy climbing out of a commode.
It’s not a huge deal – just 3 stories, two from Bizarre Bible Stories 1, and one from BBS 2. I’ll cut and paste one of the stories at the end of the blog, so you know what it is like. They are:
- STORY 1: How to Scare a Witch (From BIZARRE Bible Stories, Ch. 6)
- STORY 2: Eaten from the Inside Out (From BIZARRE Bible Stories, Ch. 24)
- STORY 3: The Left-handed Assassin (From BIZARRE Bible Stories 2! Ch. 1)
Hopefully we will have 5 new stories – Bizarre Christmas Bible Stories – out soon. Would stink to have it published on Dec 28…
Chapter 3: The Left-Handed Assassin
(From BIZARRE Bible Stories 2! Ch. 1)
Scripture Passage: Judges 3
Would you like to look different? Would you like to be smarter? If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Sometimes I wish God had made me different. It’s not that I look disgusting, I’ve seen worse. But, why didn’t He give me shoulders? My arms go down to my knees because they come out of my neck. Was that necessary? In Judges Chapter 3 we have a person who thought he was perfect, but wasn’t. And we have another person who probably wished God had made him differently. But God made him perfect for what God wanted him to do.
NOW LET’S GET STARTED. . .
The time of the Judges was demanding. When we get to the book of Judges, Chapter 3, life in Israel was horrible. Moses had led the Hebrew people out of Egypt. Joshua had led them into the Promised Land. Life should have been good, but when Moses, Joshua, and the previous leaders died, the people “did evil in the Lord’s sight.” [Judges 3:12 NLT] The people were poor, their army was weak, and they were little more than slaves to an evil jerk named Eglon, King of Moab.
Through war, Eglon had gained control of Israel. His life was great. He was king and his kingdom was growing. So was he. His name means “male calf,” which was fitting in that the Bible says he was both enormous and callous. His army came into Israel as far as Jericho, where he stopped and bartered a peace treaty to end the war. Israel became Moab’s territory. The Israelites were virtual slaves, giving King Eglon most of the money they made. In return, Eglon stopped the war. For eighteen years, Israel belonged to Eglon.
Have you ever felt far from God and then gone to Him for help? What brought you back to God?
Eglon was a pain, and pain has a way of bringing us back to God. Here is what the Bible says happened next.
“When the people of Israel cried out to the LORD for help, the LORD again raised up a rescuer to save them. His name was Ehud son of Gera, a left-handed man of the tribe of Benjamin. The Israelites sent Ehud to deliver their tribute money to King Eglon of Moab. So Ehud made a double-edged dagger that was about a foot long, and he strapped it to his right thigh, keeping it hidden under his clothing. He brought the tribute money to Eglon, who was very fat.” [Judges 3:15-17 NLT]
Ehud made an assassin’s weapon. It was a double-edged foot-long dagger, he couldn’t find on store shelves. It differed from a common sword not just in being shorter, but it also didn’t have a hand-guard. [One reason he lost it later]. Both the shortness and the lack of a hand guard allowed Ehud to keep it hidden. Ehud strapped the dagger to his right thigh because he was left-handed. This made it easier and faster to pull from its sheath.
[Stand up and pretend you have a sword strapped to your left thigh. Now, with your left hand, try to pull it up so it can come out of its sheath (holder). It’s awkward because your elbow can’t come up that high without difficulty. Now pretend it’s strapped to your right thigh. Can you see how it is easier to pull out a sword from your right thigh when you are left-handed?]
The “tribute money” Ehud took to King Eglon was what Israel was paying Eglon not to attack them. When Ehud went to see King Eglon, he brought a number of people with him. They were necessary to help carry the money, animals, goods, and materials. When they arrived, Moab celebrated, because someone else was making them rich. That’s not a bad deal if you’re a Moabite. It was a bit like a robber coming to your house with a gun, saying, “If you give me all your money, then I won’t kill you.” As long as they paid Eglon, he didn’t kill them.
Why do you think the Bible tells us Ehud was “left-handed?” Do you think it is an advantage or disadvantage to be left-handed?
There are a few reasons the Bible tells us Ehud was left-handed. First, God wanted to say, “I can beat Eglon with one hand tied behind my back.” The term “left-handed” can be translated “bound in the right hand.” It’s probable that something – maybe a childhood or battle injury — left Ehud’s right hand unusable. It’s likely that Ehud was a one-handed, left-handed-only man. Having only one hand was a major disadvantage. At this time in history, farming, carpentry, blacksmithing, and being a soldier were common jobs men performed to make their living. Any of these jobs would have been difficult with just one hand.
[We don’t know for certain, but since the text can read “bound in the right hand,” and since Eglon wasn’t concerned about his safety, I’m going to assume for the story that Ehud only had one usable hand.]
Even if his right hand was usable, folks back then believed being left-handed was a handicap. In Ehud’s time, even left-handed warriors were trained to use their sword and fight with their right hand. God was letting Moab know He could win with a one-handed, left-handed, man.
[When my mom went to school, those who were left-handed were forced to write with their right hand. They thought that being left-handed was a deformity, even in America, just seventy years ago.]
Ehud was chosen to take the tribute to the King of Moab, not because he was an important official (he wasn’t), but because he didn’t appear to be a threat. You can almost hear King Eglon order, “Send the tribute by some wimpy guy. Deformed is cool, left-handed even better. I don’t want to have to worry about my safety. No muscled soldiers allowed!” Ehud may well have been the least dangerous man in all Israel. The king didn’t worry about him. He should have.
Being left handed was an advantage for Ehud. It’s the reason Ehud was able to get close to the king with his dagger. They must have searched Ehud when he came with the tribute. When security saw no sword on his left side, and no usable hand on his right side, they let him through.
Have you ever gone camping or lived where there wasn’t a flush toilet? Did it smell bad around the outhouse? Aren’t you glad we have clean bathrooms now?
Ehud and the group from Israel delivered the tribute to King Eglon. Then they started the trip back home. Along the way, Ehud made an excuse to the rest of the entourage, and hurried back alone to Moab. He may have been praying, “God, help me get in to see the king. Don’t let them find the dagger. Please help me!” He made it back to the king’s house. The guards were standing in front.
“Hey guys. I’m sorry to come back again so soon. I have a secret message from God I didn’t want to give with everyone else around. Is it okay if I go in to see the King again?” [Judges 3:19]
“Hey you – give Ehud another quick search. I’ll see if King Eglon wants to see him.”
After a scary search, which focused on his left side where there was no dagger, they agreed to let Ehud into the King’s fancy room on the second floor. Ehud said, “If it’s acceptable to the great King Eglon, I’d rather talk to you alone.”
The king was unafraid of “Ehud the lefty” with the withered right arm, so he sent his guards out of the room. Ehud closed the door, walked forward, reached with his left hand, pulled out the dagger strapped to his right thigh, and plunged it into the King’s belly. Here’s the gross part. The dagger went in so deep that the handle disappeared beneath the king’s fat! [No hand-guard to stop the thrust] Ehud left the knife in the king. The King James Version then says, “And the dirt came out.” Because his insides came out, it smelled ghastly. Time to leave!
This extravagant king’s room on the second floor had its own bathroom. They used to build the bathrooms against an outside wall, kind of like an upstairs outhouse you might use while camping. Here is what we think happened. The toilet was just a large upstairs hole to the ground floor below. On the ground floor, the toilet bottom was similar to a closet. It would have had walls separating it (and most of the smell) from the rest of the house. It also had a small door to the outside so some poor soul could go in and shovel it out. Yuck. [This may be evidence that Ehud was also a small man, as he had to sneak out of this shovel door.]
Ehud locked the door to the king’s bedroom, left the knife inside the king, removed the toilet seat, dropped down (yuck, but it saved his life) to the poop closet below, and escaped through the clean-out door.
Due to the smell from the open toilet, [and the possibility of the king spending much time there in the past – my assumption], the guards outside were reluctant to break the locked bedroom door. It isn’t wise to bust in on a king who is sitting on his toilet throne. Better to wait and find him lifeless then to guess wrong and lose yours. When the guards eventually broke in, Ehud was long gone.
Do you remember your answer to the questions “Would you like to look different? Would you like to be smarter? If there was one thing you could change about yourself, what would it be? Could it be that God made you the way you are on purpose?
Ehud had an unfair advantage. No security forces checked the left-handed man. Nor did they check his right side for a dagger. The King wasn’t afraid to be alone with him. Maybe God did something to eliminate Ehud’s sense of smell too – just to be nice.
A one-handed, left-handed, small, smell deprived, Ehud killed the powerful King of Moab. It’s as if God beat Eglon with one hand tied behind His back.
There is an old Haitian saying, “God’s pencil has no eraser.” God didn’t make a mistake when He made Ehud – or when Ehud lost his right arm. Because of a deformed, one-armed weak person following God, Moab was soon defeated and Israel had peace for 80 years. Not bad. Ehud may have wished God made him differently. God made him perfect. Now if I can just find a use for ape-arms.
So, What Should I Do?
ACCEPT WHO YOU ARE!
God created you just right for accomplishing His will in your life. In fact, He created you with an unfair advantage. He created you for this time and this place. You could have been born during the time of Ehud. You weren’t. You could have grown up anywhere else. You didn’t. God could have created you super-model looking. I’m guessing He didn’t. He could have made it where you never even became sick. Instead, God made you just right for this time and this place to work out His will in your life.
Where Else Is This Taught?
2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT) “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.”
1 Corinthians 1:26-28 (NLT) Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world’s eyes or powerful or wealthy when God called you. Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish (left-handed) in order to shame those who think they are wise (kings). And he chose things that are powerless (one-handed) to shame those who are powerful (king’s guards). God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all (Jewish nation), and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important (Moab). (Author’s notes)
Philippians 4:13 (NLT) I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
2 Corinthians 3:5 (NLT) It is not that we think we are qualified to do anything on our own. Our qualification comes from God.