Wednesday Weird Bible Verse – Judges 3:20-22 – blade, belly-fat and bowels

January 25, 2012 — 7 Comments

Ehud eglan
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "Ehud then approached him…and said, “I have a message from God for you.” As the king rose from his seat, Ehud reached with his left hand, drew the sword from his right thigh and plunged it into the king’s belly. Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it."  

- Judges 3:20-22 

There are a lot of deaths and murders in the Bible (which are all horribly sad when they happen) but the peculiar details revealed for this one is fascinating. Ehud is a judge of Israel and he is left-handed (we read about that in Judges 3:15). It was because of this, is what caused Eglon to be caught off-guard.

Since Ehud was left-handed, it would be natural for him to strap his dagger on his right thigh. Since most people are right-handed, Eglon’s guards would be less careful about checking what to them would be an awkward placement for a weapon. So it wasn't expected to be coming from where it did. 

Then to have the blade sink so far into the belly-fat it didn't come out and then as his bowels discharged due to the stabbing is quite descriptive. The story continues with more interesting description of how after the stabbing and Ehud escaped, that Eglon's guards were waiting outside and didn't come in because they thought Eglon was going to the bathroom likely because of the odors released from the bowels discharging from the stabbing.

It reads in Judges 3:24 that the guards said:

“He must be relieving himself in the inner room of the palace.” They waited to the point of embarrassment, but when he did not open the doors of the room, they took a key and unlocked them. There they saw their lord fallen to the floor, dead."

This story stands out to me as I had a test in seminary where the question was "Who was the left-handed judge?" as there is only one place in the BIble which mentions someone was left-handed and this is the story. Ehud, the left-handed judge who stabbed Eglon and his belly-fat closed over the blade and his bodyguards thought he was going to the bathroom. The Bible is filled with odd little things like this. 

*For those wanting to know the origin of why I began these Wednesday-Weird-Bible-Verses started read here

Dan Kimball

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author of "Adventures in Churchland: Finding Jesus In The Mess of Organized Religion" and "They Like Jesus But Not The Church" . On staff at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA.
  • Saint Jonny

    That’s funny, I was preaching on this just last Sunday. Had some fun with the gore, especially since there were kids present!
    His left-handedness is underscored by the fact that he was a Benjamite, which means “Son of the Right Hand!” And the Benjamites may well have trained people to be lefties (Judges 20:26).

  • donsands

    What a painful death. To be gutted with a sword like that.
    Why does our Lord want us to see this? There is a time to kill. And death is quite ugly:– Especially violent death, where someone’s stomach is ripped open with fierceness, so that his intestines fall out.
    Such a wicked way to die, but he deserved it.
    Yet, how brutal was the death of Christ our Lord, who didn’t deserve any ounce of this torturous evil death. And He allowed it to happen to Himself, becuase our Father asked Him to lay down His life; and also because the Father loved us, before the foundation of the world, and also Jesus loved us. Though Jesus didn’t truly desire to die such an excruciating death, and asked for this cup of God’s wrath to pass. “Nevertheless, Your will be done.”
    Thanks for the next weird Bible verse. I shall study it even a deeper with my pastor friends.
    Have a great week and especially Lord’s Day in the Lord’s house, with our Lord’s people.

  • DanKimball

    Saint Jonny – thank you for that insight! I did not know that about the Benjamites possibly being trained to be lefties.

  • DanKimball

    Hi Don! Always wonderful to hear your perspectives and thoughts Don! Thank you!

  • Charles Specht

    I’ve always thought this was such a strange story for God to put in the Bible. But really, there’s dozens of stories like this. For instance, how about David showing up with a bagful of Philistine foreskins to claim his bride? You can’t tell me that’s not the strangest one. How do I explain that one to my children during family Bible time?
    I’ve been thinking that it would be interesting to preach through all the “weird stories” of the Old Testament. Maybe some day.

  • Craig

    One of my favorite death stories – strange, but true…
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  • Christian Movies

    It’s a weird bible verse but it means a lot. You might want to read and understand it again.