A note about Ehud the left-handed man

Does the author of Judges just want to give a shout out to all the southpaws out there, or is there something more to Ehud being left-handed?
Does the author of Judges just want to give a shout out to all the southpaws in Israel, or is there something more to Ehud being left-handed?

If you’re following along in Judges you come upon to the pretty gruesome story of Ehud. He goes to a rival king, Eglon, sneaks in a sword, hangs out alone, and then kills him. Once Ehud leaves the guards assume with the smell that thad made itself to them was just the king relieving himself. By the time they realize he is dead, Ehud has escaped. What a strange story.

With plenty of questions to ask, let’s just ask “Why did the king even feel comfortable to be alone with Ehud?” There is a strange comment about Ehud in his short intro. It says that he was a left-handed man. Do we need to know that? Why is it included?

It could mean more literally that Ehud couldn’t use his right hand, perhaps he was physically deformed or permanently injured. If so, he may not have been a picture of strength and didn’t seem a risk to Eglon.

Not only is that a possible explanation about Ehud, but it tells us something about who God chooses.

Ehud is a surprising choice; in a society which was even more cruel than our own to people who were physically handicapped, he would have been considered ineffective. No one would have looked up to him or naturally chosen to follow him. Yet he is God’s choice. (Tim Keller, Judges For You, Kindle Locations 596-598).

Is Ehud an exception to all the exceptional leaders of God? Or is this just how God works? God continues to surprise and do the unexpected. He takes those whom the world has rejected and works wonders. And when Jesus comes this is just the case. “Jesus? From Nazareth? Joseph’s son? A carpenter?” Even after his miracles and the crowds had gathered, when Jesus is there on the cross, he is not the picture of strength. But this is how our God works.

Let this story of Ehud, with all its vividness that makes it easy to remember, help us remember that God uses people like us and that God used one the one who was rejected by others to be our very foundation.

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