An Enormous Smelly Ruler

In Judges 3:12-26, there is a really odd story. As you read the synopsis below, see if you can figure out why it might be included in the Bible. I have been baffled for a long time!

God had stopped protecting Israel because they weren’t living the way God told them to live. In fact, King Eglon, a Moabite, was allowed to conquer their “City of Palms” and rule over them. But after a while, God felt sorry for them and sent Ehud, an Israelite, to oust King Eglon.

Author’s note: Eglon and Ehud are kinda-sorta similar looking names, but just remember King Eglon is bad and Ehud is good. King Eglon was a really heavy Moabite dude, while Ehud was a left-handed Israelite.

Well, Ehud went to see King Eglon under false pretenses of bringing him a tribute. King Eglon was such an ego-maniac that he thought the people he had conquered actually liked him. However, Ehud hid a two edged sword under his clothes on his right thigh. After he presented the gift, he told the King that he also had a secret message for him. So the King sent away all of his security.

It was then that Ehud reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and thrust it into King Eglon’s enormous belly. But after Ehud had stabbed King Eglon, “the fat closed over the blade and handle” and Ehud couldn’t get the blade out. Instead “smelly bowel stuff oozed out.” Which was Ehud’s cue to leave.

King Eglon’s security detail didn’t go back in to check on King Eglon because the smell led them to believe that he was relieving himself and they wanted to give him privacy. Scripture says they “waited until they were embarrassed,” then opened the door and found King Eglon dead.

My question is why on earth did the author of Judges preserve this story in such incredible detail? Maybe it was to remind us that if we are evil, God might stop protecting us. And then our nation might fall into the hands of a very foolish ruler. What is more evil than locking up hungry asylum seekers, taking immigrant children away from their parents, harassing minorities, taxing the poor while giving the rich tax breaks, ignoring healthcare needs, refusing to pay a living wage, destroying native lands, destroying the earth, etc?

In other words, could it be a 2020 warning: “Shape up or you too may find an enormous smelly dude ruling over you?”

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