Judges 3:30
So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest fourscore years.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30) The land.—Meaning, probably, the southern tribes.

Fourscore years.—The LXX. add, “And Ehud judged them till he died.” Josephus (Antt. v. 5, § 1) seems to have read “eight years.”

As to the moral aspect of the assassination committed by Ehud, it is only necessary to say that while his courage, and capacity, and readiness to sacrifice himself, if need be, for the deliverance of his country were thoroughly noble, the act by which he achieved his end was unjustifiable. To quote his example in defence of the principle of assassination is a gross abuse of Scripture. Those who defend the murder do so by assuming that the Divine call to Ehud to deliver his people sanctioned and possibly even suggested the means by which it was accomplished. But such methods of inferential exegesis undermine the very bases of morals. It is not in the least surprising that, when adopted, they are liable to the grossest abuse, and made to cover the most horrible crimes. Thus, when Jacques Clement asked whether a priest might kill a tyrant, he was told that “it was not a mortal sin, but only an irregularity”; and when Pope Paul V. heard of the murder of Henry IV. by Ravaillac, he said, “The God of nations did this, because he was given over to a reprobate mind.” If it has been always true that

“The devil can quote Scripture for his purpose,”

he has done so not rarely by the lips of those who have professed to teach it. “Worse than the dagger,” says Prof. Cassel, “is such doctrine.”

Jdg 3:30. The land had rest fourscore years — Not the whole land of Israel, but the eastern part of it, which had thus shaken off the yoke of Moab. For in the mean time the Philistines invaded the western parts, as it here follows, and were repulsed by Shamgar; and Jabin afflicted the northern, as it follows in the next chapter.3:12-30 When Israel sins again, God raises up a new oppressor. The Israelites did ill, and the Moabites did worse; yet because God punishes the sins of his own people in this world, Israel is weakened, and Moab strengthened against them. If lesser troubles do not do the work, God will send greater. When Israel prays again, God raises up Ehud. As a judge, or minister of Divine justice, Ehud put to death Eglon, the king of Moab, and thus executed the judgments of God upon him as an enemy to God and Israel. But the law of being subject to principalities and powers in all things lawful, is the rule of our conduct. No such commissions are now given; to pretend to them is to blaspheme God. Notice Ehud's address to Eglon. What message from God but a message of vengeance can a proud rebel expect? Such a message is contained in the word of God; his ministers are boldly to declare it, without fearing the frown, or respecting the persons of sinners. But, blessed be God, they have to deliver a message of mercy and of free salvation; the message of vengeance belongs only to those who neglect the offers of grace. The consequence of this victory was, that the land had rest eighty years. It was a great while for the land to rest; yet what is that to the saints' everlasting rest in the heavenly Canaan.The land - i. e. that portion of it which had suffered from the oppression of Moab, probably Benjamin and Ephraim chiefly (see Judges 3:11).

In judging of the nature of Ehud's act there are many considerations which must greatly modify our judgment. Acts of violence or cunning, done in an age when human society applauded such acts, when the best men of the age thought them right, and when men were obliged to take the law into their own hands in self-defense, are very different from the same acts done in an age when the enlightened consciences of men generally condemn them, and when the law of the land and the law of nations give individuals adequate security. We can allow faith and courage and patriotism to Ehud, without being blind to those defective views of moral right which made him and his countrymen glory in an act which in the light of Christianity is a crime. It is remarkable that neither Ehud nor Jael are included in Paul's list in Hebrews 11:32.

28. they went down after him, and took the fords—(See on [214]Jos 2:7). With the view of preventing all escape to the Moabite coast, and by the slaughter of ten thousand men [Jud 3:29], Ehud rescued his country from a state of ignominious vassalage. How these are to be understood, see Poole "Judges 3:11". Instead of eighty, some copies read eight years. So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel,.... Or the Moabites were broken, as the Targum, that is, their forces in the land of Israel; for the land of Moab itself was not subdued and brought into subjection to the Israelites; but they were so weakened by this stroke upon them, that they could not detain the Israelites under their power any longer:

and the land had rest fourscore years; eighty years, which, according to Ben Gersom, are to be reckoned from the beginning of their servitude, and that the rest properly was but sixty two years, and so both rest and servitude were eighty years, as R. Isaiah; and, according to Abarbinel, the rest was from the death of Othniel; and our Bishop Usher (o) reckons this eightieth year from the former rest restored to it by Othniel; but others (p) are of opinion that there were several judges at a time in several parts of the land, and that the land was at rest in one part when there was war in another; and so that at this time it was only the eastern part of the land that had rest, while the western parts were distressed by the Philistines, and the northern parts by Jabin king of Canaan, as in Judges 3:31.

(o) Annal. Vet. Test. p. 42. (p) Marsham. Canon. Chron. p. 306, 307. Patrick in loc. Vid. Lampe Eccl. Hist. l. 1. c. 5. p. 21, 22.

So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the {k} land had rest fourscore years.

(k) Meaning, the Israelites.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
30. was subdued] Similarly in the conclusions to the other stories, Jdg 4:23, Jdg 8:28, Jdg 11:33; 1 Samuel 7:13. The expression, which seems to form a more integral part of the narrative proper than the rest of the recurring phrases, “may mark the portions due to the pre-Deuteronomic compiler,” Driver, Introd., p. 167. The rest of the verse certainly belongs to the framework; cf. Jdg 3:11 note.When the servants of Eglon came (to enter in to their lord) after Ehud's departure and saw the door of the upper room bolted, they thought "surely (אך, lit. only, nothing but) he covers his feet" (a euphemism for performing the necessities of nature; cf. 1 Samuel 24:3), and waited to shaming (cf. 2 King dg 2:17; Judges 8:11), i.e., till they were ashamed of their long waiting (see at Judges 5:28). At length they opened the door with the key, and found their lord lying dead upon the floor.

Ehud's conduct must be judged according to the spirit of those times, when it was thought allowable to adopt any means of destroying the enemy of one's nation. The treacherous assassination of a hostile king is not to be regarded as an act of the Spirit of God, and therefore is not set before us as an example to be imitated. Although Jehovah raised up Ehud as a deliverer to His people when oppressed by Eglon, it is not stated (and this ought particularly to be observed) that the Spirit of Jehovah came upon Ehud, and still less that Ehud assassinated the hostile king under the impulse of that Spirit. Ehud proved himself to have been raised up by the Lord as the deliverer of Israel, simply by the fact that he actually delivered his people from the bondage of the Moabites, and it by no means follows that the means which he selected were either commanded or approved by Jehovah.

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