Ehud - Killer of Eglon

Profile of Ehud, Cunning Assassin and Israel's Second Judge

Ehud Slays Eglon
Eglon Slain by Ehud by James Tissot. SuperStock / Getty Images

Ehud figured in one of the most gruesome episodes in the Bible, a killing so violent it still shocks readers today.

Because of the Israelites' immorality, God raised a wicked king named Eglon over them. This Moabite oppressed the people so severely for 18 years that they cried out to the Lord, who sent them a deliverer. The Lord chose Ehud, a Benjamite, to be the second of the judges, but that title is not used to describe him.

Ehud possessed a special quality for this mission: He was left-handed. He made a double-edged sword about 18 inches long and concealed it on his right thigh, under his clothing. The Israelites sent Ehud to deliver their tribute to Eglon, who was staying in a cool, lattice-enclosed room atop his palace.

Scripture calls Eglon "a very fat man," a description rarely used in the Bible. Malnutrition was very common in the ancient world, so Eglon's obesity may imply that he was a glutton, feasting while his subjects nearly starved.

After leaving the tribute, Ehud sent away the men who had carried it. Then he left, but when he passed some pagan idols near Gilgal, he went back and said to the king, "Your Majesty, I have a secret message for you."

Eglon sent his servants away. Ehud approached the throne. When the king stood, Ehud drew his dagger from its hiding place and thrust it into Eglon's belly.

The king's fat closed in over the handle of the sword, and his bowels emptied in death. Ehud locked the door and escaped. The servants, thinking Eglon was relieving himself in a chamberpot, waited and waited, which let Ehud get away.

When Ehud got to the hill country of Ephraim, he blew a trumpet, rallying the Israelites to him.

He led them down to the fords of the Jordan River, which they captured to prevent Moabite reinforcements.

In the battles that followed, the Israelites killed about 10,000 Moabites, allowing no one to escape. After that victory, Moab fell under Israel's control, and there was peace in the land for 80 years.

Accomplishments of Ehud:

Ehud killed a wicked tyrant, an enemy of God. He also led the Israelites in a military victory to destroy the Moabite domination.

Ehud's Strengths:

Ehud cleverly hid his sword in an unexpected place, regained entry to the king, and managed to get Eglon's guard to leave. He killed the enemy of Israel while giving credit for the victory to God.

Ehud's Weaknesses:

Some commentators say Ehud had a weak or deformed right hand.

Ehud lied and deceived to gain his victory, morally questionable acts except in times of war. The way he killed an unarmed man may seem shocking, but he was an instrument of God to free the Israelites from evil.

Life Lessons From Ehud:

God uses all types of people to carry out his plans. Sometimes God's ways are incomprehensible to us.

All the elements of this incident worked in an intricate way to answer the Israelites' prayer for relief. God hears the cries of his people, both as a nation and as individuals.

References to Ehud in the Bible:

Ehud's story is found in Judges 3:12-30.


Judge over Israel.

Family Tree:

Father - Gera

Key Verses:

Judges 3:20-21
Ehud then approached him while he was sitting alone in the upper room of his summer palace 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. (NIV)

Judges 3:28
"Follow me," he ordered, "for the LORD has given Moab, your enemy, into your hands." So they followed him down and, taking possession of the fords of the Jordan that led to Moab, they allowed no one to cross over. (NIV)

Jack Zavada, a career writer and contributor for, is host to a Christian website for singles. Never married, Jack feels that the hard-won lessons he has learned may help other Christian singles make sense of their lives. His articles and ebooks offer great hope and encouragement. To contact him or for more information, visit Jack's Bio Page.

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Zavada, Jack. "Ehud - Killer of Eglon." ThoughtCo, Feb. 28, 2017, Zavada, Jack. (2017, February 28). Ehud - Killer of Eglon. Retrieved from Zavada, Jack. "Ehud - Killer of Eglon." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 23, 2018).