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EHUD (Heb. אֵהוּד), son of Gera the Benjaminite, referred to as "a left-handed man" (Judg. 3:15). Ehud delivered Israel from *Eglon, the king of Moab, to whom they had been subject for 18 years. According to i Chronicles 8:3, Gera was the son of Bela, Benjamin's firstborn. If this is the same person, it would imply that Ehud belonged to one of the chief families of the tribe. Apparently, this family lived in the region of Geba, which may have been associated with the ancient Gibeonites. Possibly, this was the reason that some of its members were driven to the western slopes of the mountain (Manahath; see i Chron. 8:6). In early Israel's pre-monarchic period, some of the adjoining kingdoms, notably Moab, attempted to extend their dominion over the Jordan Valley and the hill country on the western bank of the river. They encountered resistance only in Mt. Ephraim, the territory of the Rachel tribes, who did not suffer foreign rule until the Philistine hegemony.

Ehud headed a tribute-bearing delegation to *Eglon, king of Moab (Judg. 3:15ff.). Being left-handed, he wore a sword under his garments on his right thigh, where guards were not in the habit of looking for a suspicious bulge, and no one noticed it. Under the pretext of having a "secret word" for the king, he succeeded in gaining a private audience with him. When he said "I bring you a word of God, your Majesty" the heavy-fleshed monarch rose to hear it; Ehud drew his sword, thrust its entire length into the belly of the corpulent king, and fled. Returning to his country, he sounded the ram's horn for the armies to gather, captured the fords of the Jordan, and defeated all the Moabite garrisons on the western bank of the river. This ended the Moabite rule over Israel for several generations. Ehud is not actually called a judge, although he is usually numbered among the "judges."


Bright, Hist, 157; Kittel, Gesch, 1 (1922), 27; Albright, Stone, 216; M. Noth, Geschichte Israels (1956), 144–5; Y. Kaufmann, Sefer Shofetim (1962), 104–6; Kraeling, in: jbl, 54 (1935), 205–10; Yeivin, in. Zion Me'assef, 4 (1930), 8; idem, in: Ma'arakhot, 26–27 (1945), 65–66. add. bibliography: Y. Amit, Judges (1999), 71–79; See also the bibliography under *Eglon.