A Humiliating Death

“And he left. Then the servants came and behold, the doors to the upper room were secured! And they said, ‘Maybe he is relieving himself, standing in the cool part of the upper room.’  They wavered until they were ashamed, but still the doors were not opened to the upper room. They took the key and opened it, but behold, their lord had fallen dead on the ground.”

(Judges 3:24-25)

It’s not nice to bother your king when he is doing something privately in his upper chambers. Yet an emissary from an enemy nation had just been in there and now some strange sounds were coming from the room. So, what do you do? These servants of the king found themselves in exactly that spot, and in their case, they stood around, wavering back and forth, trying to decide the right course of action. Do they go in and perhaps disturb their master doing something very private? Do they wait and fail to rescue their master if something bad is happening? You can almost envision these servants looking at one another and saying, “So, what do you want to do, George?” And when the decision to open the door was made, saying, “I’ll open, but you go first.”

There is a curious choice of words found at the end of this verse. When recording that Eglon had fallen dead, instead of stating that he had fallen on the floor, it states that he fell on the X®rRa (erets), which means “ground” or “earth.” This seems to tie us back again to verse 22 and the translation of NØwdVv√rAÚp (parshedon). One of the possible translations of this term is “dirt,” which would be considered a euphemism for dung. If X®rRa (erets) is meant to be a play on words (and this account is filled with plays on words), then it could be suggested that after the dirt (dung) came out, the dead king fell on top of it (on the earth). In other words, they found him laying in his own feces. Again, a humiliating death for the big fat cow, Eglon. A proper death for the enemies of God. All the while Ehud is escaping.

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