Flee from the Place of Idols
“Thus, Ehud fled to safety while they hesitated and he went beyond the idols and fled to safety to the Se’iyratha.”
Ehud, thus, makes his escape while the servants hesitate, not wanting to stumble upon Eglon in a compromised state — of course, he is in a tremendously compromised state indeed! I think that the reference to the place of idols is important for us here as it is mentioned twice. On one level, it seems to be a location where graven images are kept that becomes a turning point for Ehud. On the other hand, it seems that there is significance to the notion that he is leaving behind these idols as Eglon has been slaughtered. Indeed, on a spiritual level, that is what God has called his people to do — pass away from the place where idols have any influence on their lives. And, indeed, that is what God calls us to as well.
The place to which Ehud flees is called, “Se’iyratha” in the hill country of Ephriam (see the next verse). The word has a definite article, so scholars debate as to whether it is the name of a city or the name of a region. Given its context, it seems that to consider this a location rather than a town makes more sense. Assuming that to be the case, the word would break down to mean something like “goat mountain.” It will be from here, then, that he gathers his troops and prepares to wage battle against the Moabite troops that are sure to give chase.
Given the significance of goats in the ancient times as well as their significance to the day of Atonement, one might suggest it rather ironic to see Ehud, after passing away from the idols, fleeing to the mountain known for its goats. That is speculation, indeed, but in a story that is so filled by word play, it is something that is perhaps worth speculating on while also not pushing too hard. For the Christian today, Christ has become not only our Passover Lamb, but also our sacrifice of Atonement and when we repent of our idols, it is to Christ and only to Christ that we too must flee. Will you?