Humbling Moab

“And they struck down Moabites at that time — 10,000 men, all fat and all men of strength and not a man was able to flee to safety. Thus, Moab was humbled on that day under the hand of Israel…and the land had rest for 80 years.”

(Judges 3:29-30)

And as we see this account come to completion, once again we find some plays on words in the description of the Moabites. In particular, just as their king was a fat man, ready for the slaughter, so too was his army. There were 10,000 men, all fat and ready for the kill. And it is these men that Ehud and his soldiers slew as they tried to cross the ford in the Jordan river.

Some of our translations will render the first clause in verse 30 as “Moab was subdued” on that day, yet a better translation of oÅnDk (kana) would be, “to humble.” In practical purposes, Israel did not engage in conquest against Moab at this time nor did it seek to take any possessions from Moab. Israel simply overthrew the oppressors — and humiliated them in the process. Thus, indeed, they were humbled before God’s people.

Thus, the land had rest for 80 years. Rest from what? Rest from oppression both from outside and rest from oppression of the idolatry within.

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