Now let’s review Ehud’s story (Judges 3:12-30).

Ehud’s story is violent. Ehud’s story is gross. But it is not meant to cause nightmares. Instead it prompts laughter at Israel’s enemy. In summary, Ehud is a left handed warrior who God uses to kill a Moabite king who has conquered Jerusalem (a very fat king named Eglon).

First, think about what makes Ehud an unlikely hero

Ehud is a trickster-hero. He uses creativity and courage to overcome his enemy, rather than brute force alone (although brute force certainly does enter the story). For example, he is left-handed. (If you have a left-handed child in your family, this might make an especially entertaining story.) Rather than Ehud’s left-handedness being a liability, it becomes an asset. He is able to hide his self-made sword (so this guy has skills) on the right side of his body – the opposite side of where most people would wear a sword.

Next, what makes the enemy entertaining?

There are a multiple elements here that are worth emphasizing. Verse 17 points out that Eglon is very fat. Be sure to play up this description, because it becomes important later. You can also reference how Eglon’s guards must not have been very thorough to miss an 18 inch sword under Ehud’s clothing. Now add to that the foolishness of the king to dismiss his servants and be alone with Ehud. Apparently Eglon really wanted to hear the secret message in private.

Finally be sure to emphasize the awkward moments outside of the king’s room in verse 24. The servants assume the king is going to the bathroom (possibly because of the smell coming from that room?) They wait so long for the king to reappear, that they become embarrassed. Feel free to ad lib some dialogue: “Wow, it smells like something died in there.” “You go in there” says one servant. “No way, YOU go in there,” says the other.

Finally, what is the gross-out component to emphasize?

The description of Ehud’s assassination of Eglon is particularly, well, gross.  Evidently the king’s girth is such that his belly essentially swallows the sword whole (and there is some ironic humor here – his belly literally swallows too much, and Eglon gets a serious belly ache.) You can play up the fact that the secret “message” is actually a secret sword (and you can say that Eglon got the “point” of the message).

Conclusion

You are probably expecting some great theological point or spiritual application at the end of all this. I don’t have a great theological truth to share, but I do have a simple application. Sometimes we need to let kids enjoy Bible stories for what they are, even when it means they are both gross and funny.

Stanley J. Ward is the Director of Campus Life and Ministry at the brook hill school in Bullard, TX. He is also author of worldview conversations: how to share your faith and keep your friends.

Publication date: October 24, 2011