In Judges 3 Israel was once again committing idolatry and worshiping false gods, just as they had done so many times before. To judge Israel for their sin, “the Lord strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the Lord” (Judges 3:12). Moab allied itself with Amalek and Ammon and invaded Israel, occupying and oppressing them for eighteen years (3:13-14). Our sin has consequences: when we turn our back on the Lord, our spiritual enemies have an open door to invade our lives and oppress us.
But eventually Israel repented and cried unto the Lord and in his mercy God gave them a deliverer; and the way that God introduces this deliverer to us should catch our attention. This deliverer was “Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjamin, a man left-handed” (3:15).
Ehud’s description feels a little bit like a contradiction. The name of Ehud’s tribe, Benjamin, means “The son of the right hand” (Gen 35:18), but Ehud is left-handed. Apparently the tribe of Benjamin, named for its right-handedness, was famous for its left-handed men. Toward the end of the book of Judges, we read about 700 men from Benjamin who were expert marksmen with a slingshot: “every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss” (Judges 20:15-16). What do we make of this?
Ehud’s left-handedness made him work differently from his peers. As Christians, we do things backward from the rest of the world. Worldly entrepreneurs will work tons of overtime to amass as much wealth as possible; Christian entrepreneurs take weekends off so that they can be faithful to church, and then tithe on top of it! Worldly leaders try to get to the top and control, but Christian leaders try to go to the bottom and serve (Matt 20:25-28). Instead of cursing our enemies, we bless them. Do not be afraid to live a left-handed life in a right-handed world.
Ehud’s left-handedness not only made him different from others around him: it also placed him at odds with the name that his society had given him. He was from a tribe named “Right,” but he lived his life “Left.” Today society has given the church a lot of names: judgmental, exclusive, hateful. As Christians, we should be like Ehud—the opposite of the name that society is trying to give us. It is no accident that right-handed Benjamin was famous for its left-handed men. Even though the world “speaks against us as evildoers” they should see our good works and “be ashamed, having no evil thing to say of us” (1Peter 2:12, Titus 2:8). When the world calls us judgmental, we should be merciful. When the world calls us mean, we should be kind. When the world says that we hate, we should show Christlike love at every chance.
As Christians, we are different. We are like Ehud, a left-handed man in a right