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King Eglon was the king of Moab. He seems to have been a victim of his own success. His coalition of Moabites, Ammonites, and Amalekites had defeated Israel during the time of the judges and had captured the city of palms, probably referring to Jericho.
But the Lord raised up a left-handed man named Ehud to deliver His people. Ehud carried the tribute money to Eglon at Jericho, but he took along a little something extra: a double-edged sword strapped to his right thigh under his clothes. Most people are right-handed, so Eglon’s guards probably did not expect to find a weapon on Ehud’s right side— since a right-handed person would draw the weapon across their body from their left side. Their failure to find Ehud’s weapon may also indicate an overconfidence in their own strength, a misguided notion that no one would dare assault their king.
But Ehud dared, and he managed to slip his weapon past the guards and into the very presence of Eglon. Ehud indicated that he had a secret message for Eglon, who foolishly allowed Ehud to approach him. Ehud drew his sword and plunged it into Eglon’s massive stomach. Ehud escaped to the hills of Ephraim and called out the forces of Israel to attack the Moabites. Israel was delivered from the Moabites that day (Judges 3).
The Moabites, Ammonites, and Amalekites were all involved in repeated conflicts with Israel. Later King David largely annihilated the Amalekites (1 Samuel 30), but the Moabites and Ammonites remained a thorn in the Israelites’ side for the remainder of their history.