The Story of Ehud and Eglon in Judg 3:12-30. A Literary Pearl as a Theological Stumbling Block

  • Hans Ausloos Université catholique de Louvain - University of the Free State (South Africa)
Keywords: Ehud, Eglon, Judges, Violence


Making use of numerous stylistic devices and playing with words, the author of Judg 3:12-30 has succeeded in creating a masterpiece of literature that challenges its reader. Moreover and simultaneously, this story, that narrates the brutal murder of king Eglon by the Israelite Ehud, is very problematic from a theological perspective. The present article offers firstly an analysis of Judg 3:12-20 and subsequently demonstrates how a specific and often-overlooked aspect of the violent nature of the text – after all, king Eglon has been utilized by yhwh to restore obedience among the Israelites – holds a key to unlocking the theological intention of this text.