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the nation,-and in that capacity invested with great power, as we have seen, in executing the duties of the office. He proceeded immediately to reform his countrymen, and especially to put a stop to their idolatrous practices, and bring them back to the service of the true God. He administered justice. He did all in his power to prepare the people for a successful resistance of their oppressors, and ere long led out their forces against the king of Mesopotamia. An engagement ensued, in which Chusan-rishathaim was entirely defeated, and the Israelites restored to their former freedom. Under the wise administration of Othniel, “the land had rest;” while the nation was making constant progress in prosperity, secure against its enemies, and enjoying the protection and blessing of God. This happy state of things lasted forty years, when the death of their ruler led the Israelites to cast off the restraints which he had imposed upon them, and to relapse once more into their sinful practices. Probably idolatry again prevailed, and the degeneracy of the people became as great as ever. Chastisement soon followed transgression. Eglon, king of Moab, was permitted, in the providence of God, to become a very powerful monarch, and to direct his ambitious views towards the subjugation of the Israelites. He increased his forces by the accession of the Ammonites and Amalekites, who were ready to furnish their armies for the enterprise; and crossing the Jordan, he gained a complete victory in the battle which soon followed. He took possession of the city of palm-trees, the place where Jericho once stood, pitching his camp there, erecting fortifica tions, and, according to Josephus, making it his residence. The Israelites were brought completely under his dominion, and in the payments of the tribute that he demanded of them, and by his various other acts of oppression and severity, suffered for eighteen years, very much as they had done in their subjection to the king of Mesopotamia. Their sufferings brought them again to repentance, and they cried unto God for succor. He heard them, and sent deliverance. EHUD, the son of Gera, of the tribe of Benjamin, was raised up for this purpose, and became judge over Israel. Owing to some infirmity in his right hand, he could make little or no use of it, but employed his left only. But God chose him to be the man of his right hand, whom he would make strong for himself. All agents and instrumentalities are in the hands of God, for the accomplishment of his purposes. When he designs to send relief to his people, he can most easily provide the means. In the midst, then, my young friend, of your sorrows and sufferings, look to God for deliverance from them. Forget not that, as in the case of the Israelites, they are the consequences of sin. When you raise the voice of your supplication for aid, do it with true sorrow of heart for your transgressions. Do it in the name of the only Intercessor for sinners. Do it with submission to the divine will. Then you may be assured that if immediate relief is not afforded, it is because your Heavenly Father sees that it is not best for you. He will send it at the best time, and in the best manner. He may send it speedily, and by instrumentalities that you the least expect. His arm is never shortened that it cannot save.

CHAPTER WII.

Ehud kills Eglon. He delivers the Israelites. Shamgar.

The deliverance of the Israelites from the oppression of Eglon came about in a singular and striking way. Ehud planned it, and acted in the affair, as there is much reason to believe, under a divine impulse or direction. He was the bearer of a costly present to the king of Moab, sent probably, in addition to the tribute-money, to conciliate his favor, and dispose him to deal more mercifully with his vassals. Ehud resolved to make his embassy the occasion of putting the tyrant to death. With this end in view, he went armed with a two-edged dagger, which he caused to be made for the purpose, and which he wore on his right side under the folds of his garments. He well knew the customs of the country, and how he could make use of them for the accomplishment of his design. Not a few ceremonies took place in the presentation of the offering. Ehud had many attendants who bore it into the presence of the monarch; and after it was graciously received, he retired with them, accompanying them on their way home as far as “the quarries” near Gilgal. These were probably idols, or graven images of stone cut out of the quarry, and carved for objects of worship by the Moabites. Here Ehud dismissed his companions, and returning to the palace asked another audience of the king. It was readily granted. He announced to Eglon that he was sent to him this time on a secret errand; and the royal command being given to that effect, all who were in attendance withdrew. The room in which the king was sitting was his private upper chamber, constructed, as is still the custom in the East, for the purpose of getting as much air as possible to refresh him during the intense heat of summer. It was quite retired, and furnished Ehud a very favorable opportunity for executing his purpose. Standing near the monarch, with no one to witness or interfere with his movements, he thus accosted him, “I have a message from God unto thee.” As Eglon rose to receive it, impressed probably with a sort of reverential awe towards the God of the Israelites, Ehud, drawing his dagger from its concealment, plunged it into his body. The king was a corpulent, unwieldy man, little able to make any resistance, even if he had anticipated the blow. In addition to this, the weapon sunk so deep into his flesh that no effort of his could withdraw it, and falling on the floor he soon expired. In the meanwhile, Ehud walked deliberately out of the room, locking the doors after him, and probably retaining the keys, that when the attempt should be made to gain access to the king, it might be supposed that he wished for a season to be secure against intrusion. Ehud's departure excited no peculiar notice, it being only what had been anticipated at the time; while passing unsuspected through the porch, he was out

of danger, and on his way home, before the atJoshua & Judges. 12

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