Judges 3:20
And Ehud came to him; and he was sitting in a summer parlor, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God to you. And he arose out of his seat.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Ehud came unto him.—The previous message had either been spoken at some distance, in a loud voice, or had been merely a message sent to the king by the attendants.

In a summer parlour.—Literally, a parlour of cooling (comp. Amos 3:15). The room is one of the kind known in the East as alijah (Greek, huperōon; Mark 14:15), the coolest part of an Eastern house. Obergemache der Kühlung (De Wette). Sommer-laube (Luther). The expression reminds us that the scene of the incident is placed in the Ghôr—the Jordan valley, which lies nearly a thousand feet below the level of the Mediterranean, and is probably the hottest district in the world. Eglon had retired into this room after the public reception of the present, and Ehud had anticipated this as part of his deeply-laid design.

Which he had for himself alone.—Rather, “in his solitude.” The words merely mean (as in the LXX. and Vulg.) that he was sitting alone.

I have a message from God unto thee.—Josephus makes him say that he had a dream to impart to Eglon, by command of God. The whole narrative implies that Ehud was, to some extent, an honoured person even among the Moabites. Probably he was reckoned as a prophet. In the East sacred claims are readily conceded, even to enemies. The Mohammedans received St. Francis of Assisi with entire respect.

He arose out of his seat.—Probably out of reverence, to receive the Divine message, which would naturally be delivered in low and reverent tones. “He rose from his throne (and came) near him” (LXX.). Josephus says that he “leaped out of his throne for joy of the dream.” Thus Cimber pressed close upon Cæsar (Plut. Cœs. 86), and Cleander upon Parmenio (Curt. 72, 27) (Cassel).

Jdg 3:20. He was sitting in a summer parlour — Into which, it is probable, he used to retire from company; which is mentioned as the reason why his servants waited so long ere they went in to him, Jdg 3:25. I have a message from God unto thee — To be delivered, not in words, but by actions. This was true if Ehud was stirred up to this, as it appears he was, by a divine influence. Ehud, however, expressed himself in this manner to remove from the king any apprehensions of danger; and likewise to oblige him to rise from his seat, which Ehud knew he would do, since such was the common practice of the heathen, when receiving, or expecting to receive, messages from the gods they worshipped. He designedly made use of the word Elohim, which was common both to the true God and the pagan deities; and not the Word Jehovah, which was peculiar to the true God; because thus Eglon, not knowing whether the message came not from his own false god, would have the greater inclination to rise, whereby Ehud would have an opportunity of directing his blow in the most advantageous manner: whereas he would possibly have shown his contempt of the God of Israel, by sitting still to hear his message. And he arose out of his seat — In token of reverence to God. This is a remarkable instance of the ancient veneration men paid to whatsoever carried the name and authority of God in it, and it reproaches those who can now presume to behave themselves irreverently, even in the time and place of divine worship.3:12-30 When Israel sins again, God raises up a new oppressor. The Israelites did ill, and the Moabites did worse; yet because God punishes the sins of his own people in this world, Israel is weakened, and Moab strengthened against them. If lesser troubles do not do the work, God will send greater. When Israel prays again, God raises up Ehud. As a judge, or minister of Divine justice, Ehud put to death Eglon, the king of Moab, and thus executed the judgments of God upon him as an enemy to God and Israel. But the law of being subject to principalities and powers in all things lawful, is the rule of our conduct. No such commissions are now given; to pretend to them is to blaspheme God. Notice Ehud's address to Eglon. What message from God but a message of vengeance can a proud rebel expect? Such a message is contained in the word of God; his ministers are boldly to declare it, without fearing the frown, or respecting the persons of sinners. But, blessed be God, they have to deliver a message of mercy and of free salvation; the message of vengeance belongs only to those who neglect the offers of grace. The consequence of this victory was, that the land had rest eighty years. It was a great while for the land to rest; yet what is that to the saints' everlasting rest in the heavenly Canaan.Probably Ehud's first message Judges 3:19 had been delivered to the attendants, and by them carried to the king. Now Ehud is admitted to the king's presence, into the cool upper chamber.

I have a message from God unto thee - Ehud believed himself to be accomplishing the divine mandate, and so his words were true in a certain sense. But it was also a stratagem to cause the king to rise, that the thrust might be sure. (The king rose at once, in true Oriental respect for a divine message, or from fear, compare Joshua 9:24.)

20. a summer parlour—Hebrew, "chamber of cooling"—one of those retired edifices which Oriental grandees usually have in their gardens, and in which they repose during the heat of the day. They had divers houses and chambers, some for winter, others for summer. See Jeremiah 36:22 Amos 3:15.

Which he had for himself alone; into which he used to retire himself from company; which is mentioned as the reason why his servants waited so long ere they went in to him, Judges 3:25.

I have a message, to be delivered not in words, but by actions; Heb. a word, or thing, or business. So that there is no need to charge Ehud with a lie, as some do.

From God: this he saith to amuse him, by raising his expectation and wonder, to divert him from any apprehension of his danger, and to oblige him to rise out of his seat, which he knew he would do from the common practice of the heathens in their intercourses with God. And he designedly useth the name Elohim, which was common to the true God and false ones, and not Jehovah, which was peculiar to the true God, because Ehud not knowing whether the message came not from his own false god, he would more certainly rise, and thereby give Ehud more advantage for his blow; whereas he would possibly show his contempt of the God of Israel by sitting still to hear his message.

He arose out of his seat, in token of humble subjection and reverence to God; see Numbers 23:18 2 Kings 23:3; which condemns those Christians that behave themselves irreverently in the presence and service of the true God. And Ehud came unto him,.... Somewhat nearer him than he was before; it seems probable that Eglon retired from the presence chamber, where he received company, into his summer parlour; which was smaller and more private, and in which he had used to be alone, as follows, and whither Ehud went in unto him, as he directed him:

and he was sitting in a summer parlour, which he had for himself alone: into which he was wont to go and sit alone, for the sake of coolness and refreshment in the hot season of the year, which it seems it now was; a room this was, in which, as Kimchi and others observe, were many windows to let in air to cool and refresh; or it was in such a part of the palace that was cool, and sheltered from the heat of the sun; see Amos 3:15,

and Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee; which was to kill him; and undoubtedly he was sent of God on this errand to him: whether it be rendered a "word" or "thing" from God, as it signifies both, it was true, and no lie; for it was the Lord that spoke to him by an impulse on his spirit, and the thing was from the Lord he was to do, for nothing less could have justified him in such an action; and therefore this instance can be no warrant for the assassination of princes; as Ehud did not this of himself, but of the Lord, so neither did he do it as a private man, but as a judge of Israel. Josephus (c) says, he told him that he had a dream at the order of God to declare unto him; but for this there is no warrant; however it seems pretty plain that his view in making mention of the name of God, and of Elohim, a name given to false gods as well as the true, rather than Jehovah, was to strike his mind with awe and reverence, and cause him to rise from his seat, that he might the better thrust him with his dagger; and it had the desired effect:

and he arose out of his seat; in reverence of God, from whom he expected to receive a message; this he did, though in his mind a blind ignorant idolater; in his body fat, corpulent, and unwieldy; and in his office a king, and a proud and tyrannical man. The above writer says, that, for joy at the dream he was to hear, he rose from his throne.

(c) Antiqu. l. 5. c. 4. sect. 2.

And Ehud came unto him; and he was sitting in a summer parlor, which he had for himself alone. And Ehud said, I have a message from God unto thee. And he arose out of his seat.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 20. - For himself alone. It seems to have been Eglon's habit to sit quite alone in this summer parlour for coolness sake, his attendants waiting in the adjoining antechamber. On this occasion he appears to have dismissed them from the antechamber, for greater privacy, while Ehud spake to him. In vv. 12-30 the subjugation of the Israelites by Eglon, the king of the Moabites, and their deliverance from this bondage, are circumstantially described. First of all, in Judges 3:12-14, the subjugation. When the Israelites forsook the Lord again (in the place of וגו את־הרע ... ויּעשׂוּ, Judges 3:7, we have here the appropriate expression ... הרע הרע לעשׂות, they added to do, i.e., did again, evil, etc., as in Judges 4:1; Judges 10:6; Judges 13:1), the Lord made Eglon the king of the Moabites strong over Israel. על חזּק, to give a person strength to overcome or oppress another. כּי על, as in Deuteronomy 31:17, instead of the more usual אשׁר על (cf. Jeremiah 4:28; Malachi 2:14; Psalm 139:14). Eglon allied himself with the Ammonites and Amalekites, those arch-foes of Israel, invaded the land, took the palm-city, i.e., Jericho (see at Judges 1:16), and made the Israelites tributary for eighteen years. Sixty years had passed since Jericho had been burnt by Joshua. During that time the Israelites had rebuilt the ruined city, but they had not fortified it, on account of the curse pronounced by Joshua upon any one who should restore it as a fortress; so that the Moabites could easily conquer it, and using it as a base, reduce the Israelites to servitude.
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