Judges 3:25
And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlor; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth.
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(25) Tarried till they were ashamed.—See 2Kings 2:17; 2Kings 8:11. It is a dangerous matter to intrude on the privacy of an Oriental king.

A key.—Literally, the opener. The ancient key was simply a bar of wood, hooked at the end, which passed through a hole in the door and caught the bolt inside.

Their lord was fallen down dead.—Comp. Judges 4:22.

Jdg 3:25. They tarried till they were ashamed — Till they were in great confusion, not conceiving what could cause him to sleep so much longer than usual; and not knowing what to say or think, afraid that they should either disturb him, or be guilty of neglect toward him. They took a key and opened them — Another key, it being usual in the courts of kings for more persons than one to be intrusted with keys to the same room.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.A key - literally, "an opener." Probably a wooden instrument with which they either lifted up the latch within, or drew back the wooden bar or bolt. The chief officer of Eglon's household probably had a second key (compare Isaiah 22:15, Isaiah 22:20-22; Isaiah 37:2). 21-26. Ehud put forth his left hand—The whole circumstance of this daring act—the death of Eglon without a shriek, or noise—the locking of the doors—the carrying off the key—the calm, unhurried deportment of Ehud—show the strength of his confidence that he was doing God service. Ashamed, or, confounded, not knowing what to say or think; lest they should either disturb him, or be guilty of neglect towards him.

A key; another key, it being usual in princes’ courts to have divers keys for the same door. And they tarried until they were ashamed,.... And knew not what to think of it, or what methods to take to be satisfied of the truth of the matter, and what should be the meaning of the doors being kept locked so long:

and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlour; this was what surprised them, and threw them into this confusion of mind, that they knew not what course to take for fear of incurring the king's displeasure, and yet wondered the doors were not opened for so long a time:

therefore they took a key and opened them; this is the first time we read of a key, which only signifies something to open with; and the keys of the ancients were different from those of ours; they were somewhat like a crooked sickle (i), which they put in through a hole in the door, and with it could draw on or draw back a bolt, and so could lock or unlock with inside, see Sol 5:4; and at this day the keys in the eastern countries are unlike ours. Chardin (k) says, that a lock among the eastern people is like a little harrow, which enters half way into a wooden staple, and the key is a wooden handle with points at the end of it, which are pushed into the staple, and so raise this little harrow:

and, behold, their lord was fallen dead on the earth; lay prostrate on the floor of the parlour, dead.

(i) , Homer. Odyss. 21. ver. 6. & Eustathius in ib. (k) Apud Calmet's Dictionary, on the word "Key".

And they tarried till they were ashamed: and, behold, he opened not the doors of the parlor; therefore they took a key, and opened them: and, behold, their lord was fallen down dead on the earth.
25. till they were ashamed] Cf. 2 Kings 2:17; 2 Kings 8:11; an idiom expressive of surprise and perplexity.

the key, and opened them] The lock or bolt was constructed most likely in the same fashion as the wooden locks still used in Palestine; the bolt is shot by hand, the key is used only for unlocking.

was fallen down dead] Cf. Jdg 4:22; Jdt 14:14 f.After presenting the gift, Ehud dismissed the people who had carried the present to their own homes; namely, as we learn from Judges 3:19, after they had gone some distance from Jericho. But he himself returned from the stone-quarries at Gilgal, sc., to Jericho to king Eglon. הפּסילים מן refers to some place by Gilgal. In Deuteronomy 7:25; Isaiah 21:9; Jeremiah 8:19, pesilim signifies idols. And if we would retain this meaning here, as the lxx, Vulg., and others have done, we must assume that in the neighbourhood of Gilgal there were stone idols set up in the open air-a thing which is very improbable. The rendering "stone quarries," from פּסל, to hew out stones (Exodus 34:1, etc.), which is the one adopted in the Chaldee, and by Rashi and others, is more likely to be the correct one. Gilgal cannot be the Gilgal between Jericho and the Jordan, which was the first encampment of the Israelites in Canaan, as is commonly supposed, since Ehud passed the Pesilim on his flight from the king's dwelling-place to the mountains of Ephraim (Judges 3:26, Judges 3:27); and we can neither assume, as Bertheau does, that Eglon did not reside in the conquered palm-city (Jericho), but in some uncultivated place in the neighbourhood of the Jordan, nor suppose that after the murder of Eglon Ehud could possibly have gone from Jericho to the Gilgal which was half an hour's journey towards the east, for the purpose of escaping by a circuitous route of this kind to Seirah in the mountains of Ephraim, which was on the north-west of Jericho. Gilgal is more likely to be Geliloth, which was on the west of Jericho opposite to the ascent of Adummim (Kaalat ed Dom), on the border of Judah and Benjamin (Joshua 18:17), and which was also called Gilgal (Joshua 15:7). Having returned to the king's palace, Ehud sent in a message to him: "I have a secret word to thee, O king." The context requires that we should understand "he said" in the sense of "he had him told" (or bade say to him), since Ehud himself did not go in to the king, who was sitting in his room, till afterwards (Judges 3:20). In consequence of this message the king said: הס, lit. be silent (the imperative of הסה fo); here it is a proclamation, Let there be quiet. Thereupon all who were standing round (viz., his attendants) left the room, and Ehud went in (Judges 3:20). The king was sitting "in his upper room of cooling alone." The "room of cooling" (Luther, Sommerlaube, summer-arbour) was a room placed upon the flat roof of a house, which was open to the currents of air, and so afforded a cool retreat, such as are still met with in the East (vid., Shaw, pp. 188-9). Then Ehud said, "A word of God I have to thee;" whereupon the king rose from his seat, from reverence towards the word of God which Ehud pretended that he had to deliver to him, not to defend himself, as Bertheau supposes, of which there is not the slightest intimation in the text.
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