If men would examine how many are killed with weapons and how many eat and drink themselves to death, there would be found more dead from the cup and the kitchen than from the thrust of a sword. — Thomas More

Story of the Bible Told for Young and Old - Jesse Hurlbut




The Present That Ehud Brought to King Eglon


You would supposed that, after all that God had done for the Israelites, and after their own promises to serve him faithfully, they would never turn to the idols which could not save their own people, the Canaanites. Yet, when Joshua was no longer living, and the men who knew Joshua had also died, the people began to forget their own God and to worship images of wood and stone.

Perhaps it was not so strange after all. In all the world, so far as we know, at that time the Israelites were the only people who did not worship idols. All the nations around them, the Egyptians, from whose land they had come, the Edomites on the south, the Moabites on the east, the Philistines on the west beside the Great Sea,—all these bowed down to images, and many of them offered their own children upon the idol-altars.

Then, too, you remember that the Canaanites had not been driven out of the land. They were there still, in their own cities and villages everywhere, and their idols were standing under the trees on many high places. So the Israelites saw idols all around them, and people bowing down before them; while they themselves had no God that could be seen. The Tabernacle was far away from some parts of the land; and the people were so busy with their fields and their houses that few of them went up to worship.

And so it came to pass that the people began to neglect their own worship of the Lord, and then to begin the worship of the idols around them. And from idol-worship they sank lower still into wicked deeds. For all this the Lord left them to suffer. Their enemies came upon them from the lands around, and became their masters; for when God left them they were helpless. They were made poor, for these rulers who had conquered them robbed them of all their grain, and grapes, and olive-oil.

After a time of suffering the Israelites would think of what God had done for them in other times. Then they would turn away from the idols, and would call upon God. And God would hear them, and raise up some great man to lead them to freedom, and to break the power of those who were ruling over them. This great man the called "a judge;" and under him they would serve God, and be happy and successful once more.

As long as the judge lived and ruled, the people worshipped God. But when the judge died the forgot God again, and worshipped idols and fell under the power of their enemies as before, until God sent another judge to deliver them. And this happened over and over again in the three hundred years after Joshua died. Seven nations in turn ruled over the Israelites, and after each "oppression," as this rule was called, a "deliverer" arose to set the people free.

The idols which the Israelites worshipped most of all were those named Baal and Asherah. Baal was an image looking somewhat like a man; and Asherah was the name given to the one that looked like a woman. These images were set up in groves and on hills by the Canaanite people, and to these the Israelites bowed down, falling on their faces before them.

The first nation to come from another land against the Israelites was the people of Mesopotamia, between the great rivers Euphrates and Tigris on the north. Their king led his army into the land and made the Israelites serve him eight years. Then they cried to the Lord, and the Lord sent to them Othniel, who was a younger brother of Caleb, of whom we read in Story Five in this Part. He set the people free from the Mesopotamians, and ruled them as long as he lived, and kept them faithful to the Lord. Othniel was the first of the judges of Israel.

But after Othniel died the people again began to worship images, and again fell under the power of their enemies. This time it was the Moabites who came against them from the land east of the Dead Sea. Their king at this time was named Eglon, and he was very hard in his rule over the Israelites. Again they cried to the Lord, and God called a man named Ehud, who belonged to the tribe of Benjamin, to set the people free.

Ehud came one day to visit King Eglon, who was ruling over the land. He said:

"I have a present from my people to the king. Let me go into his palace and see him."

They let Ehud into the palace, and he gave to the king a present; then he went out, but soon came back, and said:

"I have a message to the king that no one else can hear. Let me see the king alone."

As he had just brought a present they supposed that he was a friend to the king. Then, too, he had no sword on the side where men carried their swords. But Ehud was left-handed, and he carried on the other side a short, sharp sword which he had made, like a dagger. This sword was out of sight under his garment.

He went into the room where King Eglon was sitting alone, and said, "I have a message from the Lord to you, and this is the message."

And then he drew out his sword and drove it up to the handle into the king's body so suddenly that the king died without giving a sound. Ehud left the sword in the head body of the king, and went out quietly by the rear door. The servants of the king thought he was asleep in his room, and for a while did not go in to see why he was so still; but when they found him dead Ehud was far away.

Ehud blew a trumpet and called his people together, and led them against the Moabites. They were so helpless without their king that Ehud and his men easily drove them out of Israel and set the people free. Ehud became the second judge over the land. And after that it was many years before enemies again held rule over Israel.

The next enemies to Israel were the Philistines, who lived on the shore of the Great Sea on the west. They came up from the plain against the Israelites; but Shamgar, the third judge, met them with a company of farmers, who drove the Philistines back with their ox-goads, and so kept them from ruling over the land.



Contents

Front Matter
Review

The Story of a Beautiful Garden
The First Baby in the World and His Brother
The Great Ship That Saved Eight People
The Tower That Was Never Finished
The Story of a Long Journey
How Abram's Choice Brought Blessing
The Angel by the Well
The Rain of Fire That Fell on a City
The Boy Who Became an Archer
How an Angel's Voice Saved a Boy's Life
The Story of a Journey after a Wife
How Jacob Stole His Brother's Blessing
Jacob's Wonderful Dream
A Midnight Wrestling Match
The Rich Man's Son Who Was Sold as a Slave
From the Prison to the Palace
How Joseph's Dream Came True
A Lost Brother Found
From the Land of Famine to the Land of Plenty
The Beautiful Baby Who Was Found in a River
The Voice from the Burning Bush
The River That Ran Blood
The Night When a Nation Was Born
How the Sea Became Dry Land and the Sky Rained Bre
The Mountain That Smoked and Words That Were Spoke
How Aaron Made a Golden Calf and What Became of It
The Tent Where God Lived Among His People
How They Worshipped God in the Tabernacle
What Strong Drink Brought to Aaron's Sons
The Scapegoat in the Wilderness
The Cluster of Grapes from the Land of Canaan
How the Long Journey of the Israelites Came to an
What a Wise Man Learned from an Ass
How Moses Looked upon the Promised Land
The Story of Job
The Story of a Scarlet Cord
How the River Jordan Became Dry
The Story of a Wedge of Gold
How Joshua Conquered the Land of Canaan
The Old Man Who Fought Against the Giants
The Avenger of Blook and the Cities of Refuge
The Story of an Altar Beside the River
The Presnt That Ehud Brought to King Eglon
How a Woman Won a Great Victory
Gideon and His Brave Three Hundred
Jephthah's Rash Promise and What Came from It
The Strong Man: How He Lived and How He Died
The Idol Temple at Dan and Its Priest
How Ruth Gleaned in the Field of Boaz
The Little Boy with a Linen Coat
How the Idol Fell Down Before the Ark
The Last of the Judges
The Tall Man Who Was Chosen King
How Saul Saved the Eyes of the Men of Jabesh
The Brave Young Prince
Saul's Great Sin and His Great Loss
The Shepherd Boy of Bethlehem
The Shepherd Boy's Fight with the Giant
The Little Boy Looking for the Arrows
Where David Found the Giant's Sword
How David Spared Saul's Life
The Last Days of King Saul
The Shepherd Boy Becomes a King
The Sound in the Treetops
The Cripple at the King's Table
The Prophet's Story of the Little Lamb
David's Handsome Son and How He Stole the Kingdom
Absalom in the Wood; David on the Throne
The Angel with the Drawn Sword on Mount Moriah
Solomon on This Father's Throne
The Wise Young King
The House of God on Mount Moriah
The Last Days of Solomon's Reign
The Breaking Up of a Great Kingdom
The King Who Led Israel to Sin
The Prophet Who Raised a Boy to Life
The Prayer That Was Answered in Fire
The Voice That Spoke to Elijah in the Mount
The Wounded Prophet and His Story
What Ahab Paid for His Vineyard
The Arrow That Killed a King
Elijah's Chariot of Fire
A Spring Sweetened by Salt
The Pot of Oil and the Pot of Poison
The Little Boy at Shunem
How a Little Girl Helped to Cure a Leper
The Chariots of Fire around Elisha
What the Lepers Found in the Camp
Jehu, the Furious Driver of His Chariot
Elisha and the Bow; Jonah and Nineveh
How the Ten Tribes Were Lost
The First Four Kings of Judah
The Little Boy Who Was Crowned King
Three Kings and a Great Prophet
The Good King Hezekiah
The Lost Book Found in the Temple
The Last Four Kings of Judah and the Weeping Proph
What Ezekiel Saw in the Valley
The Jewish Captives in the Court of the King
The Golden Image and the Fiery Furnace
The Tree That Was Cut Down and Grew Again
The Writing upon the Wall
Daniel in the Den of Lions
The Story of a Joyous Journey
The New Temple on Mount Moriah
The Beautiful Queen of Persia
The Scribe Who Wrote the Old Testament
The Nobleman Who Built the Wall of Jerusalem
Ezra's Great Bible Class in Jerusalem
The Angel by the Altar
The Manger of Bethlehem
The Star and the Wise Men
The Boy in his Father's House
The Prophet in the Wilderness
Jesus in the Desert, and beside the River
The Water Jars at the Wedding Feast
The Stranger at the Well
The Story of a Boy in Capernaum and a Riot
A Net Full of Fishes
The Leper and the Man Let Down through the Roof
The Cripple at the Pool and the Withered Hand
The Twelve Disciples and the Sermon on the Mount
The Captain's Servant, the Widow's Son, and a Sinn
Some Stories Jesus Told by the Sea
"Peace, Be Still"
The Little Girl Who Was Raised to Life
A Dancing Girl and What Was Given Her
The Feast beside the Sea and What Followed It
The Answer to a Mother's Prayer
The Glory of Jesus on the Mountain
The Little Child in the Arms of Jesus
At the Feast of Tabernacles
The Man with Clay on His Face
The Good Shepherd and the Good Samaritan
Lazarus Raised to Life
Some Parables in Perea
The Poor Rich Man and the Rich Poor Man
Jesus at Jericho
Palm Sunday
The Last Vistis of Jesus to the Temple
The Parables on the Mount of Olives
The Last Supper
The Olive Orchard and the High Priests Hall
The Crown of Thorns
The Darkest Day of All the World
The Brightest Day of All the World
The Stranger on the Shore
The Church of the First Days
The Man at the Beautiful Gate
The Right Way to Give, and the Wrong Way
Stephen with the Shining Face
The Man Reading in the Chariot
The Voice That Spoke to Saul
What Peter Saw by the Sea
How the Iron Gate Was Opened
The Earliest Missionaries
The Song in the Prison
Paul's Speech on the Hill
Paul at Corinth
Paul at Ephesus
Paul's Last Journey to Jerusalem
The Speech on the Stairs
Two Years in Prison
The Story That Paul Told to the King
Paul in the Storm
How Paul Came to Rome and How He Lived There
The Throne of God
The City of God