The nations which were left to prove Israel, 1-4. By communion with them they commit idolatry, 5-7. Othniel delivers them from Chushan-rishathaim, 8-11; Ehud from Eglon, 12-30; and Shamgar from the Philistines, 31.
1 Now these are the nations which the LORD left, to prove Israel by them (even as many of Israel as had not known all the wars of Canaan, 2 Only that the generations of the children of Israel might know, to teach them war, at the least those who before knew nothing of it), 3 Namely, five lords of the Philistines, all the Canaanites, the Sidonians, and the Hivites who dwelt on mount Lebanon, from mount Baal-hermon to the entrance of Hamath. 4 And they were to prove Israel by them, to know whether they would listen to the commandments of the LORD which he commanded their fathers by the hand of Moses. 5 And the children of Israel dwelt among the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. 6 And they took their daughters to be their wives and gave their daughters to their sons, and served their gods.
7 And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD and forgot the LORD their God, and they served Baalim and the groves. 8 Therefore, the anger of the LORD was hot against Israel, and he sold them into the hand of Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia. And the children of Israel served Chushan-rishathaim eight years.
9 And when the children of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised up a deliverer to the children of Israel who delivered them, even Othniel the son of Kenaz, Caleb's younger brother. 10 And the Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel and went out to war. And the LORD delivered Chushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand, and his hand prevailed against Chushan-rishathaim. 11 And the land had rest forty years. And Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
12 And the children of Israel did evil again in the sight of the LORD. And the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD. 13 And he gathered to himself the children of Ammon and Amalek, and went and smote Israel and possessed the city of palm-trees. 14 So the children of Israel served Eglon the king of Moab eighteen years.
15 But when the children of Israel cried to the LORD, the LORD raised them up a deliverer, Ehud the son of Gera, a Benjaminite, a man left-handed. And by him the children of Israel sent a present to Eglon king of Moab. 16 But Ehud made him a dagger which had two edges, of a cubit length, and he girded it under his clothing upon his right thigh. 17 And he brought the present to Eglon king of Moab (Eglon was a very fat man). 18 And when he had made an end to offer the present, he sent away the people who bore the present. 19 But he himself turned back from the quarries that were by Gilgal, and said, "I have a secret errand for you, O king." He said, "Keep silence." And all who stood by him went out from him. 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 from his seat. 21 And Ehud put forth his left hand, took the dagger from his right thigh, and thrust it into his belly. 22 And the hilt also entered after the blade, and the fat closed upon the blade, so that he could not draw the dagger out of his belly. And the dirt came out. 23 Then Ehud went forth through the porch, and shut the doors of the parlor upon him and locked them.
24 When he had gone out, his servants came. And when they saw that, behold, the doors of the parlor were locked, they said, "Surely he covers his feet in his summer-chamber." 25 And they tarried until they were ashamed. And behold, he did not open the doors of the parlor; therefore, they took a key and opened them, and behold, their lord lay dead on the earth.
26 And Ehud escaped while they tarried, and passed beyond the quarries and escaped to Seirath. 27 And it came to pass when he had come, that he blew a trumpet on the mountain of Ephraim, and the children of Israel went down with him from the mountain, and he before them. 28 And he said to them, "Follow me, for the LORD has delivered your enemies the Moabites into your hand." And they went down after him and took the fords of the Jordan toward Moab, and did not allow a man to pass over. 29 And they slew of Moab at that time about ten thousand men, all lusty and all men of valor, and there did not escape a man. 30 So Moab was subdued that day under the hand of Israel. And the land had rest eighty years.
31 And after him was Shamgar the son of Anath, who slew of the Philistines six hundred men with an ox-goad, and he also delivered Israel.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Judges, Chapter 3[➚]
[v.9] - "Othniel" - Othniel was the first judge, or deliverer (see the comment for Judges 2:16), of Israel. He defeated Kirjath-sepher and gained, Achsah, Caleb's daughter, for a wife. Reference, Joshua 15:16-17; Judges 1:12-13.
[v.22] - "the dirt came out" - This phrase is not found in the LXX. Various translations have different ways of wording the end of this verse, or they omit it completely. This is, perhaps, due to obscurities in the Hebrew or differences in manuscripts. The main idea of this verse is that Eglon was so weighty that the whole blade and hilt of Ehud's dagger sank completely into the body of Eglon. Then, what follows is a light way of describing the ugliness of the stabbing. Instead of the word, "dirt," imagine "entrails" being used.