Judges 3:7-31 The Fight Continues.
Israel did evil and forgot the LORD, and as he had promised, the punishment for this covenantal infidelity would include defeat at the hands of their enemies (vv. 7-8). Nevertheless, when the people cried out to the LORD the LORD raised up a godly leader in Othniel, son of Kenaz, Caleb’s younger brother (v. 9). “The Spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel. He went out to war, and the LORD delivered. So the land had rest for forty years” (vv. 10-11). Judges is a continuous testimony to the need for godly leadership if the LORD’s people are to remain faithful. Godly leaders are those who are able to judge the right course because they have the law and the Spirit, who also prove the LORD’s favour in victories won. As soon as Othniel died “the children of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD” (v. 12).
So once again they are punished by the defeat at the hands of their enemies (vv. 13-14). One gets the impression that they were not normally a praying people, or at least not with sincerity, for once again we read that when they cried out to the LORD that he again sent them a deliverer in Ehud (v. 15). Under the pretext of offering a tribute, and enticing Eglon the king of Moab with the promise of secret knowledge which resulted in a private meeting, Ehud assassinated the king. His servants waited so long to open the door to his chamber that Ehud was long gone by the time they learned of his death (vv. 16-26). Once again the people enjoy rest, but this time for 80 years instead of forty (vv. 27-30), possibly sharing the leadership of these 80 years with one Shamgar who “also delivered Israel” (v. 31).
It is worth noting that some see evil in Ehud’s deception, but the word itself gives no indication of this, in fact Ehud is commended. Again, it is needful to make the point, that Ehud was a Benjamite, and that in fact not a single Judahite is numbered among the godly judges. Again, the LORD chooses the weak to shame the strong. In a way, Simeon shamed Judah by executing hormah in his territory, when Judah did not in his. Also again, under Ehud the Benjaminte, the nation enjoyed 80 years of peace, and although no mention is made of hormah, they seem to have achieved the same defeat upon Moab, as enjoyed under Simeon, for not a man among Moab escaped (3:29). It is also worth noting that Shamgar wasn’t even an Israelite, so again God used a foreigner!