The goal of Yom Kippur is to die. We have been preparing ourselves this season to die. Honestly, we die throughout the year. But this death seems to center more around a community, a body as one sent out into the wilderness to be tested before death. I want to shift my readers to Judges 3. In the beginning chapters, we read how Israel was left with enemies to teach them how to war Judges 3:1-2 reads
3 Now these are the nations that Adonai left, to test all Israel who had not experienced any of the wars of Canaan. 2 It was only so that the generations of Bnei-Yisrael might learn from war, which they had not experienced before.,
Adonai left them to see if His children would pay attention to His commands.
4 They were for testing Israel, to know whether they would obey the mitzvot of Adonai, which He had commanded their fathers by Moses’ hand. Judges 3:4
We also read about Adonai raising up Judges as saviors for His people. When we get to verses 12-14, we are introduced to Ehud and King Eglon.
“12 Bnei-Yisrael again did what was evil in Adonai’s eyes. So, Adonai strengthened King Eglon of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in Adonai’s eyes. 13 So he gathered to himself the people of Ammon and Amalek, then went and defeated Israel and took possession of the City of Palms. 14 Bnei-Yisrael became subject to King Eglon of Moab for 18 years.”
I think it interesting that we previously read how Adonai left the nations listed to teach Israel how to war and see if they would obey His commands. The above verse shares that Adonai himself strengthened King Eglon, whose name means – to go in circles, along with Ammon and Amalek, to rule over them for 18 years. In Hebraic thought, numbers have meaning. Below is a snippet for the number eighteen.
“In Hebrew, the word for LIFE, chai (chet, yohd) is also the number eighteen. Both prayer and Temple worship are related to the number eighteen. Meanings are related to life, prayer, worship, devotion, offerings, charity, being loosed or freed, and sacrifice. Conversely, when one is rebellious to YHWH, it can relate to the opposite of life: judgment, destruction, captivity, and bondage.” (Grace in Torah)
The children of Israel would be in bondage, judgment for 18 years until Adonai heard the cries of His people. A new savior arose named Ehud, meaning I shall praise, son of Jedial whose name means Known by Yah. What’s interesting about Ehud is he was a Benjamite who was known to be left-handed. Benjamin means son of my right hand. Yet, the men from Benjamin are known for being left-handed. Is it possible the Benjamites were ambidextrous?
“The Benjamites were all excellent marksmen—”left-handed; every one could sling stones at a hair’s breadth and not miss.” The name “Ben Yamin” (= “son of the right hand”) is probably a euphemism. Targum Jonathan, however, translates “iṭṭer yadyemin” (left-handed) as “open-handed,” that is, ambidextrous, as it is evident that the Benjamites were armed with bows and could use both the right hand and the left hand in shooting arrows from a bow (I Chron. xii. 2).”
But why would that matter? Hebraic thought, we are taught that the right side is likened to kindness, chesed while the left side is strength and discipline. Balance my friends, balance. We must learn when to strike with the left or coddle with the right. Yeshua, who I believe to be the son of Yah’s right hand, walked the Earth in perfect balance, how I wish to learn this balance. I have done more harm than good when interacting with Adonai’s children. As we continue in this chapter, we read in verse 15; the people of Israel appointed Ehud to take the tribute to King Eglon. Adonai raised Ehud up, and the people appointed him to send tribute to the King. Little did they know that Elohim was working behind the scenes in Ehud’s heart. He was making for himself an 18″ dagger to share as a tribute from Adonai, not the people. Ehud tells Eglon, he has a message from Adonai and thrusts this 18″ dagger into the guts of this fat King. The piercing of this dagger goes all the way through Eglon, releasing his bowels and a stench that made his servants think he was relieving himself.
Remember 18 could be life or death, depending on how we wield the dagger. In Scripture, we read how there is always a duality. It’s a sobering experience to see ourselves. I have seen myself behave like King Eglon, running in circles. Fat with my own flesh that I cause unrighteous judgment upon Bnei Israel. A stench in the nostrils of Adonai. Am I the only one? I need balance. We, as the body, need balance. Otherwise, we run in circles. I desire to be an Ehud, one who Praises Adonai, even when it’s too dark to see when death surrounds me. I want to be a son/daughter that is known by Yah. I want to prepare a dagger of life and wield it against the bondage that snuffs out His light. Don’t you? This Yom Kippur, I ask myself and my readers why do we read Scripture? Why do we desire to minister to others? What’s the point of our studying hours upon hours if our findings don’t bring the hurting and broken to Yeshua? Why are we afraid to die as a body of believers? After death is resurrection.
After Ehud shares life through death with Eglon, he escapes safely to sound the shofar and awakens Israel to their redemption. I see Yeshua in this! It’s a short chapter of redemption. At first, I struggled with seeing this story as beautiful. But once I removed my own ideas on what dying is, I experienced something very freeing. I felt life and more abundantly. As we enter into this sobering feast day, may we exit it with a renewing of mind and life! I hope this blog has blessed you.
Grace in Torah https://graceintorah.net/2015/09/27/hebrew-numbers-11-30/