Front Matter 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

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.