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Judges 3:20-25

3:20 When Ehud approached him, he was sitting in his well-ventilated 1  upper room all by himself. Ehud said, “I have a message from God 2  for you.” When Eglon rose up from his seat, 3  3:21 Ehud reached with his left hand, pulled the sword from his right thigh, and drove it into Eglon’s 4  belly. 3:22 The handle went in after the blade, and the fat closed around the blade, for Ehud 5  did not pull the sword out of his belly. 6  3:23 As Ehud went out into the vestibule, 7  he closed the doors of the upper room behind him and locked them.

3:24 When Ehud had left, Eglon’s 8  servants came and saw the locked doors of the upper room. They said, “He must be relieving himself 9  in the well-ventilated inner room.” 10  3:25 They waited so long they were embarrassed, but he still did not open the doors of the upper room. Finally they took the key and opened the doors. 11  Right before their eyes was their master, sprawled out dead on the floor! 12 

1 tn Or “cool.” This probably refers to a room with latticed windows which allowed the breeze to pass through. See B. Lindars, Judges 1-5, 144.

2 tn Heb “word of [i.e., from] God.”

3 tn Or “throne.”

4 tn Heb “his”; the referent (Eglon) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

5 tn Heb “he”; the referent (Ehud) has been specified in the translation for clarity.

6 tn The Hebrew text has “and he went out to the [?].” The meaning of the Hebrew word פַּרְשְׁדֹנָה (parshÿdonah) which occurs only here in the OT, is uncertain. The noun has the article prefixed and directive suffix. The word may be a technical architectural term, indicating the area into which Ehud moved as he left the king and began his escape. In this case Ehud is the subject of the verb “went out.” The present translation omits the clause, understanding it as an ancient variant of the first clause in v. 23. Some take the noun as “back,” understand “sword” (from the preceding clause) as the subject, and translate “the sword came out his [i.e., Eglon’s] back.” But this rendering is unlikely since the Hebrew word for “sword” (חֶרֶב, kherev) is feminine and the verb form translated “came out” (וַיֵּצֵא, vayyetse’) is masculine. (One expects agreement in gender when the subject is supplied from the preceding clause. See Ezek 33:4, 6.) See B. Lindars, Judges 1-5, 146-48, for discussion of the options.

7 tn Again the precise meaning of the Hebrew word, used only here in the OT, is uncertain. Since it is preceded by the verb “went out” and the next clause refers to Ehud closing doors, the noun is probably an architectural term referring to the room (perhaps a vestibule; see HALOT 604 s.v. מִסְדְּרוֹן) immediately outside the king’s upper chamber. As v. 24 indicates, this vestibule separated the upper room from an outer room where the king's servants were waiting.

8 tn Heb “his.”

9 tn Heb “covering his feet” (i.e., with his outer garments while he relieves himself).

10 tn The Hebrew expression translated “well-ventilated inner room” may refer to the upper room itself or to a bathroom attached to or within it.

11 tn The words “the doors” are supplied.

12 tn Heb “See, their master, fallen to the ground, dead.”

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