Judges 3:22 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

Judges 3:22, NIV: Even the handle sank in after the blade, and his bowels discharged. Ehud did not pull the sword out, and the fat closed in over it.

Judges 3:22, ESV: And the hilt also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade, for he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the dung came out.

Judges 3:22, KJV: And the haft also went in 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.

Judges 3:22, NASB: The hilt of the sword also went in after the blade, and the fat closed over the blade because he did not pull the sword out of his belly; and the refuse came out.

Judges 3:22, NLT: The dagger went so deep that the handle disappeared beneath the king's fat. So Ehud did not pull out the dagger, and the king's bowels emptied.

Judges 3:22, CSB: Even the handle went in after the blade, and Eglon's fat closed in over it, so that Ehud did not withdraw the sword from his belly. And the waste came out.

What does Judges 3:22 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Ehud has done what he came to do. The Lord has raised Ehud up as Israel's deliverer (Judges 3:15–16), and now Ehud has thrust his sword into the obese guts of Israel's enslaver, King Eglon of Moab (Judges 3:18–21). The two are alone in a room in the king's palace with the doors closed.

Here, the writer of Judges adds detail to the stabbing that evokes both disgust and a vivid ring of truth. This is sometimes referred to as one of the "grossest" or most graphic statements in the Bible. We've been told the king is a very fat man (Judges 3:17). Ehud stabs his homemade blade, about the length from a man's elbow to the tip of the fingers, into the king's belly. The blow is so powerful, and the wound so deep, that the fat of the king's stomach closes around the hilt, swallowing the sword whole.

The text is simultaneously unclear and explicit about what happens next. Out of Eglon's body comes something described using the term parshadon, which is obscure. The word includes the idea of "scattering," and seems to be associated with filth. Given the massive injury and Eglon's enormous obesity, it's possible Ehud's attack literally disemboweled the Moabite king. Or, that death caused his bowels to empty themselves. At the very least, the wound immediately proves fatal. Given that Ehud can escape secretly (Judges 3:23–26), Eglon appears to have dropped dead without a sound.