The great “left-handed One” at the right hand of God

Judges 3:15 “Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man.”

The book of Judges is an account of a series of judges that God raised up to deliver Israel time after time as they, in their times of disobedience, fell under the discipline of God by the hand of ungodly people who lived among them.  In these judges we see shadows of the ultimate Savior of the world, Jesus, the Son of God.  One of these judges was a man named Ehud that is mentioned in the verse above.  In the description provided to us about Ehud, we find that he was from the tribe of Benjamin, and then, curiously, we are told that he was a left-handed man.  Literally, the word “left-handed” is translated from the Hebrew words meaning “impeded in the use of the right hand.”  Interestingly, the name “Benjamin” is related to this in that it means “son of the right hand.” 

As I thought about this, I was reminded that Benjamin is a type of Jesus, Who we are told in a number of places in scripture is the Son who sits at the right hand of the Father in heaven (e.g., Romans 8:34, Colossians 3:1, Hebrews 1:3). With this description we are being told that that position is one of favor and power, for the right hand is typically the hand that most people naturally favor as it is the most dexterous and the strongest.  Even today we talk about someone’s most essential helper being their “right hand man.”  It’s a picture of the omnipotent power of Christ, and it’s a picture of the Son in whom the Father is very well pleased (Matthew 3:17). 

Yet we also know that this favored Son Who possesses all power in heaven and earth, was “found in human form, (and) he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:8).  He is One, “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:6-8). This One who was worshipped by all the angels of heaven, condescended to us and limited His mighty power to be born as a baby in a manger, subject to all the trials that we, in our human weakness, are subject to. Indeed, we are told that Jesus is someone who can “sympathize with our weaknesses” for “in every respect (He) was tempted as we are, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).” Like Ehud, who was “impeded in his right hand,” Jesus condescended to be “impeded” in His most powerful and glorious attributes. As a result of that humbling, he became subject to the abuse of those who were naturally infinitely weaker to Him, ultimately to be murdered by them on a cross.  Yet, it is in this time of weakness, and in fact, because of it, that we are saved.  That’s why Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:18 that “the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” He furthermore tells us that what men see as “the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:25).” 

So, back to Ehud.  His name means “united.”  This reminds me again of how Jesus is the unity of both the power and the weakness of deity, and it is in that wonderful unity that we are saved.  And He is also the glorious unity of God and man, and in that unity, it was “for our sake he (i.e., God the Father) made him (i.e., God the Son) to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). 

Finally, you will note that Ehud was the son of a man named Gera, which perhaps points to another shadow, another aspect of the other ones. You see, the name Gera means “grain” and is derived from a word meaning “kernel.”  I recall these words of Jesus as He spoke to His disciples about His coming death: “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

Aren’t these such wonderful and powerful pictures of this omnipotent being Who humbled Himself to death on the cross, subject to great weakness, yet Who by that weakness became the firstfruits of those who would one day rise from the dead just like He did? 

Jesus, our “Ehud,” Who is the power of God and the weakness of God, united in such a wonderful way. It is in that awesome unity that He has become the Savior of all those Who would put their faith in Him. Praise be to His glorious name.

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