1. Exposition

Is Ehud left-handed?

Judges 3:15 (ESV)

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 people of Israel sent tribute by him to Eglon the king of Moab.

The phrase left-handed literally reads, restricted in the right hand. Does that mean he is left-handed? Perhaps, but there is great debate regarding the meaning of this phrase. Some take the phrase to refer to left-handedness.1 Others believe it refers to a physical handicap.2 Still others contend it refers to ambidexterity.3 Regarding this last option, the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) translates this as ambidextrous. In Judges 20:16, seven hundred Benjaminites are described as Ehud is. But they use slings, which requires both hands. And if we read 1 Chronicles 12:2, we read of Benjaminites again, who could shoot arrows and sling stones with either the right or the left hand (and there the actual Hebrew word for left-handed is used). Perhaps, then, the Benjaminites purposely trained their young men to be ambidextrous. At least Ehud is ambidextrous, it seems; he may have deliberately hampered his right hand in order to train himself to be ambidextrous.

Regardless, it is quite ironic for a Benjaminite not to be using his right hand at all, for Benjamin literally means “son of the right hand.