Have you ever read the book of Judges? I know I’d read it a long while back, but it had been a while. I recently read it though, and I’ve officially decided it has got to be one of the strangest books ever!

For whatever reason, it is specified more than once that people described within were left-handed. What that had to do with anything, I have yet to discover..

In chapter 3, this guy, Ehud — who happened to be left-handed, just so ya know — went to see the king of Moab, who was incredibly fat. After his servants left, he told the king he had a secret message for him. Sounds so spyish, don’t ya think? So.. undercover.. Then he shoved his sword into this king, and he was so fat that the sword went all the way into him. His fat swallowed up the sword. The guy escaped onto the porch and locked the doors behind him. Weird. Isn’t that the kind of secret message you want to get from somebody?

So move on to chapter 4… one of the guys Israel is after comes to hide out in this lady’s tent. He asks her to hide him and if anybody should happen to come by asking if she’s seen him, he, of course, tells her to tell them no. I guess he felt pretty safe hiding in her tent, because he fell asleep there. And while he slept, she picked up a tent peg and a hammer and drove it through his temple, killing him. She killed him with a tent stake. Again, very weird.

Pretty soon chapter 8 comes along.. Gideon’s asking for bread for his army, but nobody will give him anything. And so he says, “Just for that…” and then later on he “taught them a lesson”… Now, I don’t know about you, but just the sound of those comments made me smile to myself. Just because of the way they come across. And then towards the end of the chapter he tells his son to kill some people. It says he didn’t do it because he was just a boy and was afraid. So then why in the world would he be asked to kill someone? Weirdly interesting.

Chapter 9 brings us to Abimelek. He hired a bunch of “reckless scoundrels” to be his followers, and then he went out and killed his brothers — which must have taken a while, as Gideon had 70 sons besides Abimelek. Do you think they got suspicious of him? He killed all of them but the youngest one, who escaped. And he murdered them all on one stone.

In chapters 17-18, this guy, Micah, has stolen a bunch of silver from his mother and then eventually tells her about it. She, for whatever reason, says “The Lord bless you” when he tells her about it.. and then she gives it back to him! She has idols made of it. And so Micah gets these silver idols.. and he gets angry when they are stolen from him. I guess he didn’t think about treating others the way he wanted to be treated or reaping what he sowed.

One more that caught my eye as I went back in review, making notes after reading the entire book.

Chapter 19 is really, really weird. This Levite man had a concubine — which is weird in itself — and she ran away back to her home. He went to fetch her after a while, and he stayed longer than he meant to. He kept getting talked into staying longer. “Oh, it’s too late to start out on your journey tonight. Wait until morning!”… “Well, you’ve got to stay until the afternoon.”… “You can’t get going now! You can get up early tomorrow and leave.”… it went on and on, until he eventually did leave. When they finally left and then finally found a place to stay that night on the way home, some crazy guys came banging on the door. They were after the Levite man, but he threw the woman out to them. After the night out there with them, she was somehow able to make her way back to the doorway, where she fell down. In the morning, the Levite said, “Come on, get up, we need to get going,” but there was no answer. So he loaded her up onto his donkey and took her home with him. I didn’t see where it said she died, but the guy said in the following chapter that she had died.. I guess in the doorway. Anyway, he cut her up into twelve pieces and sent her all over Israel. [Are ya feelin’ a little “Rear Window” comin’ up here? Because that is definitely what I thought of.]

Boy that’s a bunch of strange stuff. I guess it just goes to show how messed up the world was and still is. I’m not sure exactly of the relevance of all of this stuff to me and to my life, but.. I couldn’t just skip over it without writing after reading this book.

more thoughts on the book of Judges.. part 2part 3, part 4 [not in any order necessarily.. just the order I posted them..]