There’s a section in Pocket Guide to the Bible called “Seven Lesser-Known Bible Stories That Shouldn’t Be Told to Children.” I think of these stories every time our church hands out Bibles to 1st graders, and every time I see my 6 year-old looking through his Bible for Preschoolers. Because churches always promote Bible-reading, even among youngsters. But I don’t necessarily want my kids reading, for example, about the reign of King Menahem.
All the cartoony characters in these Bibles for children are happy and cheerful and positively holy. And I’ve never done it until now, but I’ve always wondered what you’d end up with if you took one of those less-appropriate Bible stories and told it in the simple friendly language of a kids’ story.
So here is the Old Testament story of Ehud — which didn’t even make the PGTTB list mentioned above — as it might appear in a Bible story for children. Enjoy.
(You can read the full story in Judges 3:12-28).
Ehud and King Eglon
Once, God’s people did some bad things. They disobeyed God, so God allowed another king to rule over them. This king was named Eglon. Eglon was mean to God’s people and ruled over them for eighteen years.
Would you like an evil king to be in charge of you? The Israelites didn’t like it either, so they asked God to save them. “God, please save us,” they prayed. God answered their prayer using one of his helpers. This helper was named Ehud. He was left-handed.
Ehud helped the Israelites came up with a secret plan. First, Ehud made a very sharp sword. “I will make this sword small so I can hide it,” Ehud said. When he finished, he tied the sword to his leg, under his clothing. Then Ehud told King Eglon he wanted to give him a special gift.
Eglon liked gifts, so he agreed to meet Ehud.
When Ehud gave the gift to Eglon, the king was very happy. “This is a great gift,” he said with a laugh. When he laughed, his belly shook like pudding. Eglon was very fat.
Ehud smiled at the king. “I have a secret message for you, King!” Ehud said.
“I like secret messages,” the king said. “Quiet, please, everyone!” He sent away his helpers so Ehud could tell him the secret.
Ehud walked up to the king, who was sitting down. “I have a message for you from God,” he told Eglon. The king stood up to hear the message. When he rose to his feet, Ehud pulled the small, sharp sword from beneath his clothes and stabbed the king right in the fat belly. The sword poked all the way through to Eglon’s back. Yuck! The sword was so short and the king was so fat that Eglon’s floppy skin closed up over the handle of the blade. Yuck again!
Eglon left the sword there. He locked the door and walked away whistling a happy tune. After he had gone, the king’s servants were confused why the king stayed in there so long. They thought maybe he was going potty. If so, it was taking a long time.
“This is embarrassing,” they said to each other. “The king has been on the potty too long.”
Finally they got a key and opened the door, and Eglon was dead. By this time, Ehud had escaped. Then all Ehud’s friends fought the Moabites until the Moabites were all dead. This made the Israelites happy.
“Hooray!” they said. “Hooray for Ehud who gutted the fat king! Hooray for us striking down the Moabites!”
After that, there was peace in the land for a long time.
Positively inspirational. It would be even better with sweet cartoony pictures.