The King’s Tribute
“I thought there was an earthquake last night but he was just walking down the hall to get something more to eat.”
Laughter’s quenched as Abinadab, the head servant interrupts, “If King Eglon hears you he will have your head on a silver platter.”
“Yea, to eat!” Servant Beor snickers causing stifled giggles.
A slight smile crosses Abinadab’s lips as he tries to gain composure, “Listen, he is our king, we should do something to encourage him to be more active and not eat all the time. Beor, you are quick of wit, why don’t you approach him?”
Beor’s alone without a smile among the servants, Me and my big mouth. “Okay, it’s summer, the weather is much better. I’ll encourage him to walk with me in the garden.”
“That’s the way”! Abinadab responds believing he’s making some progress.
“I’m sure he will go because there’s a lot to eat in the garden,” Boer’s statement brings more smiles until Abinadab’s continence is noticed.
“Alright, but you know how hard it’s been in the past,” Boer points out.
“That’s all I can ask: try. We’re all behind you,” Abinadab encourages, “go now.”
Beor slowly starts down the hall as the other servants follow him. He sees Ehud coming from the opposite direction. He’s surprised to see him then remembers today is the first day of summer, time for gathering the quarterly tributes from the surrounding nations. Ehud’s been bringing Israel’s tribute to this oppressive Moabite king for years. It will be a better opportunity to approach the king, he’ll be in a good mood after receiving the Israelites’ tribute, he reasons.
“Ehud, so good to see you. It’s been awhile,” Beor gives the customary right hand salutation. Ehud responds with his left hand. Is he mocking me? Beor wonders, then remembers Ehud’s dominate hand is left, “I was going to see King Eglon, would you like to go in first?”
“I would be most happy to,” Ehud gives a slight bow.
Beor announces himself from the opposite side of a closed door, “King Eglon, great and powerful, ruler of the world, live forever. I announce Ehud, the Benjamite, who brings a tribute from your servants in Israel.”
“Send my servant Ehud in,” bellows King Eglon; Ehud takes a step back. They look at each other and smile. The booming voice startles him every time.
Cool air rushes out as the door slowly opens revealing a very obese man arrayed in royal apparel being fanned by a servant. King Eglon is sprawled out on a bed which has the same royal colors making it difficult to tell where the king’s shape ends and the bed begins.
“Ehud, my friend, do come in. It’s so blasted hot this time of year; this porch is the only cool place in the entire palace. Would you care for some summer fruit?” Motioning to a servant to offer Ehud a bowl.
“Thank you, my lord and king,” taking a luscious pear from the bowl, “I have your worthy tribute from your servant Israel. And I have a secret message for you, O king.”
“Keep silence!” The king’s reply causes ringing in everyone’s ears. Nodding towards the door, all exit except the king and Ehud.
King Eglon struggles to his feet, Ehud approaches, “I have a message from God for you.”
Ehud reaches across to his right thigh and draws a dagger, the blade a half meter long, and plugs it into the king’s belly. The hilt is caught under the skin as the blade slices deep. Intestines spill to the floor. The dagger is lost in the fat belly.
Ehud rushes to the door, passing through he locks it. He calmly walks back down the hall. No sound comes from the summer porch behind him.
He acknowledges the waiting servants, who return to their duties. Reaching the porch door, the servants announce to the king. No answer comes from beyond the door.
“He may be relieving himself.”
A half hour passes, then an hour. “This is getting embarrassing, perhaps we should go ahead and enter without being summoned.”
“Do you want your head on a silver platter?”
Trying not to laugh, they decide to announce their presence one more time, and then enter.
Ehud makes much distance from the Moab palace when the servants reluctantly enter to find their king lying dead on the floor.
The King of kings’ tribute has been delivered.
Story based on Judges 3:11-30
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