Second judge of Israel; a Benjamite, the son of Gera. Concealing under his garment a two-edged sword, he carried a present to Eglon, the Moabite king who had held Israel in subjection for eighteen years. After delivering it he requested a private audience, which was granted. Being left-handed, Ehud was able to draw his weapon without suspicion, and he plunged it through the body of the king, who was too surprised and too corpulent to resist. Ehud made his escape to Seirath, and gathering an Israelitish army, slew the whole Moabite forces numbering 10,000 men (Judges iii. 14-30). See Eglon.
The story of Ehud was taken from one of the oldest sources of the Book of Judges, into which it had possibly been put after having passed from mouth to mouth as a folk-tale. The beginning of the tale has been displaced by the pragmatic introduction of the author of Judges (compare Moore, Commentary on Judges, pp. 89 et seq.; "Judges," in "S. B. O. T." pp. 6 et seq.; and Budde, "Die Bücher Richter und Samuel," etc., p. 28). The author of Judges has taken the narrative of a local incident and transformed it into a deliverance of all Israel. The story is not quite homogeneous, but is not so composite as Winckler ("Untersuchungen zur Altorientalischen Geschichte," pp. 55 et seq.) believed. Recent critics accept Ehud as a historical character. In addition to references above, compare Budde, ib. pp. 98 et seq.