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Why Mention that Ehud Was A Lefty?

Why Mention that Ehud Was A Lefty?



In the Book of Judges, the verse (3:15) says that Ehud was left-handed.

Why was that detail mentioned in the scriptures?


The Bible mentions Ehud's left-handedness because that was what enabled him to kill Eglon, the Moabite king. As any king would, Eglon had guards who protected him and searched anyone who wanted to enter his throne room. Yet somehow, Ehud managed to get in with a sharp sword concealed in his clothing.

Normally, a right-handed person wears his sword on his left side, because it's easier and faster to draw his sword from the opposite side of his body.

The guards assumed Ehud was right-handed, and therefore only checked his left side. But as a lefty, Ehud kept his sword on the right side, and so it was overlooked. With the sword that went unnoticed, Ehud killed the king of Moab.1

See The First Judges from our Jewish History section.

Rochel Chein
for The Judaism


Rabbi Dovid Altshuler, in his Metsudot Dovid commentary on Judges 3:15.

Mrs. Rochel Chein is a member of the Ask the Rabbi team.
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M.M.D new York June 22, 2014

smuggling It says that he was a lefty because normally soldiers were right handed. And their swords were on the left side. So it says that he was a lefty because his sword was on the right side, and the guards only checked the left side. And that's how he was able to smuggling his sword and kill the king. Reply

David Rankin Henderson December 19, 2013

See 2 Samuel 20, 9 for the custom of taking a man's beard with the right (weapon) hand to show non-aggression when giving him a kiss of greeting. In ancient Rome, footpaths were 'right hand drive.' That meant that a right handed person could easily slip a stiletto up a toga. The law for pedestrians was changed to 'left hand drive' to lower the assassination rate. Consequently left handers were suspects as assailants. Because of this, Middle ages actors always identified the 'baddie' by playing him as left handed. In heraldry 'sinister' means the left side. Hence the word's association with evil.

Peter UK October 14, 2013

I have been reading a number of articles on left hand swords men, they do appear to have the advantage due to the opinions of various trainers, particularly with light swords such as fencing, I am a particular form of ambidextrous, I can only shoot a left handed rifle, can use either hand for most things, right with Mr left hand as the teachers used to bully me to use left, I would not give in to them, they should have told me to use left fro writing, and I would have switched to right, I use tools in right hand or left, but prefer right, and can shoot target pistol with both, or even one in each hand. I open doors with either hand, but do most things with my right, but I think I'm lucky to be able to use both. Reply

Just Sayin'... Bossier City October 3, 2013

Ehud being Left-Handed According to the Tenach, Ehud was left-handed because his right hand was "withered." "Left-handedness" is usually associated with deceit; but Ehud had a more valid reason for being left-handed... I used the Stone edition of the Tenach... Reply

Paul Ringo Junction, La August 30, 2011

Ehud's handedness Ehud was a Benjamite. Benjamin apparently trained all of their soldiers to fight using both hands for obvious reasons. And it was something the King of Moab's guards would not have considered in the search. But, could there be a more esoteric meaning? Is there a spiritual significance to 'left' vs 'right' handedness? The word used for 'dagger' is only used in this verse from what I understand. Other very similar words are used to describe a two edged sword but not this exact word. The children of Israel 'sent a present' to Eglon, King of Moab. I"m thinking there's a story there. Reply

A600KiloBear NYC, NY August 12, 2011

Which Ehud? Barak or Olmert? Both are clearly lefties.... Reply

Eliyahu Hickory, NC August 10, 2011

A very popular tactic It's actually why the Ninjato of Japan developed the ability to be they could place their sword in the "peace" position (which was normally on the right side of the body) and make a quick assassination. Reply

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