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Reference: Eglon


A king of Moab, who, with the help of Ammon and Amalek, subdued the southern and eastern tribes of the Jews. He made Jericho his seat of government, and held his power eighteen years, but was then slain by Ehud, and his people expelled, Jg 3:12-31.

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the bullock; place of heifers. (1.) Chieftain or king of one of the Moabite tribes (Jg 3:12-14). Having entered into an alliance with Ammon and Amalek, he overran the trans-Jordanic region, and then crossing the Jordan, seized on Jericho, the "city of palm trees," which had been by this time rebuilt, but not as a fortress. He made this city his capital, and kept Israel in subjection for eighteen years. The people at length "cried unto the Lord" in their distress, and he "raised them up a deliverer" in Ehud (q.v.), the son of Gera, a Benjamite.

(2.) A city in Judah, near Lachish (Jos 15:39). It was destroyed by Joshua (Jos 10:5-6). It has been identified with Tell Nejileh, 6 miles south of Tell Hesy or Ajlan, north-west of Lachish. (See Lachish.)

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1. King of Moab. With Amalekites and Ammonites crossed the Jordan and took Jericho the city of palmtrees, left unwalled, and therefore an easy prey to the foe, because of Joshua's curse in destroying it 60 years before. There (according to Josephus) Eglon built a palace. For 18 years he oppressed Israel. Ehud, a young Israelite of Jericho, gained his favor by a present (or in Keil's view presented the king tribute, as in 2Sa 8:2,6, "gifts" mean), and after dismissing its bearers turned again from "the graven images," or else stone quarries, where he had temporarily withdrawn from the king's reception room, and was cordially admitted by the king into his private summer parlor or cooling apartment.

On Ehud's announcing "I have a message from God unto thee," the king rose reverentially to receive it, and was instantly stabbed in the belly by Ehud's dagger in the left hand, and Eglon's fat closed over it. Ehud retired to Seirath, in Mount Ephraim, and summoning by trumpet Israel from the E. and W. descended upon the Moabites and took the fords, not suffering one of 10,000 to escape. So the land had rest for 80 years (Jg 3:12-30). The mode of deliverance, assassination, is not approved by the Spirit of God. Scripture simply records the fact, and that Ehud was raised up by Jehovah as Israel's deliverer. His courage, patriotism, and faith are commendable, but not his means of gaining his end.

2. An Amorite town (Jos 15:39), in the shephelah (low country) of Judah. One of the confederacy of five towns (including Jerusalem), which attacked Gibeon on its making peace with Joshua; was destroyed with Debit, then its king (Joshua 10). Now Ajian, a "shapeless mass of ruins" (Porter, Handbook), 14 miles from Gaza, on the S. of the great coast plain.

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King of Moab, under whose leadership the Ammonites and Amalekites joined with the Moabites in fighting and defeating the Israelites. The latter 'served,' i.e. paid tribute to, Eglon for eighteen years. Towards the end of this period Ehud assassinated Eglon, and brought to an end the Moabite ascendency over Israel (Jg 3:12 ff.).

W. O. E. Oesterley.


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1. One of the five confederate cities which attacked Gibeon, but were conquered by Joshua. Jos 10:3-37; 12:12; 15:39. Identified with the ruins at Ajlan, 31 35' N, 34 43' E.

2. King of the Moabites, who, aided by Ammon and Amalek, crossed the Jordan and captured the city of palm trees, or Jericho, and ruled over Israel eighteen years. He was stabbed by Ehud in his summer parlour. Jg 3:12-17.

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1. A king of the Moabites,

Jg 3:12

ff., who, aided by the Ammonites and the Amelekites, crossed the Joran and took "the city of palm trees." (B.C. 1359.) here, according to Josephus, he built himself a palace, and continued for eighteen years to oppress the children of Israel, who paid him tribute. He was slain by Ehud. [EHUD]

See Ehud

2. A town of Judah in the low country.

Jos 15:39

The name survives in the modern Ajlan, a shapeless mass of ruins, about 10 miles from Eleutheropolis and 14 from Gaza, on the south of the great maritime plain.

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EGLON, a king of Moab, who oppressed the Israelites, and was slain by Ehud, Jg 3:14,21. It is thought to have been a common name of the kings of Moab, as Abimelech was of the Philistines.

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