What are the similarities between the two judges Ehud and Eli in the Bible?

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The story of Ehud is rather brief and is told in the Book of Judges 3.12–30. Eglon, King of Moab, had conquered the Israelites and oppressed them for thirteen years. At the end of this time, Ehud was delivering Israel's tribute to the king when he claimed that he had...

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The story of Ehud is rather brief and is told in the Book of Judges 3.12–30. Eglon, King of Moab, had conquered the Israelites and oppressed them for thirteen years. At the end of this time, Ehud was delivering Israel's tribute to the king when he claimed that he had a message from God. Once he was alone with Eglon, he stabbed him with a dagger he had concealed, then managed to escape before the king's death was discovered.

Eli, a High Priest of Shiloh who appears in the Books of Samuel, is a more substantial figure. He is principally known for his failure to control his two wicked sons, whose disobedience put an end to his line (his grandson was named Ichabod, meaning "the glory is departed"), and for his part in the early life of Samuel, who was to become an important judge, prophet, and king-maker.

As is often the case in the Old Testament, the personalities of the two judges are presented through their actions rather than through editorializing. The chief similarity between Ehud and Eli is that God uses them to accomplish his ends without either of them being particularly worthy or imbued with his spirit. Ehud is a murderer, but his murder liberates the Israelites and brings peace to the land. Eli is a bad father and not a particularly good judge. However, he too fulfills a purpose larger than himself when he trains Samuel in how to listen and respond to the voice of God, which Eli cannot hear. Ehud and Eli are both examples of the unlikely and largely unwitting tools who nonetheless serve the purposes of God.

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