All the major stories concerning the judges have been integrated, by a redactor, into sermons. This represents the final transition from an oral to a written stage of transmission. The written transmission took itself much more seriously than the oral.


B.C.E. and C.E. are commonly used scholarly designations corresponding to B.C. and A.D. They stand for “Before the Common Era” and “Common Era.” Some scholars prefer these designations because they are religiously neutral.


The origin of the expression must lie in the fact that the train of the robe lay loose on the ground around the person as he squatted—exactly the feature on which 1 Samuel 24 plays. The Essenes of Qumran appear to have used a similar expression. According to Josephus, they “covered themselves round with their garment,” so as not to “affront the Divine rays of light.” In this way they squatted over a small pit, dug with a paddle, in a lonely place. The point is, they literally covered their feet when defecating, taking this to be the logical extension of the interdict on exposing excrement to Yahweh. See The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, tr. William Whiston (Chicago: John C. Winston, n.d.), where the reference is Jewish Wars 2.148–149.

See also column 46, lines 13–16 of the Temple Scroll (Yigael Yadin, The Temple Scroll, vol. 2 [Jerusalem: Israel Exploration Society, 1983], pp. 199–200). This is the well-known passage effectively prohibiting Essenes from attending to their bodily needs on the Sabbath. Incidentally, as Yadin read the text (and I concur), it calls for the construction of outhouses with “beaming” and “pits inside them”—that is, something like the construction of Eglon’s throne-room.


Only if Ehud himself is the object of the preposition is the phrase unambiguous, and the meaning is then plain: to close a door ba‘ad someone is to close it upon him, leaving him inside.


This is the construct form of ‘aliyyaÆ, grammatically required when combined with ham-meqeµraÆ.


“Broad-room” means that its entrance was on the long wall, rather than the short wall, as is true of a long-room.


The nave of the Jerusalem Temple stood 30 cubits high, the “holy of holies,” or adyton, only 20 (1 Kings 6:2, 20). So, either the roof of the adyton was 10 cubits lower, or its floor was 10 cubits higher than that of the Temple. The latter is far more likely. Two factors especially contradict the former possibility: (1) In a vision of Yahweh in the Temple, Isaiah speaks of him as “high and exalted, with his train filling the nave” (Isaiah 6:1), suggesting that Yahweh sat near the top of the nave. (2) More important, 1 Kings 8:8 and 2 Chronicles 5:9 state that the carrying poles of the ark (1.5 cubits high) projected far enough forward from the adyton to be seen from the nave (length: 40 cubits), although not from the Temple portico. If the adyton floor was level with that of the nave, the ark, too, would have been visible. So the adyton must have been raised relative to the nave (and the nave relative to the portico). The Temple was constructed so that as one stepped up the last step into the nave, one could just get a glimpse of the carrying poles of Yahweh’s footstool, the ark (cf. Psalm 132:7–8).


Access to the misdaroÆn would have been controlled by latch, not a lock.


The Yehawmilk inscription, from Persian-era Byblos, provides a parallel: the term mistarim, “the hidden,” denotes the recess under a temple floor. See Herbert Donner and Wolfgang Röllig, Kanaanäische und Aramäische Inschriften (Weisbaden, West Germany: Harrassowitz, 1971), text #10, line 15.


The original author of the account must have really had a good time with it, but the redactor of Judges, who reduced it to writing, distilled it in part with a view to removing the broad humor.



Tell Halaf: F. Langenegger, K, Müller and Rudolph Naumann, Tell Halaf 2 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1950). Hama: E. Fugmann, Hama: Fouilles et Rucherches 1931–1938 II/1 (Copenhagen: Nationalmuseet, 1958), p. 234.


See Helga and Manfred Weippert, “Jericho in der Eisenzeit,” Zeitschrift des deutschen Palästina-Vereins 92 (1976), pp. 139–145.