Fourscore years.--The LXX. add, "And Ehud judged them till he died." Josephus (Antt. v. 5, ? 1) seems to have read "eight years."
As to the moral aspect of the assassination committed by Ehud, it is only necessary to say that while his courage, and capacity, and readiness to sacrifice himself, if need be, for the deliverance of his country were thoroughly noble, the act by which he achieved his end was unjustifiable. To quote his example in defence of the principle of assassination is a gross abuse of Scripture. Those who defend the murder do so by assuming that the Divine call to Ehud to deliver his people sanctioned and possibly even suggested the means by which it was accomplished. But such methods of inferential exegesis undermine the very bases of morals. It is not in the least surprising that, when adopted, they are liable to the grossest abuse, and made to cover the most horrible crimes. Thus, when Jacques Clement asked whether a priest might kill a tyrant, he was told that "it was not a mortal sin, but only an irregularity"; and when Pope Paul V. heard of the murder of Henry IV. by Ravaillac, he said, "The God of nations did this, because he was given over to a reprobate mind." If it has been always true that
"The devil can quote Scripture for his purpose,"
he has done so not rarely by the lips of those who have professed to teach it. "Worse than the dagger," says Prof. Cassel, "is such doctrine."
and the land had rest fourscore years; eighty years, which, according to Ben Gersom, are to be reckoned from the beginning of their servitude, and that the rest properly was but sixty two years, and so both rest and servitude were eighty years, as R. Isaiah; and, according to Abarbinel, the rest was from the death of Othniel; and our Bishop Usher (o) reckons this eightieth year from the former rest restored to it by Othniel; but others (p) are of opinion that there were several judges at a time in several parts of the land, and that the land was at rest in one part when there was war in another; and so that at this time it was only the eastern part of the land that had rest, while the western parts were distressed by the Philistines, and the northern parts by Jabin king of Canaan, as in Judges 3:31.
(o) Annal. Vet. Test. p. 42. (p) Marsham. Canon. Chron. p. 306, 307. Patrick in loc. Vid. Lampe Eccl. Hist. l. 1. c. 5. p. 21, 22.