If someone was to summarize your life in five-hundred words or less, what would they write? If the entire landscape of your life – your accomplishments, your spiritual highs and lows, your character traits – was boiled down to one page, what would be included? One thing is certain: every word would count.
The same is true of so many of the characters found in scripture. An entire life is stripped down to a few pages, or paragraphs, or sentences. Centuries occur between commas, and kingdoms rise and fall between semi-colons. With so much life crammed into so little space, every word, every phrase, every character trait highlighted is pulsing with importance.
Take Ehud for example. In Judges 3:15 we read:
Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, and the Lord raised up for them a deliverer, Ehud, the son of Gera, the Benjaminite, a left-handed man.
Don’t you find it odd that the author of Judges goes out of his way to point out that Ehud was left-handed? Of all the things that could have been said about Ehud, the author chooses to mention that he was a south paw. Why?
Or what about in Judges 15:15 when we read of Samson:
And he found a fresh jawbone of a donkey, and put out his hand and took it, and with it he struck 1,000 men.
We see Samson on a rampage, slaughtering thousands with a fresh jawbone. A bit odd, yes. But the real question is, why the specific mention of the jawbone? Is it just another interesting fact? I don’t think so. Remember, this is a man’s life condensed into a few juicy paragraphs. Every word counts.
Two simple things to learn. First, let’s pay close attention to the little details of scripture, because they matter…a lot. Second, let’s all go out and buy an ESV Study Bible so we can figure out why Ehud was left-handed and why Samson preferred to fight with bones.