As It Is Written . . .
The Left-Handed Right-Hander
by Patrick Henry Reardon
In the sixth century The Holy Rule of St. Benedict determined that monks must not read from certain books of the Bible just before going to bed. The Rule does not say why, but it was apparently felt that some biblical stories might stimulate the monks' imaginations too much at bedtime, either keeping them awake or giving rise to troublesome dreams. The books mentioned by St. Benedict in this respect were "the Heptateuch and Kings," the "Heptateuch" being the Bible's first seven books, and "Kings" including those four books that today we call Samuel and Kings. One recognizes, of course, that St. Benedict was right. Some of the stories in those eleven books are among the most graphic and exciting in the Bible.
Included among the stories that might keep a monk awake at night, or haunt his dreams if he did manage to fall asleep after reading it, was the adventure of Ehud, one of the most violent, dramatic, and memorable narratives in all of Holy Scripture.
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Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor emeritus of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago, Illinois, and the author of numerous books, including, most recently, Out of Step with God: Orthodox Christian Reflections on the Book of Numbers (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2019).
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