THE EHUD STORY AS SATIRE
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Scholars have previously outlined several literary features of the story. For example, Alonso-Schökel in his study of “Erzählkunst” (narrative art) notes devices such as the repetition of words and phrases, including the story’s use of “hand”18 as a Leitwort, and the rhythmic nature of much of the story.19 Alter’s analysis of the Ehud story emphasizes its mimetic nature, its use of punning, name symbolism (especially Eglon, “a play on cegel, calf… [who] turns out to be a fatted calf ready for slaughter”), prefiguration (tqc in vv. 21, 27, used of thrusting the dagger and blowing the shofar to rally the troops), and scatological and sexual references (the bathroom incident, dagger thrusts, locked doors).20 Alter alludes to a similarity between the Ehud story and “satire in time of war.”21 He concludes his discussion by noting of the story:22
In all this, as I have said, it is quite possible that the writer faithfully represents the historical data without addition or substantive embellishment. The organization of the narrative, however…produce[s] an imaginative reenactment of the historical
fiction than fictionalized history-history in which the feeling and the meaning of events are concretely realized through the technical resources of prose fiction.