“Among all this people there were seven hundred chosen men lefthanded; every one could sling stones at an hair breadth, and not miss” (Judges 20:16).
The term “left” has negative connotations, especially today in politics. Being left-handed has always also been a trait looked upon as different and unusual. I heard a humorous remark once that stated those who are right-handed have stronger left-sided minds and those who are left-handed have stronger right-sided minds, so left-handed people are the only ones in their right minds.
We can laugh about this, but the fact remains that left-handed people are noticed. We call them “southpaws.” Yet, here in Judges 20 is an unusual story about a large number of left-handed people from the tribe of Benjamin who did not allow the negative association of being left-handed affect them. And they won a great victory for God’s people because of that.
Being right-handed was a symbol of power. The Bible speaks of God’s right hand (arm) being bared, as if He is rolling up His sleeve getting ready to use His more effective hand for the work He is about to do. These 700 men overcame the perceived weakness of the left hand in this symbolism. Remember the arm of flesh will fail you. We must go in the strength of the Lord.
Being right-handed was a symbol of authority — the Bible speaks of Jesus sitting on the right hand of God. In every kingdom of Bible days, the queen sat on the king’s right hand. Even today we speak of people being the leader’s “right-hand man.” These 700 men overcame this perceived weakness of power to show how well they could use their left hand.
Being right-handed was a symbol of favor. Jesus will say to those on His right hand words of commendation and acceptance, while those on His left hand will be cast away. These 700 men did not allow perceived rejection to disqualify or discourage them.
Being left-handed, these men showed unusual ability. The Bible says in this story how accurate their stone-throwing became. It says they could sling stones at a hair’s breadth and not miss, which means they made their target every time. It was reported that certain trained men could hit their mark at 600 feet, the length of two football fields. I read where the children were trained by not allowing them to eat until they had hit their mark. This Hebrew term “to hit the mark” is where we get our New Testament word for “sin.” In contrast, it is “to miss the mark.” “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).
Being left-handed, these men overcame a handicap. These men may have been right-handed and lost the use of this hand. This is what some Bible scholars believe. Imagine what a challenge, then, to begin doing everything one has been used to doing with a right hand, now needing to do it with the left hand.
Being left-handed, these men still carried on their mission — they did not quit. They used what they…