Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Jephthah -Ninth Judge -Judges 11

Judges 11:1 "Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah."

To clip the obvious thought at the beginning, that he was the son of a harlot, remember Rahab was a harlot and she rescued the two spies and is in the blood line of Christ.

Jephthah had brothers who were born of Gilead's wife. They cast out Jephthah because he was the son of a harlot and did not want him to share in their inheritance. He fled to Tob.

The children of Ammon attacked Gilead and were getting the upper hand so the elders of Gilead went to fetch Jephthah, because of his fighting ability, to lead them into battle. They promised him that he would be their captain after the victory. v10.

Jephthah tried diplomacy first. Ammon claimed Israel had taken their land. Jephthah gave them a brief history of Israel's entry into Canaan and how no one would help them. Then, the LORD gave Israel victory over those he chose, Ammon being one of them. So, Ammon is questioning the LORD's decision and Jephthah points it out to them.

v27 "Wherefore I have not sinned against thee, but thou doest me wrong to war against me; the LORD the Judge be judge this day between the children of Israel and the children of Ammon."

Jephthah was the son of a harlot but he knew the history and the law of Israel.

Just before Jephthah went off to battle he made an awful vow to the Lord. See Numbers 30:2. He could not take it back or fail to do the thing. He made a promise to the LORD if he would give him the victory over Ammon.

v31 "Then it shall be that whatsoever cometh forth of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the children of Ammon, shall surely be the LORD's and I will offer it up for a burntoffering."

It must have been unbearable when he came home and his daughter, his only child, came running out to meet him.

v36 "And she said unto him, My father, if thou hast opened thy mouth unto the LORD, do to me according to that which hath proceeded out of thy mouth, forasmuch as the LORD hath taken vengeance for thee of thine enemies, even of the children of Ammon."

I cannot begin to explain why this was necessary except to point back to Numbers 30:2. I am reminded though of another Father who sacrificed his innocent child, his only son. It too was to defeat the enemy. John 3:16. God's ways are not our ways. Somewhere in the Psalms it says 'Thy ways are to wondrous for me'. Down through the Old Testament the LORD made a vow and on Calvary He kept his vow. He is true to his own words.

Psalms 22:1-3 "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? O my god, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent. But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."

keywords: Bible study, Israel, Old Testament, Judges, Jephthah, Gilead, Milton Southerland

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