Jephthah the Judge

Judges 11: 9,10 - And Jephthah said unto the elders of Gilead, If ye bring me home again to fight against the children of Ammon, and the LORD deliver them before me, shall I be your head? And the elders of Gilead said unto Jephthah, The LORD be witness between us, if we do not so according to thy words.

Jephthah who was the ninth judge to Israel is a beautiful testimony for us to learn from. Here we see the tribe of Gilead approaching Jephthah to lead them into battle with the sons of Ammon. They must have come to him because they considered him a great warrior and strategist. If we read the starting of the chapter we see it was these very people who drove Jephthah out because although he was a son of Gilead but his mother was a harlot. At that time Jephthah did not fight against his brothers for his rights but quietly retreated to a place far from them. It is the Lord who led them to see Jephthah as the one who can save them from the Ammonites. Although the people of Gilead saw Jephthah as the capable person, Jephthah did not see himself as capable but he saw the Lord making him capable.

Jephthah's faith in the Lord and knowledge of scriptures can be seen by his argument with the sons of Ammon. His love and commitment to the Lord is also witnessed by his sacrifice of his only daughter's chastity to the Lord. She became the first person in the Bible who vowed her chastity (which symbolized herself and her generations) as a sacrifice unto the Lord.

We see the favor of God on this humble man whom the Lord set him to judge Israel for the rest of his life. Even when the arrogant tribe of Ephraim confronted him, the Lord delivered them into the hands of Jephthah the Gileadite.

Jephthah never thought himself as a looser (being a son of a harlot), nor he thought himself to be great because of his ability. What Jephthah saw was the Lord was with him and he knew his God that qualified him not only as a leader of the Gilead but also to be a judge over all Israel.

[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord God, your people look at themselves at their deficiencies or they look at their abilities and because of this they fail in life. Lord, help us like Jephthah to look at You in us more than looking at ourselves. We may be good or bad in what we can do; we may confident or totally insecure but when we see You in us we are assured victory is ours...

This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.

[ Reference Scripture ]
Judges 11:1-3
1 Now Jephthah the Gileadite was a mighty man of valour, and he was the son of an harlot: and Gilead begat Jephthah.
2 And Gilead's wife bare him sons; and his wife's sons grew up, and they thrust out Jephthah, and said unto him, Thou shalt not inherit in our father's house; for thou art the son of a strange woman.
3 Then Jephthah fled from his brethren, and dwelt in the land of Tob: and there were gathered vain men to Jephthah, and went out with him.

Judges 11:28-40
28 Howbeit the king of the children of Ammon hearkened not unto the words of Jephthah which he sent him.
29 Then the Spirit of the LORD came upon Jephthah, and he passed over Gilead, and Manasseh, and passed over Mizpeh of Gilead, and from Mizpeh of Gilead he passed over unto the children of Ammon.
30 And Jephthah vowed a vow unto the LORD, and said, If thou shalt without fail deliver the children of Ammon into mine hands,
31 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 burnt offering.
32 So Jephthah passed over unto the children of Ammon to fight against them; and the LORD delivered them into his hands.
33 And he smote them from Aroer, even till thou come to Minnith, even twenty cities, and unto the plain of the vineyards, with a very great slaughter. Thus the children of Ammon were subdued before the children of Israel.
34 And Jephthah came to Mizpeh unto his house, and, behold, his daughter came out to meet him with timbrels and with dances: and she was his only child; beside her he had neither son nor daughter.
35 And it came to pass, when he saw her, that he rent his clothes, and said, Alas, my daughter! thou hast brought me very low, and thou art one of them that trouble me: for I have opened my mouth unto the LORD, and I cannot go back.
36 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.
37 And she said unto her father, Let this thing be done for me: let me alone two months, that I may go up and down upon the mountains, and bewail my virginity, I and my fellows.
38 And he said, Go. And he sent her away for two months: and she went with her companions, and bewailed her virginity upon the mountains.
39 And it came to pass at the end of two months, that she returned unto her father, who did with her according to his vow which he had vowed: and she knew no man. And it was a custom in Israel,
40 That the daughters of Israel went yearly to lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite four days in a year.

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