Tag Archives: Judges 11

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 70/260: Jephthah

Read Judges 11:29-40

Be Careful Little Mouth What You Say

Jephthah was one of the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11. Without exposition into the reason of his inclusion, the Hebrews writer simply said, “And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah…” (Hebrews 11:32). Of these judges and other Biblical figures, inspiration says that they had “obtained a good testimony through faith” (Hebrews 11:39). Does this mean they were perfect? An examination of the Biblical record shows just the opposite!

Without thinking through the implications, Jephthah made a rash vow to God. “If You will indeed deliver the people of Ammon into my hands, then it will be that whatever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return in peace from the people of Ammon, shall surely by the Lord’s, and I will offer it up as a burnt offering” (Judges 11:30-31).

Indeed, God used Jephthah to conquer the people of Ammon. And what came out of Jephthah’s house to meet him upon his return home? “When Jephthah came to his house at Mizpah, there was his daughter, coming out to meet him with timbrels and dancing; and she was his only child. Besides her he had neither son nor daughter” (Judges 11:34).

What a sad state of affairs! Jephthah had promised to offer her to the Lord, not knowing she would be the one to meet him! Commentators are divided over the issue of whether he actually offered her as a burnt offering or simply dedicated her to the service of the Lord. For an explanation of the latter understanding, read James Burton Coffman’s thoughts on the matter in his commentary on the book of Judges.

The point is this: Jephthah realized he needed to follow through with his vow. “For I have given my word to the Lord, and I cannot go back on it” (Judges 11:35). When one says they will do something, whether a promise or not, they should follow through with it even if it is not to their benefit.

The writer of Ecclesiastes says it best: “When you make a vow to God, do not delay to pay it; for He has no pleasure in fools. Pay what you have vowed—better not to vow than to vow and not pay” (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5).

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 69/260: Jephthah

Read Judges 11:1-11

God Sees Worth in the World’s “Worthless”

It is often difficult to escape your past, even when you had no real control over it. The writers of the book of Judges says that Jephthah “was a mighty man of valor, but he was the son of a harlot” (Judges 11:1). Because of this, he was rejected by his father’s legitimate sons. Even though he was cast out by his own family, though, Jephthah found companionship with other “worthless men” (Judges 11:3). The New International Version uses the phrase “a gang of scoundrels” to describe this group.

The New King James Version says that this group “went out raiding with” Jephthah (Judges 11:3), but James Burton Coffman opines, “More than likely, he, like David, protected settlements from marauders.” The ensuing events lends some credence to Coffman’s view.

Faced with war against Ammon, the elders of Gilead begged for Jephthah’s assistance. The man that they once viewed as worthless, they now saw as their deliverer. His response to their plea is understandable, considering their former mistreatment of him. “If you take me back home to fight against the people of Ammon, and the Lord delivers them to me, shall I be your head?” (Judges 11:9). An agreement was struck between Jephthah and the elders of Gilead, and he went to work against Ammon.

Have you ever felt worthless? Felt like an outcast among your friends and family? Maybe you fell into sin, then repented, but it can be difficult to reestablish trust with those who were once close to you. God can still use you.

The apostle Paul lists several types of sinners that will not be saved as long as they continue in their sin. “Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10). If you are involved in these activities, you cannot be saved—but if you repent, turn your life away from sinful behaviors and toward a godly lifestyle, God will forgive you! Paul continues, “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).

The world may see you as worthless, but God will count you worthy of His forgiveness if you seek Him and obey Him!